|Test Cricket Tours - West Indies to England 1939|
Tour of England
1939 Captain: Rolfe Grant
Fourth West Indies
Third Test-playing tour of England by West Indies
Jamaican fast bowler Leslie Hylton
was not in the original selection but was added to the team on 6 March
following representations from the Jamaican Cricket Board. Just as well, for
Martindale and Constantine were now past their best. Ernest Rae, as deputy mayor of Kingston, had
called on Jamaican cricketers to withdraw in protest at his omission and demanded
the West Indies Board should take Donald Lacy as assistant manager and Leslie
Hylton as an additional player. Hylton's place was secured on condition that
it was paid for by public subscription. The West Indies Board, already paying
a captain's fee and for three professionals, insisted that it could afford to
take only fifteen players, At the time of sailing the fund for Hylton's
expenses was still £400 short but he nevertheless joined the touring group,
although Lacy's place as assistant manager was cancelled.
The preliminary arrangements
for the tour, were put in place in England, as they had been since
1906, by Mr R H ‘Harry’ Mallett but he was taken ill in March and could not
participate, and eventually died in November 1939.
As War loomed, the last
seven matches of the tour in England
were hastily abandoned and the tour party hurried off to catch the first
available ship home across the Atlantic Ocean. The tour would otherwise have finished in Ireland and therefore the tourists fortunately
missed catching the 'Athenia' which was the first ship to be torpedoed
on the outbreak of war with Germany.
More than 800 people
joined the 'Montrose' at Liverpool and 400 more including the West
Indian cricketers at Greenock. When two days out to sea, the Admiralty
called the ship back to port but, after six hours of delay, she was allowed
to sail again.
West Indies tours
tour of England
Members of the Test tour party (16)
Opening batsmen:Rolfe Grant, Jeffrey
Middle-order batsmen:George Headley, Paul Bayley,
Jimmy Cameron, Victor Stollmeyer, Ken Weekes
Wicket-keepers: Ivan Barrow, Derek Sealy
All-rounder: Gerry Gomez
Spin bowler:Bertie Clarke
Fast bowlers:Leslie Hylton, Learie
Constantine, Tyrell Johnson, Manny Martindale, Foffie Williams.
L N Constantine
J E D
V H Stollmeyer
K H Weekes
E A V Williams
Regional representation :
- British Guiana (1)
J - Jamaica (5)
T - Trinidad
°Cameron was educated at Taunton School
and Cambridge University
and lived in England. The only cricket he had played in Jamaica
was for a combined Universities tour the previous winter.
age of team at time of first Test
June 1939) :
yrs 4 months
Test Appearances made before the tour
Headley 16, Constantine 15,
Barrow 10, Sealy 8, Martindale 7, RS Grant 4, Hylton 4, Bayley 0, Cameron 0,
Clarke 0, Gomez 0, Johnson 0, J B Stollmeyer 0, V H Stollmeyer 0, Weekes 0,
The West Indies Board
dispensed with the assistant manager post on the grounds that they had not
Lt-Col William Bowring MBE (of the 1900 West Indies
team) chaired the panel which consisted of Vernon C Dias of British Guiana, Jack G Kelshall of Trinidad,
Noel ‘Crab’ Nethersole of Jamaica and
skipper Rolfe Grant.
On 19 and 21 Feb 1938 the West Indies Board met at Port of Spain to decide
the tour arrangements. Rolfe Grant, a Cambridge
double blue, was elected unopposed to lead the team in England. Jack M.
Kidney was again picked to be Manager as in 1933, and Donald Lacy of Jamaica was
elected Assistant Manager. However, a year later, in February 1939 the Board
cancelled Lacy's appointment owing to the tour expenses having risen too far.
was in Trinidad in January 1939 he was approached about the possibility of
playing a part in the tour and he eventually decided not to play league
cricket for Rochdale.
The team was chosen following
trial matches between Trinidad,
Jamaica and a
Tour Party Announced : 7 February 1939.
Not selected : Leslie
Hylton, George Mudie (Ja), Cyril Merry, Rupert Tang Choon (Trinidad)
Robert Christiani (BG).
was added to the side later on 6 March.
Jeffrey Stollmeyer wrote : “Well-wishers in Jamaica had got together and
subscribed his board, fare and lodging, etc.
… he was a commanding personality but he also contained a fiery temper
which had got him into trouble and was probably the cause of his missing the
1933 tour to England. While playing in the trials prior to that
tour, an lbw appeal by him was turned down by the umpire who happened to be
the elder brother of the captain-elect. When Hylton threw the ball down in
disgust his goose was cooked,”
back at the selection of the  team, there was a certain amount of hit and
miss but, as things turned out, it was not those who were criticised most who
were to be the biggest failures. Everything
Under The Sun (1983)
Time between selection
and departure from West Indies
(7 February - 10 April)
Bridgetown T Plymouth
Kingston T Liverpool
On 10 April the Trinidad
players and Bayley sailed to Bridgetown on the
MV 'Columbia'. The next day, joined by
Clarke, Sealy, Williams and Kidney, the squad left Barbados
at 12.15 pm and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, these nine players reaching
Leonard Harbin (T) who was not selected, sailed with them to England
to follow the tour.
The five Jamaican players
left Kingston harbour on the 'Tortuguero' on 11 April for Garston
Docks, Liverpool. They disembarked on 24 April. Martindale and Constantine were already in England.
The first match was on the
Busbridge Estate on 1 May but bad weather prevented any play.
Time spent in England
(21 April - 26 August)
On-tour selection panel
Rolfe Grant, John Cameron and Jack Kidney, with George Headley
and Learie Constantine co-opted.
None. Victor Stollmeyer suffered from tonsilitis in
the early part of the tour. A damaged hand cut vice-captain John Cameron's
M C C
inns 5 r
inns 228 r
inns 60 r
ENGLAND First Test
LOST 8 w
inns 94 r
Julien Cahn's XI
ENGLAND Second Test
inns 72 r
ENGLAND Third Test
H D G
and played on
† not first-class
Time spent in England
before First Test:
(21 April - 24 June)
Time from end of final Test until departure from England 4 days
(22 August - 26 August)
Test appearances on tour
3 - Clarke,
Constantine, R S Grant, Headley, Martindale, Sealy, J B Stollmeyer.
2 - Cameron, Gomez, Hylton, KH Weekes.
Barrow, Johnson, V B Stollmeyer, Williams.
0 - Bayley.
• Constantine, though now
36 and past his best, again captured 100 wickets on the tour. Headley was again far ahead as the leading
batsman with 1745 runs at an average of 72.
scored a century in each innings of the first Test match, the second time he
had done this in a Test match (he had previously done so in Georgetown in 1930).
Other first-class matches
ϯ Minor matches
There were eight cancelled matches
Return to West Indies
Greenock T Montreal
Montreal t New York
Following receipt of a letter from Kent CCC
cancelling their fixture, the team made its decision to go home immediately and
caught the night train from Euston to Glasgow, except for Martindale and
Constantine who had homes in England. The 'Montrose'
sailed from Greenock on the Clyde on 26 August for Montreal.
Although some members of the team were not in favour
of abandoning the tour when they did, doing so prevented the West Indians
from boarding the 'Athenia', which left
Liverpool on 2 September and was torpedoed off northern Ireland en route to
In a one-day match held on 4 September the West Indians
beat a Montreal XI but a second game was cancelled. Grant, Gomez and the two Stollmeyers
remained in Canada while
most of the touring party went by train to New York. Hylton and Cameron remained
Clarke, Sealy and Williams arrived safely in Barbados from New York
with manager Jack M Kidney on 13 September on the ‘Argentina'.
Bayley and Johnson sailed on to Port of Spain (14 September) and Georgetown (16 September). Headley, Barrow and Weekes landed in Kingston, Jamaica,
on the 'Antigua' from New York on 24
Time away from West Indies
(10 April to 13 September)
The three professionals
in the side. Headley, Constantine and Martindale, got £600 apiece for the
tour with a £50 kit allowance, in addition to their expenses for the tour,
which were paid to all other members of the side, at roughly £250 per man. In
addition there was a further allowance of £200 to the captain which was not
given in previous tours.
The receipts of £10 000 covered the expenses of the
tour. Kidney thought that playing their remaining tour fixtures would almost
certainly have involved financial loss because of the imminence of war, as
holiday-makers would be in no mood for festival matches and attendances would
accounts of the tour
The tour is described in chapter 3 of “Everything Under the Sun”
(1983) by Jeffrey
Stollmeyer [Stanley Paul]
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