Tuesday, 3 September 2013

All England cricket team plays in Windsor - Trove Tuesday

As the cricket season prepares to launch, sports fanatics may be interested in the fact that an All-England cricket team played a game in Western Sydney in the 1880s. The newspapers of the day had a field day reporting on the Test series vs a Hawkesbury/Nepean team.

A tour to Australia by the All-England cricket team, was arranged in 1881 and the visiting team arrived in Sydney via America, late in the year. The tour, like many of the early tours, was renowned for its scandals, not unlike cricket today. The series drew tremendous crowds and the first Test Match, played over several days in Melbourne, notched up 46,500 spectators.  The overall series resulted in an Australian win 2-0. The Australian team was captained by William 'Billy' Murdoch 1854-1911 while the English team captain was Alfred Shaw.

The Second Test was played in Sydney on the 17th-18th & 20th-21st February and Australia won by 5 wickets. The following day after this Test, a one-day match was arranged between the All-England Eleven and 22 of the Hawkesbury and Nepean. On Wednesday 22 February 1882, “a special train conveyed the Eleven from Sydney, and the play took place on Mr. McQuade's ground at Fairfield." (Fairfield was the name of the property which also encompassed much of the Windsor Golf Course). “A wicket was made of concrete and carpeted, thus greatly adding to the comfort of the players. It was estimated that about 1000 persons were present to witness the play.” 

The local newspaper reported that the “arrangements were not well carried out, the public being allowed to parade inside the roped enclosure, to the annoyance of those who paid for admission to the reserved portion of the ground, and interfering vastly with the scorer. Mr. W. H. Hull captained the local team, Mr. Bodenham acted as umpire, and Mr. J. Coleman as scorer.”

The results were published as follows:

The Australian, Windsor, Richmond & Hawkesbury Advertiser 25 February 1882 p. 3. 
Retrieved September 3, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66359169

The concluding comment in the newspaper stated “it will thus be seen that our men did very well indeed, and we are informed by the All England team that they have met many worse twenty-twos than the Hawkesbury 22” which could be seen as a disparaging compliment.

A souvenir illustration of the English team appeared in the Town & Country Journal

Historic Australian newspapers can be found on Trove and browsing the pages reveal many wonderful sporting events from the past. 

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