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150th anniversary of the first English cricket tour of North America
by DreamCricket USA
Oct 17, 2009

Readers' Comments

The First Overseas Tour

It was exactly 150 years ago, on October 14th, 1859, that the first tour of USA by a visiting English side came to an end in Philadelphia.   It was not just the first tour of North America by an overseas team, it was the first overseas cricket tour.  Period!

The tour predated the first English tour of Australia by 3 years and the first tour classified as a "Test" by 18 years.  Just for comparison, The Ashes started much later in 1882.   The only international tour that preceded the English tour of 1859 was the USA vs Canada series which began in 1844.

A crowd of 3,000 roared their approval for the first match in Montreal between September 24-26, 1859.   A crowd of several thousand spectators including 1,000 ladies witnessed the proceedings on  the last day of the tour.  Sporting tours became a way of life with this event.

The 1859 tour was the brainchild of Robert Waller and WP Pickering.  Mr. Pickering had captained Eton before emigrating to Canada in 1852.  He represented Canada in the USA vs Canada match of 1853. 

Mr. Waller was an importer of more than just merchandize from England.  "Cricket, a sturdy plant indigenous to England; let us prove that it can be successfully transplanted to American soil," Robert Waller announced in 1843 as he toasted after a match between his Union Club of Philadelphia (based in Camden, NJ) and the other great club he had helped found - the St. George's Club of New York (which played most of its cricket in Hoboken, NJ).   Business took him back to England for a while in the 1850s before he returned to New York later in the decade.   While in England, he struck up some friendships that would trigger the historic 1859 tour.   

The English team is said to have required a guarantee of GBP 750.  Mr. Pickering secured the guarantee money through the Montreal Club and Mr. Waller guaranteed GBP 500 for two matches in the USA. 

The result of their combined effort was that on September 6th 1859, twelve professional cricketers of England met at the George Hotel, Liverpool and left the English shores via the Nova Scotian the next morning (see photo below of their maiden cricket journey).

The George Parr XI

The team comprised William Caffyn, Tom Lockyer, Julius Ceasar (of Surrey);  George Parr, James Grundy and John Jackson (of Nottinghamshire), John Wisden and John Lillywhite (Sussex), Robert Carpenter, Thomas Hayward and Alfred Diver (Cambridgeshire), with Fred Lillywhite acting as the manager.  

The players were rated among the best in the country at that time, having played for All England and United England teams - the best first class teams in England.

On their voyage from Liverpool to Quebec City on board “SS Nova Scotian,” the Englishmen feared for their lives as storms raged in the Atlantic. In Canada, even though the tourists were far too strong for the locals, the visit was a great success, becoming the first English cricket ‘tour’ in history.  George Parr XI won both their matches there.

A Successful Tour

The English team did well financially earning over $5,000 from the tour.  That is $125,000 in today's currency.   Well over the guarantee amount promised by Mr. Waller.   In New York, St. George Cricket Club reported gate receipts of about $2,000 on the first day itself ($50,000 in today's currency). Total expenses for the three days in New York was roughly $3,200, so it can safely be assumed that the hosts made a hefty profit.  

The tour also marked several important publishing milestones for cricket. And playing on the English team were two visionary pioneer cricket writers and publishers of the era (John Wisden and Fred Lillywhite).  

Fred Lillywhite travelled with his groundside tent and printing press. His role on the tour has been described as that of "scorer, reporter, and mentor, not to say Nestor."   True to form, he wrote a fascinating book describing the adventure titled “The English Cricketers' Trip to Canada and the United States.”

“Nobody talks or writes or dreams of anything but cricket. Bats are discussed at breakfast as freely as beefsteaks and balls at dinner as if they are eatable,” wrote the reporter for The Times. “Philadelphians jostle Chicagonians, New Orleanists, New Yorkers, Englishmen shake hands with Canadian French and even the phlegmatic Dutch turn out spiritedly.”

Leslie’s Illustrated reported that even "people who were as ignorant of cricket as they were of the social life of the Chinese" were now discussing ‘no balls’ and ‘cuts.’

Betting was tolerated.  “The Eleven do not bet, at least openly, but outsiders do. The bets are that two to one English Eleven will win any one of the four matches named. Even bets that they will win all four. That there will be 8 ducks in the Twenty Two’s batting. Varying wagers on one man’s score against the other. The most animated betting is on the NY match. The Americans back the US to win and the rest bet that English will win easily.”

Sales in the concessions stands too was brisk.   Lillywhite had a tent to sell cricket cards. A tent for refreshments was also erected. The Times reporter wrote, “The caterer could not have been chosen for worse food for which he charged - 62.5 cents for each victim, who was compelled to take it or nothing.”

This tour had acquired enormous prestige and representatives from far flung cities traveled long distances to meet with the English side nurturing hopes of having the English side visit their cities.

Cincinnati Cricket Club representatives went all the way to Montreal and promised 75% of the gate receipts if the English side played there. Albany, St. Louis, Baltimore, all tried to persuade the English side to visit their cities and play their local teams. In fact, an unscheduled stop was made at Rochester by the English side after Rochester Mayor announced $1,500 of public funds for improving the city’s cricket ground and took a personal interest in the match.

The USA Leg of the Tour

After winning their two matches in Canada, the Englishmen proceeded to New York where the first match was played between October 3-5, 1859 following which they played a second match in Philadelphia between October 10-14, 1859.  The first match is preserved for posterity thanks to the images published on October 15, 1859, in the Harper’s Weekly.

October 3-5, 1859: England vs USA: Match report

The first game of the USA leg took place between the English and the XXII of the USA at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken, NJ on October 3rd, 4th and 5th of 1859.

The Elysian Fields got a $2,000 makeover thanks to the timely help from Edward Stevens (whose bequest led to the founding of Stevens Institute of Technology, also located in Hoboken, in 1870).

Local clubs pitched their tents (giving rise to the expression ‘tented field’). “The largest array of spectators” turned up, way beyond the organizers’ expectations. The English players encountered 8000 spectators on the first day and this number doubles on the second day. In total, some 25,000 spectators watched the game on the three days.

New York’s cricketing skills were embarrassing and it was defeated by a huge margin.  England scored 156 and USA XXII scored 38 and 54. Fielding 22 in a side was not unusual those days when playing against England.

Some said that the American team was not truly a representative one. Most on the team were English residents of New York and there were just three Philadelphians on the American team – Walter Newhall, Charles Barclay and William Morgan.

Criticism was focused on the selection of Waller, Walsh and Comery, who were veterans of the USA vs Canada series a decade and half earlier.  But Waller could not have been dropped - he was the organizer and an important administrator.   No surprises then that along with the first overseas tour came the first selection controversy (and as you will see below, the first umpiring controversy as well)!

October 10-14, 1859. England vs Philadelphia: Match report

In the second match at Philadelphia, which began on October 10th, on the Camac Estate at 13th and Columbia Avenue, the XXII scored 94 and 60 with England scoring 126 and 29 for three to wrap up the match with a seven wicket victory.

This match was closer than the New York one and some of the American pride was redeemed. Thus the series ended with a huge victory for England.

Lillywhite wrote, “the ground presented a most animated appearance. We never saw such a magnificent sight; about 1,000 ladies were sitting by themselves, and they appeared to be enthusiastic.”

This match witnessed the first international umpiring controversy when Henry Sharp inexplicably called a wide when English player Robert Carpenter was caught. Carpenter made 22 decisive runs for his side. Jones Wister claimed that it had cost Americans the match.

October 14th marked the conclusion of the official portion of the American tour (although the match may have ended earlier).  Following this match, the Englishmen played some unscheduled matches, including one in Rochester (which Rochester lost by an innings and 68 runs) and a baseball match in New York as the cricket match was interrupted by snow, before returning to Liverpool on November 11th, 1859 by way of Canada.



United States of America v G Parr's XI
G Parr's XI in North America 1859
Venue St George's Club Ground, Hoboken on 3rd, 4th, 5th October 1859 (3-day match)
Balls per over 4
Players United States of America: 22; G Parr's XI: 11
Toss Toss not known
Result G Parr's XI won by an innings and 64 runs
Umpires J Lillywhite
Close of play day 1  
Close of play day 2  

United States of America first innings Runs Balls Mins 4s 6s
J Lang b Parr 6          
*R Waller run out 0          
HE Sharp st Lockyer b Jackson 1          
W Hammond c Hayward b Parr 6          
AH Gibbes b Jackson 0          
Earnshaw lbw b Parr 4          
AL Marsh lbw b Jackson 0          
W Wilby b Parr 3          
T Senior hit wkt b Parr 3          
WH Wright st Lockyer b Jackson 1          
J Higham b Jackson 1          
Head b Jackson 0          
S Wright st Lockyer b Jackson 1          
WS Newhall c Diver b Jackson 5          
WC Morgan c Jackson b Parr 0          
JT Walker b Jackson 2          
W Crossley b Parr 0          
W Comery hit wkt b Parr 0          
R Bage b Jackson 3          
FH Lillywhite c Carpenter b Jackson 0          
AC Barclay run out 0          
W Hallis not out 0          
Extras (1 b, 1 lb) 2
Total (all out, 57 overs) 38
Fall of wickets:
1-?, 2-?, 3-?, 4-?, 5-?, 6-?, 7-?, 8-?, 9-?, 10-?, 11-?, 12-?, 13-?, 14-?, 15-?, 16-?, 17-?, 18-?, 19-?, 20-?, 21-38 (57 ov)
G Parr's XI bowling Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Wides No-Balls
Parr 29    11 25 8 - -
Jackson 28    19 11 11 - -

G Parr's XI first innings Runs Balls Mins 4s 6s
RP Carpenter c Senior b Hallis 26          
T Hayward b Hallis 33          
J Wisden run out 3          
*G Parr b Gibbes 7          
W Caffyn b Gibbes 5          
+T Lockyer c Lang b Hallis 12          
AJD Diver c Hallis b Gibbes 1          
HH Stephenson b Hallis 10          
J Caesar b Hallis 6          
J Grundy b Hallis 20          
J Jackson not out 8          
Extras (10 b, 1 lb, 2 nb, 12 w) 25
Total (all out, 105 overs) 156
Fall of wickets:
1-?, 2-?, 3-?, 4-?, 5-?, 6-?, 7-?, 8-?, 9-?, 10-156 (105 ov)
United States of America bowling Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Wides No-Balls
S Wright 14    7 18 0 - 2
Crossley 1    0 1 0 1 -
Comery 18    5 33 0 1 -
Hallis 43    26 47 6 4 -
Marsh 8    4 6 0 3 -
Gibbes 21    9 25 3 3 -

United States of America second innings Runs Balls Mins 4s 6s
J Lang c Carpenter b Wisden 7          
*R Waller c Lockyer b Caffyn 0          
HE Sharp c and b Caffyn 5          
W Hammond b Caffyn 0          
AH Gibbes c Lockyer b Caffyn 0          
Earnshaw c Carpenter b Caffyn 1          
AL Marsh c Wisden b Caffyn 0          
W Wilby b Caffyn 0          
T Senior c Carpenter b Caffyn 3          
WH Wright b Caffyn 5          
J Higham b Caffyn 0          
Head c Lockyer b Caffyn 5          
S Wright b Wisden 3          
WS Newhall b Caffyn 6          
WC Morgan c Lockyer b Caffyn 0          
JT Walker b Wisden 0          
W Crossley c Carpenter b Caffyn 4          
W Comery lbw b Caffyn 5          
R Bage not out 0          
FH Lillywhite st Lockyer b Caffyn 0          
AC Barclay run out 1          
W Hallis b Wisden 5          
Extras (1 b, 3 lb) 4
Total (all out, 68 overs) 54
Fall of wickets:
1-?, 2-?, 3-?, 4-?, 5-?, 6-?, 7-?, 8-?, 9-?, 10-?, 11-?, 12-?, 13-?, 14-?, 15-?, 16-?, 17-?, 18-?, 19-?, 20-?, 21-54 (68 ov)
G Parr's XI bowling Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Wides No-Balls
Wisden 34    22 26 4 - -
Caffyn 34    25 24 16 - -


Philadelphia v G Parr's XI
G Parr's XI in North America 1859
Venue Camac's Wood, Philadelphia on 10th, 12th, 13th, 14th October 1859 (4-day match)
Balls per over 4
Players Philadelphia: 22; G Parr's XI: 11
Toss Toss not known
Result G Parr's XI won by 7 wickets
Umpires J Caesar, HE Sharp
Close of play day 1  
Close of play day 2  
Close of play day 3  

Philadelphia first innings Runs Balls Mins 4s 6s
J Lang b Parr 2          
CB Sharratt b Jackson 0          
*WR Wister b Wisden 9          
+AC Barclay b Jackson 0          
WS Newhall b Parr 3          
W Hammond c Grundy b Parr 0          
AH Gibbes b Caffyn 20          
WH Wright b Parr 1          
TM Hall hit wkt b Caffyn 3          
W Wilby b Caffyn 0          
CHT Collis b Jackson 0          
T Senior b Jackson 3          
CA Vernou c sub (J Caesar) b Jackson 5          
SW Kephardt b Jackson 0          
S Wright st Lockyer b Carpenter 3          
WC Morgan c Lockyer b Carpenter 9          
EC Hunt c Caffyn b Jackson 1          
CWM Bayard c Caffyn b Carpenter 1          
J Wister run out 19          
H Fisher b Jackson 4          
W Hallis not out 7          
A Waterman c Carpenter b Caffyn 0          
Extras (4 b) 4
Total (all out, 134.2 overs) 94
Fall of wickets:
1-?, 2-?, 3-?, 4-?, 5-?, 6-?, 7-?, 8-?, 9-?, 10-?, 11-?, 12-?, 13-?, 14-?, 15-?, 16-?, 17-?, 18-?, 19-?, 20-?, 21-94 (134.2 ov)
G Parr's XI bowling Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Wides No-Balls
Parr 36    23 18 4 - -
Jackson 59    41 37 8 - -
Wisden 8    6 2 1 - -
Caffyn 20.2 11 24 4 - -
Carpenter 11    6 9 3 - -

G Parr's XI first innings Runs Balls Mins 4s 6s
T Hayward c Wilby b WH Wright 34          
RP Carpenter c Gibbes b Senior 22          
AJD Diver b WH Wright 2          
W Caffyn b Senior 4          
+T Lockyer not out 31          
J Grundy c Newhall b Senior 5          
HH Stephenson b Senior 1          
J Lillywhite b Senior 0          
J Wisden b Gibbes 3          
J Jackson c WR Wister b Senior 6          
*G Parr absent hurt
Extras (4 b, 3 lb, 11 w) 18
Total (all out, 112.1 overs) 126
Fall of wickets:
1-?, 2-?, 3-?, 4-?, 5-?, 6-?, 7-?, 8-?, 9-126 (112.1 ov)
Philadelphia bowling Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Wides No-Balls
Senior 26.1 12 20 6 5 -
WH Wright 14    7 14 2 1 -
Gibbes 25    10 32 1 2 -
Hallis 30    16 25 0 3 -
Waterman 17    10 17 0 - -

Philadelphia second innings Runs Balls Mins 4s 6s
J Lang c Lockyer b Grundy 8          
CB Sharratt b Grundy 1          
*WR Wister b Grundy 3          
+AC Barclay b Wisden 3          
WS Newhall c and b Wisden 0          
W Hammond b Wisden 0          
AH Gibbes b Grundy 6          
WH Wright c Stephenson b Jackson 7          
TM Hall run out 0          
W Wilby b Jackson 0          
CHT Collis st Lockyer b Wisden 0          
T Senior b Wisden 6          
CA Vernou run out 2          
SW Kephardt run out 10          
S Wright c and b Wisden 2          
WC Morgan b Jackson 3          
EC Hunt lbw b Jackson 0          
CWM Bayard c Carpenter b Jackson 0          
J Wister b Jackson 5          
H Fisher b Jackson 2          
W Hallis c Jackson b Wisden 0          
A Waterman not out 0          
Extras (2 lb) 2
Total (all out, 78.1 overs) 60
Fall of wickets:
1-?, 2-?, 3-?, 4-?, 5-?, 6-?, 7-?, 8-?, 9-?, 10-?, 11-?, 12-?, 13-?, 14-?, 15-?, 16-?, 17-?, 18-?, 19-?, 20-?, 21-60 (78.1 ov)
G Parr's XI bowling Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Wides No-Balls
Grundy 23    16 12 4 - -
Jackson 16    10 7 7 - -
Wisden 39.1 20 39 7 - -

G Parr's XI second innings Runs Balls Mins 4s 6s
T Hayward c Lang b Kephardt 0          
RP Carpenter c Hammond b Senior 7          
W Caffyn not out 6          
+T Lockyer st Barclay b Lang 9          
J Grundy not out 2          
AJD Diver did not bat  
HH Stephenson did not bat  
J Lillywhite did not bat  
J Wisden did not bat  
J Jackson did not bat  
*G Parr did not bat  
Extras (1 nb, 4 w) 5
Total (3 wickets, 18.3 overs) 29
Fall of wickets:
1-?, 2-?, 3-29
Philadelphia bowling Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Wides No-Balls
Senior 5.3 2 7 1 - -
Kephardt 4    1 5 1 1 -
Lang 3    1 5 1 - -
Wilby 6    1 7 0 3 -

* Both matches ended earlier than the scheduled end date.  October 14th is used as the historic reference point because that was the scheduled end date.

Copyright:  DreamCricket.com

Compiled by Venu Palaparthi of DreamCricket.com

Photos: DreamCricket History Archive

Scorecards licensed from CricketArchive

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