The Origin of the Test Matches
HOW THE FIRST ENGLISH ELEVEN
A man in the strout (?ays "life") has heard that the first Eng.iah Eleven c.-\ux& out under the ausjjicas of a Melbourne publicau, and wishos particulars. It ap. pears that Messrs Spiers and Pond—ru/tv partners of one of ths be^t known firms in London-■-were, forty-five years ago, proprietors o!' a Melbourne restaurant. Tiu y wore struck by the erowJa they saw st tho Sntiud*y afternoon cricket match/s----and shrewdly concluded that if they couL: get h good English team to come out to Australia it would be a very profitable speculation.
■ Mr Spiers, who was a keen, enterprising man, went, accordingly, to London, and succeeded in arranging a visit from an "All England Eleven." The difficulties were considerable. There were no fast fcteamers then, and the voyage to Australia took a couple gof months, and sometimes a good deal mo- c. But the tour of this pioneer English Eleven was an immense success in every r<?spect, and gave a great impetus to Australian cricket. Two of its members, Caffjn and Lawrence, Surrey professionals, acoapted engagement-; as coaches to the Melbourne and Sydney Clubs, and remained for some years 'w Australia.
Having made a fortune out of their venture, Messrs Spiers and Pond struck out in another direction by offering Char'et Dickens £10,000 for a series of reading? from his works in Australia. The novelist nibbled at the tempting bait for some time, but eventually declined owing to the length of the voyage. Soon afterward* the twain migrated from Australia to London and established themselves on Lud^ate Hill. Anglo-Außtralian cricket was the foundation Btone of the vast busiress they developed in England, for if they had not boon inspired with the happy thought of importing tho first English team it i ? probable they would have remained in Melbourne all their lives. Mr Spiers died some years ago, but his partner still lives in London.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6611, 3 July 1905
The Origin of the Test Matches Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6611, 3 July 1905
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