1908 State Team

Western Australia 0 England Cricket XI 3

Status: Friendly
Date: 10 March 1908
Venue: WACA Ground, Perth, Western Australia
Western Australia: James Cowan, Jack Booth, George Hatton (c), Will Nicol, Norm Bower, Archie Kirkpatrick, Clem Bogle, Gil Hodges, Royston Evans, Frank Burt, Vic Allen
England Cricket XI: Arthur Fielder, Arthur Jones, Len Braund, Jack Crawford, Frederick Fane, Wilfred Rhodes, Dick Young, George Gunn, Kenneth Hutchings, Joseph Hardstaff, Jack Hobbs
Referee: C.Ormond

The honour of scoring Western Australia’s first goals fell to Gil Hodges and Royston Evans in a 3-2 loss to the visiting English Cricket Team. The third meeting of these sides was, as the score line suggests, a close encounter witnessed by around 2,000 spectators on a warm afternoon at the WACA Ground.

England won the toss and opted to kick with a strong breeze, however, it was Western Australia that did much of the early attacking with Evans and Vic Allen figuring prominently. Eventually the visitors settled and Joseph Hardstaff and George Gunn started asserting themselves only to be met with strong resistance from George Hatton and Jack Booth.

Chances came and went as play flowed from one end of the park to the other. Clem Bogle hesitated a little too long and a good chance for the hosts was lost, then English attacker Kenneth Hutchings lead a series of raids all of which were without reward. George Gunn should have done better than shoot high from a good position, and Evans fired disappointingly wide after receiving a centring pass from Bogle.

England got the all-important breakthrough when Gunn lashed low past James Cowan at the end of a tidy move. With the offside flag foiling Western Australia on several occasions, Hutchings rubbed salt into the wound by doubling England’s advantage with a smart piece of work. Then, with half-time not far away, Hodges crafted an opening which he put beyond Arthur Fielder to score Western Australia’s first ever goal.

The first twenty minutes of the second period was marked by a lot of midfield play with only the occasional serious attempt on goal from either team. England looked like more likely to score but their better openings were repeatedly snuffed out by Hatton. That changed after Cowan handled the ball outside and from the resultant free-kick Hardwicke fired in the visitors third goal.

Cheered on by the crowd, Western Australia slowly regrouped and on several occasions went close to pulling a goal back as England’s focus turned to defending their two-goal advantage. Hodges was giving his all to get the hosts back in the game and when Fielder shoved him inside the penalty area the referee had no choice but to point to the spot, from where Evans made it three-two.

Western Australia pressed repeatedly for a third and equalising goal and just before the final whistle it appeared they’d got it when a shot came to rest in the net, however, it was not allowed to stand “for some infringement not ascertainable” (1). There was no doubt England’s quality was greater than their opponents, but even so the State team deserved more on an afternoon when they enjoyed the lions share of the game.

(1) p.4, the ‘West Australian’ newspaper, 11 March 1908

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