Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A game of cricket anyone?

I have amongst my possessions a few things that belonged to my ancestors. Some of these came from my paternal grandparents - they had a small basket with a lid, and in it were kept some old coins (which I now have), such as shillings and threepence and sixpence and a few mysterious old tarnished and worn coins that were barely legible (I'll post on these some time). Among those coins were also some sovereigns and half sovereigns which I do not have. There were also some old children's games and other items.

Among the items were two pieces of six-sided copper pipe that my grandmother gave to me. They were marked on each side with words and numbers, and she told me that it was a game of 'cricket'. They pipes were stamped by my great-grandfather, William James STANILAND (1886-1962), who was a plumber by trade and worked for 'the railways' in Sydney. William was born in Glebe NSW and grew up there, but after marrying Ruby Amelia EWER at Annandale in 1915 he moved to the suburb of Croydon. It is said that he did not serve in World War 1 as he plied an essential trade and as such was not allowed to enlist. I was told by my grandmother that he once received a white feather by an anonymous letter in the mail that upset him greatly - a white feather is a sign of cowardice (
The game of cricket in two pipes could be played anywhere when on 'smoko' (having a break from work), and of course fit easily into a pocket, or a tool bag. It did not occur to me as a child rolling the pipes that money probably changed hands over the game. The game of course was manufactured using standard plumbing tools.
A rudimentary knowledge of cricket is required to understand that game, however the numbered pipe was rolled first. The sides are stamped with 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and OWZAT. The numbers are logical achievable scores on any given delivery, and OWZAT is strine for 'how is that?' - a common appeal then and now to an umpire when it is believed the batsman may be 'out'. Scoring would have been recorded. Once OWZAT is rolled on the first pipe, the second pipe is rolled. The second pipe is stamped with five possible ways of being dismissed, however the sixth offers the batsman a reprieve to continue rolling the first, scoring pipe: L.B.WBOWLED, STUMPED, CAUGHT, RUNOUT and NOTOUT.

Two views of the cricket pipes:

I have searched for similar examples of this game on-line, but not had any luck. I would be pleased to hear from anyone with a similar example.
EDIT: I've found that this was a game that existed in the 1930s (and probably earlier) called 'Owzthat' (see - clearly my great grandfather make a knock-off!

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