Surrey v Australian Imperial Forces
Kennington Oval, Kennington
31st July, 1st, 2nd August 1919 (three-day match)
There was another remarkable reunion on our second visit to The OvalUnknown, Cricket, WG Grace, 1891, Kennington Oval, 1891, photograph, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Cricket%2C_WG_Grace%2C_1891-_Kennington_Oval.jpg . Nip Pellew’s former master and coach at St. Peter’s College in AdelaideJack Crawford, Cricketer, The Daily News (WA), Thu 2 Dec 1909, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article76519931 , Jack CrawfordGeorge Beldam, Crawford Demonstrating His Bowling Action, 1906, photograph, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/51/Crawford_bowling_2.jpg , took the field for the home teamCricket Notes, The Pingelly Leader (WA), Mon 22 Dec 1913, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article216224207 . Crawford is truly an example of the cricketing Empire, having played for Mr. Warner’s English team in South AfricaCricket In South Africa, Evening News (NSW), Sat 6 Jun 1906, p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114230884 , Mr. Jones’ English team in AustraliaInternational Cricket, The North West Pst (Tas), Thu 2 Jan 1908, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199317435 , Mr. Mayne’s unofficial Australians in Canada and the United StatesMayne’s Cricket Team Returns, Referee (NSW), Wed 22 Oct 1913, p. 16. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120481486 , an Australian XI against the M.C.C.Old Sport, International Cricket, Queensland Times (QLD), Tue 12 Dec 1911, p.5. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112051736 , and Mr. Sim’s unofficial Australians in New ZealandAustralia v. New Zealand, Daily Post (Tas). Thu 22 Jan 1914, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article178371313 , in addition to his County days at Surrey, Sheffield Shield duties with South Australia, and player and coach for Otago in the Plunket ShieldCricket In New Zealand, Referee (NSW), Wed 29 Apr 1914, p. 19. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120286732 . His eventual return to the land of his birth came with the New Zealand Expeditionary ForceAdvertisements, Press (Christchurch), Sat 7 Dec 1918, p. 7. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP1918122.214.171.124 , so one can say he has ‘played the game’ for all three nations!
A few weeks back, following the Kelleway fiasco, I wrote of the pre-war tensions between administrators and players that culminated in the ‘Big Six’ dispute. But Crawford is a reminder this is not merely an Australian experienceElectricity, The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), Sat 7 Feb 1920, p. 13. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15870792 . Crawford’s initial move to South Australia in 1909 arose from disagreements with the Surrey committee. The trouble, which terminated in the committee deciding the Crawford “be not invited again to play for Surrey,” arose through the amateur declining to captain the team to meet the Australians in the second match on account of the omission of Rushby, Lees, and Davis from the sideAn Unhappy Quarrel, The Colac Herald (Vic), Fri 29 Oct 1909, p. 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91852606 . That year Surrey had constant trouble with their players. It was obvious that the committee were not over-burdened with tact, and Crawford’s strong step roused them to a high step of resentment, which culminated in the severance of connectionsJ. N. Crawford’s Return, Derby Daily Telegraph (Derbyshire), Sat 2 Aug 1919, p. 3.. Hopefully, the patching up of this old quarrelBella Sydney Wolf, A Bit Of Luck, The Sun (NSW), Wed 21 Dec 1910, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article229984921 symbolises a new era of harmonyCurrent Jottings, South Coast Times and Wollongong Argus (NSW), Fri 8 Sep 1916, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141649980 between players and administrators and our own troubles on this trip are the exception rather than the rulePlay and Players, The Herald (Vic), Fri 22 May 1914, p. 4. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article242134390 of post-war cricket.
Much like Reverend Waddy at Trent Bridge, the home team had mostly their “Aussie” to thank for their efforts. Surrey collapsed in an extraordinary manner, and then made an equally remarkable recovery. The Australians’ first innings came to an end for 436 runs, after which Surrey lost half their wickets for 26 runsHard Hitting By J. N. Crawford, The Times (London), Sat 2 Aug 1919, p. 5. . The recovery was almost entirely the work of Crawford and C. T. A. Wilkinson, who gave a magnificent display of resolute and skilful batting. While together they added 146 in eighty minutes for the seventh wicketMagnificent Play At The Oval, Dundee Courier (Angus), Sat 2 Aug 1919, p. 6. . In the end, however, even three days were not enough to get a result, but the Australians were in a position to claim the best of the drawHow’s That, Cricket Notes, Critic (Tas), Sat 6 Jan 1912, p. 3. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162298564 .
Judging by the crowds at Kennington–well over 20,000 for the three daysDay 1: 6000, Australians v. Surrey, Belfast News-Letter (Antrim), Fri 1 Aug 1919, p.4. Day 2: ‘a large crowd’, Masterly Hitting, Sheffield Independent (Yorkshire), Sat 2 Aug 1919, p.8. Day 3: 11000, Australians’ Match With Surrey, Pall Mall Gazette (London), Sat 2 Aug 1919, p.12.–the A.I.F. team might be a Test match team rivalling England in the eyes of the London crowds, instead of citizen soldiers putting in a few months playing the game for the fun of it and endeavouring to give cricket a kick-off after the ravages of the warNot Out, Cricket, Referee (NSW), Wed 6 Aug 1919, p. 13. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120306224 . And the seriousness with which the English crowds take their cricket cannot be underestimated. Collins adopted the same timid policy of over-cautious tactics that Kelleway was critiqued for during his last game as captain at the OvalCricket, The Times (London), Mon 4 Aug 1919, p. 3..
This did not please the onlookers, and they ‘barracked’ the visitorsNot Out, Cricket, Referee (NSW), Wed 6 Aug 1919, p. 13. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120306224 –which J. W. Hearne might prefer us to refer as ‘forgetting themselves so far as to overstep the limitJ. W. Hearne, Nerves In Cricket, Evening News (NSW), Sat 25 Oct 1913, p. 10. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article117950296 –because, of course, the English do not barrack. The crowd hooted, hissed, applauded ironically, became restless, fidgeted uneasily in their seats, and then lapsed into slumber or preserved a stolid silence“Get On With The Game”, Yorkshire Evening Post (Yorkshire), Mon 4 Aug 1919, p.3. . Admonitions to “‘it ‘em, man ‘it ‘em”Cricket, The Field (London), Sat Aug 9 1919, p. 183. could be heard from the Australian element among the spectatorsCricket, The Field (London), Sat Aug 9 1919, p. 184. </. Then one gentleman in black, with a black bowler hat, and a black look on his face woke suddenly from a deep sleep. He glanced up at the telegraph board and found that only a score runs had been added during that time to the Colonial’s total. This was too much for him. He shook himself up, bade goodbye to his friends, who were ignorant of his intentions, and strode solemnly into the arena. Was he a madman? Did he understand cricket etiquette? Did he know that he was committing an unpardonable sin? Still he kept his way. He walked up to C.B. Willis, the Australian batsman, and implored him to get on with the business or get out“Get On With The Game”, Yorkshire Evening Post (Yorkshire), Mon 4 Aug 1919, p.3. . Cheered on by the rest of the crowd, he went to the length of arguing with the umpiresNot Out, Kennington Oval Crowd, Referee (NSW), Wed 6 Aug 1919, p. 13. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120306224 , waving his arms about like one of the policeman on strike at Tower Hill, he shook his fist at the pavilionFree Lance, Men and Matters, Star Green ‘Un (Yorkshire), Sat 9 Aug 1919, p. 1. , pointing out that the crowd was impatient at the uninteresting battingNot Out, Kennington Oval Crowd, Referee (NSW), Wed 6 Aug 1919, p. 13. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120306224 . With a few calm words the Surrey captain soothed the angry spectator who returned to the ring. However, before reaching his seat, he was so proud at having been the mouthpiece of the multitude that he astonished the crowd with a gymnastic exhibition, and a feeble imitation of Hitch bowling at his fastest“Get On With The Game”, Yorkshire Evening Post (Yorkshire), Mon 4 Aug 1919, p.3. . Not all of the Englishmen agreed with him, one correspondent in the press-box saying “I have no use for the beery gas workers who invade the pitch. These vulgar persons don’t understand the gameFree Lance, Men and Matters, Star Green ‘Un (Yorkshire), Sat 9 Aug 1919, p. 1. .” This proved the only exciting episode of the afternoon“Get On With The Game”, Yorkshire Evening Post (Yorkshire), Mon 4 Aug 1919, p.3. .