Cricket in Harbour Grace and Conception Bay North has a long history. WA Munn in the Newfoundland Quarterly of 1937 reports the Carbonear Cricket Club advertised a challenge to All Comers for October 23rd, 1833.
Newspapers reported attempts to form a cricket club in Harbour Grace in the 1850s were thwarted by the lack of a suitable ground.
In 1864, two clubs were formed in Harbour Grace, the Alexandra and Union Clubs. John Cathrae, in Punton & Munn’s employ, formed the Alexandria Cricket Club. He reportedly introduced Round Arm or Overhead Bowling into Newfoundland as the early method was underarm bowling,
In July 1864, Union beat Alexandra in what is thought to be the first match played, in a field adjoining the premises of the sheriff, GC Gades.
Several other Union-Alexandra matches took place that year and clubs sprung up in Bay Roberts, Brigus, and Carbonear
From then on cricket was regularly reported in the local paper. Some notable occurrences..
1865- a cricket match played in Brigus in April!
1865 – Games played at Alexandria Park between the two clubs.
1867- Clubs of CBN (six Alexandrians) played Clubs of St. John’s at Alexandria Park. Conception Bay clubs won, and return matches in St. John’s arranged. St. John’s won the first return match, CB the second.
The cricketers of the time were mostly clerks and merchants
Around this time, the Union club disbanded, leaving Alexandria as the only Harbour Grace club
1871- Dominion club in existence in Harbour Grace, Cathrae captain, as well as Alexandria.
A Combined Harbour Grace XI beat a Carbonear XI
A match between “anti-Confederate XI” (Carbonear) and an Alabama XI (Harbour Grace) took place at Carbonear
1873: Match between “Natives” and “Scotchmen” on a cool and pleasant day at Alexandra Park.
1874: Alexandra v Victoria. The report notes that the match was played in good spirits and “we trust that in future the same gentlemanly bearing will be manifested by the players towards each other, thereby avoiding those unpleasant occurrences which had unfortunately often interfered with the enjoyment and pleasure of previous contests of this kind”.
Match between Cosmopolitans and Natives played at Alexandra Park
Letter to editor indicating cricket was in trouble, people having moved away, exodus from Alexandra Club has paralyzed it.
Alexandra v Avalon- disputed result
Alexandria and Terra Nova clubs playing
Harbour Grace team travelled to St. John’s, played at Pleasantville, match drawn probably in Harbour Grace’s favour.
City v Bay match, City team arrived by train (previously teams had travelled by steamer from Portugal Cove). Played in Carbonear. Won by City.
Alpha club formed in Harbour Grace.
CB team travelled to St. John’s, well beaten.
1898- CB team plays Terra Novas home and away- tied series
Long dispute in press between Quid Nuncs (Carbonear) and Alphas (Harbour Grace ) over fixtures/ challenges.
Finally played in September, QN beat Harbour Grace.
CB played Terra Novas in city and lost.
1891- St. John’s issued challenge to play but no club going.
1894- revival of cricket, HG played Bay Roberts, attempts to form club of younger players
1903 – Mechanics club from St. John’s plays in Harbour Grace.
1907; matches between Harbour Grace and Carbonear, Bay Roberts; also team at Heart’s Content- “Cable” team.
September 26 1907: “The Caretaker of the Harbor Grace Whale Factory, had a young man before the Court today, for using abusive and threatening language to him. From the evidence, it was plain that a case for trespass might have been entered. It seems that much annoyance has been given, by boys breaking windows and playing cricket on the Company’s premises. The defendant had been warned not to play cricket on said grounds again, and was subsequently ordered off, whereupon the abuse complained of, was given. Defendant was convicted and fined $1.00 and costs, or 14 days imprisonment.”
Newfoundland Quarterly, volume 38, no. 1 (July 1938)
W. P. Munn was an enthusiastic cricketer, but not a skilful player. He kept them enlivened with practical jokes. His son, John, made up for his playing in after years, as he was one of the Oxford XI. when studying at England. He was a left- handed bowler and, with an overhead eccentric twist, he astonished may of the best players, when finding their wickets were down ; John often won the ” hat trick.” He was a good batsman
as well and was, undoubtedly, the finest cricketer ever produced in Newfoundland.
“In a match between Harbour Grace and Carbonear a tragedy came very near; Burbridge, who fielded point had a habit of coming too close to the batsman. Will Squarey, who had stepped out to meet the ball, found the end of his bat had removed two inches of Burbridge’s nose, completely altering his facial expression. They say Burbridge never played cricket again after that unfortunate accident.”
1924: Shannon Munn Park, Harbour Grace played St. John’s; no further reports of cricket have been located.