Smith, Rick – Launceston’s NTCA Ground, No 50 of 150


Just arrived soft back. Mint


Subtitled: Australia’s oldest first-class venue. Softcovers. New. 25cm x 17.5cm. 128 pages.

The NTCA has been a Citadel of cricket in northern Tasmania for 165 years and been the scene of many great matches and performances involving some of the most illustrious names in the history of the game.

Signed  by the author. No 50 of  150 copies

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1 review for Smith, Rick – Launceston’s NTCA Ground, No 50 of 150

  1. Ken

    Launceston’s NTCA Ground – a Personal View…. by Rick Smith
    The author’s memories of the NTCA Ground stretch back over fifty years. Having watched, played in and coached teams on the ground, as well as witnessing some of its finest moments there is a certain affinity for those few hectares of land.
    My first memory there is of watching the match between the MCC and a Tasmanian Combined XI in 1962-63 when I was seven years old. The details remain a little hazy, but I do remember Gary Brakey bowling England captain Ted Dexter. I was unaware of the controversy surrounding the Tasmanian fast bowler’s action, but I recall asking my father if that man was bowling the ball. This has stayed in my mind because it was greeted with much laughter by those in the stand around us and a comment, ‘See, even a little kid can see it.’ Another memory is of John Aldridge, the English professional who opened the bowling with Brakey. Apparently, he too had a controversial action and had been called for throwing in England, but all I could think of was that he was the tallest person I had ever seen.
    I first played on the NTCA Ground in an Under 16 Vacation Week match in 1968-69. I was only thirteen and up against the big boys. I didn’t make many, but I did hang around for a while and loved every moment of it.
    In 1977-78 I made my A Grade debut for South Launceston against Mowbray. It seemed exactly right that the game was on the NTCA Ground. Over the next seven or eight years I played quite a number of A Grade games, but there was always something special about the matches that took place there. The magic of that first game never faded. When my own son first played there years later his feelings mirrored mine. It was the best place to play. My father had also played numerous games there as a member of the Launceston Cricket Club in the early 1950s and later in Country Week for Wilmot Association.
    Since that first day in 1962-63 I’ve been lucky enough to witness some superb cricket. If there is to be a highlight it was watching Garry Sobers score unbeaten centuries for the West Indies in 1968-69 and the Rest of the World XI in 1971-72. I had never seen batting like it and I doubt if I will ever see a better cricketer.
    There are other individual performances to savour. Roger Woolley taking the Queensland bowlers apart to become the first Tasmanian to score a century for the State in the Sheffield Shield made him one of my favourite players. Less pleasant for the locals was a frightening spell of fast bowling in 1984-85 from a teenage Craig McDermott who demolished Tasmania, breaking Brian Davison’s hand and hitting Danny Buckingham in the throat in the process.
    Another memory concerns Lancashire’s Jack Simmons. Incensed at the local batsmen’s methods against Pakistani leg spinner Intikhab Alam in 1972-73 he strode to the wicket at number ten and slaughtered the bowlers making 77 in next to no time. Inspired by his efforts the Tasmanians played out a comfortable draw in the second innings and the spectre of Intikhab was vanquished. Jack had a lot of great moments for Tasmania, with many of the most famous occurring elsewhere. On this ground, though, this was the one that remains in my mind.
    As a dedicated Tasmanian supporter, and since 1990 Cricket Tasmania’s match photographer, the island’s victories have always been great moments, and the team did enjoy a number of wins on the ground in the Sheffield Shield. There was also the joy of being present when the Tasmanian Roar won its first game in the national women’s competition, defeating South Australia in 2009-10 with current coach Julia Price hitting the winning runs… from Break O Day, produced by the ACS Tasmania branch

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