The match that began a proud cricket history
New South Wales began its reign as the most successful state, province or county in world cricket following a challenge to all-comers from Victoria with a £500 purse.
Buoyed by its recent proclamation as a Colony separated from NSW, a confident Victoria hosted its first big game in March 1856 at the newly occupied Melbourne Cricket Ground. NSW won a tense, low-scoring match by three wickets to begin an ongoing dynasty.
This match became the foundation for NSW cricket, with male player records stretching from that game to the Blues’ most recent debutants, now numbering more than 750. The year 1856 is enshrined on the back of male NSW cricket kit.
For women it is 1931, the year of the first female interstate carnival, when Queensland and Victoria travelled to Sydney to play against a NSW side captained by Edna Pritchard from Orange, which was undefeated.
NSW cricket has become synonymous with success, regularly providing about half Australia’s men’s and women’s teams.
When the first Test was played against England in 1877 NSW provided Australia’s first captain, Dave Gregory, and Australia’s first century maker, Charles Bannerman, who made 165 retired hurt out of 245 in a winning team.
The Intercolonial Sheffield Shield began in 1892, thanks to a 150-pound donation to the NSW Cricket Association by Lord Sheffield. NSW has dominated the competition since its inception.
Of Australia’s leading players, NSW has produced or fostered 12 of the top 20 male batsmen and 10 of the top 20 bowlers including the greatest cricketer of all time, Donald Bradman.
The success of NSW female cricketers has been even more spectacular, winning almost all of the Women’s National Cricket League titles since its inception in 1996 and claiming the first three Women’s Big Bash League tournaments thanks to the Sydney Thunder and Sydney Sixers.
Alex Blackwell was Australia’s most capped player with 251 across all formats while former Novocastrian Belinda Clark is regarded as Australia’s finest captain and batter.
In 2003 the NSW Women’s Cricket Association integrated with Cricket NSW, beginning the pathway of equal opportunity for our male and female cricketers.