100 Years Ago: 7th August 1921, the Day the Australian Cricket Team came to Broadway

Broadway, Sunday 7th August 1921

At the invitation of cricket fans Antonio de Navarro and Mary Anderson de Navarro, the Australian cricket team visited Broadway on 7th August 1921 during their Ashes Tour of England. Around noon, a convoy of seven cars carrying the team were greeted by a crowd of villagers lining the High Street as it made its way to Court Farm.

The Australians, in the middle of a first-class match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston (which they went on to win by an innings and 61 runs), were spending their rest day touring the local area, hosted by Sir Herbert Austin, Chairman and founder of the Austin Motor Company Ltd.  Aged 18, Austin, had emigrated to Australia where he had trained as an engineer, married an Australian girl, and spent the first 15 years of married life in Australia, mostly in Melbourne, before returning to England in 1893.

Australian Cricket Team, 1921

The Australians, captained by ‘Big Ship’ Warwick Armstrong, spent an hour at Court Farm where they met; Capt Theodore Rodocanachi MC (Captain of Broadway Cricket Club), John Morris (Broadway Parish Councillor), Maud Caffin (daughter of Rev. Charles Caffin, the Vicar of St Michael’s), Father George, Father Wilfrid and Father Edward Green (St Saviour’s), the distinguished pianist Harold Samuel, and two of Broadway’s doctors, Dr William Alexander and Dr Charles Standring who both had cricketing connections with the Australian team.

Touring with the Australians was Dr Roland ‘Rowley’ Pope, the team’s doctor. Dr Pope, like Dr Alexander, had studied medicine at Edinburgh University and played cricket for the University’s Eleven. Dr Pope had also been a good friend of Dr Henry ‘Tup’ Scott, captain of the Australian Cricket Team in 1886. Dr Scott retired from cricket at the end of the 1886 Ashes Tour and had stayed in London to pursue a career in medicine.

Dr Rowley Pope
Dr Rowley Pope by J. Blair Leighton

During Dr Scott’s time at King’s College Hospital he had played cricket with Dr Standring, who had joined Broadway Cricket Club shortly after his move to Broadway in 1893.  Within a few months of playing for Broadway, Dr Standring was elected to the Club’s Committee and served as Captain of the Club for 10 years from 1895 to 1905.

 

After a tour of the garden and Chapel at Court Farm, Australia’s captain, Armstrong, said that the chapel “was the most unique and sweet thing he ever saw and would carry the memory of it in his heart”. Harold Samuel gave a short piano recital before the team left Broadway calling at Capt Rodocanachi’s home, The Hill, at the top of the High Street to take in the view before heading for lunch in Stratford-upon-Avon. At Stratford the team met the English novelist Marie Corelli and visited Shakespeare’s birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s cottage, and Shakespeare’s monument in Holy Trinity Church before heading back to Birmingham.

A Broadway cricket enthusiast showed pardonable excitement when he heard of the arrival of the Australian cricketers on Sunday. Yes, he would snapshot them. So he borrowed a camera and cleaned and repaired it, and procured some plates after half-an-hour’s search. Then he hastened to the top of the village, hopeful of taking some fine pictures. Yes, it was very disappointing then to hear that the cricketers had departed half-an-hour before, and that not only had he no snapshots, but he had missed seeing them.

The Evesham Journal, 13 August 1921

Australia won the 1921 Ashes series. They won the first three matches against England (held at Trent Bridge, Lord’s and Headingley) which meant they had won 8 in succession, an unequalled sequence in Ashes Test Matches. The last two matches of the Test series (held at Old Trafford and The Oval) were drawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sports Day August 1920

Broadway Fete and Sports Day Organised by the Broadway Branch of the Comrades of the Great War Association

On Monday 2nd August 1920, the Broadway Branch of the Comrades of the Great War1 held their annual Fete and Sports Day at Broad Close. A committee, chaired by Donald Russell (owner of the Lygon Arms) with sports secretaries, W. Benfield. A. Ingram and M. Bates, organised the afternoon’s activities. The sporting events included; flat and hurdle racing, pony racing, bowling for a pig (which was won by Mr Sandals of West End) and a greasy pole. There was also a costume parade – the prize for the best dressed was awarded to Charles Savage who dressed up as a female land worker.

A tent was erected at Broad Close and refreshments were supplied by Mrs Nicholls, Mrs Warren, Mrs Jacques, Mrs Austin Davies, Mrs H. Collins and Mrs C. Jordan and the Broadway Brass Band played during the afternoon. The prizes were awarded to the winning competitors by Antonio de Navarro of Court Farm.

The Evesham Standard & West Midland Observer reported the following results on 7th August:

100 yards handicap for boys under 14: 1 R. Burrows2, 2 G. Lloyd 3. F. Dyer
Ladies egg and spoon race: 1 Elsie Steward3, 2. N. Lloyd, 3. C. Savage
120 yards flat handicap: 1 Augustus Cotterell4, 2 P.G. Biles5, 3 A. Hardwick
220 years hurdle race: 1 Charles Steward 2 J. Harrison 3 J.C. Biggs
Half mile handicap: 1 J. Cotterell, 2 C. Barnett, 3 Charles Steward
One mile flat handicap: 1 J. Cotterell, 2 W. Hartwell 3 P.G. Biles
100 yards veteran race (over 50): 1 W. Gilder6, 2 Fred Hill, 3 W.H. Biles
300 yards flat handicap: 1 H. Sandals, 2 D. Holland, 3 J.C. Biggs
440 yards obstacle race: 1 J. Cotterell, 2 Charles Steward, 3 J.C. Biggs
One mile walking race: This proved very exciting with Robinson and Folkes making a dead heat for first place with Steward well up.

Three teams entered for the tug of war, the visitors’ team obtaining the verdict rather easily. In the pony racing:

Ponies 13 hands and up: 1 Mr F.C. Cotterell’s ‘Blue Bell’, 2 Mr A. Proctor’s ‘Jenny’
Ponies up to 13.2h: 1 ‘Lightning’ 2 ‘Jenny’
Ponies up to 14h: ‘Lightning’ won easily, 2 ‘Jenny’
Horses of any height: 1 Mr F.C. Cotterell’s ‘Never Mind’, 2 Mr J. Atkin’s ‘Paddy’

Following its success, the fete and sports day was repeated the following year at Broad Close. It was held on the August Bank Holiday 1921 but following the amalgamation of the Comrades Association to form The British Legion the event was not held again.

In 1935, the North Cotswold Athletic Association organised an afternoon of sports on Broad Close, part of the village’s celebrations of the Silver Jubilee of HM King George V.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

Notes:

1. The Comrades of the Great War was formed in 1917 as an association to represent the rights of ex-servicemen and women who had served or been discharged from service during the First World War. It was one of the original four ex-service associations that amalgamated on Sunday 15th May 1921 to form The British Legion.
2. Reginald Harry Burrows (1906-1957)
3. Elsie Horne Steward (1909-1999), daughter of Charles E. Steward.
4. Augustine Cotterell (1901-1965)
5. Percy George Biles (1898-1996)
6. William Gilder (1859-1930)