The Ashes football battle is on again
By Richard Kreider
THE Football Hall of Fame WA is once again delighted to catch up with our good friends the England Ashes cricket media in a social football game at Dorrien Gardens on December 12.
In contrast to the action at the WACA Ground (the Ashes Test cricket match starts there on December 14), we are thrilled to provide some light relief for the travelling scribes while they’re in town.
Special thanks must go to our good friend Dean Wilson (Mirror Cricket Correspondent) for organising the away side preparations.
This will be the fifth occasion our local sporting media/Hall of Fame will meet our visitors in a friendly football game, which is played to celebrate the very first match for a Western Australian State representative team in 1902.
That game was against a MacLaren Test cricket team who were returning to Britain following a tour of the eastern states.
A reported 5,000 spectators ventured to Fremantle Oval to watch history being made, albeit a contest between two contrasting sets of sportsmen.
The English cruised to victory against a raw local side 4-0, with John Gunn scoring a double, and singles going to Arthur Jones and Gil Jessop to complete the win.
The 1902 teams:
WA XI: AS Hardwick (Perth), Geo Hatton (C-Civil Service), G Field (Perth), Bert Fletcher (Olympic), A Goad (Southern Cross), J Gorton (Corinthians), Stan Williams (Civil Service), Tom O’Nurse (Olympic), Reg Burt (Perth), Geo McKenzie (Corinthians), Fred Burt (Perth).
MacLaren XI: GL Jessop, AA Lilley, C McGahey, JT Tyldesley, WG Quaife (C), HG Garnett, AO Jones, Blythe, LC Braund, J Gunn, T Hayward.
Another opportunity to play a Test cricket side came two years later (almost to the day) and once again the visitors emerged triumphant, this time 3-0 with goals to ‘Tip’ Foster (the only person to captain both England’s cricket and football team), Johnny Tyldesley and Len Braund.
Western Australia came close to securing their first representative victory in 1908 with a 3-2 loss to an Arthur Jones Cricket XI at the WACA Ground.
The history books showed WA scored their first goals in this match, courtesy of Gil Hodges and a Royston Evans penalty. ‘Mac’ Evans in fact played 11 times for the WA State Cricket team; his last first class game was ironically against an MCC side in 1924 – as captain.
The senior State football team ventured outside of WA in 1909 to embark on a mammoth 10-game tour of the eastern seaboard, winning three games, drawing five and losing just twice – one against the powerful New South Wales State side.
After a visit by South Australia in 1910 when WA's football team won a three-game series 2-1, their next victory of note was a 5-3 conquest over another England Cricket XI in 1925.
This was followed the same year by arguably one of the most powerful teams ever to set foot on Australian soil, an England Football Association squad. They played an astonishing 25 games across the country without defeat, scoring 139 goals and conceding just 13.
The final time WA played cricket opponents came in 1929 when WA beat their English opponents 5-3 at Subiaco Oval.
Fast track to 2017 and, because of the intensity of both sports, it is no longer practical for a national Test Cricket team to play first-class football. This is where the December 12 event comes in.
The visiting media won the first game 2-1, with former Test cricketer Angus Fraser getting the winner with a long-range effort, when the series was revived in 2002 (100 years after the first contest) before the local journos rebounded to take the next two, 6-4 in 2006 and 4-2 in 2010.
The head-to-head count was two wins each in 2013 when the visitors won a cracker of a match at Dorrien Gardens 3-2. Who can forget former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan’s breathtaking curling strike from the edge of the 18-yard box!
The victory was particularly sweet for former England Ashes cricketer David "Bumble" Lloyd, who had turned out as a player in some of the earlier football clashes but was an inspirational coach in 2013.
So – everything to play for in the fifth "Ashes" media football clash at Dorrien Gardens, which starts at 4.30pm. May the best team win!
The victors will receive a valued trophy, featuring a cricket bat on one side and a footballer on the other.
PIC ONE: The 1902 WA team that took on England's cricketers. PIC TWO: The 2010 WA and English media teams. PIC THREE: Michael Vaughan in action in 2013. PIC FOUR: Gary Marocchi, (left) who coached the WA media in earlier games, with Richard Kreider and the "Ashes" trophy.