For the second time the Melbourne Club and Sydney Cricket Ground trustees
combined to host and sponsor an English team under ‘Drewy’ Stoddart. They
also provided the tour management.
The team did not play for a week before the opening
day of the First Test match on 13 December owing to the rain leading the
ground authorities at Sydney
to postpone the start. The English side protested but, with centuries from
MacLaren, the stand-in captain, and Ranjitsinhji, they accumulated 551 runs
and came out winners of the match by nine wickets. However, Australia
regrouped and won the next four Test matches, two of them by an innings.
Stoddart received the news of his mother's death on
8 December. Although he did not return home, he remained depressed for the
next month and did not make himself available to play in the first two Test
In the first match of the tour, the team's umpire
Jim Phillips had no-balled Ernie Jones for throwing and then did so again in
the second Test at Melbourne,
making Jones the first man to be no-balled in a Test match.
Ranjitsinhji and MacLaren, with batting averages of
around sixty, each scored more than 1000 runs on the tour, the first time
this had been achieved in Australia.
Stoddart made all the arrangements, including inviting the
players he wanted.
Invitations were sent out in August.
Unavailable:Wicket-keeper Dick Lilley declined the tour
because of his business as a licensee and Storer replaced him.
Captain E.G.Wynyard withdrew because of his military duties. Also unavailable were Bobby Abel, Dick Attewell, and Stanley Jackson
Johnny Briggs made his sixth and final tour of Australia.
Time between selection and departure from England
( ?- 17 September)
First, Mr MacLaren left Plymouth
on Saturday 4 September on the 'Oruba'. The remainder of the team took
a train from St Pancras Station, London, to
Tilbury Docks, Essex, and sailed on the 'Ormuz'
on 17 September. After calling at Plymouth and
Gibraltar, the ship picked up Ranjitsinhji at Naples.
The 'Ormuz'called at Port Said,
Colombo and Albany, Western Australia,
but there were no matches at any of these ports of call because the sponsors
would not finance them.The ship
docked at Largs Bay, South
Australia, on 24 October, and the team then went by train to Adelaide.MacLaren arrived from Melbourne two days later.
The Australian state governments waived their deterrent restrictionss
on ‘alien’ (coloured) immigrants, such was Prince Ranjitsinhji's popularity.
Time spent in Australia
(24 October - 24 March)
Arthur Priestley, 32, who was travelling with the team, played in three matches and
was a substitute fielder against Ballarat when Ranji was unwell with asthma
and inflamed tonsils.
Owing to continuous rain, the New England
match could not be completed on its second day (4 Dec) and would be continued
on Monday 6 Dec. By then some of the Armidale players had already returned
home so a new game was started. New England
reached 34- 4 before heavy rain ended this match, too.
•Archie MacLaren, standing in as captain,
scored 109 in the first Test match at Sydney
but was overshadowed by Ranji’s famous innings of 175. This was the highest
score for England
in a Test until Foster’s 287 six years later.
•Jack Hearne took nine wickets in the
opening Test match at Sydney
(5-42 and 4-99)
•Archie MacLaren scored another century
(124) in the third Test at Adelaide
described in his 1981 biography as “five hours of unrelenting concentration
and uncharacteristic defence” (Michael
•As the English bowling wilted against 20
year-old Clem Hill’s 188 at Melbourne,
Jack Hearne took 6 for 98.
•In the return match with NSW at Sydney a record match
aggregate of 1739 runs was scored.
•In the final Test at Sydney Tom Richardson
took ten wickets, with 8-94 and 2-110.
Other first-class matches
The team took the train from Melbourne to Adelaide for
the final tour match, and caught the 'Ormuz' on Thursday 24 March from
Largs Bay, South Australia.
The ship sailed via Colombo (where Ranji disembarked), Port
Said, Suez and Marseilles, where the professional players
left the ship.They travelled back to England overland
while the remainder went on in the 'Ormuz'
At Plymouth Maclaren and Board
disembarked, so that only three amateur players (Stoddart, Druce and Mason)
were still aboard when the ship finally reached Tilbury on Friday 29 April
Time away from England
(17 September - 29 April)
of the tour
"My Dear Victorious
Stod"by David Frith
(Lutterworth Press, 1977) included
chapters on the tour.
“With Stoddart’s team in Australia”by K S Ranjitsinhji (Constable 1985:
reprint of Padwick 4423 with new introduction by Alan Ross)
Stoddart’s eleven reunited to play aginst Rest of England in September
The next tour of Australia
did not take place for four years. During the 1899 Australians’ tour the
manager Ben Wardill, secretary of the Melbourne Cricket Club, had invited its
English counterpart, London’s
Marylebone Cricket Club (M.C.C), to send out a touring side in 1900-01 but
when this proved impossible, asked for 1901-02 instead. Even then M.C.C.
could not raise a side and withdrew from the project so Archie MacLaren took
out his own team.