THE ENGLISH FOOTBALLERS.
FIRST TEST MATCH AGAINST AUSTRALIA.
THE VISITORS DEFEATED BY 13 TO 3.
A RECORD CROWD.
The first match ever played between teams repre- senting England and Australia football took place on the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday after- noon under most favourable conditions as regarded weather, and the result was a win for Aus- tralia by 13 points to 3. Saturday's match was the first of a series of three matches between England and Australia, the next taking place at Brisbane on July 22, and the final at Sydney on August 12. The interest taken by the public in this encounter was very great, fully 30,000 being present paying £1200. For the three matches played by the visitors the attendances have been particularly large. At the Sydney Cricket Ground against New South Wales on the previous Saturday the official figures were 22,000 on Tuesday at the Agricul- tural Ground, where the contest against the Sydney Union took place, 25,000 were present and with Saturday's record of 30,000 for a football match in New South Wales, the figures for the three days total 77,000. By 2 o'clock on Saturday there must have been fully 15,000 present, and by the time the great match started the pavilions, grand stand, lawn, and terraces were packed The winter costumes of the ladies, as viewed from the centre of the ground, had a charming effect. The English team underwent some changes from that which appeared in Saturday's "Herald." Nicholson's injury to his foot, caused by a nail running into it while at the swimming bath, was too serious to admit of his playing, and he retired in favour of Bucher. Timms had not recovered sufficiently from his Goulburn injury to don the guernsey, and Adamson went from half to the three quarter line, Cookson filling the latter's vacancy. An alteration was also made at full-back, Martelli being substituted for Thompson. It was feared on Friday evening that Nicholls would be unable to play owing to an attack of influenza ; fortunately it was not so bad as was at first thought, though nevertheless he had a bad cold, and so did his captain, the Rev. M. Mullineux. No alteration was made in the Australian team, of which Row was elected captain.
Notwithstanding the disabilities under which the Englishmen laboured they played a splendid game,
and were only beaten by want of condition, and that, too, in the last 10 minutes of the match. The first half was stubbornly contested, the only score being a try secured by Australia. The second half started very evenly, and continued so for about 15 minutes, and then the Britishers came with as brilliant a series of passes as have probably ever been witnessed. It was an extraordinary exhibition of combined work, and gained for them a try Tho score, 3 all, remained so until the spectators were preparing themselves for a draw The play was not nearly so interesting as in the opening half, line work in the centre prevailing most of the time. However, towards the finish Australia came with a great rush, and eventually twice broke through the very stout defence offered by the visitors, and from each try a goal was kicked. The scene among the crowd beggars description. The most intense enthusiasm lasted for several seconds. Tho better side on the day won, but it was con- dition that won for Australia. The teams were :-
Full Back :
E. Martelli R. M'Cowan
G. P. Doran C. White C. Adamson F. Row
E. G. Nicholls S. A. Spragg A. M. Bucher
W. T. Evans P. Ward Half-Backs :
M. Mullineux A. Gralton G. Cookson
F. M. Stout J. Carson T. W. M'Gown W. Davis J. W. Jarman C. Ellis
G. R. Gibson H. Marks A. Ayre-Smith P. Carew
H. G. S. Gray W. H. Tanner H. C. Belson A. J. Kelly J. Francomb A. Colton
Referee Mr. W. G. Garrard Christchurch New Zea- land ; touch umpires, Messrs. W. Warbrick and B. I.
Captains Rev. M. Mullineux (England) and F. Row
Precisely at 3 o'clock the Australians, wearing the light blue of New South Wales, appeared upon the scene, and were presently followed by the English- men, both teams meeting with a good reception at the hands of the crowd. Mullineux won the toss, and elected to defend the northern goal. There was scarcely any breeze. At five minutes past 3 Gralton kicked off, and Doran returned to the centre. In the midst of some close play Mullineux marked, but his effort was a poor one, and the ball was imme- diately returned into the visitors' half, where they were awarded a free, and Nicholls found touch close to the Australians' 25, and from the thrown-in the visitors were awarded a free, the ball being placed for Martelli, who took the kick for goal. The effort was unsuccessful, but it was neverthless a very fine kick, and was loudly cheered. Tho drop-out was taken by Doran who returned into touch with a gain of a few yards, and from the throw in the Englishmen were penalised, but there- from little advantage accrued to the Australians. From a scrum in mid-field the ball was heeled out to Gralton, and he, gaining a couple of yards, trans- ferred to Ward, who followed up a quick short run with a serviceable punt into touch at the visitors' 25. Then Gralton again passed to Ward, and the latter to Evans, who failed to take, but Ward came to his relief, and with a "speculator" kicked into touch inside the Britishers' 25. A magni- ficent bit of work was now shown by the English- men. Gralton got possession and passed to Ward, who sent to Evans, and the last mentioned was col- lared by Cookson, who relieved to neutral territory.
BRIGHT WORK BY THE VISITORS
Forcing the pace, the British forwards worked the ball right down to M'Cowan, the full-back, but he proved equal to the occasion, and returned into touch midway. During this time the excitement was intense. Then the visitors exhibited some more dashing play. From a scrum Mulliueux passed out to Cookson, who disposed of his burden very cleverly to Nicholls, but the latter was well tackled, and the ball carried into touch in the Australian half. A scrum followed the throw-in, and again came the Gralton-Ward-Evans series of passes, but the last-mentioned's transfer to White was not availed of, and England returned to the attack with great vim. From some close work in the centre Cookson secured and passed to Stout, who took splendidly, and with a run in which he showed a remarkable feint, hav- ing to stop almost dead and then wheel round to hoax his opponent, he got to the home 25. This beautiful bit of work was followed by another.
Cookson secured, and with a brilliant run reached almost to the Australian line : then Mullineaux picked up and passed to Doran, who was grandly tackled by Spragg, and the game became extraordi- narily fast. Things for the moment looked bad for the Australians, and the excitement reached a high pitch, but just as everyone expected to see the Britishers get in Gralton secured from the scrum that had been formed a few yards from the home line and amidst great cheers transferred the scene to mid-field, where loose work wound up in touch at the visitors' 25. Here Cookson broke away with a splendid bit of toe work, but a penalty gave Ward an opportunity of returning into touch at the Britishers' 25. From the scrum that followed the throw something sensational happened. Gralton secured from the heel out and passed to Ward, who sent to Evans, but the last mentioned held on instead of passing, and he was tackled right in front of the Englishmen's stronghold. A scrummage ensued, in which Gralton, with a grand effort, forced his way through the pack, but losing the ball the scene was changed to the western wing.
AN EXCITING INCIDENT.
Back again was the ball worked, until in front of the goal Gralton secured and passed back to Evans, who took a flying shot for goal. The ball went high, failed to score, dropped in front of Martelli, who allowed it to bounce, and Kelly and Colton came with a rush. The former jostled the English full- back, secured the ball, and scored a try. Several of the Englishmen appealed, for two reasons-for off- side and for illegal interference-but the referee allowed the try. From the press table, in the bal- cony of the members' pavilion, the interference ap- peared to be simply a jostle but it seemed hard to come to any, other conclusion than that Kelly and Colton were off-side. There was great excitement
amongst the spectators. Spragg took the kick, but failed to add the extra points.
Australia, 3 points (a try) : England, nil.
The drop-out was followed by an amusing incident. Ward returned towards the touch-line just outside the Englishmen's 25, and the line umpire held up his flag, but the referee who probably did not see the flag, allowed the play to proceed. A couple of the Englishmen, expecting the play to be stopped, re- mained with the line umpire. Gradually the ball was worked towards the Englishmen's line, and still the line umpire, like Ajax defying the lightning, held his arm and flag on high. However, the ball even- tually returned to touch a few yards from the touch judge who then called the referee's attention to the fact that the ball had gone into touch some time previously ; but the touch judge was overruled.
It was just as well in the circumstances that nothing bearing any tangible result happened, otherwise complications might hive ensued. A penalty against Australia enabled England to relieve, but Carson, who was playing a splendid game on the line out, and Carew brought it back to the centre, where Nicholls carried into touch. Here Mullineux, Adam- son and Nicholls indulged in some pretty passing, which would have resulted seriously for the home side had not the last-mentioned lost the ball. Here one of the players lost some of his wearing apparel, and a halt was called. An ambulance man, think- ing his services were required rushed across the ground, but something other than sticking-plaster was necessary to repair the damaged garment. On resuming Australia was penalised, and Martelli place- kicked for goal, but though the effort was a good one there was no score. Some exciting work fol- lowed, the ball being carried quickly from one end to the other, and eventually England forced. Half timo then arrived, the score being -
Australia, 3 points , England, nil.
Stout kicked off and Ward returned into touch in neutral territory. The line out was followed by an excellent forward rush through the light blue backs until M'Cowan was encountered, and he effectively stopped the rush, and then Gralton re- turned to mid-field where White showed a re- markable bit of play. He got possession, and though he was in succession tackled by a couple of opponents, he shook himself clear of each of
them, and then punted into touch in the visitors'
half, the effort being loudly cheered. Then Colton marked, but gained little ground. The Australians certainly did not use the line to the same advantage that the Englishmen did. Mullineux came away with the throw-in, but a bad pass caused a scrum to be ordered. Then Evans got possession and punted to Martelli, who mulled, but a penalty against the Australians gave England a chance of relieving the pressure.
BRILLIANT PASSING BY THE BRITISHERS.
Gralton and Evans got in some pretty passes, but the latter's attempt to transfer to Spragg was a bad one, and the scene was returned to the Aus-
tralians' half. For some time line work ensued in mid-field, but this was succeeded by the prettiest and cleverest passing rush shown during the day. Mullineux secured ju*t instilo the Australians' half, ran a few yards, then passed to Cookson, who, going very fast diagonally for the corner, sent the ball to Francomb, then to Doran to Nicholls, who was being forced into touch, but before crossing the line he, with a blind pass, disposed of the ball to Adamson, who two yards from the line gave the ball to Bucher, who scored. This brilliant display was vociferously cheered by the great crowd of people. Martelli took the kick, but did not succeed in adding the extra points. The score was now-
England, 3 points ; Australia, 3 points.
Emboldened by this success, the visitors started forcing matters, and for a time were successful. The forwards rushed the ball down to the home 25, where Ward saved by picking up and sending into touch. In the Australian half the Englishmen were awarded a free, and, thinking that the ball had touched the ground, Carson charged. The referee then ordered " no charge," but Martelli's effort was not a good one, the ball being taken by Row in front of goal and being kicked well down the ground and over Nicholls' head. The British three-quarter turned, secured, but his low punt was blocked by the Aus- tralian forwards, who rushed the ball to the visitors' 25, Carson and Carew showing prominently, as, indeed, they had done well through the game. Here a scrum was formed, arid Gralton securing attempted to pass to Ward, but Bucher was in the road and intercepted, and then going away with a good sprint he wound up with a punt well down the ground to the home 25, where White found touch. Here a penalty against Australia gave England another chance, but again Martelli failed, and Row forced ; Francomb, coming with a great rush, was only just beaten by the Australian captain. A serviceable kick by Row was followed by an English rush, which was well stopped by Evans, who in turn kicked over Martelli's head, and the latter mulling at the first attempt was carried into touch two yards from the English stronghold. From the throw in the ball was carried in close proximity to the Englishmen's goal, where White tried to pick up. At first he failed, but quickly recovering gained possession, and shaking off a couple of tacklers he
kicked into touch.
Scrum work followed, and from some close opera- tions Gray came away with the ball, and reached M'Cowan, who splendidly blocked, and returned to the visitors' 25. The Englishmen were now placed on the defensive. Spragg, taking a pass, bolted for the corner, but put one foot in touch. Then Gralton secured, pressed to Ward, who sent to Spragg, and making- no mistake this time the last-mentioned, with a dodgy run, got over and scored, and then completed the matter by adding the extra points.
Australia, 8 points ; England, 3 points.
Carew returned the kick off, and again the scene was returned to the visitors' quarters. Ward secured and passed to Evans, then to Spragg, who was col- lared by Doran, but Evans, coming along very fast, got possession, and crossing ran right round behind the goal posts, and Spragg again converted, making
Australia, 13 points ; England, 3.
The scene during the last few moments is inde- scriibable. The cheering and the excitement were intense, and are not likely to be soon forgotten. The whistle sounded immediately after the second goal was kicked. Towards the close the English- men were simply out-conditioned.
The general opinion of experts after the match on Saturday afternoon was that the better team on the day had won. Tho defeat of the Englishmen was attributed to want of condition, and it was stated that when they had struck form they would defeat Australia. The first half of the game was the better contested, the sides being as nearly equal as possible, and every inch was stubbornly fought. The beautiful series of passes which gained the try for the Englishmen was considered as being an excellent object lesson in backing up. Some of the players, without looking where they were throwing the ball, passed simply because they knew their comrades would be in posi-
tion to receive it.