The 1886 Trophy: Commemorating 130th Anniversary Of The Gentleman’s Game

It’s been 130 years since an all-Parsee team toured England to play cricket. Celebrating this historic occasion under ‘The 1886 Trophy’ on 12th November, 2016, at Parsee Gymkhana, saw numerous personalities from the cricketing arena, ex-Parsee cricketers, umpires et al coming together. Parsi Times Sports Media Specialist, Binaisha M. Surti covered this mega-event, even as she played Commentator for the entire match and Anchored the Post Match Presentation Ceremony.

The comparative experience of the 1886 tour between the English and Parsee cricketers was note-worthy. Whilst the Parsees had never played international cricket, England had already completed 7 series against Australia by the time the Parsees arrived. Back then, the team which comprised 15 players, was captained by Dr. Dhunjeeshaw Patel. Of the 28 matches, the Parsees lost 19, drew 8 and won 1 against Normanhurst in a one day limited overs fixture.

left to right Mr. Nari Contractor, Farokh Engineer, Khodadad Yazdegardi

Come 2016, the golden days of the sport were thus revived again as Parsee Gymkhana took on the British Business X1 in an exciting contest at the Parsee Gymkhana Grounds, sponsored by Spenta, HSBC and Glenfiddich. Indeed it was payback time as Parsis looked to outplay their rivals in a 30 over per side match, played with the red ball. 15 players could bat, a bowler could bowl maximum 5 overs and the batsmen would retire after scoring 50 runs. There were no fielding restrictions.

After a delicious Parsee style breakfast and a photo session, the toss was conducted by Binaisha M. Surti as both team skippers Kaizad Wadia (Parsee Gymkhana) and Matt Greenwell (British Business X1) took the field along with Mehli Golvala (President of Parsee Gymkhana), Aspan Cooper (Chairman of Spenta Group of Companies), Stuart Milne (CEO of HSBC), Collin Wells (Head of Mission U.K. Government, Mumbai) with umpires J. C. Umrigar and Rohinton Mistry.

British Business X1 won the toss and elected to field on a good batting wicket. The opening pair from Parsee Gymkhana (PG), Mac Spencer and Kaizad Wadia, started off well. Mac was caught on 37 runs giving way to Maneck Daruwalla who joined Wadia at the crease and both went on to hammer boundaries. Kaizad had to retire on scoring a fine 50 runs of 43 deliveries, slamming 10 fours while Maneck Daruwalla remained unbeaten on 52 runs, with 9 fours and 1 big maximum out of the park!

The oncoming batsmen – Kersi Pavri, Fredun De Vitre and Neville Irani were unable to garner big scores. However, Behram Kotwal stood like a wall for team PG as he hammered 8 fours reaching 48 runs off 28 balls! Yazdi Kutky remained 12 not out at the end. PG finished with 269 runs in 30 overs, thus setting a mammoth total to chase. During the lunch interval Parsee Cuisine was served to everyone by PG.

In reply, the British Business X1 knew that they couldn’t afford losing early wickets. PG’s bowling was tight, adding to the pressure. Rob Oates was bowled for 25 runs while Tom Cilder played brilliantly reaching his 50 runs. Skipper Matt Greenwell unfortunately got out early on and George Oborne was given LBW after only 6 runs. Ed scored 38 runs towards the end but was bowled. The PG bowlers responded very well to the game plan picking up wickets and were supported by the fielders too. Mac Spenser finished off with figures of 3/24 while Kersi Pavri picked up 4/20 in his 5 over spell.

PG were crowned champions of the first edition of ‘The 1886 Trophy’, winning the match by 68 runs. The Post Match Presentation Ceremony was conducted by Binaisha M. Surti with esteemed dignitaries including Mehli Golvala (President, PG), Nari Contractor (Ex Indian Captain), Farokh Engineer (Ex Indian Cricketer), Aspan Cooper (Chairman of Spenta Group of Companies), Farshid Cooper (MD, Spenta Group of Companies), Professor Dr. Unmesh Khanvilkar (Jt. H’ry Secretary MCA), Prof. Ratnakar Shetty (GM, Game Development, BCCI ), Nitin Dalal (H’ry Treasurer MCA), Stuart Milne (CEO, HSBC and Chairman, British Business Group) and Rusi Cooper.

A felicitation ceremony was conducted for the Parsee Cyclists Players. Hoshang Dadachanji spoke a few words on the legendary Farokh Engineer after which he was felicitated by Nari Contractor. Ronnie Iranpur further spoke about great man Noshir Tantra and was felicitated by Contractor. Keki Govadia was felicitated in absentia. PG conferred Honorary Membership to India’s cricketing great Diana Edulji, who represented India in international women’s cricket. Umpires J. C. Umrigar and Rohinton Mistry, scorer Ganesh Mangaonkar and Physiotherapist Anuradha Rakhonde were given a token of appreciation. Mementoes were presented to the runner up team, British Business X1 by Mehli Golvala. Stuart Milne handed out mementoes to the winning team. The Man of the Match was awarded to Mac Spencer for his outstanding effort. Finally, the moment had arrived where Farokh Engineer, Nari Contractor and the Spenta Group handed over the big trophy to Parsee Gymkhana, the winning side in this contest. A vote of thanks was given by Khodadad Yazdegardi (Vice President and Cricket Secretary of Parsee Gymkhana).

Since the first edition of ‘The 1886 Trophy’ was held in India, the next edition in all likelihood will be held in England next year.

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