17: 7 September

South v Australian Imperial Forces
Venue: Central Recreation Ground, HastingsHastings Corporation Publicity & Public Relations Department, The Central Cricket Ground (Priory Meadow) Hastings, 1950, photograph, https://www.flickr.com/photos/phil_sellens/8269811070, used under creative commons license courtesy of Phil Sellens.
1st, 2nd, 3rd September (Three-day game)

South v Australian Imperial Forces
United Services Ground, Portsmouth
4th, 5th, 6th Sep (Three-day game)

The County Cricket season, which opened under such speculative circumstances last May, has now closed. None will deny that it has been a successful season. Successful both from a playing point of view and from that of public interest, for spectators rolled up to the various matches in numbers greater than was the general rule before the warLooker On, Leaves From My Notebook, Star Green ‘Un (Yorkshire), Sat 6 Sep 1919, p. 1.. We’d like to think we had no small part to playBaptist Union, The Register (SA), Thu 23 Sep 1919, p. 9. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57920165 in that, as the A.I.F. matches were among the best attended of the season, reintroducing cricket to those who had forgotten, as well as those who had never discovered the great game, not to mention the financial boost each county received.

Yorkshire has won the Championship, with Kent second, and Nottinghamshire thirdYorkshire County Club Wins The Championship, Barrier Miner (NSW), Wed 3 Sep 1919, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45541715 . To decide the Championship, a peculiar system of percentage of wins to matches played–draws are ignored entirely–is worked out. At the beginning of the season Lord Hawke and others protested and pointed out how ridiculous the result would be, but they were not listened to. But Yorkshire deserve to be at the head of the counties. They have played the best cricketYorkshire Leads Cricket Championship, The World’s News (NSW), Sat 4 oct 1919, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article130599210 . To put the Australians’ performance into perspective, from 18 matches against Championship teams we have 8 wins, 9 draws, and 1 loss, or a win percentage of 44.44%. This would place the A.I.F. second in the Championship between Yorkshire’s 46.15% and Kent’s 42.85%Yorkshire Champions, The Herald (Vic), Mon 1 Sep 1919, p. 2. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article242587347 . It must be remembered our boys beat Yorkshire and had the better of the draw against Kent. However, we have had the advantage of playing three-day games, making a result more likely.

At the beginning of the season the championship was considered a very open affair, for no one could be certain how matters would go after four years devoid of first-class cricket. Some of the veterans of 1914 were expected to drop out, though as a matter of fact not many of them have done so, and, generally speaking, the old brigade of 1914 have done extraordinarily well. It was obvious that there must be a shortage of young men, both amateurs and professionals, who would in the natural course of events have been developed during the four seasons ruined by the war, and nothing of course could alter this. Some of the counties, whilst putting the bravest face they could on the matter, had nevertheless many qualms as to where their men were coming from, and several are no doubt glad that the season is over, so that they can take stock of their position and estimate their prospects for next year. They will also take a keen interest in their financial status, and it will be interesting to see how the two-day matches have affected the receiptsA Cricket Causerie, Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News (London), Sat 7 Sep 1919, p. 8..

Matches against strong scratch sides at Hastings, Portsmouth, and Scarborough give the Australian I.F. team a tough wind-up to their tour in this countryOur Australian Visitors, The Sportsman (London), Mon 1 Sep 1919, p. 3. . The county season being at an end, the cricketers are at liberty to play anywhere. This leaves the Scarborough selectors a free hand in selection, so they naturally get the best team availableFrank Iredale, A.I.F. Cricket, The Sun (NSW), Sun 14 Sep 1919, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221981010 , for our match against Mr C. I. Thornton’s XI next week. But first the diggers were pitted against the South of EnglandThe Last Week, The Register (SA), Mon 9 Sep 1912, p. 7. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58597612 . On a slow wicket, and before the carried and cleverly-handled Australians’ attack, the South of England side, lacking only a sprinkling of Surrey men to make it complete, was dismissed cheaplySouth Of England v. Australians, The Scotsman (Midlothian), Tue 2 Sep 1919, p. 6. . An equally anaemic responseCricket Crumbs, Truth (WA), Sat 28 Oct 1911, p. 12. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article208698574 , and a strong second innings from South saw the Australians needing 302 with nearly all of day 3 to get them. It was fully expected that the Australians would make an effort to obtain the runs, but it soon became clear that they despaired of accomplishing the task, nearly all the batsmen adopting careful unenterprising methods. As it happened these tactics did not stave off defeatTourists Beaten By 122 Runs, Sheffield Independent, (Yorkshire), 4 Sep 1919, p. 2. .

For the second match, the most notable omission on the car for the South was Woolley, but the bowling ofThe Australians, Hampshire Telegraph (Hampshire), Fri 5 Sep 1919, p. 8. J. C. WhiteUnknown, John Cornish White, Somerset, (1909-1937) and England, c.1920, cigarette card, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/John_Cornish_White_card_c1920.jpg , the Somerset trundler, and N. J. Holloway, the Sussex fast bowler, strengthened the attack, and some attractive batsmen came into the team, including: Major Tennyson and George Brown of Hants, andThe Australians, Hampshire Telegraph (Hampshire), Fri 5 Sep 1919, p. 8. Harry LeeUnknown, Harry Lee, unknown, photograph, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/4c/Harry_lee.jpg of MiddlesexThe Australians, Hampshire Telegraph (Hampshire), Fri 5 Sep 1919, p. 8. . This should have proven as strong a combinations as the victors of the previous matchAustralians Start Badly, Western Daily Press (Bristol), Fri 5 Sep 1919, p. 3., but the Australians dominated the situationCarnival Matches Concluded, Referee (NSW), Wed 19 Aug 1914, p. 12. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article120282923 , winning by 10 wickets. They were only 14 runs behind after the second innings of the South of England had closed. Collins and Pellew wiped off the arrears in seven ballsSouth of England v. Australians, Leicester Daily Post (Leicestershire), Sat 6 Sep 1919, p. 4.. The team were tempted by an early finish on day 2 so they could get the early train back to London. But Jack Gregory had lost his fire, and the match had stalled. Collins whispered a request to Oldfield to stand right up to the stumps. “He’ll knock my head off” protested an alarmed Oldfield. “Don’t worry, it’ll only take one ball” replied Collins. Which of course it did. After one furious glare at Oldfield, the volatile moved into top gearRichard Begbie, An Odds-On Favourite, The Canberra Times (ACT), Sun 22 Nov 1992, p. 21. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126957070 . But it was Winning who was the factor in getting rid of the South in an hour and 50 minutes. He caught Robert Relf deep down at square-leg after he and Lee had knocked up 35, and then effected Brown’s dismissal at 55. Then he took the ball off GregoryAustralians Win Easily, Sheffield Daily Telegraph (Yorkshire), Sat 6 Sep 1919, p. 9. . Six quick wickets later the team packed up to board the early trainRichard Begbie, An Odds-On Favourite, The Canberra Times (ACT), Sun 22 Nov 1992, p. 21. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126957070 .

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