18: 14 September

CI Thornton’s XI v Australian Imperial Forces

Venue: North Marine Road, Scarborough
Date: 8-10 Sep (3 day game)

Mitcham v Australian Imperial ForcesColin Weyer, 1919 poster advertising Australian Imperial Force Touring XI v Sixteen of Mitcham, 2008, photograph, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/62/AIFvMitchum13.09.19.jpg

Venue: The Cricket Green, Mitcham.
Date: 13 Sep (1 day match)

The official title of the first match this week was Mr. C. I. Thornton’s XI v. the Australian Imperial Force. This, however, is too big a mouthful; so we call it an England Eleven v. the AustraliansA Disastrous Start by the Australians, Yorkshire Evening Post (Yorkshire), Mon 8 Sep 1919, p. 8.. However, it is arguable that this title is not necessary for only ease of telling alone, but that it is a fair assessment of the game. After all, the 1912 Australians were missing the Big Six, and could still rightfully claim their place as an Australian XI. HobbsUnknown, Jack Hobbs, c. 1925, photograph, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Jack_Hobbs_c1925.jpg , DouglasUnknown, John William Henry Tyler Douglas, c. 1906, photograph, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Johnny_Douglas_c1906.jpg , SpoonerLeslie Ward, Caricature of Reginald Herbert “Reggie” Spooner, 1906, painting, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2f/Reggie_Spooner_Vanity_Fair_18_July_1906.jpg , RhodesGeorge Beldam, A cricketer bowling, seen from the front, 1906, photograph, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Rhodes_bowling_front_3.jpg , HirstGeorge Beldam, Hirst Bowling, 1906, photograph, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/Hirst_bowling_2.jpg , HitchUnknown, Bill Hitch, 1912, cigarette card, https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e6/1193364_Bill_Hitch.jpg – it sure reads like a test team. Although beaten in this match, the victory carries no disgrace to our soldier cricketers, as the team which they met was, to all intents and purposes, and England Eleven. The Scarborough festival which is usually held at the end of the cricket season, has by this time become historic, because so many of England’s great cricketers take part in the cricket week. The Australian teams which, in normal times, have played in the second match of the week, have recognised that whatever may have been their fate in the test matches they were almost certain to be up against a stiff proposition at Scarborough. Grace, Ranjitsinjhi, McLaren, Hayward, Stoddart, Hobbs, Richardson, Barnes, have all been participants at one time or anotherFrank Iredale, A.I.F. Cricket, The Sun (Sydney), Sun 14 Sep 1919, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221981010 . Mr. C. I. Thornton collected a very representative England team, and in all but in name the game is a Test match. The Australians had expressed a desire that this match should be regarded as a test matchScarborough Again, The Times (London), Tue Sep 9 1919, p. 8. . Certainly the strength of both elevens would justify it being regarded as suchA Poor Total, Sheffield Evening Telegraph, (Yorkshire), Mon 8 Sep 1919, p. 7. .

There was about 6,000 spectators on days 1A Poor Total, Sheffield Evening Telegraph (Yorkshire), Mon 8 sep 1919, p. 7. and 2The Scarborough Festival, Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer (Yorkshire), Tue 9 Sep 1919, p. 12. . On day 3 doubtless a good many holiday makers found the attraction of the St. Leger irresistible. Financially, as well as in a cricket sense, the revived Festival has been a big success, despite the broken weather of the early daysA Fine Recovery By The Australians, Yorkshire Evening Post, (Yorkshire), Wed 10 Sep 1919, p. 8. . The play was followed with as much keenness and enjoyment as if an Australian “Test” team and a fully representative England side were in opposition, as they usually are at the festivals in the years of Australian visitsThe Scarborough Festival, Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer (Yorkshire), Tue 9 Sep 1919, p. 12. .

Despite the four losses which the A.I.F. team has had to submit to, the tour on the whole has been a wonderful success from every standpoint, and it can be safely said that it has, if anything, added to the prestige of Australia in the cricket worldFrank Iredale, A.I.F. Cricket, The Sun (Sydney), Sun 14 Sep 1919, p. 8. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221981010 . .

Our final contest of the tour was a one day match against an invitational sixteen of Mitcham captained by Howard Lacey, the man charged with the original management of the AIF XI. Seventeen 4’s, a fielder’s eye badly damaged, and a smashed screen of a motor-car standing in the roadway adjoining the cricket green were the chief features of a dashing batting display by GregoryHow To Play Cricket, Belfast Telegraph (Antrim), Tue 16 Sep 1919, p. 4., as he made a 134 run partnership with C. Smith, who along with W.J. Munday, the South Australian colt, joined us for the match.

And so ends the Northern Hemisphere portion of the tour. We have one more engagement, a farewell dinner at Café Monico, and then it is on to South Africa.

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