Cricket 1894

8 8 8 CRICKET s A WEEKLY BECOBB OW TE1 GAME- SEPT. 13, 1894 THE SOUTH AFR ICAN CR ICKETERS. A C h a t w it h t h e M a n a g e s op t h e T e a m . R e p r o d u c e d pr o m St. Paul's of S e p t . 1 BY KIND PERMISSION. Soon after the South African cricketers had finished their interesting tour in this country, in which they distinguished themselves by some fine batting, excellent bowling, and remarkably good fielding, I called on the popular manager at head­ quarters in London— otherwise the Tavis­ tock Hotel—and asked him to favour me with some particulars respecting the origin of the visit, and the experiences of the team. Notwithstanding that he was already in the throes of preparation for return to the Cape, Mr. Simkins courteously placed himself at m y disposal. “ I f you have no objection,” I said, “ I should like to know first why and how you started the team to England? ” “ The original idea in the Colony was that it was desirable to test the strength of the Cape cricketers with English cricketers. The matter was brought before the South African Cricket Associa­ tion, of which Mr. Cadwallader was then secretary. Each province and district, I may explain, has a Union of its own, and sends a representative to the Association. Some of the Unions were opposed to the proposal to send a team home. They thought that the time had not arrived, that, in fact, a sufficiently strong team could not be got together. But as the majority were of a different opinion, the minority at once gave way, and every­ body worked hand and glove in order to get the best possible team together. Mr. J. D. Logan, a prominent South African sportsman, was the first to support the scheme, and offered to guarantee £500 towards the expenses. But not being satisfied with the action taken by the Cricket Association in the appointment of the manager he withdrew his support. His stipulation was that Mr. Cadwallader should be appointed manager, as it was mainly owing to him that a team ever left the shores o f South Africa, but the Association,” added Mr. Simkins, with a smile, “ had other views.” “ However, you got your guarantee fund ? ” “ Oh, yes. Having settled the question of the manager, we had not much diffi­ culty about the guarantee fund. AVe succeeded in obtaining ,£3,000, towards which the Premier, Mr. Cecil Rhodes, contributed the handsome sum of £500,” “ The next question was, I suppose, the selection of the team ? ’• •‘ Precisely. Delegates from the Unions were invited to meet at Da Aar to select the team. De Aar is a wayside station about 500 miles from Cape Town, but it was chosen as the most central place for all parties. Well, the selections were made, and in nearly every case the men selected were able to avail themselves of the chance. There were, however, two notable exceptions. One was Mr. A. B Tancred, commonly styled in the Colony 1 the South African Grace.’ Tancred,per­ haps you know, distinguished himself against both the English teams who visited South Africa, and he is admitted to be a magnificent bat. Business—he is a lawyer — alone preventing him from accepting. The other refusal came from Mr. A. Richards, the Western Province crack batsman. He is a member of a firm of Government printers, and in his case also, business was the sole hindrance. Apart from Tancred and Richards, the team was as good as we could possibly get together. Of course there were other names sug­ gested, and of course everybody was not satisfied.” “ I believe there was a desire expressed to include Henricks, the coloured bowler ? ” “ There was. Henricks is a good fast bow ler; but I am satisfied that, all things considered, the Cricket Association wisely determined not to include him. I think that he has been over-rated here. You will be amused to learn that fears were expressed by many that Rowe, the young South African College bowler, was not old enough to bear the strain of travelling and of constant cricket. He is only nineteen, and he looks a year younger; but, as you are aware, results have more than justified his inclusion.” “ With whom were the arrangements made in England ? ” “ We entered into correspondence with Mr. C. W. Alcock, secretary of the Surrey Club, and to him we are largely indebted for the arrangements we were subse­ quently able to complete. He must have taken an immense amount of trouble about the fixtures, and the thanks of all cricketers in the Colonies are due to him. Although when it was definitely decided to send a team the fixtures of the first and second-class counties had been made, Mr. Alcock set to work and drew up a satisfactory list of engagements, He had several difficulties, but the chief was that he had very little to guide him. The members of Major Wharton’s team, and of Mr. W . W . Read’s team, who had seen us play, were greatly divided in opinion as to our .strength. Some said that we were eq:ial to second-class counties, while others declared that we should only be able to give the small local clubs a good game. However, thanks, I repeat, largely to Mr. Alcock, all difficulties were surmounted, and we sailed from Cape Town in the ‘ Tartar’ on April 11th. We had an enjoyable passage to South­ ampton, arriving on Sunday, April 30th.” “ And then you proceeded to London ?” “ Imm ediately; and, following the foot­ steps of the Australian teams, we came to the Tavistock, and made it our head­ quarters. We have been well looked after all the time by Mr. Taylor, the managing director. I should like to mention that, on the day after our arrival in London, we were entertained to dinner at the Hotel Victoria by the directors of the Union Steamship Company. Arrange­ ments had been made by Mr. Alcock for the team to have the use of the Private Banks’ ground at Catford Bridge for practice. The courtesy o f the Private Banks’ Club was highly appreciated, and we practised constantly for nearly three weeks. I am not going through all the matches we played, but I should like to say a few words about the first.” “ That was at Sheffield Park ? ” “ Yes, and we shall not forget our in­ troduction to cricket in this country. We were the guests of Lord Sheffield at the Metropole, Brighton, and his kindness and hospitality were unbounded. Al­ though we were severely beaten, many old cricketers were pleased with the form shown by the team, and predicted, even at that early stage of the tour, that we should be more successful than we our­ selves expected. Halliwell’s wicket- keeping, Rowe’s bowling, Routledge’s batting, and the all-round fielding of the team were most favourably criticised considering .the disadvantages we were labouring under in playing in very cold weather and on a wet wicket. It was no disgrace to be defeated, especially when opposed to us were such bowlers as Johnny Briggs and Humphreys, the latter of whom our men found quite unplay­ able. Hampshire was the first county we m e t' next, Oxford University, and then Surrey, against whom we made a feeble show. It is a pity that we were called upon so early in the tour to play so strong a team as Surrey. The result was that a poor impression of our abilities was created in London.” “ That was corrected by your victory over the M.C.C. at Lord’s '? ” “ It was not till we defeated M.C.C. that cricketers and the British public were able to see that we could do more than hold our own against a formidable eleven. We never imagined that we were going to win, and when six wickets fell for six runs the excitement at'Lord’s was intense. Following our success against M.C.C., we defeated Leicestershire, Chatham, and Glamorganshire. Then Somersetshire was encountered, and, although we were beaten Iby nine wickets, we made our biggest score of 380. It was at Taunton that Sewell made his first century. Gloucestershire and Sussex beat us, but after we played Sussex we did not meet with a single reverse. We won creditable victories in Scotland and Ireland.” “ Against whom ? ” “ The Gentlemen of Scotland, Glasgow and District, the Gentlemen of Ireland, and Dublin University. I was speaking of Sewell’s first century just now ; he made another against Derbyshire on July 26th. The other centuries were made by Heame against Gloucestershire ; Halh- well, also against Gloucestershire; Rout- ledge against Mr. C. W. Wright’s eleven (Past and Present); and Johnson against Liverpool and District. Our last victory was against Lord Cantelupe’s eleven, and our last match against Warwickshire, which, like the previous contest with that county, ended in a draw. Out of the twenty-four matches, we won twelve, lost five, and drew seven.” “ You consider the averages satisfac­ tory ? ” “ V ery! It was most pleasing to every member of the team that Sewell carried off the handsome silver cup presented by