History

A Brief History of Cape Town Cricket Club

By Phil Hartmann

As can be seen from the founding document shown below, the roots of the present Cape Town Cricket Club extend back to the year 1857, making it one of the oldest cricket clubs in South Africa. The driving force behind the establishment of the club was one William Thomas Hancock Sherman, an exceptional cricket player who became the first President of the Club in that year.

THE FIRST PAGE OF THE RECORD OF THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE CAPE TOWN CRICKET CLUB OF 1857

THE FIRST PAGE OF THE RECORD OF THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE CAPE TOWN CRICKET CLUB OF 1857

The club was re-organised in 1860 by cricketers resident in Cape Town and played on under various guises until the year 1888 when, a significant re-organisation pertaining to the cricket circles of the Mother City took place, and Cape Town Cricket Club emerged as a force to be reckoned with.

The club founded in 1857 morphed in 1888 into a formidable organisation which was to challenge the cricket establishment of the Western Province in every way.

Central to all of this was a merger in that year which included the Leeuwenhof Cricket Club and the Gardens Cricket Club.

Leeuwenhof and Gardens Cricket Clubs were active during the 1880s, with the Gardens Cricket Club having a history which included significant involvement from Cape Town Cricket Club. The process of merging was driven by the foresight and personality of men such as William Vallancey Simkins, Jan Godlieb Heyneman and Louis Berrange Smuts.

WILLIAM VALLANCEY “BILLY” SIMKINS JAN GODLIEB BRINK “JACK” HEYNEMAN LOUIS BERRANGE “LB” SMUTS
WILLIAM VALLANCEY “BILLY” SIMKINS JAN GODLIEB BRINK “JACK” HEYNEMAN LOUIS BERRANGE “LB” SMUTS

In the shadows behind these men however, and the real power in the merger was the figure of J.H. Hofmeyr - “Onze Jan” - a man described by John X. Merriman (at one time Prime Minister of the Cape Colony), as “the Mole – an industrious little animal….You never see him at work, but every now and then a little mound of earth, thrown up here and there, will testify to his activities.”

JAN HENDRIK (ONZE JAN) HOFMEYR

JAN HENDRIK (ONZE JAN) HOFMEYR

Hofmeyr had his own agenda in establishing a broad based cricket club, part of which was to challenge the Colonial establishment of the time (which included Cecil John Rhodes) and also to foster greater unity between English and Afrikaans speakers in Cape Town and the rest of the Cape Colony. Hofmeyr was elected president of the merged clubs and remained so until his death in 1909.

From the outset, the merged club was extremely successful, attracting quality players and setting the standard for cricket in the Cape Colony.

The Club was one of the prime movers in forming the South African Cricket Association in April 1890, while in September of that year the club became a founder member of the old Western Province Cricket Union together with Western Province Cricket Club, Claremont Cricket Club and Sea Point Cricket Club (now defunct); constituting just four clubs that formed the WPCU..

In 1893 The Western Province Cricket Union agreed to establish a Club Championship, which has persisted in one form or another until the present day.

The Champion Clubs of the Western Province Cricket Union for the first twenty-one years saw Cape Town Cricket Club win the trophy eleven times.

The club experienced many ups and downs in the years following and produced many quality players, both provincial and national.

Cape Town Cricket Club boasts at least 26 international cricketers. Modern day players such as Jacques Kallis and Jonathan Trott have both played for the club at times. Three members of the club have captained South Africa, “Biddy" Anderson, in 1902, Sibley John Snooke in 1909 and Jock Cameron in the 1930’s.

Cape Town Cricket Club dominated the old Western Province Cricket Union club cricket scene in the mid-nineteen eighties, when they could call upon the services of such famous names as Garth le Roux, Stephen Jefferies, Peter Kirsten, Ken McEwan and Brian McMillan. Between 1980 and 1989, the Club won the Premier League trophy five times and the National Club Championship Trophy twice and was runner-up once. The teams of this period were probably the strongest in the Club’s history.

The rich history of the Club, from its beginnings in 1857, up until the end of the 2011-2012 season is fully chronicled in PLAYING THE GAME: The Story of Cape Town Cricket Club.

PLAYING THE GAME:  The Story of Cape Town Cricket Club

 

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All available to download for free in pdf format

The Stanley Horwood Collection
The First President

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The First President Of The Cape Town Cricket Club

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