The personnel of the 1891-92 team were rather more distinguished than the English touring side in South Africa three winters previously, although many of the leading cricketers - such as Briggs - had already committed themselves to tour Australia. Despite it being far from anything like England's first-choice team, Mr W.W.Read's tour group was far too strong, particularly in bowling, for the opposition it met. It did not lose one game. It seems unrealistic that the only match played on equal terms (eleven-a-side) is now described as a Test match. For one thing, two Australian Test cricketers, Ferris and Murdoch, as county players became members of the touring party, but went on to represent England.
Before the team left South Africa, there was time for an extra match played against a Malay team for the financial benefit of the team's professionals, the only recorded case of a coloured team in South Africa playing against an English team until ....
At the end of the tour the captain and manager were arrested until they provided security to cover a loan of £1000 which had been advanced by a Cape Colony businessman to cover expenses not met by the gates.
The ship was delayed by one day, "waiting for the mails". The captain, Walter Read, and manager, Edwin Ash, had been arrested until they made arrangments to cover the £1000 loan made to cover expenses at the beginning of the tour. There was just time for them to be ferried to the ship before it departed. Then the team was able to set off for home.
The 'Dunottar Castle' left Cape Town on 24 March for Madeira and Plymouth, docking at 10pm on Friday 8 April.
Time away from England
(21 November - 8April)
Accounts of the tour
“The Visit of Mr W W Read’s 1891-92 English cricket team to South Africa”by Brian Bassano& Rick Smith (published by John McKenzie, Ewell, 2007)