CROCKETT SHIELD OVERVIEW
One of the feature events on the VCAUSA calendar is the biennial Easter exchange with our sister Association in South Australia, SACUSA. In 2012, Kristen Thomas was commissioned by SACUSA to research the early history of the exchange, resulting in a revision of our understanding of the origin of the exchange. Her findings were published in a leaflet unveiled during the Easter exchange in Adelaide in 2013 entitled "Let the good times roll - Cricket friendships offset The Great Depression". Below is an extract of Kristen's findings into the history of the Crockett Shield.
Why did a cricket match between Victorian and South Australian cricket umpires begin? And when exactly did it occur? Until recently, accessible records indicated that 1936 was the inaugural year of competition. But modern technology has enabled research into historic newspapers that reveals plans for the interstate fixture were underway as early as 1930, and the actual first match was held in Carlton, Victoria in 1931. During the beginning of a significant worldwide economic depression this was a bold undertaking, but one which was inspired by a desire to promote goodwill and hope. The traditional game that ‘The Vics’ and ‘The Croweaters’ indulge in today was born of a need to remind people that fun is an essential ingredient of life—especially when life is looking challenging.
As it turned out, the result of the first match was a diplomatically correct ‘draw’. As it was not a limited overs game—and it appears that SA declared at 8 for 125—when Victoria reached 7 for 111 at stumps, the game was declared a draw. SA’s Victor Selth (former State level wicketkeeper) was generously awarded a trophy by Victoria, for being the best performing visiting player. Ernest Ramsden was a Victorian founding player who had the pleasure of umpiring a Sheffield Shield and a Victoria v West Indies match at the MCG just prior to the umpires game. Depression or not, lights were shining brightly for cricket umpires and their beloved game 82 years ago when our partnership began.
The competition was suspended during World War II, but resumed in 1947. Playing for the R.M.(Bob) Crockett Shield,matches have been held every second year since then. However, Easter exchanges are much more than simply a cricket match. Members of both associations and their families get together to make and renew friendships and on each occasion there are numerous functions and social activities arranged.
The next Easter exchange (the 90th year) between the VCAUSA and SACUSA will take place in Adelaide 2nd to 4th April 2021.