With South Canterbury playing Hawke Cup holders North Otago in a warm up match today before the Hawke Cup zone playoffs season gets under way, it seems appropriate to ponder the missing Richards Trophy.
The Richards Trophy
The Richards Trophy is cricket’s version of the time honoured Hanan Shield of rugby.
This distinctive shield of Kauri & Silver, was presented by the Mayor of Timaru, William Leslie Richards, to be played for as challenge matches between South Canterbury, North Otago, and Mid Canterbury with each side limited to two challenges per season. To change hands each challenge had to be won outright, both teams having two innings available.
The first holders were North Otago. South Canterbury played in the first challenge match against North Otago on the 8th & 9th January 1953, but the holders, North Otago retained the trophy as the match was drawn.
South Canterbury won the trophy for the first time when they challenged North Otago in a match played on the 29th & 30th January 1955.
The trophy can be seen in the photographs of South Canterbury’s representative teams, 1959/60 and 1962/63.
Unfortunately, in the intervening seasons, this trophy has been misplaced, but perhaps with the renewal of the rivalry with Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury and North Otago all now playing in the same zone, some efforts may be made to either find the trophy, or at least reinstitute the challenge matches in some format.