The return of the Attrill Cup

By: Blogger

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

Sideline Sid was delighted to see that Bay of Plenty Cricket has brought back their oldest trophy in the Attrill Cup for competition, after gathering dust on a shelf for the last few seasons.

The Attrill Cup has a long and fascinating journey to its latest reincarnation

The Bay of Plenty Times reported on December 9, 1920, "The (cricket) competition between Matata, Te Puke and Tauranga for the Attrill Cup provided by Mr Attrill of Te Puke commences on Saturday when Matata meets Te Puke at Te Puke".

The Attrill Cup dates back over a century, making it amongst the oldest regional sporting trophies in the Bay of Plenty.

Newspaper reports from the 1920's through to the end of the 1960's, indicate that the Attrill Cup was contested by regional cricket sub-associations and rural communities throughout the Bay of Plenty.

'Caught Wright Bowled Beard - The Story of Bay of Plenty Cricket 1931-2011', contained a piece contributed by Buddy Graham on an Attrill Cup trip to the Urewera’s in the 1950's.

Buddy started cricket as an 11-year-old at Tauranga Primary School in 1949, ending when he transferred to Wellington with the ANZ bank in 1959.

“In the late 1950s Urewera entered the Attrill Cup Competition. In order to avoid a bye Tauranga entered two teams. We drew Urewera in the first round game to be played at Minginui, a saw-milling town in the Urewera’s,” says Buddy.

"As I was in the Tauranga A team, I was appointed manager of the B’s. 6am on Sunday morning, it was raining solidly in Tauranga and a phone call was made to Minginui to check on conditions there. It was taining heavily as well, but we were assured that it would clear, so we decided to go.

"It rained all the way and on arriving in Minginui we were confronted with a bog, and some pretty sodden individuals. However, miracles do happen and at mid-day the rain stopped. We had a grand lunch and because of the nature of the soil the water drained away. Out came the tractor with the pitch rolled, matting put down, and play started at 1pm.

"The team managers acted as umpires and Tauranga batted. Amazingly at my end the opening bowler had a wooden leg. But with a heave of the shoulders he managed a reasonable pace and was very accurate.

"Urewera then batted and were doing reasonably well until the introduction of Alan Scott (a master at Tauranga College) who bowled donkey drops with an exaggerated flick of the wrist. Needless to say that the locals had never seen anything like this before, and apart from the odd heave over the mid-wicket boundary soon succumbed."

"The other umpire had a smoke at square leg, and I am sure that the keg had been opened before the number eleven batsman came in. Tauranga won on the first innings."

Tauranga Team: R Williams (captain) K Sharplin (Midlands) J Hare, R Vincent (Tauranga) B McDonald, C Fox, C Ross, M Sandlant (College) D Clapcott (Mount) J Stuart, A Scott (Albion) 12th Man Buddy Graham.

Standing out in the history of the Attrill Cup, like the Empire State Building, is two hat-tricks in an innings by Trent Boult in 2006.

The then 17-year-old, was just embarking on a cricket journey that would lead to Black Cap selection and the number one spot in the international world cricket bowling ranks.

Sideline Sid was one of a handful of local cricket followers on hand at the Tauranga Domain, to watch the 2006 Attrill Cup final between Tauranga and Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Trent was almost unplayable, grabbing two hat-tricks in removing seven Eastern Bay batsmen.

He ripped through the Eastern Bay top order of Barry Kilgariff, Brook Simpson and Tom Yates with successive balls.

Less than 20 minutes later, it was the turn of James Mitchell, Dean Butterworth and Joe Taylor to fall to three consecutive balls unleashed by Boult.

The reintroduction of the Attrill Cup last Sunday, for competition between Bay of Plenty Under 20, Bay of Plenty Lakeland and two Tauranga region sides, gives renewed life to a trophy that was first contested over 100 years ago.