Parnell CC – History

Parnell CC dates back to 1858 and is the oldest club in New Zealand. Both daily papers, ‘The New Zealander’ and the ‘Southern Cross’ recorded a game between Parnell and Auckland on Wednesday, 17 March 1858, at Albert Barracks.

For the record, Parnell won by an innings and 28 runs – our team of teenagers, labelled in the Press as ‘the Juveniles’, bowled Auckland out for only 11 in their elders’ second innings.

That Parnell side remained together for several seasons. Then they set about establishing the game around the country. Auckland challenged and beat Wellington in 1860 – 5 Parnell members were in that first Auckland side. Two members helped establish Otago cricket and were instrumental in setting up:

  • NZ’s  first 1st Class match Jan. 1864 – Otago vs. Canterbury (Parnell’s John Kissling  umpired, GK Turton played)

  • The first international games – Geo. Parr’s All England XI vs. XXIIs of Otago and Canterbury

Back in Auckland cricket slowly developed – the Domain, thanks to Parnell players taking the initiative, was partly cleared for a field. And overseas teams  came again – Lillywhite’s All England XI in 1876/77 and the Australians in 1877/7. Auckland Cricket Association was finally formed in 1883 and Parnell affiliated with it in 1884. Over the next decade Australian and English visited frequently and the Domain, where Parnell played along with all the other clubs, was considered one of the most beautiful in the Southern  Hemisphere.

Club cricket blossomed in the 1890s with Parnell winning the Championship twice. However, the Club really came into its own when, under the new District Scheme, Parnell won the Championship 5 times between 1898 and 1914. Notable Parnell players were Ike Mills, the outstanding Auckland and NZ bat, and Cay Olliff, a prolific leg break bowler. Administrators, too, Fred Earl and Bob Lusk proved to be outstanding not only for the Club but also in the setting up of Eden Park and for Auckland and NZ Cricket. And Bill Dinnison joined the Club, almost immediately became Secretary and, from then, ensured that the Club ran without a hitch for decade after decade.

Between the two World Wars, Parnell produced players of outstanding caliber including Paul Whitelaw, Merv  Wallace and Giff Vivian. Then Bert Sutcliffe, straight from Takapuna Grammar, joined in 1940/41, possibly our greatest batsman ever.  After  WW2, Johnny Hayes spearheaded our attack and, too, was selected by NZ to tour England in 1949 and 1958.

For years the Club sought a permanent Home Ground. After the Domain, Eden Park was our base  to WW2, then back to the Domain. In 1950 Hobson Park became available and we were there till 1966, a marvelous nursery for young elite cricketers – Ross Morgan, Bill Playle, Mark Burgess, Terry Jarvis and others grew up there under the watchful eyes of Merv Wallace and Geoff Rabone and superb administrators such as Peter Badley and Jack Forsman.

Hobson Park was lost to summer hockey so, from 1966, we had to ’make do’ at Eden Park till moving to Orakei Domain in 1984. This isolated Seniors from our Juniors until, in 2001/02, Auckland City Council invited us to re-locate to the newly reclaimed Shore Road Reserve. The rest is history – a 5 bay outdoor net complex and clubroom quickly built then the Terry Jarvis Centre, a state of the art practice facility. Best of all, a proper amalgamation of the administrations of our Junior and Senior Sections into a governing Board.

That is the Club today – current holders of the Hedley Howarth Trophy . We have outstanding facilities and a very effective and coaching team of Ian Trott, Jonathan McInroy, Simon Herbst and Tim McIntosh who have the aim to produce not only elite cricketers but ones who understand and thoroughly enjoy the game.  

1861 – the discovery of gold saw Parnell stalwarts, John Kissling and Kirke Turton, head to Otago. Kissling to set up branches and agencies of the newly formed Bank of NZ, Turton to set up a legal practice.

1863 – Kissling, as Secretary of Otago Cricket, conceived the idea of holding a major tournament. He found a sponsor, local entrepreneur Shadrach Jones put up 3,000 pounds, and the Quadrangular Tournament took place in January and February 1864. Canterbury and Southland came to Dunedin to play Otago and, amazingly, the All England Team, led by George Parr, took time off from their tour of Australia to take part.  

  • John Kissling, opening bat in 1858, was sent to Otago by the newly formed Bank of NZ in Oct. 1861 to set up branches in Dunedin and Invercargill and agencies on the Central Otago gold fields discovered that year. By 1863, Kissling was Secretary of Otago Cricket Association.