During the Australians’ 1899tour 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. When this proved
impossible, M.C.C agreed to visit in 1901-02 with Lord Hawke as the skipper
and manager. Because the leading amateurs were declining to go, Hawke was
finding it difficult to get up a fully representative party. MacLaren who
would have led the side in the Tests now made himself unavailable, not
wishing to be part of a hopeless project.M.C.C. announced on 13 May 1901-02 that the tour was abandoned
Learning that the M.C.C.
committee had cancelled their tour, the Melbourne
club invited MacLaren to bring his own side instead. An opposite situation
occurred two years later when MacLaren was unable to put together a touring
team and M.C.C. took over the arrangements for the 1903-04 team.
Lord Hawke was displeased that
Maclaren was now willing to tour (on much better terms) and withdrew his two Yorkshire stars, Hirst and Rhodes, from the party, saying
they needed to rest for the winter. The real reason was doubtless his ill-feeling
towards Maclaren who was by now finding it as difficult as M.C.C. had done to
recruit participants from among the leading players of the day because of the
low remuneration he was able to offer.
As had Stoddart's side four
years previously, MacLaren's XI won the First Test but lost all of the next
four matches against an Australian side nearing its peak. Sydney Barnes was drafted
into the side on the strength of his bowling in the last match of the season
at Old Trafford. Unfortunately, having taken 19 wickets in the first two
matches, he twisted his knee and was unable to bowl again on the tour. Too
heavy a load then fell upon Braund and Blythe.
There was no match in Ceylon to break the voyage down under, nor any
in New Zealand
because Lord Hawke would be touring there next year.
On 13 May 1901 the M.C.C.
committee said it had found it impossible to raise a representative side and
withdrew from the tour.On 12 June A.C.MacLaren
confirmed he would take over the arrangements, and he alone was responsible
for choosing his team.
Melbourne Club vice-president John
McLaughlin was in England
while MacLaren recruited his players, to be a contact and ensure a
sufficiently strong team would tour.
Jessop, Lilley and Hayward were the first
names announced of the touring party. Then Tyldesley, Blythe, Garnett, Jones
and Quaife.Fry and Foster were named but
were their availability was in doubt.
B Fry, F S Jackson, R E Foster,J R Mason, L C H Palairet, K S
Ranjitsinhji; and the professionals Bill Lockwood,Bobby Abeland Tom Richardson.
MacLaren said “I would like to have brought Ranjitsinhji,
Fry and Foster with me but the former two failed me after practically
promising to join, and Foster was from the first a doubtful starter”.
committee insisted that George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes stay at home and rest
during the winter.
party announced : by beginning of
The Melbourne Club said
“Mr MacLaren has succeeded in getting a very powerful side which, with the
exception of himself and Hayward, is composed of new men on Australian
wickets… members may be assured that the best available team will represent
Time between selection and departure from England
( ? -
Departure from England was
on 27 September 1901.
The team took the 11o'clock
train from London’s
St Pancras Station to Tilbury, where they boarded the RMS 'Omrah',
Sydney Barnes was among the
tour party. "When the ship was being tossed around in a storm, the
skipper (Archie MacLaren) was able to comfort his men with the words ' if we
go down, at least that bugger Barnes will go down with us!' "
Gilbert Jessop travelled
overland through France
and joined the ship at Marseilles.Sailing via Plymouth,
Marsellles and Naples, the ship left Colombo (on Sunday 20
October) without playing a match.MacLaren
ordered exercises on deck to ensure fitness in Australia.
The ‘Omrah’ arrived at Fremantle on 31 October, and went on to Perth. Here MacLaren
said it was nonsense to suggest that the team was not a fully representative
one. Finally, they reached Port
Adelaide on 4 November.
Time spent in Australia
October -20 March)
Sammy Woods played
in three minor matches.Colin Blythe
damaged his spinning finger at the socket and MacLaren was also indisposed so
V Green, a cousin of Essex amateur C E Green and an Australian player,
appeared at Bendigo.When Barnes injured his knee in the Third
Test, he was unable to play again on tour.
•Skipper Archie MacLaren scorred 116 in the
opening Test match; with Hayward
he put on 154 for the first wicket
Braund and Blythe, each man on Test debut, ran through the Australian batting
in the first Test at Sydney.
took 19 wickets in his first two Test appearances, and bowled 42 consecutive
overs at Melbourne.
•Tom Hayward and MacLaren shared another
opening stand of 149 at Adelaide
before Len Braund’s century (103*)
•The team scored the record total by a
visiting team to Australia
- 769 - v New South Wales at Sydney.
Other first-class matches
Return to England
On 20March 1902 the cricketers left Adelaide on the 'Omrah', together
with the 1902 Australian touring party
On arrival at Fremantle they were taken into the city of Perth for an hour before
returning to the ship
Sailing via Colombo, they berthed
at Naples at noon on 17 April and reached Marseilles next day , where all of the cricketers,
except MacLaren himself who was feeling “seedy” after a vaccination and A O
Jones, took a train across France
and reached London
on Sunday 20 April 1902.
The ‘Omrah’ went on to Plymouth on 25 April,
where Maclaren, his wife, Jones and four ot the Australian tour party went
ashore.The remaining Australian
tourists sailed on, landing at Tilbury two days later.
Time away from England
September - 20 April)
was financed by the Melbourne Cricket Club which offered generous terms: all
expenses would be paid and the professionals would receive £300 per man but
when Lord Hawke learned the amount would be greater for some players (Tom
Richardson was offered £500), the Yorkshire
committee refused permission for Rhodes and Hirst to tour.
Accounts of the
None except briefly in sources like“Archie:
a Biography of A C MacLaren”by
Michael Down (Allen & Unwin, 1981)