Early W.A. Cricketing Memories
F. D. North Was Fine Sport
In recent issues short accounts have been given of the progress of cricket in W.A. in the early days, and so perhaps a few incidents in connection with some of the games played and the players concerned may be of interest.
The name of the late F. D. North figures largely in these reminis-
Now this player was one of the greatest batsmen who ever played in W.A., and in the days when most of the games were played on the Esplanade it was quite a com- mon sight to see 400 to 600 spec- tators present when he was play- ing.
Such was bis skill that when other players were practising on other parts of the ground during the week they would often leave
toff in order to watch "F.D." have his "hit."
On one occasion a crowd had
gathered behind the net when a spectator exressed a wish to have a bowl at him. North was a fine, upstanding figure of a man, a typical English gentleman in the true sense of the word.
There he was Io his creams, dressed immaculately, while the man who wanted to bowl at him waa only in his old working clothes. His request to have a bowl was granted, and after a few minutes he succeeded in bowling North, whereupon that batsman walked down the pitch to the bowler, shook hands with him. remarking, "Fine ball, my man, beat me all the way," at the same time handing a sovereign to the bowler. This was typical of North, the sportsman.
Great interest was taken in all the games played, and an incident occurred in 1899-1900 when Clare- mont were playing against North Fremantle which will live in the memories of those old players who took part in the game.
Arthur Douglas, playing for North Fremantle, hit the ball twice and ran, and in answer to an appeal the umpire. Sam Lawrence (recently deceased), gave the bats- man ont. The North Fremantle barrackers rushed the ground and a general melee was only averted by the arrival of the police.
It would appear as if North Fre- mantle and Claremont were bitter rivals in these days, for another match for the premiership in 1902-3 was full of interest.
Feeling ran high throughout, and the decisions of one particular umpire were always adverse to Claremont, and matters became so bad that the captain, Geo. Wood-
house, called his men off the field.
A protest was lodged by Clare- mont, but after a long deliberation by the committee the protest was lost on the grounds that Claremont should have played the match through.
Writing of umpires recalls the story of the umpire who appeared on the field in his bathing suit. When asked by the other umpire the reason for this peculiar attire, he replied, "The last time I um- pired on this ground they threw me into the river."
lt may be newe to many to know that Ernie Jones, the Australian XI. fast bowler, once played for the old Claremont-Cottesloe Club, of which F. D. North was captain.
A game against North Perth was in progress on the W.A.CA. ground and the day was extremely hot, so during the afternoon (there was no afternoon adjournment in these days) North asked the op- posing captain if his team might adjourn for a drink, which was agreed to.
He took his men to the mem- bers' bar and suddenly remember- ing that Jones was playing his first game on turf in W.A., rushed to the door and called him in.
After the other players had ordered drinks (whiskys and sodas) North turned to "Jonah" and asked. "And what would you like, Mr. Jones?" and received this reply, "If it's all the same to you, Mr. North, I'd like a bottle of beer," and seeing the temperature was well over the century one is inclined to be a little with "Jonah" in his order.
Good performances were not allowed to go unrecognised in these days. In 191-2, playing against Australs, Claremont were given 97 runs to make in 30 minutes, and the feat was accom- plished for the loss of three wic- kets.
The large number of onlookers were so enthusiastic over the per- formance that a substantial sum was collected on the ground, and during the next match the Mayor of Claremont made presentations to Messrs. Woodhouse, D'Arcy and Edwards in recognition of their efforts.