I was one day going round the barracks on duty, not long after the first clearing was made, when I halted outside a barrack-room which stands above the cricket ground. Looking down upon what was then thick jungle between me and the canteen, I said to my sergeant-major: “What a great place this would make for a cricket ground! I’m an old cricketer; I used to be very fond of cricket. I’ll tell you what it is, we’ll make a cricket-ground… It would be good exercise for the men”. I looked at my friend’s face. There was a very placid smile upon it; and while he stood strictly at attention, he looked at me, as much as to say, ‘If you had a whole army here, you would not do it.’
Within six months of that time the jungle was gone, and there, in its place, was a cricket-ground, having a turfed level ninety yards long, forty wide, and this level had been made in the slope of a hill! How often, after it was finished, as I rode or walked up to the hospital to talk to some sick comrade, have I seen the slopes of the barracks covered with men, watching their comrades at play; and how I have lifted my heart in thanks and praise to God, who gave me the wisdom, energy, and the faith in Him to attempt and carry out such an undertaking!
The making of this cricket-ground was a work of very great labour. The cutting of the jungle and rooting up the trees was the least part of it. Day by day I committed my work to God in prayer, and I felt sure that He would bring it through. I should otherwise have suffered a great deal of anxiety. It was wonderful how He guided and strengthened me. I knew nothing of engineering, and yet here I was making a level in a slope without either knowledge or instrument. I never thought about this until it was finished. Morning and evening I was the first at the work, the last to leave it. I gave the men sometimes a day off, sometimes a morning or evening, but with every party I worked. God gave me the strength for it, for I often felt ready to drop. The physical exertion and the heat of the sun, under which I often stood, though I did not allow the men to remain under it, sometimes nearly exhausted me.