1865 Inaugural First Class Season

Norman Gonsalves
Date published: 

The 1864-65 season included the inaugural major cricket match in the West Indies between Barbados and British Guiana at Garrison Savannah in Bridgetown on 15-16 February 1865. Barbados won a low scoring match by 138 runs. Augustus and Frederick Smith, two uncles of Sydney Smith took the wickets for Barbados and dismissed British Guiana for 22 and 38.

Edwin Beete, one of the British Guiana side, was later quoted as follows: On the Friday morning we went to the Garrison and practised on the pitch there. Consequently the islanders had to prepare a pitch on the Savannah. And such a pitch! The outfield was very high with grass, you could not run after a ball. The pitch itself was so studded with small pieces of corral that the ball had to be changed twice in an innings which lasted about two hours and mangled balls were brought back as a memento. We practised on Saturday and the match was fixed for the Monday and Tuesday following but was postponed until the Wednesday and Thursday.

A return match was arranged for the following season in September 1865. Barbados batted first and scored 111 with Thomas Daly taking 4-30 bowling underarm. In reply British Guiana were all out for 82 which included 34 extras, George Whitehall taking 4-16. British Guiana were then set 146 to win which they made with 2 wickets remaining, William Watson batting throughout for 39*. As in the previous match the Smith brothers took most of the wickets for Barbados.

After this game, various social events were organised including a boat trip on the steamer Berbice up the Essequibo River to the Penal Settlement at the junction of the Cuyuni and Mazaruni Rivers and to take place from 18 to 20 September. A trip up the Mazaruni was arranged in three smaller boats and during this it was decided to shoot the Koestrabraek Falls. One of the boats, the Lady Wodehouse, capsized in the falls and seven people were drowned including two of the British Guiana team, Henry Beresford and Richard Stewart.