40-13 Electric Light Cricket in Park 20

This stobie pole carrying an electric cable, near Peacock Rd here, is all that remains of a uniquely Adelaide institution – an invention that was way ahead of its time.

Day-night cricket is very popular with the Big Bash League and one-day internationals played under lights.

But most people don’t realise that an earlier form of night cricket was invented here in Adelaide and played by hundreds of people on evenings right here in Park 20.

The game of “electric light cricket” was invented by Alf Stone, a tram dispatcher, in his backyard in Cowandilla in 1930.

At first, it was a recreation only for World War One returned soldiers.

However, the game became immensely popular over the following years. The first “official” game was in 1933.

It was played under electric lights by two teams of 18 with a cricket bat and a tennis ball.

During the 1960s and 1970s, up to 50 teams a week during would play on six separate fenced grounds here.

There were over 200 players per night, with separate mens and womens competitions.

Strangely, the game was not taken up in any other state of Australia. Although an exhibition was staged in Melbourne It was only ever played as a regular sport, here in Adelaide.

No special clothes and equipment were needed. It was very sociable.

Batsmen did not run between the wickets. If you hit the ball you scored 2, 4 or 6 depending on where it landed.

Huge scores of up to 1,000 were possible. Teams often scored 700 runs a night. A long game could last 3 hours.

The last game of Electric Light Cricket was played here in 2006. Indoor cricket and the popularity of day-night cricket probably killed it off.

But if anyone asks you where cricket under lights was first played – tell them it was here, in Adelaide, In Park 20.

From this point, walk back onto the paved Kurrajong Avenue, and head north, back to the starting point of this trail near the corner of Peacock Rd and South Tce.

Images

Audio

Audio File 1
View File Record

Map