Monday, July 16, 2012

Anonymous 1932 NZ Test cricket epigram

A brief but interesting epigram I found while searching The Evening Post digital collection in Papers Past relates to a 1932 Test between New Zealand and South Africa. The 1931/32 South African team were playing their first ever Test series in New Zealand.
The epigram wittily notes Mr Vivian ‘consigning’ his teammates to ‘oblivion’. Indeed, in this Test, the very promising Giff Vivian was the star and perhaps the villain of the match.
Earlier Vivian had toured England in the 1931 season and exceeded 1000 runs on the tour, looking to be an exceptional all-round find for New Zealand in the future. Don Neely’s Men in White notes Vivian’s ‘132 against Yorkshire the best innings of the tour’ which is no mean compliment considering the batting included Stewie Dempster, Roger Blunt, Jack Mills and Tom Lowry.
In the 1932 Second Test against South Africa played at the Basin Reserve, Giff Vivian made his return to the New Zealand team after missing the first match and scored a century in the first innings adding a century partnership with Ted Badcock after New Zealand looked to be on the rails at 158-5.
Eventually New Zealand closed its innings at 364, Vivian top scoring with 100, Badcock making 53 and Dempster a solid 64 with 10 boundaries.
In the South African reply, Vivian was again the important cog for New Zealand’s bowling taking 4-58 and restricting the visitors to a 46-run lead. Vivian didn’t stop there, making 73 in New Zealand’s disappointing second innings of 193. However, after Vivian lost his wicket, New Zealand found no resistance and South Africa finished off the tail before knocking off the winning runs with ease ending 150-2.
Perhaps the epigram is noting the loss of Vivian’s wicket, the player who could have seen New Zealand home for a draw:


Test cricket

In a relative sense, Auckland's young Mr. Vivian
Consigned all his teammates to utter oblivion.

(From C A Marris’s “Postscripts” column, The Evening Post, 8 March 1932)

Article © Mark Pirie 2012

(Sources: Men in White by D O Neely, R P King and F K Payne, Moa Publications, Auckland, 1986; and Papers Past, the National Library of New Zealand’s digital newspaper archive)

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