Tour of England & South
Africa 1921Captain: Warwick Armstrong
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
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.
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
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)
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
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
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.
accounts of the tour
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.
Australians”(1971)by Ronald Mason(Epworth Press)