1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain

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The Kangaroo squad of 1911–12

The 1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain was the second ever Kangaroo tour and was actually a tour by an "Australasian" squad including four New Zealand players in addition to twenty-four Australian representatives.[1] It took place over the British winter of 1911–12 and this time, to help promote the game of Rugby league in New Zealand, the Northern Rugby Football Union invited a combined Australian and New Zealand team. They became the first tourists to win the Ashes.[2] and the last to do so on British soil for over half a century.[3] The tour was a success in performance and organisation. Matches were well attended, the squad's touring payments were maintained throughout and the players all shared in a bonus at the tour's end.

Touring squad[edit]

Prior to the tour a three-way series of matches between New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand was organised as a basis of selection for the tour.[4] The New South Welshmen dominated the touring side, with four New Zealanders and only one Queenslander selected. However counted amongst the New South Welshmen was Con Sullivan, who had moved to Australia from New Zealand a few years before. Due to family and business commitments, rugby league great Dally Messenger declined to tour with the 1911–12 Kangaroos.[5] His friend and team-mate Sandy Pearce also chose not to go.[6] Chris McKivat who had captained the 1908 Wallabies to Olympic Gold was at age 32 a natural selection as tour captain. The Heads/Middleton reference describes McKivat as being revered on that tour – a magnificent general, tough, durable and an inspiration to the men around him. It quotes Johnny Quinlan the tour co-manager "He always set a splendid example in conduct and training – a natural leader"[7] Tour vice-captain was Paddy McCue. Tour managers were Charles H Ford and John Quinlan. The team sailed to England on the RMS Orvieto. The tourists were paid £4/5/ per week and received a bonus of £178 each.[8]

New South Wales[edit]

All eight teams of the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership were represented in the touring squad.

New Zealand[edit]

The New Zealand players that accompanied the Australians on tour have been listed in the Australian Rugby League's Kangaroos players register.[9]

Queensland[edit]

Robert "Harold" Nicholson of Queensland was also selected for the tour but withdrew.[10]

Tour schedule[edit]

Played: 35 Won: 28 Drew: 2 Lost: 5 Ashes: Australia 2–0

Date Opponent Location Result Score Attendance
Match 1 23 September 1911 England colours.svg Midlands/Southern England The Butts Ground, Coventry Won 20–11 3,000
Match 2 25 September 1911 Yorkshire Yorkshire Bramall Lane, Sheffield Won 33–13 4,000
Match 3 30 September 1911 Cronulla colours.svg Broughton Rangers Wheater's Field, Broughton Won 18–8 12,000
Match 4 2 October 1911 Lancashire Lancashire Ewood Park, Blackburn Won 25–12 5,000
Match 5 7 October 1911  Wales Bridgend Field, Ebbw Vale, Wales Won 28–20 7,000
Match 6 11 October 1911 Widnes colours.svg Widnes Lowerhouse Lane, Widnes Won 23–0 5,000
Match 7 14 October 1911 Saintscolours.svg St Helens R.F.C. Knowsley Road, St. Helens Won 16–5 12,000
Match 8 18 October 1911 England colours.svg England XIII Craven Cottage, London Won 11–6 6,000
Match 9 22 October 1911 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet Parkside, Hunslet Draw 3–3 4,000
Match 10 25 October 1911 England colours.svg Northern League XIII Goodison Park, Everton Won 16–3 6,000
Match 11 28 October 1911 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Central Park, Wigan[11] Lost 2–7 25,000
Match 12 1 November 1911 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton Station Road, Swinton Won 28–9 4,000
Match 13 4 November 1911 Hullcolours.svg Hull F.C. The Boulevard, Hull Won 26–7 6,000
Match 14 8 November 1911  England St James' Park, Newcastle Won 19–10 5,317
Match 15 11 November 1911 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham The Watersheddings, Oldham Lost 8–14 10,000
Match 16 15 November 1911 Leigh colours.svg Leigh Mather Lane, Leigh Won 13–12 6,000
Match 17 18 November 1911 Wcatscolours.svg Wakefield Trinity Belle Vue, Wakefield Won 24–10 5,000
Match 18 22 November 1911 Western Suburbs colours.svg Cumberland Athletic Ground, Maryport Won 5–2 6,000
Match 19 25 November 1911 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow Cavendish Park, Barrow-in-Furness Won 44–8 6,500
Match 20 29 November 1911 Ipswich Colours.svg Runcorn RFC Canal Street, Runcorn Won 23–7 2,000
Match 21 2 December 1911 Giantscolours.svg Huddersfield Fartown Ground, Huddersfield Lost 7–21 17,000
Match 22 6 December 1911 England colours.svg England XIII Trent Bridge, Nottingham Lost 3–5 3,000
Match 23 9 December 1911 Redscolours.svg Salford The Willows, Salford Won 6–3 4,000
Match 24 13 December 1911 Balmain colours.svg York Wigginton Road, York Won 16–8 1,500
Match 25 16 December 1911  England Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland Draw 11–11 8,000
Match 26 20 December 1911 Wales colours.svg/England colours.svg Wales/West England Ashton Gate, Bristol Won 23–3 1,000
Match 27 23 December 1911 Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale Hornets Athletic Grounds, Rochdale Won 18–6 4,500
Match 28 26 December 1911 Faxcolours.svg Halifax Thrum Hall, Halifax Won 23–5 10,000
Match 29 30 December 1911 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wilderspool Stadium, Warrington Won 34–6 8,500
Match 30 1 January 1912  England Villa Park, Birmingham Won 33–8 4,000
Match 31 6 January 1912 Rhinoscolours.svg Leeds Headingley, Leeds Won 8–6 1,000
Match 32 13 January 1912 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers Craven Street, Hull Won 5–2 7,000
Match 33 20 January 1912 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow Cavendish Park, Barrow-in-Furness Won 22–5 1,500
Match 34 27 January 1912 Batley colours.svg Batley Mount Pleasant, Batley Lost 5–13 2,000
Match 35 31 January 1912 England colours.svg Northern League XIII Central Park, Wigan Won 20–12 2,000
Match 36 3 February 1912 Ipswich Colours.svg Runcorn RFC Canal Street, Runcorn Won 54–6 1,500

Test matches[edit]

First Ashes Test[edit]

Test # 12

8 November 1911
 England 10–19 Australasia
Tries:
Will Davies (2)



Goals:
Johnny Thomas (2)
[12] Tries:
Viv Farnsworth (2)
Howard Hallett
Billy Cann
Arthur Francis
Goals:
Billy Cann (1)
Arthur Francis (1)
St James' Park, Newcastle
Attendance: 5,317
Referee/s: B. Ennion
The Kangaroos performing their war cry before the first Test.
England Position Australasia
Jim Sharrock FB Charles Fraser
Will Davies WG Albert Broomham
Bert Jenkins CE Howard Hallett
Harold Wagstaff CE Herb Gilbert
Joe Miller WG Charles Russell
Johnny Thomas (c) SO Viv Farnsworth
Fred Smith SH Chris McKivat (c)
James Clampitt PR Arthur Francis
Oliver Burgham HK Paddy McCue
Fred Harrison PR Billy Cann
Ben Gronow SR Tedda Courtney
Billy Winstanley SR Bob Williams
Albert Avery LF Bob Craig
Coach

In this match, Australia's Charles Fraser became Australia's youngest Test player at 18 years and 301 days, a record which would stand until 2007.

Second Ashes Test[edit]

Test # 13

16 December 1911
 England 11–11 Australasia
Tries:
Harold Wagstaff (2)
Jim Lomas

Goals:
Alf Wood
[13] Tries:
Dan Frawley
Chris McKivat
Charlie Russell
Goals:
Arthur Francis (1)
Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh
Attendance: 8,000
Referee/s: H. Renton
England Position Australasia
Alf Wood FB Howard Hallett
Albert Jenkinson WG Charles Russell
Jim Lomas (c) CE Viv Farnsworth
Harold Wagstaff CE Herb Gilbert
Billy Batten WG Dan Frawley
Jim Davies SO Bill Farnsworth
Fred Smith SH Chris McKivat (c)
Fred Harrison PR Arthur Francis
Tommy Woods HK Paddy McCue
Billy Winstanley PR Billy Cann
Dick Ramsdale SR Bill Noble
Doug Clark SR Tedda Courtney
Ben Gronow LF Bob Craig
Coach

McKivat lead the way for Australia dominating the rucks and scoring a vital try. Renowned Australian journalist Claude Corbett was acting as one of the touch judges and referee Renton, over-ruled his goal decision on one of the Australian conversion attempts.[14]

Third Ashes Test[edit]

Test # 14

1 January 1912
 England 8–33 Australasia
Tries:
Doug Clark
Jim Lomas



Goals:
Alf Wood (1)
[15] Tries:
Tom Berecry (2)
Dan Frawley (2)
Paddy McCue (2)
Chris McKivat (2)
Viv Farnsworth
Goals:
Dan Frawley (2)
Herb Gilbert (1)
Villa Park, Birmingham
Attendance: 4,000
Referee/s: R. Robinson
England Position Australasia
Alf Wood FB Howard Hallett
Billy Batten WG Dan Frawley
Jim Lomas (c) CE Viv Farnsworth
Bert Jenkins CE Herb Gilbert
Albert Jenkinson WG Tom Berecry
Fred Smith SO Bill Farnsworth
Jim Davies SH Chris McKivat (c)
Dick Ramsdale PR Con Sullivan
Billy Winstanley HK Paddy McCue
Doug Clark PR Billy Cann
Tommy Woods SR Bob Williams
Fred Harrison SR Bill Noble
Albert Avery LF Bob Craig
Coach

Great Britain only needed to win the third Test to tie the series and keep the Ashes but were reduced to 12 men early in the encounter after an injury to Dick Ramsdale. Great Britain led 8–0 early but had no answer to the Australian attack as they ran in nine tries.[16]

This would be the first (and final) time the Kangaroos would win The Ashes on British soil until the 1963–64 Kangaroo tour.

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Coffey, Bernie Wood (2008). 100 years: Māori rugby league, 1908–2008. Huia Publishers. p. 56. ISBN 978-1-86969-331-2. 
  2. ^ "The history of rugby league". centenaryofrugbyleague.com.au. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  3. ^ Cunneen, Chris (2001). The best ever Australian Sports Writing. Australia: Black Inc. p. 321. ISBN 1-86395-266-7. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Fagan, Sean. "New Zealand 'Kangaroos'". rl1908.com. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  5. ^ Cuneen, Chris (2006). "Messenger, Herbert Henry (Dally) (1883–1959)". Australian dictionary of biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  6. ^ Kristine, Corcoran. "Pearce, Sidney Charles (Sandy) (1883–1930)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Ian Heads & David Middleton (2008). A Centenary of Rugby League. MacMillan Publishers. p. 47. 
  8. ^ W. A. Cann (1946-06-12). "1908–09 Kangaroos blazed R. L. trail". Sydney Morning Herald, The. p. 9. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  9. ^ ARL. "Australian Kangaroos players register". australianrugbyleague.com.au. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  10. ^ QRL. "QRL History". Queensland representatives. qrl.com.au. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-06. 
  11. ^ "1911 Tour Match: Wigan 7 Australia 2". cherryandwhite.co.uk. RLFANS.COM. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  12. ^ 1st Ashes Test
  13. ^ 2nd Ashes Test
  14. ^ Alan Whiticker, Captaining the Kangaroos (2004) New Holland p44
  15. ^ 3rd Ashes Test
  16. ^ Alan Whiticker, Captaining the Kangaroos (2004) New Holland p44

External links[edit]