Taranaki Cricket Association (TCA) was formed on the 24th March 1894 at a meeting in the Egmont Hotel, Hawera with seven Member Clubs. The first Annual General Meeting was held in 1895 at the Criterion Hotel, New Plymouth, because the Association had no fixed head quarters on account of the scattered nature of clubs in the province.
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Prior to the formation of TCA, cricket had been played for many years between the early settlers. In the early 1900's the Association split into two, North and South Taranaki, with each looking after club cricket in their area. Cricket continued to grow in popularity and in 1922 North Taranaki Country was formed to make three divisions of club cricket within the province. Western Division (western south/coastal Taranaki) was formed in the late 1940's. North Country and Western Divisions did not gain representation on the TCA Executive until 1963. In 1984 the four divisions of Taranaki cricket agreed to disband with TCA administering and organising all cricket in Taranaki. Farming commitments for South Taranaki players and town hours of work in North Taranaki meant both entities had their own lower grade competitions - this still continues today.
The most distinctive feature of Taranaki cricket has been its relationship to the farming base of the province – be it in the providing of players and administrators, or in the high number of small clubs centred on farming districts. Longevity could not be sustained without a love and passion for the game and this has characterised Taranaki cricket.
Between 1940's to 1960's nearly every farming district had a team often drawn from one or two families, whose names reappear throughout the generations. Currently TCA has 24 Senior clubs playing across different competitions with a number of small rural clubs continuing to field teams.
In 1996 the governance of TCA was restructured from a fourteen person Executive to a Board of seven directors that each look after a specific area of cricket operations. This is very much a 'hands on' roll for directors, which continues to see positive results.
Women's cricket in Taranaki started in 1978 as a stand alone organisation with no affiliation to TCA. In 1996 with the governance restructure of TCA, the Taranaki Women's Cricket Association was integrated into TCA with TCA taking responsibility for all women's cricket.
The lack of adequate finances has been a challenging issue since the inception of Taranaki cricket and it was not until after 100 years of existence in the late 1990's that the Association was able to build a secure financial base from which to promote and develop the game.
World renowned picturesque Pukekura Park is the 'home' ground of TCA and each year hosts a number of 1st class Central District games. The ground was developed from a swamp in 1883 and the first international cricket team to play at Pukekura Park was an England team captained by Lord Hawkes that played a Taranaki team in 1902. The cricket ground itself and the terraces which were cut out of the surrounding hills have not changed much from this early game. In 2007 the Wisden Cricketers Almanac named Pukekura Park as 'One of the Six Great Cricket Grounds in the World', the only ground in New Zealand to receive this accolade. The park is an ICC international rated cricket ground and hosted a One Day 50 over International between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in the 1992 ICC World Cup One Day tournament.
The first Taranaki representative match was played in 1895 against Nelson in New Plymouth with the New Plymouth Mayor welcoming the Nelson team.
TCA has a proud history of playing for the Hawke Cup, which the Association has won on six occasions. The first time was in 1926 and the second in 1933. Although Taranaki had numerous challenges for the cup over the intervening years it was 1970 before the cup was to return to the province. It was defended for a credible 12 challenges over the next three years. The cup was won again in 1988, 1994 and again in 2007.
There has been numerous men and women who started and played cricket in Taranaki who have subsequently been selected to play international cricket for New Zealand, they are:-
Men - Bernard McCarthy, Martin Donnelly, Edgar Meuli, Lawrence Millar, Alistar Jordan, Gary Robertson, Warren Wisneski, Glen Sulzberger, Matthew Walker and Peter Ingram.
Regan West played for Taranaki, New Zealand U19 and moved to and played international cricket for Ireland.
Women – Jackie Clark, Aimee Watkins (nee Mason) who captained the New Zealand White Ferns 2008 – 2011, Rachel Priest, Kate Broadmore.
Aimee, Rachel and Kate all played for the White Ferns at the same time.