Painstaking research by Cricket NSW Librarian, Colin Clowes. has uncovered one of Sydney University’ oldest records: the most wickets taken by a bowler in a First Grade match.
For several decades, the Club’s records have shown that the fast-medium bowler, Tom Garrett, took 8-43 in the first innings of the match against Canterbury in 1893-94, and five wickets in the second. But no complete score, and no bowling analysis, was found for the second Canterbury innings. This was because many of the newspapers that reported on the match had print deadlines before the close of play on the last day of the three-day match, 24 February 1894. Now Dr Clowes has unearthed a report in a paper named Truth, published on 25 February 1894, which shows that Canterbury, chasing a target of 169, ended the game on nine for 131. Test batsman Harry Donnan was run out for 29; Garrett took all the other wickets, finishing with eight for 53, which included a hat trick. “The University captain bowled with capital judgment all through the innings”, reported Truth. In fact, he bowled unchanged through both innings, claiming 16 wickets for 96 runs altogether – a match record that has never been bettered in the Club’s history.
1893-94 was the very first season of the Grade cricket competition, but it was Garrett’s 21st season with the Club. He had enrolled in University at the age of fourteen, and had made his debut for the Club in 1873-74, before his fifteenth birthday. He was still only 18 when he opened the bowling in the first of all Test matches, in Melbourne in March 1877. He played 19 Tests, represented NSW between 1876 and 1898, and (as far as we can tell from surviving records) scored 5017 runs and took 625 wickets in First Grade for University.