When Carlton’s or England’s goal is mentioned, this refers to the end to which that team is defending.

Saturday last will, in time to come, be looked upon as a land-mark in Victorian football, since it was the day upon which, for the first time in our history, a team from the mother country tested the quality of the native article. The first appearance among us of Lillywhite and Shrewbury’s combination was looked forward to with exceeding interest, and the fact that they were to be pitted against Carlton, the premier club of the colony, lent an additional attraction to the meeting, which took place on the Melbourne cricket-ground. The afternoon was beautifully fine, the turf was in perfect order, and the crowd that was assembled was gigantic in it’s proportions.

The splendid attendance of the previous Saturday, when every available point of advantage appeared to be thronged with occupants, was improved upon, and the wonder was, not that so many were brought together by the novelty of the entertainment, but that they were able to cram themselves into the allotted space. There were fully 25,000 people in a solid phalanx surrounding the arena, when, at 3 o‘clock, the Englishmen, following close upon the heels of Carlton, filed out through the grandstand gates amidst applause that was as hearty as it was deafening.

The visitors were hard to please if they were not more than satisfied with their reception, as well as with the generous recognition accorded throughout the game to individual acts of smartness on their part. The doings of the local heroes, no matter how meritorious they were, received only scant attention and moderate cheering, but in no single instance was good play on the part by England’s representatives permitted to go unrewarded. This was exactly as it should be, and it is to be hoped that the day is very far distant when exponents of any branch of sport shall come amongst us from the old land-or, for that matter, from any land outside of our own boundaries-and be treated less generously.

The Ashes.jpg
The formidable appearance of the visitors, their splendid physique, the neatness of their costume, and the appropriateness of their colours (the red, white, and blue of old England) formed themes of favourable comment on every side, and, indeed, it must be admitted that our men suffered by comparison, for they were neither so massive in stature, not genteelly equipped in the mater of attire. Their somber dark blue, in many cases rendered more than naturally murky by contact with muddy soil in previous encounters, found no admirers amongst the unusually numerous gatherings of well-dressed ladies who graced the scene.

But ‘the play’s the thing’. The handsomely-accoutred Englishmen had had only very moderate experience in the game under our rules, and perfection at it was not expected from them under the circumstances. It was thought that they would exhibit no aptitude whatever for our style of play, but this was the opinion of only the extremists amongst our native population, and it was more than counterbalanced by the absurd idea entertained in quarters where everything Australian is despised, namely, that the visitors would have no difficulty in putting our men through.

Neither prediction was verified in the encounter, which displayed great aptitude amongst the members of the team for accommodating themselves to the exigencies of their novel situation, and which showed beyond a doubt that, with a month or two’s practice most of them would become adepts at the game. The task they undertook when they decided to meet Carlton in their first match in the colony was one which a less courageous band would not have had the pluck to tackle.

The Carlton representatives, headed by Leydin, first appeared upon the scene, and were received with loud cheering, which was increased tendo’d as the stalwarts forms of the Englishmen passed through the wicket-gate into the arena. Three hearty cheers were accorded the visitors by the wearers of the dark blue, and the compliment was vigorously reciprocated by Captain Seddon and his men.

After this teams took up positions for the start, and Carlton, who had lost the toss, kicked off against the wind in the direction of the grand stand end. The ball was returned in the orthodox fashion by the English backs, and T. M’Inernay, having secured a mark, sent the leather to White, who quickly passed it to Strickland. The last-named drove it well forward, where a free kick was awarded to Anderton for having been pushed from behind by a Carlton man. The former kick to Paul, who bought the house down by securing the first mark obtained up to this by the visitors. Shortly afterwards Bailey did a smart run on the wing, and Moloney obtained a mark which resulted in Stoddart (back) displaying more cleverness in repelling the attack, but Moloney once more drove the ball forward, and Cook ably seconding his efforts, succeeded in giving M. M’Inerney a chance of scoring, which produced the first behind for Carlton.

Chapman kicked off, and Goer to Coulson caused the contest to be still continued in the neighbourhood of the English citadel. Haslem, however, came in grand style to the rescue, and with a good run down the wing, raised the siege. The little marking of Carlton soon again placed them in a forward position, and Green notched their second behind, which was followed by a third kicked by Bailey. M. M’Inerney also had a try for a goal, but his effort lacked the power, and Eagles, Stoddart, and Paul, in succession, were applauded for their determined efforts to drive back the assailants.

The visitors, owing to the fact that they seldom attempted to mark the ball, made no headway against their clever opponents, whom they permitted time after time to best them in this respect. Gellatley, by a smart exhibition of dodging, gave Hutchinson a chance in front of goal, but the ball hit the post, and a behind was only telegraphed. A neat little run by Dr.Brooks followed the kick-off, and was responded to by Bailey, through whose agency Coulson was enabled to give Gellatley a mark in front, which added another behind. Eventually, A. Coulson sent the ball through, and secured the first goal for his side. The kick-off from the centre by Paul was a long one, and his side followed up with so much dexterity that Carlton’s backs were taken unawares, and Scarborough kicked the visitors first behind.

The ball was next rushed up to the Englishmen’s territory, and Chapman and Stoddart repulsed the attack, only to have it renewed a moment later by Berry and M’Inerney. Again the English defenders warded off danger, and a neat dribbling transferred the play to the other end of the ground, where Leydin showed to advantage, and the oval was passed to Hutchinson, who sent it ago to Smith. The latter’s attempt was spoiled cleverly by Haslam, and a good rally succeeded, in which the visitors displayed good pace and great determination, but, as before, they failed to mark when they had the opportunities, and their opponents in a few minutes had them again under the whip. Batters gave Goer a mark in front of goal at an easy distance, and the veteran did not fail to put on a second goal for Carlton.

Stewart and Paul were busy after the kick-off, and the leather was forced out at Carlton’s end, where Nolan and Anderton put in good work, which was responded to by Leydin and White, and Coulson marked to Berry, from whom Green came into possession. The last named sent the ball to M’Inerney, who added a behind just before the first bell sounded. The visitors had up to this scored only one behind to Carlton’s 2 goals 5 behinds. Anderton and Thomas were conspicuous for England after the change of ends, but their efforts were neutralized by a splendid run of Moloney’s, which caused the play to be carried on at the visitor’s goal, and Cook taking advantage of a very easy opportunity, put up third goal for the locals. Paul kicked off, and through the efforts of Scarborough England had a slight advantage, which White’s grand marking and Strickland’s brilliant running quickly deprived them of, and Berry piloted the leather neatly through for Carlton’s fourth goal.

Bumby, Seddon, and Nolan kept themselves meritoriously employed after the ball had again been set in motion, but Baker and Cook were well on the ball, and the former had a shot which was stopped by banks. Nolan displayed great fleetness in taking the ball down the wing, but Baker to Bailey returned it at once, and Berry obtained a mark from Whelan was again successful, and the fifth goal was recorded. Haslem, Stoddart, Bumby, and Seddon worked hard to keep the score of their antagonists from mounting, but in vain, for Gellatley and Baker each contributed a goal before half time, when the board showed Carlton 7 goals 7 behinds, England a solitary behind.

Up to this point the visitors had played spiritedly, and their forwards had had numerous opportunities which, through their inability to mark, had been useless to them. They appeared to think of nothing but dribbling the ball through, and the smartness of their opponents invariably upset their calculations in this direction. In the third quarter they showed to much greater advantage, and made a number of good marks. Their first successful attempt at a little mark, which was effected by Williams to Paul, evoked an outburst of applause from the assembled multitude, who all through liberally acknowledged any meritorious display on the part of the visitors. Indeed, everybody seemed delighted, and all cheered loudly, when Thomas gained their first goal, notwithstanding that it probably would not have been recorded if the dark sides had been in earnest at that particular incident. Carlton’s tendency, added to the improved causing of the Englishmen, in which Eagles, Laing, and Chapman were noticeable, kept the play during the greater part of the quarter at the locals’ end and after Chapman had with a good shot hit the post, Dr.Smith obtained a mark from Eagles, and from an easy distance punted the ball through for their second goal.

These successes seemed to rouse them to more strenuous exertions, and in all parts of the field they did good work. Their third goal was obtained by Banks with a well directed kick from a little to the side at 40 yards distance. Carlton in the meantime added a goal, for which M. M’Inerney was responsible, and the quarter closed with the scores at 8 goals 10 behinds for them, and 3 goals 7 behinds for the Englishmen. No quarter was given by the dark blues during the concluding stages of the game, and they put on 6 more goals and 7 behinds to England’s nothing. The latter were, however, on the point of scoring on their merits when the final bell sounded and deprived them of the honor.

The totals were—
Carlton, 14 goals 17 behinds.
England, 3 goals 7 behinds.

Baker, Bailey, White, Cook, Green, and Leydin did excellent work for the local team, amongst the visitors Bumby was conspicuous with many a really fine run, Paul marked and kicked well, Anderton did a lot of useful work in his place, and Eagles, Stoddart, Seddon, Haslam, Nolan, Burnett, Banks, and others displayed qualities which, if properly directed, would have given Carlton quite as much trouble as they would have relished, and perhaps a little more.

(From Garrie Hutchinson's book Great Australian Football Stories)

Melbourne Cricket Ground, Saturday June 23 1888. (3pm.)
Attendance 25,000.
Carlton Captain. Tommy Leydin.

Carlton 2.5 7.7 8.10 14.17
England 0.1 0.1 3.7 3.7

Scorers mentioned,
Berry 2.0, M.McInerney 1.2, Gellately 1.1, A. Coulson 1.0, Goer 1.0, Cook 1.0, Baker 1.0, Green 0.1, Bailey 0.1, Hutchinson 0.1.

(Until the 1897 VFL season, behinds were recorded but not counted in the total score)

The 17 players named in this article, (out of 20 Carlton players to play) are:
Tommy Leydin (Leyden), Billy Strickland, M. McInerney, Tim McInerney, William Goer, Bill Moloney (Maloney), Charles Coulson, Andy Coulson, A. Gellatley, A. Berry, 'Dolly' Batters, G. White, Jack Baker, Dan Hutchinson, H. Smith, Mick Whelan, and Cook.

Blueseum: Pre VFL Players | Season 1888