Tour of England & South Africa 1921Captain: Warwick Armstrong
Fourteenth Australian Test tour
14th Test-playing tour of England by Australia
Second Test-playing tour of South Africa by Australia
(April - September 1921)
This was Australia's first tour for nine years and the last for five more years.
Armstrong, incensed at his exclusion from the Victoria-MCC match, and being sacked as Victoria’s captain for not attending a practice session, would not confirm that he would tour nor sign a contract until he knew he was to be captain.
Armstrong was “one of the best captains ever sent to England from Australia” according to Frank Foster, but a fearless and confrontational man, constantly arguing with his manager, Sydney Smith.He was involved in some controversial incidents, particularly a dispute over England's right to declare her innings closed at Old Trafford, which led to his mistakenly bowling two consecutive overs, and reading a newspaper while fielding at long leg during the final Test at The Oval. In January 1922 Lord Hawke criticised him for an interview he gave in England.
1921 had the earliest starting date yet for any first-class tour match. The Australians met Leicestershire on 30 April.The players tried to change the demanding tour itinerary but only two counties would oblige them.
The 1921 touring team lost only two matches - as had the 1902 side
Both Armstrong and Jack Gregory achieved the 'double' of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in an English season, the only time that two tourists have achieved the feat.
Sydney Smith was the Australian Board of Control secretary. He wrote a detailed account of the tour, recounting the team's progress through a journey of more than 32 000 miles.
Ernest E Bean, Herbie Collins and D R A ‘Algy’ Gehrs.
UnavailableRoy L Park (Victoria).
The selectors named the first 8 players by 5 January (Armstrong, Bardsley, Collins, Gregory, Macartney, Mailey, Pellew and Taylor) Macartney being selected subject to a fitness test.Oldfield's name was announced on 12 January; and the remainder on 12 February, with Armstrong confirmed as captain “by the narrowest possible margin” [Pollard].
Tour Party Announced 18 February
Not selected:all-rounders Arthur Liddicut (Victoria), Arthur Richardson (South Australia)
Pellew accepted his place on condition that he could leave Australia a fortnight later than the rest of the team to allow him to complete his business arrangements.
WithdrawalOn 22 February Charlie Kelleway declined his invitation for business reasons, so Hendry was included.
Time between selection and departure from Australia
(18 February - 22 March)
Manager Sidney Smith and the ten players from New South Wales sailed from Sydney on the RMS 'Osterley' to Melbourne where they were joined by Armstrong, Mayne, McDonald and Ryder.They took the trans-continental train to Western Australia. South Australian Pellew met his colleagues at Riverton, SA, but did not travel with them.He followed two weeks later, sailing on the 'Mantua'.
The Australians played two matches in Western Australia.
The party, minus Pellew, left Fremantleon 22 March in the same ship, the 'Osterley', as the 1920-21 MCC touring party. The Ceylon match was cancelled.Passing through the Suez Canal on 10 April, they disembarked at Nice and travelled overland by rail to Paris
The team arrived at Victoria Station, London, on Friday 22 April. The team's London headquarters was the Hotel Cecil in Victoria.
•Jack Gregory took three English wickets in four balls at Trent Bridge.The Australian opening bowling was intimidating and shared the wickets among Gregory (19) and McDonald (27)
•Macartney scored the only century of the series (115 at Headingley)
•Australia recorded a record run of eight consecutive victories which was not equalled until 1984 (by West Indies)
•In the consecutive matches against Northamptonshire and Notts, the Australians scored 617 and 675 and dismissed the two counties for totals of 69, 68; 58 and 100, thus exceeding their opponents by 1000 runs.
•Armstrong achieved the “double” of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in an English season for the third time
Other first-class matches
Return to Australia
Southampton TCape Town
The team left England on the 'Balmoral Castle'from Southampton on 30 September 1921, and arrived in Cape Town on 17 October. Armstrong remained on board until Durban, as he was unwell with a recurrence of malaria, and could not play.The team proceeded by rail to Johannesburg, a two-day journey.
They finally left Cape Town for Australia on the Blue Funnel Line steamer ss 'Ascanius' on 4 December and arrived back in Adelaide on 23 December, nine months after leaving home. With the exception of Pellew, the only South Australian player, the team left by train for Melbourne later in the afternoon, Macartney, Oldfield and the manager staying on to Sydney.
Time away from Australia
(22 March to 23 December)
Players would receive £400 plus a share of £1000 for the South African tour.
The tour surplus was £17 000 and the players received a bonus of £300.
Written accounts of the tour
"With the 15th Australian XI" (1921) by Sydney Smith - the tour manager’s account tracks the team's progress through a journey of more than 32 000 miles.
“Warwick Armstrong's Australians”(1971)by Ronald Mason(Epworth Press)