Home > Features > Moments in history >

Tom Groube: First New Zealand-born cricketer to play a Test

Despite being highy spoken about through the decades, Tom Groube recorded very average numbers as a player © Getty Images

Tom Groube, born September 2, 1857, had one of the most unimpressive First-Class careers for a Test cricketer. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the first New Zealand-born Test cricketer.

Thomas Underwood Groube had one of the most intriguing Test careers: he scored 179 runs (which included a fifty) at a mere 8.52 from 13 First-Class matches, did not bowl a single ball, did not keep wickets, though Wisden called him “a steady batsman, a medium-paced bowler, and a very good field at cover-point and long-on”. Despite the ordinary (the word perhaps flatters him) numbers Groube went on to play a Test — only the fourth in the history of the sport.

Born in New Plymouth, Groube played his first recorded match for an 18-member Victoria against an 11-member Australians at Melbourne. The Victorians did not stand a chance against the round-arm left-hand seam of Frank Allan, who routed them with seven for 68 and 11 for 57. Groube scored two and 13. He did a decent job against the same opposition (it was 15 on 11 this time) at MCG, scoring 26 and 29.

Lord Harris’ team visited Australia in 1878-79. They played the third Test ever along with a handful of First-Class matches. Groube made their First-Class debut for Victoria against them, opening in each innings and scoring two and 12. He scored 96 for Colony XV against Victoria XI.

He joined East Melbourne Cricket Club (EMCC) around this time and averaged 155.33 in 1879-80. It was probably the reason for his earning a place in Australia’s tour of England in 1880.

Test cricket

Groube played nine matches on the England tour, scoring 129 runs at 9.92 — a Herculean effort by his standards. His only performance of note came against Yorkshire at Huddlefield: after Fred Spofforth and Eugene Palmer bowled unchanged to rout the hosts for 78, Groube walked out to bat after Billy Murdoch fell for a duck. He eventually top-scored with 61, and rain washed out the rest of the match after Australians reached 229 for six.

It was perhaps this innings that got Groube a Test cap in the fourth Test in history and first Test on English soil. There were 15 debutants (including the three Grace brothers) in the Test. As Lord Harris decided to bat, Groube became the first New Zealand-born cricketer to play a Test.

After WG Grace scored 152 to drive England to 420, Fred Morley, with figures of five for 56, routed the tourists for 149. Groube walked out to bat at 28 for one (once again, after the fall of Murdoch), hung around for 44 balls, hit a four, and was bowled by Allan Steel for 11.

Groube was caught by Alfred Shaw off Morley for a golden duck, but Murdoch’s 153 not out helped salvage some pride for the Englishmen (he added 140 for the last two stands with George Alexander and William Moule). England were given a tough time by Harry Boyle and Joey Palmer, but the target of 57 was easily reached with five wickets in hand.

Groube never played another Test, and had no reason to, either. He finished the tour with seven runs in his last six innings (which included four ducks).

Later days

Groube continued to play for EMCC on his return. He played two matches for Australian XI against a combined team of New South Wales and Victoria, but with no success. When Alfred Shaw’s team toured Australia in 1881-82, Groube played his last First-Class match against them for Victoria. He scored three and one in the encounter at MCG.

In 1884 Groube scored 101 and 98 for EMCC against South Melbourne at their den; the last wicket stand in the second innings with a certain G Gordon yielded 174. The rest of his career remains shrouded in mystery. Groube passed away at Glenferrie, Melbourne on August 5, 1927 — a month before his 70th birthday.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad


West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts


Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test: Australia's practice session


Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Rohit Sharma gave a fantastic account of himself: Sanjay Bangar

Yuvraj Singh flays media for twisting statements on future in international cricket

India A beat Sri Lanka by 88 runs in tour match; Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Karn Sharma shine

Kevin Pietersen saga: Stuart Broad, James Anderson saddened by bullying claims

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

West Indies crisis: Trinidad and Tobago condemns West Indies’ pullout from India tour

MS Dhoni told me there’s nothing called ‘lucky’ or ‘unlucky’: Pankaj Singh

All-India PSU T20 Tournament: Oriental Insurance defeat HPCL

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in favour of Najam Sethi as ICC President

Justice Mudgal Committee report on IPL spot-fixing to be submitted on November 3

Highest identical scores in both innings of a Test

Younis Khan — perhaps Pakistan’s greatest batsman ever

India A vs Sri Lankans tour match: Players look to make the most of opportunities

Viv Richards: How did he perform against the West Indian quicks?

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Rohit Sharma or Ajinkya Rahane — who should open for India?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here