M.C.C. declined an invitation to tour Australia in 1919-20.
The team spent a week in quarantine following a death from
typhoid fever in Colombo and consequently one
match against Western Australia
had to be cancelled.In addition the
tour of Tasmania
was cancelled on 16 January because of a shipping strike.
The Test series was a disaster.England
lost every match in the series, the first time that a 5-0 result had ever
also won the first three Tests of the 1921 series giving them a record eight
Test victories in a row over England.
Partly the explanation may be laid at the unimaginative captaincy of Johnny
R.H.Spooner was offered the captaincy originally but, having
suffered a knee injury when hunting, he did not consider himself fit enough
to accept. He was replaced in the team by spin bowler Rockley Wilson, who was
one of the more unexpected choices of the selectors although his skill in the
final Test impressed the Australians. He and Fender wrote newspaper columns,
including controversial comments about crowd behaviour and umpiring
standards, in order to offset their expenses as amateurs.
P.F.Warner was added to the selection panel, after being asked to
attend the final meeting in an advisory capacity.
Unavailable:Donald Knight (Sy) and George
Wood (Kt) were unable to accept invitations.
Tour Party Announced :Fifteen names were announced on 26
July.Of these, Spooner and Barnes
withdrew and their replacements were named on 20 August.
Withdrawals: Reginald Spooner stood down
as captain and Johnny Douglas was appointed.
Cecil Parkin took the place of Sydney Barnes, whose
conditions that the fare of his wife and child should be paid were rejected.
M.C.C. allowed Vallance Jupp until 23 September to decide
whether to accept a place. He decided late that he could not go and was
replaced by Bill Hitch, who followed in a later ship.
Time between selection and departure from England
(20 August - 18 September
A pre-tour match against
C.I.Thornton's XI was played at Scarborough.
Twelve of the team left St
Pancras by rail for Tilbury Docks on 18 September 1920, skipper Johnny
Douglas having already boarded the ship overnight. M.C.C. sailed on the 'Osterley', via Toulon (where Hobbs,
Strudwick and Parkin, who left England
on Thursday, joined the ship); then to Naples,
Port Said and Ceylon, where a match was played.
reached Fremantle on the morning of 23 October 1920.Because a steerage passenger who boarded at
Naples had died from typhus (and was removed
from the ship at Colombo),
the vessel had to be quarantined. The players spent a week living in army
huts at Woodman’s Point station and the three-day match against Western Australia had
to be cancelled, and a one-day match played instead. The team left Perth by rail across the Nullarbor Plain arriving in Adelaide on 2 November
Bill Hitch who had left England on the ‘Malwa’ on 30 September, reached Adelaide the next day (3 November).
Time spent in Australia
October -22 March)
Johnny Douglas (captain), Hobbs
and Rhodes (senior professionals), with F.C.Toone (manager)
Waddington went into hospital early in the tour for treatment to an abcess
under his armpit. Hitch fractured a finger in the first game he played and
then ricked his side muscles and missed the latter part of the tour. Russell missed
four matches owing to a thumb injury
Hearne, afflicted with lumbago in the second Test, reportedly then suffered
from a bout of malaria and from lung problems and remained a long while in
hospital in Adelaide.
He was unable to resume playing on the tour but no replacement was deemed
The Australian Cricket Board published the programme of
fixtures on 26 July 1920
⋆An extra practice
match on 10 November. Douglas’s team made 108 and Wilson’s 140
Country matches against Bathurst
and Stawell were eliminated from the programme at a late stage because they
were too close to the Test matches
Owing to a strike by stewards, there was no shipping service
from Melbourne to Launceston and the Tasmania matches were
cancelled and two up-country games played instead
•Cecil Parkin took 8 wickets for 55 in the
first innings of the tour at Adelaide
•Patsy Hendren struck 271 against Victoria and topped
1000 runs but had a disappointing time in the Test series
•Jack Hobbs scored 122 in the second Test at
another great innings of 123 attempting to save the third Test and the Ashes
•Earlier Jack Russell’s 135 not out at Adelaide had given England apparent safety with an
innings of 447.
•Johnny Douglas scored 60, 32, 50, 60, 32*
and 68 in the last three Test matches.
Other first-class matches
†Minor matches ⋆
⋆ excluding practice match
Return to England
came from Melbourne on 14 March and sailed
where the team boarded for Fremantle on 17 March, arriving five days later.
Boarding the same ship at Fremantle was Armstrong’s 1921 Australian touring
All disembarked from the ship at Toulon
on 16 April and crossed France
The M.C.C. team arrived at Dover
from Calais at 5 o' clock on Sunday 17 April
(the channel crossing was the roughest part of the voyage) and pulled into
Victoria Station, London,
at 8.45 pm.
Time away from England
September -17 April)
The M C C received half the gross gate income for each match and halfway
through the tour was already assured of covering the tour costs.
Accounts of the
"Defending The Ashes" byPercy
Fender (the only tour book)