The Early Years
The Kowloon Cricket Club came into existence 4th October 1904, following a meeting of Kowloon residents interested in forming a cricket club.
A committee to draw up a set of rules and to determine entrance fees and take initial steps to put the Club in working order was established. The committee comprised Dr JH Swan and Messrs J Celland, D Cowan, RJ Macgowan, BJ Stevens, PG Scott Cranston and J Parkes. Some time in 1905, unfortunately records indicating the exact date have been lost, the Government leased a section of the King’s Park on a yearly basis to certain of the founder members who acted as trustees of the ground on behalf of the Club.
The Club’s first Annual General Meeting was held on 15th October 1905 with Dr Swan presiding as Chairman.
The foundation stone of the first Clubhouse was laid on 18th January 1908 by the President, Mr HN Mody, who was later presented with an engraved silver trowel to mark the occasion. The Kowloon Cricket Club Pavilion was opened by the Governor H.E. Sir Frederick Lugard on 11th July 1908.
At that time, the KCC was also home of the Amateur Athletics Association (AAA) and the opening also marked the opening of the new cinder track. Unfortunately athletic events were few and far between as they clashed with cricket for the use of the ground, and the AAA’s presence at the KCC was eventually dissolved in 1950.
At an EGM in 1930 it was voted that a new Clubhouse be built. To finance the $60,000 for this venture, it was agreed to raise $50,000 by the issue of $10 debentures bearing interest of 6% p.a. In order to protect debenture holders and to limit the liability of individual members, the Committee was authorised to convert the Club into a limited liability company with an individual liability of $50 per member. The Club was duly incorporated on 1st August 1930.
The foundation stone for the new Clubhouse was laid on 1st September 1931, with an initial completion date of 15th December 1931. However the original contractor faced financial difficulties and the had to be rescinded. The building was eventually completed on 24th September 1932, when it was opened by Mrs Southorn (wife of H.E. the Officer Administering the Government, the Hon. Mr WT Southorn CMG).
By the year ended 31st July 1933, the membership had increased to a healthy 390. However, only two years later difficult times had hit Hong Kong. Membership dropped to 263 and $33,000 of the 6% debentures were still outstanding.
When the Japanese imperial forces attacked Hong Kong on the 8th December 1941, the Club, like many households in Kowloon was soon deserted. With widespread looting by local gangs, the Club was soon stripped of not only its stocks of food, drinks and furniture, but in time, its doors, window frames and eventually its wooden flooring for use as firewood. The Clubhouse and main ground were used by the Japanese for stabling horses and mules during the war years.
Following the second world war, an extensive restoration programme was begun. By 1948 new ceilings had been built in the bar and billiard room, parquet flooring in the cocktail bar and new ceiling fans were installed. By 1953 fluorescent lighting had been added and fan lights replaced the old wooden shutters in the main hall. A new mixed cocktail bar was installed in the main hall. In 1958 the new ‘modernised’ Clubhouse was opened, which included the “Ezra Abraham Dining Room”, an improved and attractive foyer, main bar, new mixed lounge and added toilet facilities.
The swimming pool was added in 1965 and in 1970, an extension to the front of the old Clubhouse was opened, housing four automatic bowling alleys. By 1975 games and function rooms (upstairs) were provided, the kitchen enlarged and the Club’s first squash court constructed within the Clubhouse. The upstairs games and function rooms were later redesigned as a first class bar restaurant, with seating for 70 persons. At the end of 1980 a multi-level car park for 120 cars was completed, as were two all weather flood-lit tennis courts on top of the car park and four air-conditioned squash courts with viewing gallery and modern staff quarters.
Cricket is recorded in Hong Kong as far back as 1851 when the Hong Kong Cricket Club was formed. League cricket was established in 1903 with teams from the Hong Kong Cricket Club, Craigengower Cricket Club, Parsee Cricket Club, Royal Engineers, Army Ordinance Corps CC, Civil Service CC, RAMC and HMS Tamar competing for the South China Morning Post Shield.
The first recorded match played by the KCC took place on 15th October 1904 at Happy Valley. The KCC finished second in its inaugural season (the second season of league cricket). KCC won the league in 1905-06 and again in 1906-07. KCC’s next title was not until 1921-22.
The 1930’s saw KCC win the league title in 1935-36 following a closely fought championship. But as political tensions mounted in Europe towards the end of the decade, many club members and Civil Servants had to return to the UK. The HKCC were not represented in the senior league in the 1939-40 and in the following season the Army Team dropped out. The KCC won the Senior League in both seasons without losing a match. However by this stage only four teams remained in the competition and when the KCC retained its title in 1941, they had only played five matches.
After the war, the ground was in such bad shape, mainly through the lack of proper drainage and nearly four years of total neglect, that it was impossible to play sport in any form on it until the 1946-47 season. However 23 friendly matches were played and one of these, played on 8-9 December 1946, was the first of the Hancock Memorial Shield matches between KCC and HKCC.
In the 1948-49 season, league cricket recommenced with two leagues – the first and second division. The 1955-56 season saw the KCC field three teams in league cricket for the first time in its history (first division and second division – ‘Hornets’ and ‘Wasps’). In 1960-61 only two teams were fielded, both in the First Division, KCC ‘A’ and KCC ‘B’, thus the name ‘Hornets ‘ and ‘Wasps’ disappeared until the introduction of the Rothman’s Knock-out Cup when KCC again used these names to describe its first and second teams in this limited 45 over competition.
Apart from winning the first division in 1954-55 and being joint champions in 1956-57, the KCC was not very successful in the first division, until the golden seasons of 1970-71 through 1974-75 when the championship was won four times by the ‘Templars’. Templars also won the Rothman’s Cup knock-out competition in 1971-72. In 1978-79 the Club entered a second side in the Sunday League – the ‘Infidels’.
The 2nd XI (Second Division) won the inaugural Ezra Abraham Shield in 1949-50 and again in 1951-52, 1955-56 and 1957-58 (as the ‘Hornets’) and 1959-60.
In the 1973-74 season, the First Division became the Sunday League and the Second Division became the Saturday League. In the 1974-75 season, ‘limited overs’ cricket was introduced to the Saturday League.
After an absence of 17 seasons, KCC as the Saracens won the secondary league in 1976-77, to be followed by the Crusaders in 1978-79. In 1977-78 due to the demand for more Saturday cricket, the Club entered a third side in the league – the ‘Tartars’.
The KCC enjoyed great success in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, with Infidels winning the Sunday League title in 1986-87, 1988-89 and 1990-91 and Templars winning the same in three successive seasons from 1992-93 to 1994-95. Templars also won the Sunday Cup in the 1985-86, 1992-93 and 1995-96 seasons. Saracens won the Saturday League title in 1985-86, followed by Tartars in 1986-87. The Saturday Cup was won by Crusaders in 1982-83 and Tartars in 1986-87 and 1987-88.
In the 1995-96 season, the KCC invited the Dragons team, comprising ethnic Chinese and locally born players (many of whom where already members or junior members of KCC) to join the club as its third representative side in the Sunday League.
Hockey has been played since the earliest days of the club, with the first recorded match on 27th June 1908 against USRC. However an effort to include a representative from the Hockey Section on the General Committee was defeated and this lead to a decline in interest in the sport.
It was not for another 50 years that the idea of forming a KCC Hockey Section materialised during the 1957-58 season. Organised hockey restarted at KCC in 1958-59 following the demise of the Hong Kong Hockey Club (HKHC) at the end of the previous season. KCC fielded two teams (‘A’ and ‘B’) in the 2nd division that season, with the ‘A’ team winning the division. They also won the Holland Cup – the only incidence that a non-1st division team has done so. Ladies hockey also started that same year, with ‘two teams (‘A’ and ‘B’) in the league.
The strength of the section was built up in the early and mid sixties, with a ‘C’ Team started in 1961-62. That was the year that the first hockey match was played between the KCC and the RBSC. In 1965-66 the ‘D’ Team, affectionately known as “Doran’s Devils” was formed.
1966-67 was a good year for the Club, as the ‘C’ Team won the Third Division title and the ‘B’ Team gained promotion to the First Division. In 1970-71 the ‘A’ Team won the Holland Cup for the second time and the next season the Ladies ‘A’ Team won the Gremlins Cup. By 1975-76, the KCC had six men’s teams entered in the league – two teams in each division – and that same year the Ladies ‘B’ Team won the 2nd division and thus promotion to the 1st division. The KCC won the Holland Cup again in 1977-78.
An entity unto itself, the ‘Old and Bold’ team, with its two criteria for membership being (1) 45 years of age and (2) considerable hockey skill (i.e. ability to play hockey while holding a pint an advantage) continues to grow from strength to strength within the club.
It appears that KCC members first became involved in lawn bowls in 1908, when in the second of a series of friendly matches arranged between the Kowloon Bowling Green and KCC, KBG entertained representatives from KCC to a bowls match held on 12th September, with KBG winning by 74 shots to 51. Many of the KCC players were also members of the KBG and in 1909, in a reverse fixture, the KCC won by 90 shots to 67.
The KCC lawn bowls section was officially born on 28th September 1918. The KCC spent a long time finding their length in this new sporting activity, not winning any league until 1926 (2nd division), again in 1927 and then in 1931 (1st division). However the game was gaining popularity all the time with the club specially privileged in having its own greens available all the year round.
During the Pacific War, whilst the club’s premises were occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army, the KCC’s greens were apparently used as vegetable gardens. However by November 1946 the green’s were re-opened and to this day are used continuously by the Club’s present Men’s and Ladies league teams, plus many others who play just for the enjoyment of the game.
KCC won the 1st division again in 1956, the 2nd division in 1950 and 1952 and the 3rd division in 1952.
The early 1950’s saw KCC introduce ladies to the game of lawn bowls, with most of the other Clubs in the territory with lawn bowls facilities “following the example set by KCC in permitting ladies to play bowls”. The KCC Ladies ‘A’ team on the league in 1952 and 1962.
The KCC also won the 2nd division league titles in 1970-71 and 1975-76.
The KCC has also been successful over the years in colony championships. Individual men’s singles champions include Bill Hong Sling (1951, 1963 and 1966), F R Kermani (1958 and 1959), DC “Red” Symons (1960) and 16 year old Gary Dang (1980). The Ladies have also tasted success at Colony level with Millie Poynton winning the Ladies singles in 1963-64. The Ladies have also won the Open Pairs in 1956 and 1957, Triples in 1956-57 and Fours in 1980.
Lawn tennis was probably played on the present main ground very soon after the Club obtained its lease from the Government in 1905. However, as tennis had to vie with cricket and thus could not be played when a cricket match was in progress, a nearby ground by Carnavon Road, used by the Wig-Wam Tennis Club became moreorless the alternate tennis section of KCC. It was amalgamated with the KCC sometime in 1915, finally giving way to a residential development shortly afterwards.
In that same year, the Government granted the Club additional areas of grounds to the northwest of the present cricket ground and Jordon Road. At an EGM held on 15th December 1915, it was decided to adopt a proposal to lay-out three tennis hard courts on the newly acquired land. However it was not until September 1918 that the scheme became a reality.
From 1909 The inaugural league) to 1915, KCC won the men’s doubles ‘A’ division league championship four times. KCC also won the inaugural mixed doubles ‘A’ division in 1929 but did did not feature again in league championships until our ladies won the doubles ‘A’ division in 1950 (incidentally the same year that the hard courts were relaid). Further success did not come again until the Club won the mixed doubles ‘B’ league title in 1968-69.
The club lost two of its five courts when in 1962 it was decided to build the swimming pool. In 1967 floodlighting was installed on the No. 1 hard court and later improved to incorporate the No.2 court.
The Club enjoyed its most successful period in the 1970’s winning the Ladies ‘B’ division (1970 and 1979), Men’s ‘B; division (1975), Mixed ‘B’ division (1972 and 1973) and Ladies ‘A’ division (1975, 1976 and 1978).
Kowloon Cricket Club – A History — by PA Hall (Yee Tin Tong Printing Press Limited, 1980).
The KCC Century — Edited by Saul Lockhart (Impressions Design & Print Limited, 2004).
|1905-06||Dr JH Swan (acting)|
|1906-07||CF Focken (deceased) / T Skinner (acting)|
|1907-10||HN Mody (1838 – 1911)|
|1910-23||Dr Charles Forsyth (1885-1956)|
|1923-41||Justice RE Lindsell (1885 – 1940)|
|1954-62||RE Lee (deceased)|
|1968-69||EC Fincher (1902 – 1969)|
|1969-74||CA Adam (1923 – 2007)|
|1974-77||BCN Carnell (1935 – 2021)|
|1980-83||PG O’Dea (1942 – 2013)|
|1983-87||JS Armitage (1937 – 2016)|
|2001-04||Ronald G L Ng (1918 – 2021)|
|2004-07||Dr. CK Hung|
|2020||K C Shing|