A cricket clock named Victor

6 January 2006 – Rodney Tubbs (Sydney University)

Cricket umpires and captains keeping an eye on the time at University Oval No. 1, will be assisted by the “Victor” cricket clock, erected in honour of talented Sydney University sportsman Victor Hyde.

Hyde was named after famous Australian batsman Victor Trumper (1877-1915), who dominated the sport during the golden age before World War I. How the two Victors met will be revealed at the clock’s unveiling on Saturday January 7.

Trumper, who scored 3163 Test runs at an average of 39, was captain of NSW during 1914-15 when he became too ill to continue playing. After finishing training on December 10, he cleared out his locker at the Sydney Cricket Ground and was carrying his cricket gear home when he stopped at Moore Park to watch a schoolboy match.

It was the same venue that Trumper, as a 13-year-old playing for Carlton, had been spotted by Test cricketer Charles Bannerman, who had become his mentor.

This day, the new 13 year-old prodigy was Victor Hyde, who was batting for Sydney Boys High School. Trumper was so impressed he presented his favourite cap – his 1907 Baggy Green (with reverse coat of arms) – to the youngster, whom he dubbed “the most outstanding NSW schoolboy cricketer and a champion of the future”. It was then the younger Victor told the older about the origins of his name.

Trumper did not live to follow Vic Hyde’s cricket career as he topped the batting averages for his school in the 1917-18 season. In that era playing cricket was costly and lack of funds meant Vic never realised Trumper’s vision. However, he gained Sydney University Blues in baseball (1928) and lawn tennis (1932).

While a teacher of English and History at Sydney Boys High School from 1930-35, he was an inspirational rowing Master and a boat was named in his honour. Vic was a lecturer in Social Sciences at Sydney Teacher’s College from 1936 until his untimely death in 1959, when he was head of his department. His office looked towards University Oval and he took great interest in all sports as President of the College Sports Union. His fondest love was cricket.

On March 4, 1958, in ailing health, Vic presented his much treasured cricket cap as a birthday present to his 13-year-old son Victor “Brendon” Hyde. Vic’s cricket skills were not inherited by his son, who instead represented his university in swimming, cross-country skiing and athletics in which he earned a Sydney University Blue (1977). Brendon auctioned the historical cap on December 16, 2004 and from the proceeds he funded the cricket clock in memory of his father.