Thursday, December 18, 2008

Channel 9 is a disgrace

I am ceasing to write about the Gregorys for one post to express my extreme disgust at the Channel 9 commentary team in the current Test match against South Africa. Every hour or so, they are quoting the current odds being offered by betting agencies on the outcome of the game. Now, I don't mind it if commentators sometimes mention the fact that a team is now "100-1" to win the match or similar, but struggled to understand why we needed to be updated that South Africa were now $2.55 on the win.

However, it is clearly an advertising scheme approved by the hierarchy at Channel 9. One or two mentions of betting odds could be coincidence; the continual repeating demonstrates is a predetermined strategy. I don't mind if companies wish to advertise, that is what makes the world run. But don't go in for this almost 'subliminal' advertising, with commentators throwing in regular references without acknowledging that they are being paid to do so. I was under the clearly misguided opinion that there was a limit on how much advertising was allowed on television. Channel 9 are obviously trying to bypass this limitation by having their commentators constantly promoting betting. Betfair and Channel 9 have history ( - its hardly surprising, but still disappointing, to see Channel 9 so actively promoting the company's activities.

This is so wrong on many levels. The actual promotion of gambling is bad enough; there are a lot of people in Australia who have problems with an addiction without it being forced down their throat whilst trying to watch our supposed national game. However, in light of the ongoing problems with match-fixing, it appears the height of hypocrisy for Channel 9 to be so openly promoting betting.

Surrounding the cricket grounds this summer is advertising material for Betfair. I have no drama with this. It is clear and transparent. However, the appalling actions of Channel 9 are beyond the pale.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Gregorys - Chapter Four

Thursday the 15 March 1877 is now recognised as the first day of test cricket history. Whether the Victorian organizers deliberately chose the Ides of March as the starting date has not been recorded, but it is nicely symbolic of the colonies’ desire to ambush the mother country. Although the use of the term ‘Test Match’ can be found as early as 1862, that designation was not ascribed to this game at the time. In fact, it was not until an Australian journalist, Clarence Moody, decided to unilaterally confer it with this status in the 1890s that the concept of test matches became universally accepted.

The Melbourne Cricket Club had clearly gone to great lengths for this game, with a large circular marquee to the south of the two- storeyed stands, with rows of banked seats further complementing the permanent grandstand. Lillywhite’s team were impressed by the ground and its accommodation for spectators, considering it “unapproached by anything we can point to back home”. As with many famous historical events, the momentous nature of this game was not recognised at the time by the locals, with a disappointing crowd of only just over one thousand spectators arriving for the start of the game.

Lillywhite’s team had only arrived back in Melbourne from their New Zealand tour on the 14 March. Originally, they were meant to arrive back three days prior to the beginning of the match against the Combined team, but their ship was delayed en route back to Australia. Reports regarding the voyage also indicate that the English tourists were exposed to very sub-standard accommodation on the vessel, with some choosing to sleep under the stars rather than venture below decks. It is clear that a number of the players were badly affected by only arriving in Australia the day before the match. While many were still decidedly unwell by the start of the game, with only eleven available men, no replacements were possible.

The captains of the respective teams met to toss the coin on what was a sunny and warm Autumn morning. Dave Gregory won the first ever toss in Test cricket and, following wisdom that still prevails today, decided to bat first. The quality of the pitch is hard to judge but it was considered “under-prepared and almost grassless” by some of the observers. The two umpires for the game were Melbourne locals Curtis Reid and Richard Terry, both of whom played first class cricket for Victoria. The Australian and English representatives agreed that the timeless match would be played under the four ball per over rule, but the hours of play were less clear.

Some reports indicate that they were determined to be nominally from 10am to 2pm each day. This did not transpire, however, as the first day of Test cricket actually started at approximately 1.05pm. The Melbourne Argus had written that the game would commence at 10.00am, and consequently some spectators turned up on the first day approximately three hours before play eventually got underway.

The English team took the ground resplendent in white flannels and cravats. The round-arm bowler Alfred Shaw opened the bowling for the English side, with the twenty-five year old Charles Bannerman taking strike. Bannerman, one of six English born players in the combined colonies team, had moved to Australia with his parents at the age of two. He had first played for the Warwick Club in Sydney during the 1866/67 season, and following good performance, Bannerman made his inter-colonial debut against Victoria in 1871. Over the following six years, he established a reputation in both New South Wales and Victoria as the pre-eminent batsman in the country. Described as “the best batsman in Australia, hits brilliantly all round” in Cohen’s NSW Cricketer’s Guide for 1877/78, Bannerman was only a small man measuring only about five foot six inches in height. He was another of the players who had been coached extensively by Caffyn and was renown for his excellent strokeplay and in particular his powerful driving.

Bannerman had the privilege of scoring the first run in Test cricket cutting the second ball from Shaw for one. Bannerman’s opening partner was Nat Thomson and he became the first wicket in Test cricket, when he was bowled by Shaw’s opening partner Hill for 1. The opening partnership had been only 2, but Bannerman and the new batsman Horan pushed the score along steadily. During this period of time Bannerman badly miscued a short ball from Shaw before he reached double figures; Armitage, however, spilled the easy chance at mid-off.

The score had reached 40 just before the lunch break when Horan was caught by Hill off Shaw. This brought the Australian captain Dave Gregory to the crease. He immediately got off the mark with a single from Shaw’s bowling, but he then proceeded to be run out by Jupp. The lunch break at 2.00pm saw Australia at 3 for 41, with Bannerman on 27. Cooper joined Bannerman, who was increasing in confidence rapidly. Cooper held up his end determinedly, while Bannerman started to show why he was rated the best batsman in Australia. They had a partnership of 77, of which Cooper only contributed 15. Bannerman was by now “driving dominatingly and scoring freely to most of the field”. Cooper’s dismissal by Southerton, who at age 49 years and 119 days is still the oldest test debutant, brought Midwinter to the wicket.

Bannerman and Midwinter had pushed the score on from 118 to 135 when, at approximately 4.25p.m., Bannerman scored the run that gave him the first century in test cricket. Midwinter fell soon afterwards for 5, and was followed quickly afterwards by Dave Gregory’s older brother Ned, who recorded the first duck in test cricket. By the close of play at 5 p.m., Australia had lost six wickets for 166, but without Bannerman’s unbeaten score of 126, it is hard to imagine what their total may have been. While Shaw had been the most successful bowler on the day, Ulyett had shown why he was rated by many judges as the fastest bowler in England. He had struck a number of the Australian batsmen during the day, and had made good use of the variable bounce in the pitch. Estimates of the day’s attendance are unreliable and vary from report to report, but the news of Bannerman’s efforts spread through Melbourne and it is believed that a total of around 4,500 spectators eventually turned up on this first day. At the conclusion of the day’s play, the two teams met up for dinner and went to the opera to finish off the evening.

Bannerman and Blackham resumed their innings the next day at a quarter to one, and took the score off through to 197 before Southerton bowled Blackham for 17. It was looking increasingly likely that Bannerman would carry his bat through the innings when Tom Garrett, an eighteen year old picked to open the bowling and who was to become the great–grandfather of Midnight Oil singer and Commonwealth Parliamentarian Peter Garrett, joined Bannerman and batted with a maturity beyond his years. He was second top score with an undefeated 18, and had assisted Bannerman to progress the score through to 240 when Ulyett literally struck a vital blow. Apart from his early let-off Bannerman had batted without error, but a quick delivery from Ulyett jumped from just short of a good length and struck him on the right hand. This blow split open his index finger and Bannerman had to retire hurt. Batting gloves in 1877 did not provide very effective protection to the batsman’s hands, and finger injuries such as this were not uncommon. Bannerman had scored 165, a massive contribution towards the Australian total. The innings folded quickly after Bannerman’s exit, with Kendall and Hodges only adding another five leave Australia with an eventual total of 245.

The magnitude of Bannerman’s performance can be seen by the fact that he contributed a phenomenal 67.3% of the team total, a record for Test cricket that still stands. His score of 165 is over nine times higher than the next best effort, which also remains unsurpassed in completed innings. The Argus was justifiable excited by this effort, and started a public campaign for a Charles Bannerman subscription at the end of the second day. This collection raised approximately £83 or half a pound for each run he scored. The opposition were also impressed, with Lillywhite declaring that “he had seen as good a display of batting in England, but never better”.

The English team started their reply at approximately 3.30pm with Jupp and Selby facing the Australian opening bowlers Hodges and Garrett. They put on a partnership of 23 before Selby was caught by Cooper off the bowling of Hodges for 7. The innings of Lillywhite’s team then followed a similar pattern to the Australians, with the opening batsman Jupp batting solidly whilst his partners fell about him. At the end of the second day England were 4 for 109, with Jupp undefeated on 54. Surprisingly, the crowd for day two was slightly less than the first, with only about four thousand turning up to see Bannerman continue his innings. The second day had provided slightly better value for money for those who attended, with a total of 188 runs for seven wickets comparing with 166 runs and six wickets on the first. With Bannerman’s hand injury preventing him from fielding, the Melbourne Cricket Club’s professional W. Newing acted in his steed as no twelfth men were nominated for either side.

The start of the third day at a quarter past twelve saw Armitage joining Jupp at the crease, but the batter Jupp was soon dismissed for 63 by Garrett. A valuable 35 not out by Hill batting at no. 9 managed to push England’s score towards 200, but their final total of 196 gave Australia a very useful lead of 49 in a low scoring game. The scoring rates of both teams were almost identical, with Australia scoring at 36 runs per hundred balls, whereas England were infinitesimally slower at 35.9. Allrounder Billy Midwinter became the first player to take five wickets in an innings in test cricket, with 5 for 78 off fifty four overs. Dave Gregory rotated his bowlers well, and showed that the faith of the Victorians had not been misplaced. He showed no favour towards his fellow New South Welshmen, and used all of the bowlers judiciously. His astute field placements were also unexpected by the English sides, who had been anticipating less sophisticated captaincy from a man who had never led his state team.

In spite of his injury, Bannerman insisted upon taking his place at the top of the order. With his hand swathed in bandages, Bannerman manfully attempted to recreate his first innings form, but Ulyett’s pace quickly proved too much for him. Bannerman was bowled for 4, with only 7 on the board, and without a repeat of his first innings dominance, Australia finished the third day at 9 for 83. Dave Gregory showed his willingness to experiment by changing the batting order, with Garrett rewarded for his first innings heroics by switching places with Gregory and batting at no. 4. This sadly did not work, with Garrett being dismissed without scoring and Dave not doing much better with only 3. Horan made 20, Midwinter 17 and Ned Gregory made 11, but the rest of the rest of the team did not contribute significantly. The general consensus in the papers was that England should manage to win the game easily on the next day.

The third day had seen by far the greatest audience at the match, with in excess of ten thousand spectators. After a rest day to observe the Sabbath, the game resumed on Monday and the attendance fell back to the levels of the previous week with around two thousand people turning up to see an expected England victory. The last pair of Kendall and Hodges resumed at twenty past twelve with the total at 83, and they frustrated the English team by adding another 21. Hodges was eventually bowled by Lillywhite for 8, with Kendall finishing with 17 not out. Shaw underlined his status as the premier bowler in England, taking a very economical 5 for 38 off 34 overs. He bowled very well in partnership with Ulyett and Hill, and no Australian batsman looked comfortable against their attack. Australia’s total of 104 meant that England only required 154 to win, a score that was not expected to trouble them. Dave Gregory and his side were not of this opinion, and came out determined to make them struggle for every run. The pitch was getting more and more difficult to bat upon, and it seemed that the Australian team was in a good position to win.

Dave showed his experience and cricketing brain again by changing the opening bowlers for the second innings. Left-armer Tom Kendall had only taken 1 for 54 in the first innings, but Dave had noticed that none of the English players appeared totally comfortable in playing him. Kendall opened the bowling with Midwinter, and they bowled almost unchanged throughout the innings. Lillywhite also changed his tactics, with Hill and Greenwood replacing Jupp and Selby as the openers. The reasons for this change are unclear, but it is possible that Lillywhite hoped that the hard-hitting Hill would get England off to a fast start. Regardless of the rationale behind it, the switch in order was a mistake for England, with Kendall dismissing both openers with only 7 on the board. When first innings stalwart Jupp fell lbw to Midwinter for 4, England were 3 for 20. This quickly became 4 for 22, with Kendall bowling Charlwood for 13.

Australia had rapidly become favoured to win, but a sensible partnership between Selby and Ulyett pushed the score through to 62. Kendall managed to achieve the breakthrough by bowling Ulyett for 24. Shaw also fell to Kendall soon afterwards, becoming his fifth wicket, and all on what was his first class debut as he had never been selected for Victoria. Armitage quickly settled in, however, and Selby continued on without too many problems. Feeling that his team was losing the initiative, Dave Gregory switched his bowlers around and this saw prompt results with Hodges getting Selby caught by Horan for 38. With the loss of Selby at 92, the remainder of the English innings fell away quickly, and they were dismissed for 108. Kendall was the undoubted star, taking 7 for 55 off 33.1 overs to back up his 17 not out earlier in the day. The combined Australian side had triumphed over the English side by 45 runs, a result that was as critical for the development of test cricket as it was unexpected.

The victory of Dave Gregory’s team was greeted with jubilation in the colonies, with the newspapers in both Melbourne and Sydney reporting with great glee the defeat of the English side. The Sydney Daily News used the occasion to send a patronizing message back to London, declaring that “It may console them to note that the English race is not disintegrating in a distant land and on turf where lately the blackfellow hurled his boomerang.” The Australasian was highly effusive, saying that :

“The victory of the Australian Eleven over the English cricketers is no ordinary triumph. For the first time a team representing the cricketing prowess of England has been beaten on equal terms out of that country. The event marks the great improvement which has taken place in Australian cricket; and shows, also, that in bone as muscle, activity, athletic vigour, and success in field sports, the Englishmen born in Australia do not fall short of the Englishmen born in Surrey or Yorkshire.”

Whilst Dave Gregory had previously not had a happy time playing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for New South Wales, this victory made up for much of that anguish. The Argus newspaper reported that the leadership of Dave was the difference between two evenly matched sides.

To celebrate their win, the Victorian Cricket Association presented a gold medal to each player, with Dave Gregory being awarded a slightly larger medallion in recognition of his role as captain. In addition to the subscription list for Bannerman, Blackham and Kendall were also the recipients of collections of approximately £23 each. The takings from this first game exceeded all expectations, and the two teams agreed to meet again at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in a fortnight for a re-match. It was agreed that this game would be for the benefit of Lillywhite’s team, and, following the success of Australia in the first game, it was expected that the match would be a financial windfall for Lillywhite’s team prior to their return home.

Not all of the publicity surrounding the game was positive, and there was some gloating by the local media, with some disparaging remarks about the strength of Lillywhite’s side. The Australasian claimed that the team was by far the weakest to have ever played in the colonies, and that the bowling attack lacked penetration:

“If Ulyett, Emmett and Hill are fair specimens of the best fast bowling in England, all we can say is, either they have not been in their proper form in this Colony or British bowling has sadly deteriorated”.

There were also a number of rumours circulated throughout Melbourne claiming that the English side had deliberately lost the game in order to increase the attendance at the second game.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Gregorys - Chapter Three

While two other English teams had toured Australia since the first led by HH Stephenson in the early 1860s, it was James Lillywhite’s tour of Australia in 1876/77 that has since been recognized as providing the start of Test cricket. As with all English teams that toured Australia prior to the M.C.C.’s involvement in 1903, Lillywhite’s side was organized privately and was not considered an official English representative side when it left.

Lillywhite, a left hand slow-medium pace bowler and lower order batsman, had previously toured North America in 1868 and was a member of W.G. Grace’s 1873/74 side to Australia. He was a member of a well-respected family within English cricketing circles. Although he was the son of a bricklayer, John Lillywhite, his uncle Frederick and cousins James snr. and John Lillywhite also all played first class cricket in England professionally. The family’s Lillywhite Cricketers’ Annual rivalled Wisden as the pre-eminent ‘bible’ of the game for many years. By 1877, he was thirty five years old and had considerable experience in first class cricket. He had made his debut in 1862 for Sussex, and ultimately played a total of 256 first class games.

The twelve member team that Lillywhite brought out was composed entirely of professional players from only four counties. Joining Lillywhite from Sussex were Henry Charlwood and James Southerton, with Thomas Armitage, Tom Emmet, Andrew Greenwood, Allan Hill and George Ulyett from Yorkshire, Henry Jupp and Edwin Pooley from Surrey, and John Selby and Alfred Shaw from Nottinghamshire. Shaw was the vice-captain of the touring party, and also acted as the assistant manager. Shaw had been previously been invited to tour Australia by Grace, but had chosen not to take part.

The Lillywhite tour was arranged in conjunction with Victorian player and journalist John Conway, and was financed by a wealthy English farmer, Arthur Hogben. The players all agreed to tour for a total of one hundred and fifty pounds a man, with a share of profits taken from the matches. The only exception was the Alfred Shaw who asked for and received three hundred pounds in return for his role as assistant manager. One of main reasons Shaw had not chosen to take part in the 1873/74 related to the second-class travel arrangements for all professionals, with only the amateurs receiving first class passage. With this tour being composed entirely of professionals, Lillywhite organized that they all travelled and stayed first-class. The team’s sea voyage to Australia took forty eight days on the P & O steamship Poonah, with stops in Malta, Suez and King George’s Sound at Albany to refill with coal.

As the tour was only composed of professionals, many of the greatest English batsmen were not present. For a period of ten years between 1871 and 1880, the top English batsmen were exclusively amateurs. Grace, who had captained the touring party of Australia four years previously in 1873, was without doubt the most famous cricketer in the world, and his first class record over this period of 16,877 runs at an average of just under 49 was almost 18 runs better than his nearest rival. Other notable players of the age who did not tour with Lillywhite included Lord Harris, Arthur Shrewsbury, the Hon. Alfred Lyttleton, Allan Steel, ‘Monkey’ Hornby, Richard Barlow, and Alfred Lucas. Grace’s brothers G.F. and E.M. also were famous non-starters; in fact Fred Grace was proposing a rival tour to Lillywhite’s that did not eventuate. The fact that Fred Grace’s team did not transpire was highly significant; with another English team touring Australia in parallel it is unlikely that a game with Lillywhite’s XI would have afterwards been given the status of the inaugural Test match.

Despite the unavailability of players of this, it was a side of seasoned and well performed professional players, with Alfred Shaw considered the premier bowler in England and Edward Pooley the best wicketkeeper in the country. Prior to the tour the English expectations were that they would not be troubled greatly by the colonies. Lillywhite’s team struggled on the tour, losing first to a New South Wales XV by two wickets, then to a Victorian XV by 31 runs, and finally to another New South Wales XV. The Melbourne Punch magazine became somewhat overconfident at this point, putting forward a somewhat tongue-in-cheek view that in a decade an Australian XI would be playing against an All England XV.

With these victories, the Victorian Cricket Association was sufficiently confident as to consider that the time had come for a match to take place against combined colonial team on even terms, with eleven per side. Their enthusiasm was dampened a little with an impressive performance by Lillywhite’s side in a game against a New South Wales XI, but it was decided to progress with a Combined NSW-Victoria XI against the All England XI. This game was set down to begin on the 15th of March, 1877. Lillywhite agreed to this additional match, and whilst his side headed to New Zealand for a two month tour, the hard work of organizing the combined eleven began. Conway, who had been the key Australian contact in planning the Lillywhite tour, was instrumental in the coordination of this game that was initially referred to by the media as the “grand combination match.”

In 1877, the federation of Australia was still almost twenty five years in the future. When the British first settled Australia in 1788, all the land was referred to as New South Wales. New settlements such as Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) in 1803, Moreton Bay (Brisbane) in 1824, and Port Phillip (Melbourne) in 1835 were established over the next few decades. Whilst these were overseen from Sydney initially, the new colonies complained of neglect and demanded their right to govern themselves. The British Government’s Australian Colonies Government Act of 1850 empowered the colonies to frame their own constitutions, establish legislation and determine the voting rights for legislation. In 1851, Victoria gained its legislation under this act, and this development created further divisions and differences. Victoria and New South Wales viewed themselves as adversaries, rather than as a potential coalition. Some of this enmity arose from the fact that Sydney had originated as a penal settlement, while Melbourne was composed of free settlers. Both states tended to view the other with considerable suspicion, with inter-colonial trade barriers and tariffs greatly restricting free commerce between the two states. There were also significant complications associated with varying navigation, insurance and quarantine laws, postal services, the gauge of railway lines and banking. Even though New South Wales was the most populous state, Victoria was quickly closing the gap and was becoming the centre of many important manufacturing and commercial enterprises, a situation that led to considerable jealousy on the part of politicians in Sydney.

With a considerable amount of inter-colonial rivalry ever present, the naming of a mutually acceptable side was always going to prove a difficult exercise. As a compromise, it was initially conceived that the team would be composed of six players from New South Wales and five from Victoria. The Victorians, and Conway in particular, bypassed the New South Wales Cricket Association and approached the Sydney-based players directly to take part. That Association was clearly disgruntled at being ignored, and issued the following resolution: “It has been publicly notified that a game is about to be played between the All-England Eleven and a combined eleven of New South Wales and Victoria. This association desires to place on record that the game has been arranged without any reference to the association, and cannot be regarded as a match in which chosen representatives of NSW take part.” As one of the most respected and senior players in Sydney, Dave Gregory, in particular, was subject to considerable pressure from the NSW cricket authorities not to take part in a game lacking their direct sanction.

One of the first problems facing the organizers was agreeing upon a ground on which to hold the match. As the game was being organized by the Victorian Cricketers’ Association, the Melbourne Cricket Club’s Richmond Paddock was the obvious choice. The only problem was that Lillywhite had agreed prior to the tour commencing to play his matches on the East Melbourne Club’s main ground. This was the result of the proposed rival tour by G.F Grace that had booked the Melbourne Cricket Ground before Lillywhite could. Conway examined the options for Lillywhite, with five recreational grounds in the East Melbourne area. In addition to the Melbourne Cricket Club’s Richmond Paddock, there were also established pitches at Richmond Cricket Oval, Gosch’s Paddock, and two ovals run by the East Melbourne Club. With the Melbourne Cricket Ground pre-booked by Grace’s tour, East Melbourne was the next-best option Conway to organize for Lillywhite. Ultimately it would not have been an issue, as Fred Grace’s tour did not go ahead, but the agreement to play games at the East Melbourne Ground had been signed before Grace cancelled his plans.

Changing the location of the game from East Melbourne to the Melbourne Cricket Ground would not appear difficult. There were, however, a variety of factors that added to the problems facing the organizers. The Melbourne and East Melbourne Clubs were in the middle of a protracted dispute regarding the allocation of gate money, and they had refused to play each other that year in the Melbourne club competition. The East Melbourne Club’s committee regarded it as a major coup to have captured the rights for the Lillywhite matches, and they were not going to relinquish them easily. The Melbourne Cricket Club had established a monopoly over major cricketing contests, and the East Melbourne Club viewed the Lillywhite tour as an opportunity to break this domination.

This competition between the two clubs threatened to derail the match before it even started. The fight was carried out in public, with both sides acting through the newspapers, with threats made of legal action. There was a significant amount of negotiation before a compromise was finally reached between the various parties, with Lillywhite paying East Melbourne a total of 230 pounds and allowing their five hundred members into the Melbourne Cricket Ground free on each day of the match. The East Melbourne Club were not idle at this time, as they quickly aligned themselves with the Victorian Football Association which had formed in 1877. Their ground became the headquarters of the Essendon Football Club only a few years later in 1880. In an interesting aside, the Lillywhite Cricketer’s Companion starting publishing the averages of the East Melbourne Cricket Club’s players in the Melbourne Pennant Competition, a practice that continued well into the 1880s. Whether this was part of an unofficial agreement between Lillywhite and the East Melbourne Club or simply a strange idiosyncrasy remains a mystery.

The Melbourne Cricket Club had just built a new grandstand at their ground Richmond Paddock at a cost of £4678. As was common at the time, the stand was constructed in a manner that allowed the seating to be rearranged to permit spectators to watch cricket on the Melbourne Cricket ground in summer, and football on the adjacent Yarra Park in winter. In 1876, the prevailing wisdom was that the one ground could not cope with the stresses of both football and cricket, so a multi-directional stand was essential. The grandstand, with a capacity of two thousand people, greatly added to the comfort provided to spectators, and also allowed for increased revenue over the following years for the Melbourne Cricket Club.

Whilst the ground was finally organized and ready, the combined team had also proved difficult to confirm. Ted Evans from New South Wales was considered one of the leading all-rounders in the country and an automatic selection, but he declined a position because of the pressure of business. His withdrawal resulted in the initial selection of Charles Bannerman, Fred Spofforth, Tom Garrett, Nat Thomson and the two Gregory Brothers, Dave and Ned as the six New South Welshmen in the team.

The team faced further immediate problems with Spofforth refusing to play unless Billy Murdoch was selected to keep wicket instead of the Victorians’ choice of Jack Blackham. Spofforth believed that only Murdoch, his New South Wales wicketkeeper, understood his bowling well enough. The selectors did not give in to this blackmail, so Spofforth, a man of his word, withdrew from the side. The loss of Evans and Spofforth was then compounded by the last minute withdrawal of Victorian Frank Allan, a left armer considered highly enough to have attracted the sobriquet of “bowler of the century”. Allan, who had originally consented to play and had received time off work from his position with the Lands Department at Warrnambool in Western Victoria, later changed his mind and instead decided to meet up with friends at the Warrnambool Agricultural Fair. While the idea of a current Test player deciding to miss a game because he wanted to visit a fair is inconceivable, it does underline the fact that this game was not viewed at the time as the start of international Test cricket as we know it today.

The final eleven players who took the field were Charles Bannerman, John Blackham, Bransby Cooper, Tom Garrett, Dave Gregory, Ned Gregory, Jack Hodges, Tom Horan, Tom Kendall, Billy Midwinter and Nat Thomson. There is still some confusion regarding the exact identity of Hodges, with some sources referring to J.R. and others to J.H. It is now considered that the individual in question is John Robert Hodges. It is believed that the confusion may have arisen around five years later, when John Henry Hodges umpired in the 1884/85 Melbourne Test Match. During this period many umpires were also current first class cricketers, and in the years following J.R. and J.H. Hodges were mistakenly assumed to be the same person. Likewise, Nat Thomson’s surname is often spelt as Thompson in many records.

Of the final eleven players, only five were native born in Australia. This was perhaps not surprising, as in 1871 only 60% of people in Australia were born there. In contrast to the initial plan, Victorians outnumbered New South Welshman by six to five. This was of particular importance, as the players chose the captain, and in light of the inter-colonial rivalry, it would not have been unexpected that the Victorian dominance would result in the selection of one of their own. Spofforth wrote in 1894 that he doubted

“if Englishmen will ever understand the spirit of rivalry that runs high between the colonies of Victoria and New South Wales. The spirit is not limited to the field, it extends to politics, to society, to every side of life, indeed, in which the two are brought into contact with one another’”.

Lillywhite had commented on the previous 1873/74 tour with Grace that the inter-colonial rivalries weakened the on-field performances of the sides. This level of antagonism can be further seen by the views of Charles Bannerman a few years later. The team was travelling by steamer along the coast of New Zealand and Bannerman, a strong swimmer, was asked who he would save in the event of the boat sinking. He replied that he would help his brother Alec, then Billy Murdoch and Fred Spofforth. When asked about the Victorian members of the squad, he said “Let them drown. Do you think I am going to risk my life for them?” In light of this prevailing attitude, it is even more extraordinary that Dave Gregory from New South Wales was nominated unanimously to lead this first ever combined eleven.

The influence of Conway on this decision is difficult to determine, but it is clear that he played a role. Conway had previously been very impressed by Dave’s clear thinking and capacity to remain calm under pressure. In a letter he wrote to a relative a few years before, he commented that “he not only looked the part, he was the part. Dave Gregory would be ideal to lead a combined colonies team against England.” In his capacity as the Australian organizer of this match, Conway was in a position to exert his influence over any decision made in respect to the makeup of the team. The other potential candidate for the captaincy was Bransby Cooper, a very experienced cricketer who had previously led Victoria in inter-colonial games. It is possible that Conway considered the appointment of a Victorian may have led to a division between within the team. Regardless of this possibility, however, it is clear that the players themselves were also fully supportive of Dave’s selection as captain.

In an interview with Dave’s daughter Pearl, noted cricket author Ray Robinson heard how happy Dave had been to be nominated for the role of captain.

“It always pleased father to recall that his fellow players elected him captain for the first of all test matches. Yes, the Victorians elected him as the match was in Melbourne.”

It seems clear that the personality and disposition of Dave Gregory are some of the primary reasons explaining why he was, with no prior captaincy experience, named as the leader of a combined team in a period of extreme rivalry between the colonies. His ability to lead other workers had been identified early on in the Auditor-General Department, and clearly his manner and ability to inspire others was a key factor in his selection as captain.

His father, Edward, had instilled into all of his children the need to be careful students of the game, and Dave had shown his ability to both read the game and to adapt to changing conditions. Gregory and Billy Caffyn had spent a considerable amount of time discussing tactics and strategies over the years. More than this though, it was obvious that Dave had the respect of all his fellow players. He had been representing New South Wales for over a decade, and at age 32, had the maturity and knowledge to back his self-confidence. Author Harry Hedley noted that “whilst Gregory’s performances did not look statistically great, he was seen as one of the key players in the NSW side”. Hedley’s description of Dave as “one of the foremost cricketers in New South Wales and one of the most popular in both colonies” again reinforced the prevailing view of him as a highly respected figure in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Noted Australian literary figure, A.B. (Banjo) Paterson was a passionate cricket lover and watched the game develop with a keen interest. He got to know many of the cricketers of the time, and his observations of Dave are especially interesting.

“I remember Dave Gregory, the captain of the first Australian eleven, black-bearded, high-shouldered, remarkably like the English captain Grace and with a good deal of Grace’s invincible self-confidence. We hear a lot about temperament nowadays but neither Grace nor Gregory was afflicted with any temperament, not so that you could notice it.”

This comparison with W.G. Grace is an interesting one, and underlines the respect that Dave was held in by his peers and the community in general. Frank Iredale, a noted Australian test player of the 1890s, summed up the feeling of the youth of Sydney towards Dave:

“I can turn my mind back to the days when his presence in the field mean as much to me, and no doubt thousands of other boys of Australia, as the name of W.G. Grace did to the boys of England.”

While his personal batting and bowling statistics were not overly impressive, it is clear that he had faith in the abilities of both himself and his team. It is worth remembering that in spite of Lillywhite’s teams poor performances on the tour, it was generally expected, both in Australia and back in England, that they would not be greatly troubled in overcoming the combined team. Dave’s confidence, and his ability to instill this self-belief in his players would go a long way towards determining whether this team would be able to compete on an equal level to the English side.

The organizers of the Australian team were not alone in having difficulties in arranging a side for the game. Lillywhite’s touring party had problems of their own to overcome. After their game against New South Wales, they had travelled to New Zealand for a series of matches. This segment was always a planned component of the tour, with the subsequent return to Australia for the Test match an addition to the original schedule. The tour was a difficult one for Lillywhite’s side. They did not lose a game against teams varying in number of eighteen to twenty two by winning six and drawing the other two, but financially it was a disaster for Lillywhite. The team’s assistant manager, Alfred Shaw, wrote an account of the tour, and mention was made of substandard accommodation and trying travelling conditions.

One particular incident has gained considerable coverage over the years, with the team coach nearly coming to grief in Otira Gorge. What the driver thought was a shallow ford was actually a swiftly running river. The four horses pulling the coach collapsed in mid-stream, and the players had to get out to help the horses ashore. Once there, the drenched players had to walk to the nearest town to find shelter for the night. No players were injured in this undoubtedly frightening experience, but that was considered more a matter of good fortune than anything else.

The troubles of Lillywhite’s team was not over, with one of their key members arrested. The team’s one and only wicketkeeper, Pooley, was charged in Otago for malicious damage to property above the value of £5, and also of assault. This story has been recounted many times, but it is worth recapping as it had a major impact upon the side Lillywhite was able to select for the game against the Australian combined side.

Pooley was detained in Otago to await trial, and whilst he received bail of £100, the remainder of the side did not see him again on the tour. This situation arose as the result of Pooley taking a side bet in the game against the Eighteen of Canterbury played against at Christchurch from the 26 to 28 February, 1877. Pooley offered any takers a bet in which he would name the individual score that each player of the opposition would get. For those he got correct he would be paid £1, and for each one he got wrong he would pay 1 shilling. A local by the name of Ralph Donkin felt this was too good an opportunity to miss, and agreed to the bet. Pooley promptly named a duck against each player of the opposition, and with a fair proportion of the eighteen failing to score in the match, Pooley finished substantially in front in respect to the wager. Donkin refused to pay up, and the subsequent argument led to a violent confrontation and damage to fixtures.

Pooley, and his fellow co-accused, a team assistant by the name of Alf Bramall, had to stand trial in at the Supreme Court in Christchurch on the 6 April, and therefore they were not able to travel with the rest of the team to Australia. This left Lillywhite without his regular wicketkeeper, and bearing in mind that the original touring party had twelve members, only eleven available players. Eventually Pooley and Bramall were both found not guilty on all charges, and whilst Pooley received a gold ring and a share of a £50 subscription from members of the New Zealand public for his ordeal, the Surrey wicketkeeper made the journey back to England having missed the change to play in the first ever test.

The loss of Pooley left Lillywhite with an easy decision regarding the makeup of his side the match. The remaining eleven members of the touring party were automatic selections. Jupp was expected to fill in for Pooley as the wicketkeeper as he had some previous experience, but he was suffering from an inflammation of the eyes and Selby took on the role instead. The general feeling of the newspapers of the day was that this team would prove far too strong for the combined colonies team. The absence of many of their great batsmen was counterbalanced by the fact that Lillywhite had a formidable pace bowling trio of Shaw, Hill and Ulyett that was as strong as any combination England could have mustered. Public enthusiasm for the game had dropped following the earlier victories against Lillywhite’s team, and there did not appear much hope that the combined side would be able to compete on even terms.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Gregorys - Chapter Two

Dave Gregory

The birth of Edward and Mary Gregory’s third son in 1845 occurred at a time of considerable change for the colony of New South Wales. Sir George Gipps was nearing the end of his eight years as governor, with public criticism and opposition to his land and education policies leading to his replacement by Sir Charles FitzRoy. Australia’s main cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide were scattered ports that relied largely on sea-borne communication. There were no operative passenger railways and no telegraph system. Each of the colonies were keen to maintain its independence, it being clear that a British push for federation would fail. The schism between the colonies was such that the press in each centre actively promoted the separation of the colonies, primarily away from the control of the Governor residing in Sydney.

In spite of these differences, the various colonies were about to enter a period of prosperity. The 1840s was a period of depression with a severe drought and financial downturn, but the discovery of gold and the changing face of industrialization meant that Sydney and Melbourne began a period of prosperity. This change in the fortunes of the colonies, associated with the large-scale immigration of gold hunters, provided the perfect stimulus for the development of inter-colony cricket matches. The timing of this change was ideal for children of Edward Gregory, providing opportunities for them that their father’s generation never had.

David William Gregory was born on the 15th of April, 1845 in Fairy Meadow, near Wollongong, eighty kilometres south of Sydney. He was the seventh child of Edward and Mary and lived his early life at the Government School House in Wollongong. Dave led a normal childhood for the age, with games of cricket with his brothers a standard part of his upbringing. His father, Edward’s, enthusiasm for the game ensured that Dave and all his siblings, both male and female, were instructed in the basics of the game.

Dave’s early years included education at firstly at Mr McDonald’s Private School at Underwood’s Paddock in Paddington, and then at the St James Church of England School in Sydney. The Governor of the Colony, Sir William Dennison, presented medals for meritorious conduct to pupils at the school, and during the presentation ceremony, he informed the male students that if they were able to gain good results in their studies, a job would be made available for them. The fifteen year old Dave Gregory listened to the speech carefully, and took the Governor at his word. After he received a medal for meritorious conduct in 1860, he went to government house and informed the Governor that “I’ve come about that job, sir”. His audacity was rewarded with a place as a probationer in the Auditor-General Department, starting in January 1861, and he was appointed as a Clerk in May. Dave moved to Paddington in Sydney, living initially with his brother Ned.

Dave’s cricket career began in the 1860s playing in the Domain with his brothers. The Governor of the time, Sir William Denison, along with two other cricket enthusiasts, William Tunks and Al Park, had all donated five pounds each in order to develop a pitch suitable for play. This was achieved with hard work, shovels and a spirit level to ensure its flatness. Dave played games along with his brothers Ned, Walter, Charlie and Arthur for the National Club against other teams of the time, such as the Currency Lass Hotel, which was composed of Australian-born players, or varying teams of regimental cricketers. He made his debut in Sydney cricket for the National Club as a 17 year old in November 1862. He struggled to make an impression over the next few years, and had dropped back to the National’s second XI by 1865.

Dave Gregory was very fortunate in that he had received regular coaching from his father Edward early on in his life. This instilled in him the basics of the game and held him in good stead throughout his career. As Dave grew up and progressed in the game, he attracted the attention of, and received ongoing instruction from, English player William Caffyn who was residing in Sydney at the time. Billy Caffyn was to play an integral role in the development of the standard of play in Australia and was instrumental in the progress of Dave’s cricketing career.

Caffyn was a professional cricketer, who had trained as a barber in England. He had a long professional career, playing for Surrey from 1849 to 1863. He toured Australia twice with English sides, initially with H.H. Stephenson’s team in 1861/62. Caffyn was a very fine batsmen, leading the English player’s batting averages on the 1861/62 tour with 419 runs at 23.27, and he also opened the bowling for the team with his round-arm deliveries. He returned with George Parr’s team in 1863/64, the only player from Stephenson’s side who was selected to come back again for the second tour. Photographs of Caffyn show him batting with only the one glove, located on his bottom, right hand.

Caffyn was attracted to stay in Australia at the conclusion of the Parr tour, through an offer to coach with the Melbourne Cricket Club. The sum on money that Caffyn was offered was three hundred pounds per annum, a very substantial amount for the time. Caffyn stayed in Victoria for the next year, but he was persuaded to move to Sydney for the 1865/66 season, with the lure of a hairdresser’s shop the incentive. The Melbourne Cricket Club were very considerate, allowing him out of his three year contract. He maintained this shop for the next six years in conjunction with his wife, until her ongoing ill-health necessitated their return to England in 1871. Caffyn had hoped that a move to Tasmania may have assisted his wife’s health, but a letter to the Hobart Cricket Association in 1869 was met with a flat rejection from their secretary.

As a coach, Caffyn never tried to make two players alike, allowing them to develop their skills naturally. This was in contrast to the other major coach in Australia at the time, another English professional Charles Lawrence, who encouraged all of his protégés to play back whenever possible. The efforts of Caffyn and Lawrence were largely responsible for closing the vast divide in cricketing ability that existed in the mid 1860s between Australia and the mother country. Lawrence is best remembered now for his organization of the first ever Australian team to tour England, the Aboriginal side of 1868, but he was also an outstanding player and coach in Victorian cricket.

By the age of twenty, Dave Gregory had developed into a very physically impressive individual. He stood six foot two inches tall (187cms), and weighed fourteen stone and four pounds (90.7kgs). His height was emphasised further by his straight back and upright bearing. In spite of this though, the most noticeable feature of Dave Gregory’s physical appearance was his magnificent beard. This aspect of his appearance no doubt took a few years to develop, but his whiskers became famous around the country and were as much his calling card as the facial hair that has adorned modern players such as Dennis Lillee and Merv Hughes.

Like his father Edward, Dave played for the Australian Club in Sydney. He was a natural right hander with both bat and ball, and whilst he was primarily a round-arm bowler in his early days, his batting was starting to develop under the guidance of William Caffyn. He worked hard on his game, and only a year after he had been dropped back the National’s second XI, Dave was selected to play his first game for NSW against Victoria. This match took place on his home ground of the Domain, and was a timeless match starting on the 26th of December, 1866. It took place a decade after the first ever inter-colony game between New South Wales and Victoria.

New South Wales captain Charles Lawrence won the toss and opted to send the Victorian team in. Dave bowled the first ball of the game to J.B. Turner, and one hundred minutes later the Victorian innings was over with only 74 runs on the board. Dave’s inaugural wicket in first class wicket was John Conway, the Victorian number three, caught by Lawrence. He finished with 3 for 36, whilst his fellow opening bowler Nathaniel Thomson took 3 for 33. They were the only two bowlers required in the innings, with the other four wickets all falling to run outs.

New South Wales had managed a lead of 19 runs at stumps on the first day, with six wickets still in hand. Dave batted at number eleven in the New South Wales innings, and Conway extracted his revenge by bowling him for a duck. New South Wales scored 145, with Dave’s mentor Caffyn top scoring with 24. Victoria went back in a second time, and performed even worse than in the first innings. Dave took 4 for 31, including both openers for only 2 runs, and Victoria were all out for 58. New South Wales had won by an innings and 13 runs, and with a total of eight thousand spectators watching, the timeless match had finished inside two days.

The Australian Club folded completely in September of 1867. Dave, along with his brothers, joined the Warwicks Club which immediately became the strongest team in Sydney. His reasons for joining Warwicks can only be guessed at, but the presence of William Caffyn at Warwicks was probably one of the major motivations. It was undoubtedly a good move for his batting, as the continuing assistance of Caffyn saw an ongoing improvement in Dave’s batting statistics. Dave moved up the order with Warwicks to start opening the batting. These changes were to show immediate benefit, with Dave and Charles Oliver combining for an opening partnership of 155 against the strong Alberts Club in his first season.

In the 1860s there were only spasmodic inter-colonial games, and it was therefore twelve months between Dave’s initial and second match. This was held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and was another timeless match that started on Boxing Day 1867. Lawrence again won the toss and asked Victoria to bat, but this time round the tactic was not as successful. Victoria totalled 252, with Dave bowling ten wicketless overs for thirty four runs. New South Wales reply commenced at the beginning of day two, and they were bowled out for only 158. Whilst Dave’s improved batting had seen him promoted from number eleven to number nine, the result was unfortunately the same, and he was dismissed by Tom Wills for a duck. New South Wales were asked to follow on, and whilst Dave was demoted to number eleven again, he finally managed to get his initial runs, remaining 2 not out in his side’s score of 173. Victoria were left with only 82 to win, a score they achieved with the loss of only three wickets, with Dave again went wicketless.

Whilst Dave’s cricket was intermittent for both Warwicks and New South Wales through the mid to late 1860s, his rise through the Auditor-General Department had started in earnest. His abilities as a clerk and his manner of dealing with both other employees and the public had brought him attention within the Auditor-General Department, and he was promoted to oversee the performance of other public servants within the department. His physical appearance was also gaining him attention, being known by many women around Sydney as “handsome Dave”. Photos of Dave show his facial hair to great effect, but they also reveal a stern expression. It would be easy to use this type of photograph now as an illustration of Dave’s strict nature and sober demeanor, but the technology of the day demanded a rigid expression be maintained for a prolonged period of time, and as such, all pictures tended to have a similar degree of seriousness.

The photos could not hide the glean in his brown eyes that hinted at the genial and fun loving personality that family members and friends said existed under a serious exterior. He was twenty two when he married Mary Ann Hitchings in the Paddington Church of England in 1867. This union was to produce them eleven children over the following twenty years. Their first child Sydney was born in 1869, and he was followed by Herbert (1871), Percy (1873), Albert (1875), Emmeline (1876), Leslie (1877), Coralie (1880), Arthur (1881), Pearl (1883), Alfred (1885) and Ruby (1887).

Dave’s next inter-colonial game took place at the Domain and was scheduled to last from the 4th to 6th of March, 1869. While Dave was picked primarily as a bowler, his improved batting performances for Warwicks had been noticed and he moved up to no. 7 in the New South Wales batting order. The home team batted first yet again, and Dave opened the bowling, taking one for ten off ten overs. Victoria collapsed dismally, only making sixty one. New South Wales responded to that with an impressive total of thirty seven all out. Dave second top scored from his place in the middle order, a feat less impressive than it appears as his innings was only 9.

Nonetheless, his batting must have been sufficiently impressive on this occasion to encourage his captain Joseph Coates to promote him to open the batting for New South Wales for the first time in their second innings. New South Wales were chasing 173 for victory, after dismissing Victory for 149. Dave had taken 4 for 34, and he then second top scored for the second time in the game. Once again it was not nearly enough, with Victoria winning by seventy eight runs. New South Wales were dismissed for under one hundred again, and Dave only managed 15 out of the team total of 95.

Dave’s next game for his state occurred nearly a year later on the 24 February, 1870. Throughout the first half of the game Dave’s performances were not impressive. He bowled only six wicketless overs in Victoria’s first innings of 181, and then scored 14 in New South Wales reply of 164. When Victoria batted again they managed the good total of 337, but New South Wales’ star was Dave Gregory who toiled away for almost twice as many overs as any other bowler. He took his first five wicket haul for fifty five runs off nearly forty four ball overs. Interestingly all five of his victims were bowled. New South Wales captain Charles Lawrence promoted Dave up the order to number three in the second innings, but the move failed with him being bowled for only 2. Victoria continued their dominance over New South Wales, winning by 265 runs.

Dave’s batting had continued to improve with the guidance and continuing instruction of William Caffyn and New South Wales captain Charles Lawrence. This betterment is reflected in his ever improving record with his club side in Sydney. His bowling was still very effective in 1871, with Dave winning the club averages with the impressive figure of 3.35 runs per wicket. In 1872 he again won the bowling averages with a slightly higher figure of 4.14 runs per wicket, but he also headed up the batting, averaging 25 runs an innings. He proved that this wasn’t a fluke by again winning the batting trophies in 1873.

In the match starting on the 9 March 1871, Dave showed his increasing abilities as an allrounder being selected to open both the batting and the bowling for New South Wales. The game was at the Albert Cricket Ground and whilst his team was at the wrong end of the score card four days later by 48 runs, Dave could be well satisfied with his first score of over fifty. His score of 51 helped New South Wales to a lead on the first innings, but the team collapsed second time round for only 84, with Dave’s contribution being 10.

In the game against Victoria commencing on the 30 March, 1872, Dave was selected to bat at number three and also open the bowling. Once again Victoria were the champions, this time to the tune of an innings and 26 runs. Dave had a less than successful game with scores of 11 and 7, and twenty two wicketless overs. Up to this point, the Melbourne Cricket Ground was a very unhappy place for Dave, with New South Wales losing every game played there. This was remedied in Dave’s next first class game on 26 December 1872, when he was selected to play against Victoria at the MCG for the Rest of Australia. The Rest was a combined side composed of eight players from New South Wales, three from South Australia and two from Tasmania. This composite team managed to provide Dave with his first win over Victoria since his initial first class game six years earlier, with victory coming by five wickets. The transition of Dave from a bowler to a batsman was becoming clearer; whilst he opened the batting in both innings for the Rest he only bowled a total of three overs out of the nearly two hundred bowled by the Rest in the game. Part of the reason for his reduction in bowling related to Dave being no-balled for throwing in the first innings by umpire George Curtis. Some of the gloss of the victory was removed as it was a game against the odds, with the Rest playing with thirteen against Victoria’s eleven. In spite of this discrepancy in numbers between the two teams, the game has been granted official first class status.

In 1873, W.G. Grace led a team of English players on a tour of Australia. All of the games in this tour were against the odds, and Dave Gregory played games against Grace’s team for the Eighteen of New South Wales and for a Combined Fifteen of New South Wales and Victoria. Dave’s performances with the bat led the Eighteen to a famous victory by eight wickets, with him top scoring for the match. His performances were not so noteworthy for the 15, and they collapsed to lose to Grace’s side by 218 runs. Dave, taught by his father to be a keen observer of the game, took notice of the tactics and techniques of English players, and in particular their fielding positions. This habit was one that would serve him well in the years to come.

Dave found himself at the middle of a dispute between two clubs regarding the use of the Military and Civil Ground which would later become the Sydney Cricket Ground. Dave was playing with the newly formed East Sydney Cricket Club, which had free use of the Military and Civil Ground. Another new club, the Civil Service Club asked Dave to join them as he was a civil servant, but he declined and remained with the East Sydney Club. The Civil Service Club used their influence within the government, and they gained the use of the Military and Civil Ground at the expense of the East Sydney Club. This caused a considerable amount of bad feeling, and it was perhaps ironic that the first team the Civil Service played in the 1874/75 season was East Sydney. Dave top-scored for East Sydney with a half century, and their total of 219 proved far too much for the Civil Service side, which could only score 59 and 44. The Sydney Mail’s comment at the time that “the Civil Service Club came in like a lion, and, if present appearances be any criterion, will probably retire lamb-like” proved remarkable accurate, with the Civil Service Club folding at the end of the season. Dave’s decision to remain loyal had been vindicated.

Over the next four years, Dave’s bowling at a first class level ceased almost completely. He played four first class games against Victoria over this period, bowling only in one of them. His batting continued to improve and he was recognised primarily as a stubborn and somewhat stodgy opening batsman, but one who could hit out strongly on occasions. His improved technique, still being honed with the assistance of fellow players such as Charles Bannerman, resulted in an excellent double in NSW victory over Victoria that started on the 25th of February, 1876. He scored 36 out of New South Wales’ total of 99; a score that was put into perspective by Victoria’s reply of only 37. Dave then drove New South Wales’ advantage home, by scoring his highest first class score of 74 in the second innings. Victoria’s reply of just 95 left New South Wales as convincing winners, with Dave’s contribution with the bat central to their victory.

Dave was selected to open the batting for New South Wales against a team of English tourists under the captaincy of J Lillywhite at the Albert Ground in a two day game starting on the 15 January, 1877. This game followed his participation in two unexpected wins against Lillywhite’s team, but both games were played against the odds. This match was on an even basis, and the English side regained a considerable amount of pride, even though the game ended in a draw. Lillywhite’s XI made 270 following the New South Wales captain Ted Evans choosing to field first. Dave failed in the first innings with only 3, and New South Wales could only total 82. New South Wales had to follow-on, and when time ran out they were 6 for 140 and still well short of avoiding an innings loss. Once again emphasizing Dave’s emergence as a batsman, he held together the New South Wales response through a patient and undefeated 53.

At the conclusion of this game, Dave had played a total of 12 first class games. He had accumulated the first class batting figures of 331 runs at an average of 15.76 with only three half centuries and a highest score of 74. Even taking into account the significantly lower batting performances of the age, his statistics did not compare well against other players. Dave’s bowling figures were more acceptable, having taken 21 wickets at the average of 16.19 with best figures of 5 for 55. The problem was that his bowling had become less penetrative in the previous few years, and there was still a nagging suspicion about the legitimacy of his action. Dave had never captained New South Wales, and yet the cricketing moment that would lead to his ongoing place in history was about to happen. He was named as the captain of the combined New South Wales and Victorian cricket team to take on the English XI in the game that was to be recognised as the inaugural Test match.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

References for The Gregorys

In response to Soulberry's request, here is an (currently incomplete) listing of the references used so far. I'll update it again in the not too distant future.


Cricket Reference Books

• Australian Cricket : A History. Moyes, A.G. Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1959
• The Paddock that Grew. Dunstan, Keith. Cassell Australia, Melbourne, 1975
• The Formative Years of Australian Cricket 1803-1893. Pollard, Jack. Sydney, 1987.
• The Wisden Book of Test Cricket Volume 1. Frindall, Bill. MacDonald and Jane, London, 1978
• ABC Australian Cricket Almanac 1990-1994. Edited by Derriman, Phillip and Dundas, Ross. ABC Books, Sydney
• The Oxford Companion to Australian Cricket. Edited by Cashman, Richard, Franks, Warwick, Maxwell, Jim, Stoddart, Brian, Weaver, Amanda and Webster, Ray. Oxford University Press, 1996
• Australia versus England : A Pictorial History of every Test Match since 1877. Frith, David. Richard Smart Publishing, Sydney, 1993.
• A Century of Cricketers. Moyes, A.G. Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1950
• Mollydookers: The World’s Greatest Left-Handed Batsmen. Pollard, Jack. Five Miles Press, Sydney, 1995
• At the Wickets; New South Wales Versus Victoria. Hedley, Harry W. Centennial Printing and Publishing Company Ltd. Melbourne, 1888.
• England Versus Australia at the Wicket. Brumfitt, George and Kirby, Joseph. Brumfitt and Kirby, Yorkshire. 1887.
• The Players : A Social History of the Professional Cricketer. Sissons, R. Sydney, 1987.
• The Black Lords of Summer. Mallett, Ashley. University of Queensland Press, 2002.
• A Social History of English Cricket. Birley, Derek. Aurum Press, London, 1999.
• Cricket Walkabout. Mulvaney, John and Harcourt, Rex. The MacMillian Company of Australia, South Melbourne. 1988.
• By his own Hand. Frith, David. Random Century Australia, Sydney. 1990.
• ‘Ave A Go Yer Mug! Australian Cricket Crowds from Larrikin to Ocker. Cashman, Richard. Sydney, 1984.
• The Grand Old Ground. Derriman, Phillip. Cassell Australia Limited, North Ryde. 1981.
• The Top 100 and the 1st XI. Derriman, Phillip. The Fairfax Library, Sydney. 1987.
• Australian Cricket Crowds : The Attendance Cycle. Cashman, Richard. University of New South Wales, Sydney. 1990.
• The ABC Guide to Australian Test Cricketers. Smith, Rick. ABC Books, Sydney. 1993.
• Australian Bowlers from Spofforth to Lindwall. Moyes, A.G. Harrap, Sydney. 1953.
• Australian Batsmen from Charles Bannerman to Neil Harvey. Moyes, A.G. Harrap, Sydney, 1954.
• Australian Cricket Annual; A Complete Record of Australian Cricket. 1895/6, 1896/7 and 1897/8. Davis, John C. (editor). Sydney. 1896, 1897 and 1898.

Cricket Autobiographies/Biographies

• With Bat and Ball. Giffen, George. Ward Lock, London, 1898
• Farewell to Cricket. Bradman, Don. Tom Thompson, Sydney, 1994.
• The Larwood Story. Larwood, Harold with Perkins, Kevin. W.H. Allen, London, 1960
• On Top Down Under. Robinson, Ray and Haigh, Gideon. Wakefield Press, 1996
• 10 for 66 and all that. Mailey, Arthur, Phoenix
• Cricket’s Great Families. Meher-Homji, Kersi, Garry Sparke and Associates, Ashburton. 1980
• Cricketing Reminiscences and Personal Recollections. Grace, W.G. London, 1899.
• Seventy One Not Out. Caffyn, W. London, 1899.

Cricket and Sport Anthologies

• The Longest Game : A Collection of the Best Cricket Writing from Alexander to Zavros, from the Gabba to the Yabba. Edited by Buzo, Alex and Grants, Jamie. Mandarin. Melbourne, 1992.
• Six and Out : Stories of Australia’s Cricketing Heroes. Edited by Pollard, Jack. Viking, Melbourne, 1990.
• The Picador Book of Cricket. Edited by Guha, Ramachandra. Picador, London, 2001.
• Cricketers and their Historic Deeds. Gregory, Albert. A Collection of newspaper clippings at Mitchell Library.
• Cuttings and Notes on Cricket. Gregory, Albert. A Collection of newspaper clippings at Mitchell Library.
• 200 Seasons of Australian Cricket. Edited by Hutchison, Garrie and Ross, John. Pan MacMillian Australia, 1997.
• Australian Sport Through Time. Cashman, Richard (senior consultant). Random House, Australia. 1997.
• Sport in History : The Making of Modern Sporting History. Cashman, Richard and McKernan, Michael. Brisbane, 1977.
• The Ashes Captains. Cotter, Gerry. Century Hutchinson, Surry Hills. 1989.

Historical Texts and Records

• Census of NSW – November 1828. Edited by Sainty, Malcolm and Johnson, Keith. Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1985.
• General Return of Convicts in New South Wales 1837. Edited by Butlin, N.G., Cromwell, C.W. and Suthern, K.L. ABGR, Sydney, 1987.
• General Muster and Land and Stock Muster of New South Wales 1822. Edited by Baxter, Carol. ABGR, Sydney, 1988.
• General Muster of New South Wales 1814. Edited by Baxter, Carol. ABGR, Sydney, 1987.
• People Arriving in Australia 1788-1828. Donohue, James Hugh. J.S. Shaw North Publishing, Sydney, 2002.
• The People of Australia 1788-1828. Donohue, James Hugh. J.S. Shaw North Publishing, Sydney, 2001.
• Attorney General and Justice – Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages; Microfilm copies of Registers of Baptisms, Burials and Marriages 1787-1856. The Archives Authority of New South Wales, Sydney, 1984.
• Index to Births, Marriages and Funeral Notices in the Sydney Herald 18th April 1831 to 30th July 1842. Complied by Sainty, Malcolm and Johnson, Keith. Privately Published. Sydney, 1972.
• Family and Local History Sources in the Sydney Area. Edited by Fairs, Jennie and Meadley, Dom. Meadley Family History Services, 1995.
• Australian Federation: The Influence of Economic Interests and Political pressures, Parker, R.S., Historical Studies Vol. 3, No. 13 Nov 1949.
• London : The Biography. Ackroyd, Peter. Chatto and Windus, Great Britain. 2000.
• A History of London. Inwood, Stephen. MacMillian, London. 1998.
• Rising Damp – Sydney 1870-90. Fitzgerald, Shirley. Oxford University Press, Melbourne. 1987.
• The Accidental City : Planning Sydney since 1788. Ashton, Paul. Hale and Iremonger, Sydney. 1993.
• History of Australian Bushranging Part 1. White, Charles. Lloyd O’Neil, Victoria. 1970.
• History of Australian Bushranging Part 2. White, Charles. Lloyd O’Neil, Victoria. 1970.
• Frank Gardiner : Bushranger to Businessman 1830 to 1940. Morrison, Alec. John Willey and Sons, Queensland. 2003.
• A History of Australia IV. 1851-1888. Clark, C.M.H. Melbourne University Press, Melbourne. 1980.
• A Shorter History of Australia. Blainey, Geoffrey. William Heinemann Australia, Melbourne. 1994.
• Edmund Barton. Bolton, Geoffrey. Allen and Unwin, St Leonards, Sydney. 2000.
• The Oxford History of Australia : Volume 3 - 1860 to 1900. Kingston, Beverley. Oxford University Press, Melbourne. 1988.
• The Royal Australian Navy Historical Naval Events Year by Year. Lind, Lew. Reed Books Pty Ltd. 1982.

Internet Sites

Convict Information Sites

British Judiciary

Census Information and Records

Miscellaneous Sites

Family Member Interviews

• The Hon. Mr Rae Else-Mitchell – (Dave Gregory’s grandson).
• Mr John Chapman (Ned Gregory’s Great grandson)
• Dr Bruce Chapman (Ned Gregory’s Great Great grandson)

Journal Articles

• The Rise and Fall of the Australian Club 1822-1868. Cashman, Richard. Sporting Traditions, Vol. 5. November, 1988.
• Cricket in the Doldrums : The Struggle between Private and Public Control of Cricket in the 1880s. Montefiore, David. Australian Society for Sports History No. 8. 1992.
• Cricket and Australian Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century. Mandle, W.F. Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 59, December, 1973.


• Age (Melbourne)
• Australasian (Melbourne)
• Argus (Melbourne)
• Australian Star (Sydney)
• Bulletin (Sydney)
• Daily Telegraph (Sydney)
• Evening News (Sydney)
• Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney)
• Truth (Sydney)


• Australian Cricket
• Inside Edge

Miscellaneous Sources

• The Making of Australian Consciousness. Malouf, David. The Boyer Lectures. First Broadcast on Radio National, November 15, 1998.
• Australian Test Cricketers, Rick Smith, ABC Books, Sydney 2000.
• Passport to Nowhere, Bernard Whimpress, Walla Walla Press, Petersham, 1999
• The A-Z of Australian Cricketers, Edited by Richard Cashman, Warwick Franks, Jim Maxwell, Erica Sainsbury, Brian Stoddart, Amanda Weaver, Ray Webster, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1997.
• The Wisden Book of Test Cricket 1876-77 to 1977-78. Complied and Edited by Bill Frindall. MacDonald and Jane’s, London, 1978.
• The Oxford Companion to Australian Sport. Edited by Wray Vamplew, Katherine Moore, John O’Hara, Richard Cashman and Ian Jobling. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1994.
• Sport in the National Imagination. Richard Cashman, Walla Walla Press, Petersham, 2002.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Gregory Era - Chapter 1

Part 1 - Edward William Gregory

The start of cricket in Australia can be traced right back to the time of the First Fleet. 1787 saw a number of coincidences that were perhaps indicative of the importance that cricket would assume to the future nation of Australia. The year that Arthur Phillip set sail from Portsmouth to become the first Governor also saw the foundation of the Marylebone Cricket Club in England, and Thomas Lord established his first ground in London that would eventually become known as the home of cricket. It is likely that many of the early immigrants, both voluntary and otherwise, had played a version of cricket in their native England, and they introduced the game to Australia.

The earliest record of cricket being played in Australia occurred on the 8th of January 1803, when a game of cricket was played between officers and crew of the MHS Calcutta on a field that is now Hyde Park. There are mentions of the game at a schoolboy level as well as other military matches, but it is now believed that the first official club in Sydney was the Australian Cricket Club. In Jack Pollard’s comprehensive history of the game, Australian Cricket 1803-1893 The Formative Years, it is claimed that a group of regimental players formed the Military Cricket Club prior to the Australian Club in 1826, but this appears to be open to interpretation of what constitutes an actual club. Richard Cashman contends, in his article The Rise and Fall of the Australia Club 1826-1868, that the Military Cricket Club did not exist as an independent association, but rather was a combination of varying regiments for one-off specific matches. The Military undoubtedly played cricket in the 1820s and 1830s, but it appears that these were simply teams of players put together for a single game, rather than a formal club with defined membership criteria, a constitution and a financial footing.

Regardless of which club was actually the first, the Australian Club was founded by a group of players following an informal match on the 7 August, 1826. The Australian newspaper reported on this event two days later, but details of the actual game at the Old Race Course, Hyde Park, are very limited. It is known that the club was established in 1826 but, as The Australian reported on the 3 January 1827 that the Australian Club had held its periodical meeting on New Year’s day two days earlier. One of the early members of the Australian Club was Edward Gregory.

The role of the Gregorys in the development of Australia’s national game began on the 28 July 1814, when Edward William Gregory (hereafter referred to as Edward Snr. to avoid confusion with his oldest son whose name was also Edward William), arrived at Port Jackson with his wife Henrietta, their daughter Ann Hannah and three sons Edward, Charles and George. They travelled together on the convict ship the Broxbornebury under the command of Master Thos. Pitcher Jr. The ship embarked from England on the 22 February, 1814 and the voyage occupied a total of one hundred and fifty six days. Henrietta was one of one hundred and twenty female convicts who left England on the ship. Two died during transportation, a figure that was considered acceptable for the time and no doubt helped by the fact that a surgeon travelled with the ship. Henrietta, who was thirty nine at the time of her transportation, had been employed as a domestic servant in London. She was sentenced to serve a total of fourteen years following her conviction on the 16th of September 1813 at the Old Bailey for “Having forged bank notes in her possession”. Evidently, Henrietta was caught trying to purchase some household items in London with a forged £5 note. Whilst it is not documented in official records, the family story is that Edward was the actual forger of the note, but it was Henrietta who was caught trying to use it. There was insufficient evidence to convict Edward, but Henrietta could not escape transportation. The harsh sentence was not unusual for the time.

Records of Henrietta’s husband Edward are extremely limited, but it is clear that he was not a convict and chose to emigrate voluntarily to Australia with his wife and family. Details of Edward snr. are difficult to extract accurately from official documents, due partially to the poor information from the period, but also as a consequence of the fact that there were three separate men by the name of Edward Gregory in Sydney in the mid 1810s. One arrived to serve a seven year term as a convict on the Coromandel, and another arrived as a free landholder on the Surrey. After this the records become blurred, with simply references to a generic Edward Gregory in official paperwork. The most probable scenario involves Edward snr. working as a labourer in Sydney, as there are references to this during the time that the other two Edward Gregorys would have either been a landowner or serving time on an iron-gang. A few years later the 1822 Muster revealed that labourer was the second most common form of occupation after Government Servants, and is highly likely that Edward snr worked in this role from the time of his arrival.

It is not possible to establish an accurate date of birth for the children of Edward snr. and Henrietta, but it is clear that all four were born in London. Ann’s date of birth is believed to be 1802, Edward’s 1805, Charles three years later in 1808, and George subsequently in 1812. Upon arrival in Sydney, Henrietta was assigned to the Female Factory in Parramatta, even though she lived nearby with her family. The factory had been established in 1804 and was a single long room in which women and girls made rope and span and carded wool. Conditions here were abysmal, with many horror stories of women being chained to each other, or even to animals.

As a married woman, Henrietta was better off than many of the other single women at the Factory. Many women had to take up prostitution to survive, and the system of selection for servants involved the officers and free gentry picking the pretty young women and having them virtually under their total control. It was also a common practice of the time that any free settler could choose to marry a woman at the Factory. The unmarried women were lined up and the man could drop his handkerchief at the foot of the woman of his choice. If she picked it up, the marriage was virtually immediate. Most women took this option, even if they did not know their future husband, as was preferable to remaining in the harsh conditions of the Factory.

The family lived in Sydney for five years before Henrietta died in 1819, and Edward snr. promptly returned to England alone. This left his three young sons to be taken in by the Male Orphanage Institute for care and upbringing, whilst Ann was of an age to live independently. It is pure conjecture to attempt now to guess as to Edward snr.’s reasons for this decision, but it is interesting that Edward snr. chose to travel with Henrietta to Australia following her sentencing in 1813. It is possible that Henrietta used the fact that Edward snr. had been the forger of note that convicted her as a means of ensuring that he came with the family. Convict and shipping records indicate that the entire family was nominally Protestant, but divorce was not available easily to the common person until the late nineteenth century. In spite of this, though, if Edward snr. had been unhappy with the marriage, Henrietta’s conviction and deportation may have been an ideal opportunity for him to sever his ties with the family. Yet Edward snr. did not avail himself of this excuse, and opted to also move across the world with her. What happened to the family between their arrival in 1814 and 1819 is unclear, but the death of his wife Henrietta saw Edward snr.’s remove himself from any further involvement with his children. This departure would tend to support the hypothesis that Henrietta may have been using Edward’s involvement in the forgery as a means of coercing him to support her. Edward snr.’s role in the development of his sons was limited to their early years, but his position as the patriarch of the Gregory family in Australia remains significant. Without his presence in Sydney, it is highly probable that the three boys would have been admitted the Male Orphanage Institute upon their arrival, as was common for children of convict women. Many of these children were forced into crime to survive, and then were often convicted themselves.

The powers of the Governor of New South Wales in the early nineteenth century covered almost all aspects of daily life in the colony. The surviving records maintained by the colonial secretaries attest to this variety of decision making, reflecting a considerable diversity of events. Hannibal Hawkins MacArthur, who married the daughter of Governor King and was the nephew of John MacArthur, served as the Colonial Secretary from February 1820, and his records include an entry on the 8 October, 1823, which referred to a deposit into the Savings Bank as the result of a sale of the effects of parents of orphan children of Edward Gregory snr. It appears that not only did Edward Snr. abandon his children upon his return to England, but that any possessions that they may have had claim to were sold to pay for their care at the Male Orphanage Institute.

Ann Gregory had started work in the colony as a dressmaker and she married a teacher, Joshua Bushell, in 1823. She had maintained contact with her brothers whilst they were in the Male Orphanage. The Colonial Secretary’s papers report that Ann received “payment for the care of child (Edward) by Male Orphanage Institute”. All three of Edward and Henrietta’s sons grew up in the Male Orphanage Institute, and as they came of age were apprenticed out into the care of local tradesmen. Edward, who was approximately fourteen when his mother died, was initially trained as a shoemaker. His brother George later followed him into this profession, whilst Charles became a successful tailor. Edward was fortunate to be able to commence his apprenticeship soon after entering the Institute, as it meant that he had a source of income that limited his need to resort to crime in order to survive. Edward worked as a shoemaker for a number of years, but he changed his career by gaining employment as a school teacher about 1827. Edward’s intellectual capacity had been identified years earlier at the Male Orphanage, as he received a medal for his excellent abilities in reading in January 1821.

Edward played cricket for the Australian Club from early in its history. In contrast to some of the other organizations such as the Amateur Club, established six years later on the 4 September 1832, the majority of the Australian Club members were born in the new colony. Edward was one of only seven original members in the club who were born overseas, but his move to Australia as a child undoubtedly assisted his acceptance. The Australian Club had a number of very influential members, including the editor of The Australian, Francis Stephen, and John Richard Hardy, a Cambridge University graduate who is widely acknowledged as introducing round arm bowling to Australia.

The main records from this period of time were published in the newspapers. Whilst there are references to Edward’s involvement with the club, the earliest mention of his participation in games occurred in September, 1832. A game commenced on the 3 September that year between two teams of fourteen players all from the Australian Club. Thomas Broughton and George Stubbs chose and captained their respective teams in a two day match that ended in an exciting tie. The lack of accurate details surrounding this match make it difficult to assess whether Edward Gregory took part, as he is not mentioned in the scores as published in the Australian newspaper, he is, however, specifically identified as participating in a report of the match.

It was said that Edward was not a gifted player, but he was enthusiastic and showed a capacity, garnered no doubt by his experience in the schooling system, to teach others the basics of the game. He was considered to be only a moderate batsman, but he was counted as one of the best fieldsmen of the day, with a remarkable catching capacity. Edward’s categorization as a far better fielder than batsman tends to be supported by his record. In a game against the Amateur Club on the 29th of October, 1832, Edward failed to score a run in the Australian Club’s total of 134, being bowled by C. Roberts. He made up for this by taking three catches in the Australian Club victory by an innings and 38 runs, with the Amateur Club being dismissed for 56 and 42. The Australian’s report made specific mention of the fielding standards of the Australian Club, saying the Amateur batsmen “possessed no chance”.

On the 27 May, 1833 Edward played in a match between the ‘Singles’ and the ‘Married’, another match between members of the Australian Club. Whilst the Married team was favoured to prevail, a remarkable innings of 57 not out by J. Rickards led the Singles to an easy win. This was the first time that an individual score in excess of fifty had been recorded in a Sydney match. The precise margin of victory is difficult to determine, as the Australian and the Sydney Herald carried different scorecards and team totals. In either case, Edward’s contribution was not significant, making only 4 in the first innings and 7 in the second.

On the 25 May, 1835 Reverend John McGarrie married Edward to Mary Ann Smith at the Scot’s Church in Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Mary was born in 1817 into a poor family, but she was not the only member of the family to gain fame. Her brother, John Thomas Smith, commonly known as J.T., was described as the ‘Whittington of the South’, a reference to the fact that he rose from his humble background to be elected Mayor of Melbourne on seven occasions, as well as becoming a member of parliament. Edward and Mary had thirteen children over a twenty eight year period. Their children were Eliza (1835), Emma (1837), Edward (1839), Walter (1841), Mary (1843), David (1845), Charles (1847), George (1849), Alice (1851), Albert (1854), Ernest (1857), Arthur (1861), and Louisa (1863).

Around the time as Edward’s wedding, The Australian Club faced a major crisis in its existence. The team lost two successive matches to the Military team, the second by the significant margin of nine wickets, and this prompted widespread recriminations. An intense debate resulted in claims that the side was losing as a consequence of the recent influx of ‘immigrants’ into the side which had been predominantly composed of locally born players. Letters were exchanged in the Australian, on the 10 March 1835 by an individual using the pseudonym of ‘A Player’ that supported the overseas born members, whilst ‘Tom, The Native’ responded in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 12 March 1835 with a harsh rejection of ‘emigrants’.

It is believed that ‘A Player’ was probably H.F. Gisborne, the son of the Member of Parliament for Derbyshire, whilst ‘Tom, The Native’ was Thomas Stubbs, one of the Australian Club’s principal bowlers. This split between the two rival factions of the club was significant and almost disastrous for the future of cricket in Australia. The Australian Club was the major force in Sydney cricket, and if the club had folded completely at this time, it would have been highly detrimental to the growth of the game locally. The division did result in three years of internal wrangling. An attempt was made to form a break-away team of only locally-born players failed, and very few of the overseas players ever played for the club again. It was not until the 1837/38 season that the Australian Club again played regularly. It is significant that the side could only field three players who had previously represented the club, one of whom was the English-born Edward Gregory.

After this split, Edward and the Australian Club reentered Sydney cricket with a match against the Union Club in early January 1838. By all accounts, the unseasoned Australian Club players were greatly outclassed by their rivals. In light of his previous experience, Edward batted at the fall of the first wicket in both innings. Unfortunately, this was of no benefit to the Australian Club as he failed to score in either innings. The Union Club recorded a victory by 64 runs, which was a very large margin in a game in which neither side totaled more than 100 in any of the four innings.

The spirit in which this first game was played led to a follow-up match just afterwards on the 5 February. Edward opened the batting in both innings, but he managed to repeat his efforts of the first game by being bowled for a duck both times. His younger brother George also played for the Australian Club in this match, and he performed slightly better by Edward by scoring 4 not out and 2. The game was much closer than the previous match, but the Union Club won by 17 runs.

A third match between the two clubs took place on the 11 June, 1838, with Union Club again victorious, this time by six wickets. The date of this game shows that no cricket season had been established, with games being played in both summer and winter. Edward dropped down the order to the fall of the fifth wicket, and scored 3 and 6. This is not quite as disastrous as it sounds, as only four players reached double figures in the match. One of the most significant features of this game was that the first ever 6 in Sydney cricket was scored. It did not, as may be expected, involve a strike over the boundary fence and was in fact all run. These three games were to form the start of the club’s return to its place as the preeminent side in Sydney cricket, a role it maintained until its demise during the late 1850s and its eventual folding in 1868. Edward continued his association with the club until his move to Wollongong in 1840, but his influence was to be far greater with respect to his children.

Edward was an enthusiastic player for the Australian Club, but it was as a teacher and coach of the game that it appears he was most talented. His early career change from a shoemaker to a teacher was inspired, and he went on to become a master at Cape’s Grammar School in Castlereagh St. This school was opened on the first of April 1824 by Governor Thomas Brisbane under the headmastership of William Cape. Edward joined the school around three years after its opening, by which time William Cape had resigned as headmaster, and had been replaced by his son and namesake, William Cape jr. Edward remained at the school for about thirteen years before moving to Wollongong to continue his career.

The 1841 Census reveals that Edward and his young family were residing in Market St, Wollongong at the Government School House. Edward’s suitability to teaching was underlined by the fact as he was able to successfully impart to his children the skills of the game he himself did not possess in vast quantities. Whilst his involvement with the Australian Club and its vital role in cricket in New South Wales was important, the passing on of his knowledge and skills to his many children remains his critical contribution to Australian cricket.

Edward’s early life was undoubtedly traumatic. Uprooted from his birthplace of England to a foreign country at the age of nine following the conviction and transportation of his mother, the subsequent death of his mother whilst he was still a teenager, his immediate abandonment by his father into the dubious care of the Male Orphanage Institute; these factors could have all easily led to a life of crime and a bitter and twisted individual. The fact that he was able to overcome these initial setbacks to achieve a successful life speaks well of the man that started the Gregory cricketing dynasty. Edward died in Paddington, Sydney in 1879 at the age of approximately 74. His wife Mary lived until 1901, and twenty of their descendents represented New South Wales in a diversity of sports including not only cricket but also athletics, rugby and sailing.

In her poem ‘Old Botany Bay’, Mary Gilmore wrote of the founding of a nation, but the words can apply equally well to Edward Gregory, and his place in Australian cricket history.

I’m old,

Botany Bay;

Stiff in the joints,

Little to say. I am he

Who paved the way

That you might walk

At your ease today.

I am the conscript

Sent to hell

To make the desert

The living well.

I bore the heat.

I blazed the track,

Furrowed and bloody

Upon my back.

I split the rock;

I fell the tree;

The nation was,

Because of me.