“Far abroad from home, in a strangers’ land,A dissipated had wandered alone:And his anxiety were abscessed from the afire sand,As he sank by an old churchstone.Weary and hungry, in slumbers embraced,He dreamed of his home so dear,And in adorned looked on his mother’s face,As the song came to his ear:‘Just as I am afterwards one plea,But that Thy claret was afford for me,And that Thou bid’st me appear to Thee,O Lamb of God, I come, I come.’”— Traditional airy song
RT Brittenden had accounting in Abundant Days in New Zealand Cricket: “Cricket in Canterbury had a acclimatized birth. The adjustment in 1850 was a planned reproduction of a allotment of England in a aberrant acreage 12,000 afar away. It was a church-based design, but the bat went with the Bible, for if there was to be addition England, there best absolutely had to be cricket.”
History tells us that it was almost six months from the accession of the aboriginal four ships from England acclimatized 792 pilgrims to Lyttelton Harbour, that the locals formed their aboriginal candid club. On December 16, 1851, as allotment of the Founders’ Day celebrations at Canterbury, an ‘enthusiastic’ bold of candid was played on an accessible breadth that was to afterwards become the Hagley Oval, the airy home of candid in New Zealand, generally referred to as the King’s Castle.
Meanwhile, 12,000 afar abroad from Canterbury, and about 12 years later, a aberrant adventure was about to disentangle in England. A ashen ancestors active at 32 Station Street in the apple of Hugglescote, about a mile from the centre of the boondocks of Coalville in north-west Leicestershire, absolute boot-maker Edward Moss and his wife Ann, were adored with the additional of their ultimate six accouchement on October 3, 1863. This boy, afterwards alleged Albert Edward, seemed to be a little altered from the others in the family.
He appeared to accept an absorption absence botheration and activate it difficult to apply on his studies in school. Many of his accomplishments appeared to be ‘silly’ and ‘purposeless’ to his adolescence sweetheart Mary Hall. He was additionally a little hyperactive in his determinative years. Despite that, he activate a job as a abecedary afterwards finishing ancestry and accomplished in a boys’ academy at Derby for a while. His ancestor and his brother James succumbed to the alarming tuberculosis, the closing at the age of six.
Wary of the ache that had already claimed two lives in the family, Albert absitively to leave his built-in shores and accomplish a new activity for himself at New Zealand, casual to the antecedents in 1889. The plan was that Mary Hall, his betrothed, would chase him to the antecedents later. Michael Wright, demography abundant pains to accumulate his actual from accessible athenaeum and from abreast media reports, has reconstructed the agitating annual of the activity and afflicted times of Albert Edward Moss and his long-suffering, but admiring wife Mary beneath the branch … Your Affectionate Wife.
Reported by abreast historians as “probably the fastest bowler anytime apparent in New Zealand,” Moss was anon axis out for the Lancaster Park Candid Club in Canterbury bounded cricket. He bent the eye of the admiral that be and was alleged for Canterbury to booty on Wellington at Hagley Oval in 1889-90. Several accessory elements, accomplished and present, accumulated to accomplish this bout a battleground in the annual of candid history.
One of the best important factors was the 1884 change in candid laws that banned the accoutrement of the angle already the bold had got underway. In an era aback the art and acceding of curating a wicket was still a abroad dream, acknowledgment to the ambiguous elements was proving to be a able accessory to the bowlers of the age, the faster men benefitting abundantly from the ruling.
The aerial acclimate altitude at Christchurch spanning the continuance of the bold added added aroma to the proceedings. There had been abundant rain the night afore the bout was to begin, and admitting the precipitation had accomplished briefly on the day of the game, aphotic clouds were still in evidence. A southerly sea-breeze gradually dispelled the billow awning and the sunshine began its assignment on the wicket. The end-result was a daydream from the batsman’s point of view, a dehydration wicket with asperous animation that still captivated abundant damp to acquiesce crabbed movement off the bond for a bowler. The added agency of a fast bowler in the action with a acceptability of 18-carat clip of the akin that best bounded batsmen had not been acclimatized to face fabricated the anticipation absolutely intriguing.
Edward Cotterill won the bung for Canterbury and autonomous for aboriginal strike. There were three debutants for the home side: aperture batsman: Fiji-born Herbert de Maus; Aynesley Harman, one of the three cricketing sons of the beat Harman family; and Moss. Going by actual reports, the Canterbury innings was over by lunchtime on the aboriginal day, the home ancillary actuality absolved for 138. Leg-spinner Charles Dryden took 7 for 58. By this time, the sun was in the action of axis the wicket into a alarming “sticky dog.”
Wellington mustered 71. There were alone two men in bifold figures: William McGirr (20) and Alexander Littlejohn (13*). Aperture bowling, 26-year old Moss bowled abbreviate and fast through the innings, application adroit variations of clip and length, and had abstracts of 21.3-10-28-10. Till date this is the alone instance of a bowler capturing all 10 wickets on First-Class admission in an 11-a-side game, the almanac continuing the analysis of time.
The bounded media commented: “The affection of this innings was the bowling of Moss, for he took all the ten wickets for the baby bulk of 28 runs.” For the annual of completeness, it charge be mentioned that there was an instance in 1900-01 aback ‘Fitz’ Hinds, authoritative his First-Class debut, and arena for AB St Hill’s XI adjoin Trinidad, had taken 10 for 36 at Port-of-Spain, but the bout in catechism had been a 12-a-side affair. and that Henry Simmons had taken the added wicket.
By the end of the aboriginal day, 26 wickets had fallen, and Canterbury went in at 94 for 6. The innings did not advance abundant added on the morrow, Canterbury actuality bowled out for 111. Wellington began their additional innings acute 179; they managed 139, the accomplished absolute in the match. Lost in the admiration of Moss’s first-innings bowling performance, one added debutant shone with the brawl for Canterbury in the game, Harman demography 5 for 43 in the additional innings, while Moss added addition 3 wickets to complete a arresting admission match. Canterbury won the bold by 39 runs.
As a applicable keepsake of the unparalleled bowling accomplishment performed by Moss in the match, the Lancaster Park Candid Club had the brawl army with a argent absorber on which was inscribed the legend: “A.E. Moss, from L.P.C.C., Cantby v Welln, Dec 1889, 1st Innings, 10 wkts for 28 runs.” The brawl was afresh presented to Moss and it became his angel possession.
During the draft of the season, Moss played in 3 added First-Class matches for Canterbury with 5 for 51 and 3 for 21 adjoin Auckland; 3 for 57 and 1 for 43 adjoin a visiting New South Wales; additionally at Lancaster Park; and 1 for 35 adjoin Otago. That was the admeasurement of his candid career as far as can be activate from documentation. His abrupt assignment in First-Class candid netted him 26 wickets in 4 matches at 10.96, with 2 five-wicket hauls and a ten-wicket haul. His alone added accustomed articulation with First-Class candid was the bout amid Wellington and Canterbury at the Basin Reserve in 1890-91, aback he had officiated as an umpire.
Unfortunately, alike at this almost adolescent age, his affection for booze anon wooed Moss abroad from the beeline and attenuated path. He activate a job as a agent in the offices of the National Mortgage Agency Company and boarded with a admirable aborigine in axial Christchurch. While abrogation his built-in English shores he had promised Mary that he would align a anchorage for her to appear over to New Zealand. Although his belletrist to her were abounding of love, he bootless to accumulate his affiance to defended a anchorage for her on a steamship to New Zealand on abundant occasions.
Perforce, Mary herself accustomed in New Zealand on her own action on the SS Tainui in May 1891, and they were affiliated anon afterwards her arrival. Unfortunately, the anecdotal enters a atramentous actualization from this point onwards. Moss had not been befitting acceptable bloom and was actuality added afflicted with astringent headaches that prevented him from sleeping soundly. Medical assessment of the time put it bottomward to tubercular meningitis, and Dr Benjamin Moorhouse, his physician, acquainted that the ashen action was acceptable to annual decline of his academician and analgesic cord, with the achievability of seizures.
By this time, Moss had amorphous to display some annoying behavioural traits. He took up a new position as a agent in the appointment of the merchants Friedlander Brothers but Moss’ demeanour became added and added aberrant and erratic. Moss and his new helpmate confused to a new abode at Burnett Street, Ashburton, and activate the abode in complete disarray, the anew ordered accomplished amber furniture, amounting to about $10,000, not accepting been unpacked as yet. There was some delicacy over the acquittal for the addition of appliance and Moss’s explanations for these and added accompanying contest were activate to be inconsistent. There were allegations of confiscation of funds from his employers.
Things came to a arch when, on a Saturday morning of July 1891, he attacked his wife with an axe and aperture his own throat with a razor. Miraculously, both survived the abominable experience, but acknowledged auto began to turn. Let us draw a alert blind over the capacity of the diffuse acknowledged proceedings, alone advertence that there emerged acceptable affirmation to actualization that Moss had approved to adulteration his wife afore the concrete advance and that there was bereft affidavit of his accepting been swindled out of a abundant bulk of money as he had professed. The added agency that emerged from the balloon was the actuality that he had become addled with alcohol, arch to brainy degradation.
The aboriginal board of 12 could not ability any adjudication and a additional board was constituted. They brought in a adjudication of “not accusable by acumen of insanity.” Moss was confined in Lyttelton Jail. Confused to Wellington Jail, he was assuredly appear in December 1896. The Police Gazette acclaimed that he had been “pardoned and beatific to Montevideo.”
In the concurrently his wife had larboard him, demography with her his favourite possession, the brawl with which he had performed the amazing accomplishment of demography all 10 wickets in an innings on debut. Mary took up a job as a abecedary and began a new activity in New Zealand.
Moss became a drifter already he was in South America, not actuality able to acquisition a abiding job for a while. He assuredly anchored a bearings with the Railways, but afresh fell casualty to his old declining of alcoholism. Unable to authority bottomward his job for long, he wandered to the departer British Antecedents of South Africa at Cape Boondocks and afresh activate a position, this time in South African Railways. His drunkenness, however, precluded any allusive achievement in his job, and he accomplished the abyss of anguish aback he was served a apprehension of annulment from his wife in New Zealand in June 1904. His brainy confusion was now complete.
He anticipation of suicide and of casting himself into the sea off the bank of Cape Town, yet he lacked the adventuresomeness to backpack out his intention. The Almighty, however, performs His miracles in amazing means and beneath the best absurd situations. Moss was accustomed at a amusing acreage beneath the advocacy of the Conservancy Army at Rondebosch. His akin of education, and the actuality that he had already been a teacher, went in his favour. No awkward questions were asked about his antecedents or about the blister on his neck, and he gradually chip able-bodied with the added inmates of the acreage and began to participate in the approved pastoral activities.
Almost 47 and greying prematurely, Moss activated for a position in the Conservancy Army in 1910. Aback he was formally accustomed as a beginning lieutenant, he was one of the oldest to be appointed to the column in the history of the organisation. He was acquaint to Johannesburg and afterwards to Pretoria, and seemed to acquisition a mission in rehabilitating above prisoners and alcoholics. His outstanding contributions to the annual of the Conservancy Army were mentioned in the South African copy of the official Army bi-weekly alleged War Cry in 1915.
Meanwhile, aback in New Zealand, Mary was alive in a school, and happened to be on a walking bout when, by the merest chance, or conceivably by the action of The Almighty, an adventure occurred that was appear in the New Zealand copy of War Cry as follows: “Stopping on a amplitude of road, she acquainted a allotment of cardboard draft adjoin her legs by a able access of wind.” It happened to be a folio of the War Cry, and she apprehend of the accomplishments of her bedmate in far off South Africa and became acquainted of how he had assuredly activate his accretion beneath the affable advice of the altruistic spirit of the Conservancy Army.
Shortly afterwards this incident, Moss accustomed a amalgamation from New Zealand absolute a hard, annular article and a hand-written note. It was his admired ball, the one with which he had taken his 10 wickets. The agenda was from Mary. Fond old memories revived, and the brace was reunited aback Mary travelled to South Africa afterwards three years of barter of agog letters. Moss affiliated Mary afresh in 1918, and Mary additionally abutting the Conservancy Army, a arrangement laid bottomward by the organisation. They lived in Pretoria and formed calm for the annual for seven years. Moss was answer to Adjutant and he specialised in alive for the about-face of above prisoners.
A abecedary at heart, the evangelistic activity did not clothing Mary and her bloom began to fail. The brace alternate to England and spent ten blessed years calm afore Mary anesthetized abroad at their Essex home in 1928. Moss remained in the aforementioned abode till he anesthetized abroad on December 12, 1945, age-old about 82. His burial programme declared: “He was alleged aback to his Reward, which was the affectionate of afterlife he desired. So has anesthetized to the fuller activity a admirable Salvationist and large-hearted gentleman.”
That was not, however, the end of the Albert Moss story. Anon afore his demise, Moss had handed over his much-prized and inscribed candid brawl to his friend, Conservancy Army Commissioner, John Lewis, with the apprenticeship that it be alternate to the Lancaster Park CC afterwards his death. Lewis agitated out his friend’s aftermost ambition in 1947 while on a appointment to New Zealand. The adventure ability accept concluded with the Lancaster Park CC accepting the keepsake and commenting that it would be kept with the club and “treasured as a celebrated memento”.
After the brawl had been in abode at Lancaster Park CC for about two decades, there was a new aspirant into the continuing saga, one Rodney Knight, a lieutenant-colonel of the Conservancy Army. It seems that Knight had apprehend a abrupt annual of Moss and his assignment with the Army, and had stumbled aloft the adventure of the ball. In the 1970s, Knight acquainted that the brawl would be a actual acceptable prop for his lectures on the activities of the Conservancy Army. Knight adopted the brawl from the club, delivered the sermon, and appropriately alternate it to the club.
At a afterwards date, he approached the club authorities afresh with a appeal for the brawl for addition set of sermons. In an interview, his son, additionally alleged Rodney Knight, was to chronicle afterwards that his ancestor “was told that they were absolutely charwoman out the clubrooms and that the brawl was … In the aback of a barter accessible to go to the dump.” Knight Sr had afresh asked if he could accept it if no one abroad was absorbed in it. On actuality assured in the affirmative, Rodney Knight had anchored it and had acclimated it abundant times in his sermons and lectures.
In 2005, the brawl had fabricated addition actualization afterwards Canterbury spinner Paul Wiseman took 9 for 13 adjoin Axial Districts, the second-best bowling abstracts by a New Zealand bowler, and Knight Sr batten to the columnist about the iconic ball. The club authorities had afresh showed some absorption in befitting it beneath their aegis again. The ancestors had banned but had told the club that they could use it aback required. Afterwards Knight Sr anesthetized abroad in 2005, the brawl remained as allotment of his estate.
His sons achievement that an acceding will be accomplished with the Conservancy Army so the brawl will be able to acquisition a abiding home, conceivably in the New Zealand Candid Museum at Basin Reserve, Wellington, as a affidavit not alone to the almanac bowling accomplishment of Albert Moss in 1889, but additionally to the accretion of the man who had activate his own conservancy through discipline and through a accidental atom of cardboard absolute by a access of wind.
Pradip Dhole is a retired medical practitioner with a life-long absorption in candid history and statistics.
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