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The Australian Cricketers of 1909

One of our guides, Tom, has written this lovely piece about an exciting cricket match in Inverness in 1909. Interested in cricket? Look no further...

Cricket is not a sport widely associated with North of Scotland but in the 19th and early 20th century, cricket was one of the most popular sports in the region. In the North of Scotland, most towns and large villages had at least one cricket team. Teams from all over the world would stop off in Scotland and play the local sides as part of a larger tour of the British Isles. In the late summer of 1909, an Australian cricket team consisting of some of the country's best cricketers, travelled up to Inverness to take on a team comprised of players from clubs from the North of Scotland in a one day game. The match took part at the historic Northern Meeting Park.

Brief history of the Northern Meeting Park and Northern Counties

The Northern Meeting Park was first built in 1864 and was the first stadium in the world dedicated to hosting Highland Games. The Northern Meeting Park is located just off the banks of the River Ness next to Inverness Cathedral and the Eden Court Theatre, and has hosted a wide range of events from Highland Games to concerts. One of the main occupants of the ground is the Northern Counties Cricket Club who have been playing their home games at the Northern Meeting Park for over 155 years.

The club was first established in 1865 by Bishop Eden who lived on the site of the modern theatre and was instrumental in the construction of Inverness Cathedral between 1866-1869. In their 155 year history, Northern Counties have competed in thousands of matches against a wide range of teams from local clubs to well known touring sides from all over the world.

Occasionally, the Northern Counties C.C. would join up with the other clubs of the North of Scotland to form a team of their best players to take on high quality opposition. On the 27th September 1909, a team representing the clubs of the North of Scotland played an Australian touring side at the Northern Meeting Park. The Australians came up to Scotland after defeating England 2-1 in the 1909 Ashes series for a series of matches against teams from all over Scotland and made a stop in Inverness.

The Australians

Six of the players in the Australian team played multiple test matches in the 1909 ashes series. Some of the most notable players who played the North of Scotland in 1909 included Australian captain M.A. Noble, V.S. Ransford who averaged 58.83 runs in the series and W. Bardsley who scored 396 runs in the series. 4 of the players representing the Australians were high profile members of the West of Scotland Cricket Club who decided to play in the game to bolster Australian numbers as the game was arranged last minute. Here is the full squad:

*M.A. Noble

Campbell (West of Scotland)

W. Bardsley

Bowie (West of Scotland)

V.S. Ransford

A.J. Hopkins

Dawson (West of Scotland)


A. Cotter

Beattie (West of Scotland)

W.J. Whitty

North of Scotland Team

The North of Scotland team that took on the Australians consisted of thirteen players from five clubs from the North of Scotland. The teams captain was M.J. Grant Peterkin who won the 1909 Col. Grant Peterkin Trophy in 1909 for having the highest batting average in the North of Scotland Cricket League with Forres St. Lawrence C.C. Their best bowler for the match was H. Mirtle of Northern Counties who won the award for the leagues best bowling average for the third time in his career. The rest of the team was made up of players from Elgin, Forres St. Lawrence, Seaforths and Nairn County. Here is the full squad:

G. Milne (Elgin)

J.B. Munro (Nairn County)

Major Brown (Northern Counties)

*M.J. Grant Peterkin (Forres)

Major Ritchie (Seaforths)

R.C. Hamilton (Elgin)

Lieut. Burt-Marshall (Seaforths)

A. Grant (Forres)

Major McLean

D. Scott

H. Mirtle (Northern Counties)

G. Murray

J.W. Lowson (Northern Counties)

The Match

The Australian team arrived on the morning of the game and had a luncheon at the Alexandria Hotel before being led to the Northern Meeting Park by bagpipers. Over a thousand people from all over the North of Scotland crammed into the meeting park to watch the match, with the Cameronians played their bagpipes throughout the day. The weather on the day was slightly cloudy but described by the Inverness courier as pleasant.

The North of Scotland won the toss and elected to bat and were bowled out for 141. J.B. Munro (Nairn County) scored an impressive 46 before being bowled by Beattie and was the North of Scotland’s highest scorer ahead of A. Grant (Forres) and G. Murray who score 24 and 18 runs respectively. The North of Scotland performed well in the second innings but unfortunately were narrowly defeated by 13 runs. The pick of the Australian batsmen were M.A. Noble, V.S. Ransford and A.J.Hopkins who all had strong performances with the bat for Australia scoring 43, 30 and 29 runs respectively.

A scorecard of the match is provided below if you are interested.

After the match, The Australians were entertained at the Alexandria Hotel where they spent the night before travelling up north to the spa hotel at Strathpeffer on the Black Isle to relax.

If you're interested in reading more about Scotland, check out the rest of our blog.

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