English cricket team in North America in 1859

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The first English touring team pictured on board ship at Liverpool: standing at left Robert Carpenter, William Caffyn, Tom Lockyer; middle row John Wisden, HH Stephenson, George Parr, James Grundy, Julius Caesar, Thomas Hayward, John Jackson; front row Alfred Diver, John Lillywhite.

The English cricket team in North America in 1859 was the first ever overseas cricket tour by an English team. The touring team is sometimes referred to as George Parr's XI.

Organisation

The idea for the tour came from William Pickering, a former player who had emigrated to Canada in 1852 and first captained Canada against the United States the following year.[1] Together with Robert Waller from St George's Cricket Club, Pickering opened discussions for a possible tour in 1856 but financial problems meant that it was three years before the money could be raised. The English team required a guarantee of £600, which Pickering obtained through the Montreal Cricket Club, Hamilton Cricket Club and St George's Cricket Club.[2]

Team

The English team comprised six members of the All-England Eleven and six of the United All-England Eleven.[3] With George Parr as captain, the twelve players were effectively the cream of professional talent in the 1859 English cricket season that had just ended:

Batsmen
Name County club Birth date Batting style Bowling style Ref
G. Parr Nottinghamshire (1826-05-22)22 May 1826 (aged 33) right-handed right arm underarm [4]
R. P. Carpenter Cambridgeshire (1830-11-18)18 November 1830 (aged 28) right-handed none [5]
T. Hayward Cambridgeshire (1835-03-21)21 March 1835 (aged 24) right-handed right arm roundarm medium pace [6]
A. J. D. Diver Cambridgeshire (1824-07-06)6 July 1824 (aged 35) right-handed right arm underarm fast-medium pace [7]
J. Caesar Surrey (1830-03-25)25 March 1830 (aged 29) right-handed right arm roundarm fast [8]
All-rounders
Name County club Birth date Batting style Bowling style Ref
W. Caffyn Surrey (1828-02-02)2 February 1828 (aged 31) right-handed right arm roundarm medium pace [9]
H. H. Stephenson Surrey (1833-05-03)3 May 1833 (aged 26) right-handed right arm roundarm fast [10]
J. Lillywhite Sussex (1826-11-10)10 November 1826 (aged 32) right-handed right arm roundarm fast [11]
Wicket-keepers
Name County club Birth date Batting style Bowling style Ref
T. Lockyer Surrey (1826-11-01)1 November 1826 (aged 32) right-handed right arm roundarm fast-medium [12]
Bowlers
Name County club Birth date Batting style Bowling style Ref
J. Grundy Nottinghamshire (1824-03-05)5 March 1824 (aged 35) right-handed right arm roundarm fast [13]
J. Jackson Nottinghamshire (1833-05-21)21 May 1833 (aged 26) right-handed right arm roundarm fast [14]
J. Wisden Sussex (1826-09-05)5 September 1826 (aged 33) right-handed right arm underarm slow [15]

Matches

A wood engraving of the match at Hoboken, New Jersey.

Five matches were played, all against XXIIs, so none had first-class status. Three exhibition games were also played in which the 12 England players divided and added five North Americans to each team to make up eleven-a-side matches. Including travelling time, the trip lasted two months and each English player (all professionals) earned about £90, a sizeable sum at the time.

The team's opponents were:

One of the exhibition matches was played 14 October at Camac Woods.

Among their opponents were Harry Wright, a future pioneer of professional baseball, and Charles H. T. Collis, future Medal of Honor winner in the American Civil War.

In addition to the exhibition matches they also had two excursions to view the Niagara Falls.

The English side was exceedingly strong and would probably have beaten any twenty-two in England. There were excellent crowds for the first three matches but the weather in mid-October turned very cold and reduced the attendances at the last two. It was reported that the fielders wore gloves and overcoats in the last match.[16]

Aftermath

A product of the tour was a book by Fred Lillywhite, who travelled as scorer, entitled The English Cricketers' Trip to Canada and the United States and published in 1860. A reprint of the book was published in 1980 with an introduction by Robin Marlar, including biographies of all of the players.

For the general growth of cricket in the United States, it was most unfortunate that this pioneering tour occurred only 18 months before the American Civil War began. If the war had not broken out, it is highly likely that two or three follow-up tours might have been arranged in the early 1860s, thus building on the interest created by the initial trip. As it was, the enthusiasm for cricket faded in the war years and the troops on both sides adopted the embryonic game of baseball. When English teams resumed tours to America in 1868, not only did they have to try to rekindle the enthusiasm, but in baseball they had a serious rival to contend with.

Notes

  1. ^ Reeves 2014, p.29.
  2. ^ Reeves 2014, pp.54-55.
  3. ^ Reeves 2014, p.60.
  4. ^ "George Parr". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Robert Carpenter". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Thomas Hayward". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Alfred Diver". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Julius Caesar". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Billy Caffyn". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "H. H. Stephenson". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "John Lillywhite". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Tom Lockyer". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "James Grundy". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "John Jackson". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  15. ^ "John Wisden". CricketArchive. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  16. ^ Reeves 2014, p.213.

Further reading

  • Altham, H. S. (1962). A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914). George Allen & Unwin. 
  • Birley, Derek (1999). A Social History of English Cricket. Aurum. 
  • Bowen, Rowland (1970). Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development. Eyre & Spottiswoode. 
  • Lillywhite, Fred (1980). The English Cricketers' Trip to Canada and the United States in 1859. Introduction by Robin Marlar. World's Work. 
  • Major, John (2007). More Than A Game. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780007183654. 
  • Reeves, Scott (2014). The Champion Band: The First English Cricket Tour. Chequered Flag Publishing. ISBN 9780956946089. 

External links

  • CricketArchive – tour itinerary
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