Sometimes it takes an outsider to tell a story about a prominent New Zealander. This is David Battersby’s 17th Monograph. He is a lifelong Glamorgan fan with an interest in 80s music and Pakistan and New Zealand cricket.
Following service in World War 1 where he received serious head injuries at Passchendaele, Jack Phillipps returned to Wellington and a first class career.
He was soon involved in administration at club, provincial and at a national level, but he is best known as the manager of one of New Zealand’s most celebrated touring sides.
The squad to tour England in 1949 was picked as early as January of that year. There were 15 players, Phillipps as manager, and a baggage man. To say that tour was a resounding success was an understatement.
All four tests were drawn and the overall record was Played 35, Won 14, Drew 20 with the only loss being to Oxford University.
After the final test New Zealand travelled to Durham for a non first class match with Philllipps making the playing XI as a way of thanking him for his efforts.
The goodwill generated during the tour; the Duke of Edinburgh often sang the team’s praises, was good not only for New Zealand’s reputation but provided a fillip for post war Britain. He also developed friendships with the likes of Walter Hammond, Sir Jack Hobbs and Neville Cardus.
In 1956 a match was organised between Wellington and a “J.H.Phillipps XI” to raise money for the New Pavilion fund. That XI was the old 1949 tourists and it was thought to have been awarded first class status. In fact Martin Donnelly travelled from Australia on that assumption.
However the authorities were later to downgrade the status of the match.
He returned to England as manager of the 1958 tourists. Although it was again a happy squad the results on the field were in stark contrast to 1949. This was due to a combination of a wet summer,, uncovered pitches, Lock and Laker.
Evidence of his standing in England was provided when he was asked to manage the touring MCC side to New Zealand three years later.
So what was behind Battersby’s interest in Phillipps? It was that interest in 80s music. This extended to the Chills and a realisation that Martin Phillipps was Jack’s grandson.