Jack Anderson, cricketer with a thirst for records | Daily News


Jack Anderson, cricketer with a thirst for records

St. Anthony’s College, Kandy housed at Katugastotoa has been one of the premiere cricket playing schools and produced brilliant cricketers and they boast a very rich cricketing history dating back to 1903. The very first inter school cricket match was played against Dharmaraja College which the Antoanins won by 109 runs. And one of their great products was Jack Anderson in the bygone era, he can be rated as one of the finest cricketers to be produced by the Antonians in 1916-1920, when it was known as the golden years of Antonian cricket. And was called the Anderson Era, because he was the hero of almost every game that was played at that time, and a handfull of schools playing the game. Cricket is a game of records as they inspire cricketers to produce their best, some of the records are talked about by every cricket enthusiast, as soon as they were established, but some go unheeded. It is said that wherever the union Jack was planted, cricket too was given a pride of place.

Looking back to our early cricket we can say that the matting pitches and turf wickets were unknown luxuries, but from the few facts available it is known that it was played with a real zest. St. Anthony’s College, Kandy founded in 1854, is one of the most prestigious and leading Roman Catholic Schools. This school has produced many cricketers, one the best in the early era was Jack Anderson., and later the World record breaker Muttiah Muralitharan. First name did his cricketing at the Bogambara Grounds when the Antonians were housed at the present St. Sylvester’s College premises, and ‘Murali’ did all his cricket at Katugastota.

Cricket was introduced by Fr. Andrew Vanlangenberg OSB in 1903, and a team known as ‘St. Anthony’s College Cricket Club’ consisting of staff and schoolboys were formed under the captaincy of Fr. Andrew himself. The inaugural match was played in Colombo versus Colombo Carlton Cricket Club.

The completion of the first fifty years was marked by the first ever schools cricket match involving St. Anthony’s, which was played in 1904, against Dharmaraja College, with a 109-run victory for the Antonians.

Jack Anderson was a fearless batsman, his keen and quick judgement, his exceptional wrist work helped him to defy any form of attack. The records Jack established in inter-school cricket are monument of his talent.

In 1916 he scored 141 vs Royal College, 62 vs Wesley College, 76 vs S. Thomas’ College, 184 vs St. JosephsJoseph’s, 16 not out vs Trinity College and 102 vs St. Benedict’s College. He had three centuries in 1917 holding the record of highest individual score of 184 runs against St. Joseph’s College.

Jack Anderson – two records

Then in 1918 he created two records in school cricket. The first being 291 runs against S. Thomas’ College in Colombo, in which he had seven hits over the ropes and 54 to the ropes, and the second by scoring five successive centuries in inter school cricket during one term.

In 1918 the first game for the Antonians was against St. Joseph’s College in Colombo. Jack Anderson was the captain. In this opening game of the season his stumps were shattered in the very first over and in the second innings he made a 22. After his return to Kandy, he had tendered his resignation from the captaincy, and Fr. James Caspersz, OSB, had summoned a meeting of the cricket team and called upon the members to choose a new captain to fill Jack Anderson’s place. The vote had been unanimous in favour of Jack Anderson being re-elected. Notably, all these records were created by this cricketer when they had no playground of their own. His achievements in 1918, were 22 vs St. Joseph’s in the second innings, 157 vs Wesley and he put a record partnership in Ceylon as known at that time, 258 runs for the first wicket with Victor Fernando in Colombo, 109 vs St. Benadict’s College, 291 vs S. Thomas’ College, 184 vs Royal College, 111 vs Trinty College and the it was the first against Trinity, also in the series and the first at Asgiriya Grounds.

He was mainly responsible for the record total of 432 for 5 wickets against Wesley College. It was Jack Anderson who scored the first century against Trinity in 1917, the next century against Trinity came in 1952 from Ronald Stephen. Some of his other records in that year were total of 1000 runs. Five centuries in five successive matches, first against S. Thomas’ College, first century at Asgiriya Grounds, His average in inter school cricket was 92.6, runs for one season. His 1000 runs came in only in five matches.

In 1920, Anderson broke his own record for the first hundred scored at Asgiriya Grounds, scoring 157 in the month of September against the “Magpies” Cricket Club, playing for F.L. Gunawardena’s XI. Jack’s 157 came in spite of the determined attack of W.T. Greswekk who was then an outstanding bowler in Ceylon. In 1918, Jack Anderson playing against NCC at the Bogambara Grounds, as a schoolboy against a side composed of such players as O.A. Wright, L.E. Bertus and V. Dickman, he knocked up 72 runs in just twenty minutes. His 72 included four sixes and seven boundaries.

Kandy’s great cricketer of that era Jack Anderson set up a record in almost every game he played in. This great batsman, Jack Anderson is no more, but his achievements are still spoken of. His greatest and the spirit of this big - hearted cricketer should inspire Antonian cricketers of today for generations to come.

Its great of this great cricketer, to have achieved theses records during an era when cricket did not have facilities like today turf wicket. All this was done on the matting wicket., the bat, ball and the wicket was the same of today.

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