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Thursday, December 07, 2006

"There was nothing which savoured of disgrace about our downfall": England captain positive after Adelaide test loss

Never, perhaps, was a match fought out under more even conditions; for the wicket...remained practically perfect to the end, and not one drop of rain fell during the five days over which the battle waged. It was a thoroughly well-deserved victory. We had to surrender but we marched out with all the honours of war, and there was nothing that savoured of disgrace about our downfall.

Andrew Flintoff yesterday? No, Mr (as he then was: he was later knighted) P F (Plum) Warner writing about this Test match played in 1904 .

It was the third test of a series which England (in fact the first team to tour Australia under the auspices of the MCC) eventually won 3 - 2. The quotation above comes from p 198 of Mr Warner's book How we recovered the Ashes, reproductions of which I noticed on sale at the excellent Ashes Urn exhibition, which is now en route to Perth, and will later travel to Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart: for details see here . The State Library here has a copy (of the book, not the urn).

Even in 1904 the media were not to be trusted, at least according to Mr W:

The inner history of the tour, naturally enough, never got into the papers, and a great deal that did get get into the papers, more especially in the way of criticism and comment, was so distinctly incorrect and misleading that I believe most lovers of cricket will like to have the true story set before them clearly and simply. And I hope I need not say at the beginning that, if I set down anything with favour, at least I shall write nothing with malice. I only want to tell the plain truth in the plainest possible way. (p1)

I'm curious to know something of the "inner history" which didn't make it into the papers. Does he mean that scandals were covered up? If so, who was involved? Mr B J T Bosanquet, who gave his name to the bosey (aka wrong 'un: a term which in those days had decidedly raffish connotations)? I'll read further (including between the lines) and post more.

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