1868 Indigenous cricket tour to England
On 10 April 2018, Cricket Australia announced the men’s and women’s teams that will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 1868 tour to England by an indigenous team from Australia – the first ever overseas sporting tour by Australians. Ashleigh Gardner will captain the women’s team and Dan Christian the men’s.
This news prompted me to write this short blog and finalise an article on my Stevens ancestors of Witham, Essex, and their involvement in cricket, because this involvement included organising and playing in one of the matches against that touring indigenous team in September 1868.
My great-grand-uncle, Charles Richard Stevens (1851-1910) helped organise the match between the tourists and the ‘gentlemen’ of the Witham Cricket Club. He also played in the match. He only scored 4 and 6 as the tourists went on to win by an innings and 43 runs.
Judging by the members of the two teams soon to go to England, the current gentlemen of the Witham Cricket Club would seem unlikely to do as well against the tourists as their predecessors did in 1868.
The field on which they played still exists and cricket is still played on it as my photograph, taken in August 2016, attests. But it will not feature in this year’s tour.
©Alun Stevens 2018