The Aussies visit to Somerset in 1902

By Philip Evans

21st Mar 2021 | Sports Features

The Australian team which visited Somerset in 1902
The Australian team which visited Somerset in 1902

Cricketing fanatics are looking forward to next year's Ashes tests in Australia. Sports writer DICK STURCH turns the clock back to 1902 when the Aussies played at Taunton. The following is taken from the "Badminton Magazine of Sports and Pastimes January - June 1902."

The coming Season for Somersetshire Cricket Club 1902

Mr Murray Anderson courteously sent the following very full particulars about Somersetshire:

Three amateurs will be qualified - Mr.H.Martin, the splendid Oxonian wicket-keeper; Mr. Cecil Goodden, who was in the Harrow team the year before last; and Mr.P.R.Johnson, of last year's Cambridge team, who has actually played for the County against the South Africans.

Mr.Wonds returns from Australia in time for the first match and will find all his old men available; but Mr. W. N. Roe and Mr. R. C. N. Palairet are no longer on the active list.

The great cricket played by Braund in Australia is naturally grateful to Somersetshire, but the authorities must be prepared for unpleasant no-balling if Cranfield does not attend to his action, about which two County cricketers have taken exception in conversations with the present writer. The fixtures are the same as last season with the addition of the Australians' match; but three matches have been allotted to Bath. Some new professionals will be qualified for 1903.

Looking at the prospects of the Australians, as I write nothing is settled as to the composition of the side, but before these lines are read the team will be on the high seas. It may, however, be safely assumed that the batting will be tremendously strong but not of an aggresive nature, and the lack of a big hitter will probably entail a number of drawn games.

The bowling should prove weaker than on any previous tour, and on good wickets difficulty will be experienced in getting our strong sides out. It remains to be seen what effect the sensible prohibition of artificial wickets will have on certain County grounds, Leyton, Birmingham and the Oval are prominent examples where bowlers ought now to get a better chance.

The Australians play five Test Matches, meet every first-class County - Yorkshire, Lancashire, Gloucestershire, Surrey and perhaps Essex twice - M.C.C. twice, both Universities and London County, concluding at the two seaside festivals. It will be noticed that the old time fixtures with the North, the Gentlemen, and the Players have all been omitted owing to the pressure of County Cricket. No matches have been arranged for Coronation Week.(Edward V11 August 1902).

In concluding this survey of coming cricket, the wish must be expressed that the mammoth programme may be carried out without friction, either as to hours of play, umpires, fair deliveries, state of the ground, or other causes. After all, even first-class cricket is only a game, and the real value of the game is the spirit in which it is played and appreciated.

The Match

Somersetshire v Australians Taunton 17–19 July 1902;

Somerset (274 and 315) drew with Australians (348 & 16/0).

In this match at Taunton, Somersetshire batted first and scored 274. Saunders took 5 - 109 for Australia. When the visitors batted Duff had made 75 at the end of the first day's play and Somersetshire had taken two wickets. Duff was eventually out for 183 in a three-hour innings. This was more than half the Australian's first inning's total of 348. Somersetshire were 159 for 5 overnight, with Lionel Palairet making 90 and Randall Johnson 62 before they were finally dismissed for 315 on the third day. Australia finished their second innings on 16 - 0 in the short time left with no chance of reaching the 242 needed for victory.


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