The Ashes Tour, 1902 Third Test
England v Australia
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
3rd - 5th  July 1902 (3-day match)

It is now a little known fact that a Test Match was once held here in Sheffield, and that Bramall Lane was England's seventh Test Match venue. (The test held at Chester le Street in June 2003 now makes that eight in total) The claim to such status is modest, a solitary test match in 1902 before the balance of power in Yorkshire cricket moved from Sheffield to Leeds. 

Bramall Lane was opened in 1855 as a then state-of-the-art ground to attract big cricket matches back to the city. Earlier grounds at Darnall and Hyde Park had lapsed into disuse when their promoter died. The Bramall Lane ground was built outside the city in rural surroundings so as to avoid the smoke and pollution of the town and the actual site itself was selected by the then Duke of Norfolk. Sheffield United Cricket Club was formed to manage the ground with the first match at 'The Lane' being on 30th April 1855 between The Eleven and The Eighteen, two teams drawn from  the several local clubs who agreed to use the ground. . The first big match to be staged was between Yorkshire and Sussex. Not the present county clubs, but sides that represented their counties before organised county cricket began. The visitors had a strong side with John Wisden (of Almanac fame) and the Lillywhites the stars of their day. County games became a regular attraction at Bramall Lane, at a time when the main figures in Yorkshire cricket were based in Sheffield. The county club was formed at a meeting in the city in 1863, and Bramall Lane was proposed as a permanent headquarters for the club. 

The late nineteenth century also saw the beginings of Sheffield United AFC. Soccer matches staged at the ground, which was the venue of the worlds first floodlit match on October 14th, 1878 between teams chosen by the Sheffield Association and local clubs. The electric power was generated by two portable engines, one behind each goal; and the lamps, one in each corner of the ground, were on wooden towers 30ft high. They were of 8,000 candle-power, and a crowd estimated at nearly 20,000 saw the Association team win 2-0. Bramall Lane became one of the few first class grounds in England that was shared with another sport. Northampton and Swansea being others. 

Negotiations took place to stage a Test Match at Bramall Lane, and this came about in 1902 when England and Australia met in the Third Test of that years Ashes series. 

The Ashes, 1902, 3rd Test
England v Australia
Bramall Lane, Sheffield
3,4,5 July 1902 (3-day match)


Toss: Australia
Umpires: J Phillips (Aus) and W Richards

Close of Play:
Day 1: Australia 194, England 102/5 (Lilley 0*, Braund 0*)
Day 2: England 145, Australia 289, England 73/1
(Jessop 53*, Tyldesley 11*)

Australia First Innings VT Trumper b Braund 1 
RA Duff c Lilley b Barnes 25 
C Hill c Rhodes b Barnes 18

*J Darling c Braund b Barnes  0 

SE Gregory c Abel b Barnes 11

MA Noble c Braund b Rhodes 47

AJY Hopkins c Braund b Barnes 27

WW Armstrong c & b Braund 25

+JJ Kelly b Barnes  0 
H Trumble c & b Jackson 32 
JV Saunders not out 0 

Extras (b 3, lb 5) 8
Total (all out, 66.1 overs) 194

FoW: 1-3, 2-39, 3-39, 4-52, 5-73,
6-127, 7-137, 8-137, 9-194, 10-194.

Bowling O M R W
Hirst 15 1 59 0
Braund 13 4 34 2
Barnes 20 9 49 6
Jackson 5.1 1 11 1
Rhodes 13 3 33 1

England First Innings 
*AC MacLaren b Noble 31 
R Abel b Noble 38 
JT Tyldesley c Armstrong b Noble 22 
Hon.FS Jackson c Gregory b Saunders 3
CB Fry st Kelly b Saunders 1 
+AFA Lilley b Noble 8 
LC Braund st Kelly b Saunders 0
GH Hirst c Trumble b Saunders 8
GL Jessop c Saunders b Noble 12
W Rhodes not out 7 
SF Barnes c Darling b Saunders 7 
Extras (b 4, lb 3, nb 1) 8
Total (all out, 61.3 overs) 145

FoW: 1-61, 2-86, 3-101, 4-101, 5-102,
6-106, 7-110, 8-130, 9-131, 10-145.

Bowling O M R W
Trumble 18 10 21 0
Saunders 15.3 4 50 5
Trumper 4 1 8 0
Noble 19 6 51 5
Armstrong 5 2 7 0

Australia Second Innings
VT Trumper c Lilley b Jackson 62 
RA Duff c Hirst b Rhodes 1 
C Hill c MacLaren b Jackson 119 
*J Darling c Braund b Barnes 0 
SE Gregory run out 29 
MA Noble b Jackson 8 
AJY Hopkins not out 40
WW Armstrong b Rhodes 26
+JJ Kelly c Hirst b Rhodes 0 
H Trumble b Rhodes 0 
JV Saunders b Rhodes 1 
Extras (lb 3) 3
Total (all out, 72.1 overs) 289

FoW: 1-20, 2-80, 3-80, 4-187, 5-214,
6-225, 7-277, 8-287, 9-287, 10-289.

Bowling O M R W
Hirst 10 1 40 0
Braund 12 0 58 0
Barnes 12 4 50 1
Jackson 17 2 60 3
Rhodes 17.1 3 63 5
Jessop 4 0 15 0

England Second Innings (target: 339 runs) 
GL Jessop lbw b Trumble 55 
R Abel c Hill b Noble 8 
JT Tyldesley b Trumble 14 
*AC MacLaren c Trumper b Noble 63 
CB Fry lbw b Trumble 4 
Hon.FS Jackson b Noble 14 
+AFA Lilley b Noble 9 
LC Braund c Armstrong b Noble 9 
GH Hirst b Noble 0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  W Rhodes not out 7 0
SF Barnes b Trumble 5 0
Extras (b 4, lb 1, w 1, nb 1) 7
Total (all out, 60.5 overs) 195

FoW: 1-14, 2-75, 3-84, 4-98, 5-162,
6-165, 7-174, 8-174, 9-186, 10-195.

Bowling O M R W
Trumble 21.5 3 49 4
Saunders 12 0 68 0
Trumper 6 0 19 0
Noble 21 4 52 6

Result: Australia won by 143 runs
Australia leads the 5-Test series 1-0

Contributed by The Management (

A lot of cricket commentators especially those from the south were unhappy about the selection of Bramall Lane in the first place. There was no dispute about the ground or the wicket but there was many barbed comments made with regard to the light. A curious feature about the ground at this time is that it was not unknown for bad light to stop play on an otherwise sunny day such was the level of smoke and pollution from Sheffield's  heavy industries. In fact the bad light was held to be partly responsible for England's defeat in the match.On the first day, Barnes making his only appearance in the Series took six wickets for 49 runs from twenty overs giving Australia a First Innings total of only 194 runs, England were 60 for the loss of one wicket at one stage. It was then that the light began to fail and a gloom developed over the ground. Another four wickets fell before play was finally suspended for bad light leaving England with a first day total of 102 for 5. 

On a drying wicket the second day began with England losing their last five wickets for 43 runs leaving them all out for 145 runs and 49 runs behind the Aussies. The Australian Second Innings was dominated by Clem Hill who scored 119 before losing his wicket. Even though Wilf Rhodes the English bowler produced a burst of four wickets in nineteen balls to finish off the Australian tail-end it still left England chasing 339 runs to win. Sadly this proved beyond them despite a top score of 63 by the Captain A.C. Maclaren. The England Second Innings finished at 195 all out leaving the Aussies the victors by 143 runs.

In "The Story of Cricket at Bramall Lane" by Keith Farnsworth the author recounts an incident that occurred after the match. The Australian captain  Joe Darling instead of basking in the glow of victory accused the groundsman Jack Ulyett of doctoring the wicket. Ulyett was upset and angry at this outburst but suspected that it had more to do with the double duck that Darling had suffered when batting rather than the condition of the wicket. The irony of it is as Farnsworth remarks, is that the Australians undoubtedly had the best of the conditions that prevailed over the three days.     

The dismal weather kept attendances down, and there was little cheer for local promoters in the result. These two factors undoubtedly contributed to the decision not to use Bramall Lane again as a Test Match venue. The 1903 edition of Wisden noted that the result was "a severe disaster for England....the match - the first of its kind ever decided at Bramall Lane - naturally proved a strong attraction, but a mistake was made in fixing it for the latter part of the week, Monday being always the best day for public cricket at Sheffield."But the overwhelming reason for the decision was the drift of power in Yorkshire cricket to Leeds and it's preference for Headingley.

There is also a literary footnote to the affair. At least six of the players are mentioned in James Joyce's work "Finnegan's Wake".  Robert Able (carried his bat for 132 in the 1893 January Test in Australia), Trumble, Tyldesley, Duff and Trumper. Lilleywhite also gets a mention.


However the 21st SERIES (Australia's 1902 Ashes Tour) produced some of the best and most exciting cricket seen up to that date and once again the British weather played a big part in the first two Tests.

Edgbaston joined the group of grounds now used as a Test venue for the First Test. England batted first in the best conditions and scored a solid 376 for 9 dec., Tyldesley scoring 138, Jackson and Lockwood both scoring 50's. The weather changed and Australia were caught on a sticky wicket falling for their new record low score of only 36 runs, Rhodes taking 7 for 17. Following on Australia were 2 for 46 runs when the rain put an end to the first match.

Lord's was little better and only 105 minutes of play were possible. Hopkins of Australia, caused consternation in the English camp as he took the wickets of Fry and Ranjitsinhji without a run being added. However, some strong batting from Jackson (55 not out), saw England out of trouble before rain once again put pay to the game.

Another Test match ground making its debut in 1902 was Bramall Lane, Sheffield. (see above for details). Australia won the Third match of the series by 143 runs and in so doing took a 1- 0 lead into the Fourth Test at Old Trafford

The Old Trafford match was to prove a decisive one and the unfortunate Fred Tate is famous for his part in it. MacLaren (England captain) asked his bowlers to keep Victor Trumper (New South Wales) quiet till lunchtime and the sun by then would have weaved its magic on a rain-affected wicket. Things didn't go quite to plan as Australia by lunch were 173 - 1, Trumper was 103 not out. This century was the first of only three to be scored before lunch on the first day of a Test. Trumper was to only score another run as Australia finally made 299 all out. In reply England made 262, Jackson making 128 and Braund 65, 37 runs short of the Australian total. Australia then fell for 86 runs, but Fred Tate dropped Darling at a crucial stage and Darling went on to score 37, the top score. England now required 124 and should have been less. At 3 for 92 they were looking relaxed and in control, until Trumble and Saunders started eating up the wickets. Tate joined Rhodes for the last wicket and eight runs were still required. Tate was bowled 5 runs later for 4 runs, and this proved to be his only Test.

The fifth and final Test at the Oval saw one of the great comebacks in Test cricket. The lower order helped Australia reach a total of 324, and when Trumble (who had scored 64 not out at number nine) came on to bowl, he proceeded to knock England over for 183. Australia only made 121 in their second innings as the wicket deteriorated, leaving England 263 to get for the win, although the series was out of reach. Things were not looking great for England as they were soon 5 for 48 runs. Gilbert Jessop then joined Jackson at the wicket. In what was perhaps the finest innings in Test cricket, Jessop scored a century in only 75 minutes, only one test match century has been scored quicker. Jackson fell and Hirst joined him at the crease. When Jessop himself fell for 104 out of 139, England were 7 for 187. Hirst continued, and when Rhodes joined him for the last wicket, 15 runs were still required. Hirst scored 58 and in doing so, England scraped home by 1 wicket.


For a list of all the first class cricket matches played at Bramall Lane please consult The Cricket Archive


The Story of Cricket at Bramall Lane" by Keith Farnsworth

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This page was last updated on 08/09/03 11:26