Western Mail, Thursday 26 January 1933, page 2
Cotter's Last "Test" Match
The reminiscences of big cricket are being served up ad lib in conjunction with the Test series now being played between England and Australia. But bow many people have heard of the unofficial Test match that took place in the autumn of 1917 between "England" and "Australia" under the shadow of Mount Sinai?
That match was a war epic. It came about like this: Some squadrons of English Yeomanry were resting on the coast of the Mediterranean, while the Australian Light Horse were camped a few miles away. Both camps played a good deal of cricket, and one of the English officers sent a challenge to the Australians, which was accepted. The rivals duly met, and the Aussies, winning the toss, elected to take first "knock." The Englishmen dismissed them for 57 runs, and, naturally, were satisfied, especially as the late J. W. H. T. Douglas was included in the team.
But the diggers had their dump card up their sleeve. Douglas and Captain Kekewich, of County of London Yeomanry, were the first batsmen, the bowler who opened the attack being a bearded athlete of some thirty summers. His first ball spread-eagled J.W.H.T.'s wicket and he proceeded to skittle the other members of the team with his express deliveries. England's innings realised four runs, one of which was a bye!
Then the secret came out. The bearded trooper of the 12th Light Horse was none other than Albert Cotter, the terror of England's greatest batsmen in pre-war Tests. Alas! It was Cotter's final triumph with the ball, for shortly afterwards, on October 31, he was himself "bowled out" by an enemy bullet. Cotter was a stretcher-bearer and like the great hearted sportsmen he was, he gave his life in an attempt to save a pal.
"Johnny-Won't-Hit-To-day" Douglas, who later in the war commanded a battalion of the King's (Liverpool) Regiment, was drowned at sea in tragic circumstances on December 20, 1930.
Last year, when visiting. Palestine, the writer of the above in the "News of the World" says he paid homage to a grave situated under a cypress tree in Row D of the British war cemetery at Beersheba, and summounted by a small headstone of Italian marble, which bears the inscription:
Trooper Albert Cotter, 924.
12th Australian Light Horse.
Killed in Action, 31st October, 1917.
Those in the story:
J. W. H. T. Douglas = John "Johnny" William Henry Tyler Douglas (3 September 1882 - 19 December 1930), aka in Australia, Johnny-Won't-Hit-To-day Douglas. Douglas captained England eighteen times, with a Test match record of won eight, lost eight, drawn two. Successful as stand-in captain in Australia in 1911, he won the series 4-1. On the 1920/21 tour of Australia he led a depleted post-war side which suffered a 0–5 'whitewash', a scoreline not repeated until the 2006/7 England lost by the same margin. Reappointed reluctantly by the M.C.C. in 1921, he lost the first two Tests at home to Warwick Armstrong's side and was displaced as captain but retained in the XI. He captained England in one further Test match, against South Africa in July 1924, and played his final Test on the 1924/25 England tour of Australia.
Kekewich = Captain George Kekewich, City of London Yeomanry, E. E. F.. Aged 28. Son of Lewis Pendarves & Lilian Emily Kekewich Of 45, Brunswick Square, Hove. Educated at Eton. Killed in action at El Buggar Ridge, Palestine, 28 October 1917. Buried in Bersheeba War Cemetery.
924 Private Albert "Tibby" COTTER, a 31 year old Lawyer from Glebe, New South Wales. He enlisted on 15 April 1915; and subsequently was Killed in Action, 31 October 1917.
For two different versions of this story, see: