Ian Davidson took this photo on the last day of a Sheffield Shield game between Victoria and New South Wales. Note the wording at the top of the scoreboard: ‘MCC INTERNATIONAL CRICKET CENTENARY’. (Click on the photo to see a larger image.)
Ian recalled: “The scoreboard has been decorated to mark the centenary of international cricket, to be celebrated a week later over the New Year, during the Second Test between England and Australia. Celebrations included a re-enactment of the first international game, which was played before the first session of the Test.
“From my memory the game commenced around 9.30 and would have been well and truly finished by 10.30. It was played on a pitch rolled out well to the north of the Test pitch (and probably off the square). As there was heavy rain early that morning, it would have made for interesting cricket! The players all wore period costume, some rather exaggerated.”
According to the Keith Dunstan book The People’s Ground, the re-enactment (not of the centenary of Test cricket but of the first game of international cricket), was a rather haphazard affair, with players such as Harold Larwood and Bill Ponsford pulling out from captaining an All England X1 (Larwood) and a Melbourne & Districts XV111 (Ponsford). Larwood apparently could not afford to take time off from his mixed-business in Sydney. (Nowadays The Ponsford Stand at the MCG fills the space in Ian’s photo – between the Members’ Stand and the scoreboard.)
Frank Tyson skipperred the All England X1 and the Victorian Premier Henry Bolte played the role of George Marshall, skipper of the Melbourne & Districts XV111 (and publican of the Crickets’ Arms). Bolte did not quite enter into the spirit of the re-enactment, refusing to be dismissed for a duck, as George Marshall was in 1862.
New South Wales players stroll out onto the MCG for the last session of the Shield game against Victoria. The visitors lost outright, with Victoria needing only a small run-chase for victory.