RHODESIA v WESTERN PROVINCE (Currie Cup match)
Reports taken from the Rhodesia Herald unless otherwise stated. - 26, 27, 28 February 1966
At Police Ground, Salisbury; 26, 27, 28 February 1966
Wednesday 23 February 1966
PROVINCE MEN HERE
The Western Province Currie Cup cricket team flew into Salisbury Airport yesterday to be greeted by pouring rain and grey skies. Province play Rhodesia in the final Currie Cup match of the season at the Police Ground here, starting on Saturday.
And the general feeling among the locals is that, for the match to start on time, there will have to be a change in the weather soon. Province will practise at the Sports Club this afternoon, and at the Alexandra Club on Thursday and Friday mornings, weather permitting.
Friday 25 February 1966
RAIN TODAY WILL RUIN MATCH - HAYTER
By Louis Duffus
Rain on 18 days out of 20 . . . no practice yet for Western Province . . . gum boots needed to walk on the Police Ground this is the preliminary setting for the final Currie Cup match of the season due to start tomorrow.
``If it rains today (Friday),'' said the RCU secretary, Mr Dennis Hayter, ``we've had it.'' Even if it is hot and dry the pitch might provide an interesting surface for a match in which neither side has anything to lose.''
The only possible gain would result from an outright victory by Rhodesia. This would lift them to third place in the competition - a commendable performance by a team promoted to the A Section his summer and who had bad luck through rain in their first match against Transvaal.
Province might be handicapped by lack of net play, but like many teams when they are away from home they should be able to anticipate improving performances.
Despite their setback at the Wanderers they produced consistent batting led by the outstanding innings of Peter van der Merwe and Rob Muzzell. Neither Frank Drummer nor John Cole earned adequate reward for their excellent seam bowling.
Province are restricted to 11 players as Dan le Roux returned to Cape Town after the Transvaal match with a fractured little finger.
Rhodesia, whose average age is 28, consist of long-service players. Unlike other centres they have not been able to blood young successors - a procedure which will shortly become imperative.
Tomorrow's match is reported to mark the end of 14 years of faithful and distinguished first-class cricket by 33-year-old Joe Partridge. His stalwart contributions to the game include appearances in 11 Tests, a record number of wickets for the season 1962/63, and a remarkable 7 for 9 against Border in 1959/60. [Note: Partridge did in fact play one more season, changing his mind when the usual Currie Cup Christmas/New Year tour for Rhodesia was altered to take place earlier in December.]
Unhappily they will be without Colin Bland who has gone into temporary retirement. [After the southern tour he announced that he was feeling too tired after so much cricket, including the 1965 tour of England, to be able to give of his best and would therefore play no more cricket during the season.]
Rhodesia are the most experienced side in the competition with solid displays over the years from the Pithey brothers, Ray Gripper, Nick Frangos and Rob Ullyett, and they possess, besides the evergreen Partridge, the season's most successful bowler in Godfrey Lawrence.
Neville Williams, who replaces the injured Eddie Parker, in 26 and played once for Rhodesia in the last Currie Cup tournament.
The weather holds the answer to the riddles of the match. Bookings have been made from farming areas. If there is a petrol shortage [Note: through United Nations sanctions since Rhodesia's unilateral declaration of independence on 11 November 1965] it is no more apparent superficially than it was on my last visit 11 weeks ago. Given fine days it will not stop Rhodesians from showing their usual enthusiasm for cricket.
*** Our Bulawayo correspondent reports that Bulawayo and Salisbury officials have been considering the possibility of moving the match to Bulawayo if the heavy rain in Salisbury continues today. An inspection of the Police pitch will be made at 3 p.m. today.
Saturday 26 February 1966
MORE RAIN - NO HOPE OF PROMPT START TO BIG MATCH TODAY
By Len Brown
Further heavy rain in Salisbury yesterday morning and afternoon has probably put paid to a prompt start to today's Currie Cup cricket match between Western Province and Rhodesia at the Police Ground. So heavy was the downfall, particularly in the afternoon, that it is unlikely any play will be possible before lunch today, even if the weather takes a drastic change for the better.
An inspection of the ground yesterday afternoon, after a heavy two-hour shower in the morning, revealed the pitch was in reasonable condition but that the outfield, and the surrounds close to the pitch covers, was still showing water.
But before the harassed Police Club ground staff could clear this lot away, the dark clouds loomed up again and at four o'clock it was pouring heavily.
The two captains, Rhodesia's Tony Pithey and Western Province's Peter van der Merwe, will make the normal inspection of the ground shortly before starting time this morning, but the condition of the ground yesterday evening discounted any chance of an early start.
Several offers of pumping equipment to remove the surface water have been made, and if there is no rain this morning, these will probably be brought into operation.
But Mashonaland cricket officials, who are the staging authorities for this match, are still hopeful this game will get started, even if it is delayed until Sunday.
As they pointed out yesterday, there has never been a Currie Cup match in Salisbury which did not reach at least a first-innings decision.
In view of that fact, there was never any intention to shift this match from the Police Ground, either to another ground in Salisbury, or to Bulawayo.
They're not only first-class cricket administrators, this Mashonaland Board, they're also a highly optimistic organisation . . . and why shouldn't they be.
Western Province players, who have been kicking their heels since their arrival at lunch-time on Tuesday, suffered another disappointment yesterday when they went for net practice at Alex. There was time only for young Neville Budge to have a knock on the soft, slow-paced pitch, before the rain came and drove them indoors.
With the water level as it is, even if this game is reduced to a two-day affair, there are going to be rich pickings for the bowlers on both sides.
Neither side, all season, has batted as well as it should have done, but on the other hand, the bowlers of both sides have done yeoman jobs. And with the help they can expect from this pitch any time the game gets under way, they should make things hot for the batsmen.
Sunday 27 February 1966 (Sunday Mail)
By Fred Cleary
. . . As for the Rhodesia-Western Province Currie Cup match, heavy rain again yesterday not only prevented a start, but probably ruled out any play today.
Much of the Police Ground outfield was under water yesterday morning and then heavy rain fell again in the afternoon, undoing the efforts of the ground staff to dry the ground.
Both captains inspected the wicket in the morning but ruled out any chances of play.
In no ball is bowled in the match both teams will each get one point. But this makes no difference to the Currie Cup competition, which has already been jointly won by Natal and Transvaal with Western Province bottom of the A Section.
Monday 28 February 1966
CURRIE CUP MATCH IS ABANDONED
The Currie Cup cricket match between Rhodesia and Western Province was abandoned yesterday morning, without a ball being bowled.
The two captains inspected the pitch yesterday morning at 9.30 a.m., and agreed that play would be impossible no matter what change there was in the weather.
The Province side will leave Salisbury tomorrow by air for Johannesburg, and by train from there back to Cape Town.
Contributed by John Ward