Gareth Huw Davies


Cricket as national balm – the all conquering Australians at Worcester

Worcester county cricket ground


Our cricket season is longer than it used to be. As the hectic short form of the game has expanded, the traditional county fixtures now begin in early April, concluding at the end of September. The lucrative televised games are scheduled for warmer summer days and evenings.

The less fashionable county games simply have to fit in with the weather, like it or not. It’s often cold or wet in April. This year it was both, in abundance.

But it didn’t used to be like this. In the golden days of county cricket, before the launch of the one day game in the 1960s, the season started at the end of April, although it could be cold and wet then too. The showpiece event was the first contest involving the touring overseas team, which would stay in our islands throughout the summer. By tradition that hotly anticipated match took place at one of the loveliest of the county grounds, on the banks of the river Severn at Worcester.

I’ve been delving through the archives and I don’t think any opening fixture involving the tourists was more hotly anticipated than this particular game.

‘At the opening of the 1948 cricket season, as the nation still endured a brutal postwar austerity, the appetite for the diversion of cricket was immense. Now there was the prospect of the touring Australian team, led by Donald Bradman, widely accepted as the greatest batsman of his or any time.’

Using as my sources several national newspapers of the time, I wrote the following account of the match at Worcester in 1948.

When Bradman’s “Invincibles” came to Worcester – cricket as national balm in 1948