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.
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.
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.