Ainslie Challenges the 'Kultur' Club

contributed by Michael Hall

An extraordinary meeting of the Ainslie Cricket Club was held in April 1916 in the tent of Edward ‘Johnny’ Jackson, at Tel-el-Kebir in Egypt.

Ainslie was formed in 1914 at the home of Jack Reid (now the Old Canberra Inn) and played its home games on an ant-bed pitch in front of Jack Southwell’s home near the North Lyneham shops. The club included locals from Upper Canberra (known at the time as Ainslie) with a few ring-ins from Acton and enjoyed immediate success.

According to a report, probably written by Jackson, they met “for the purpose of discussing the prospects of the forthcoming season. Mr. H.O. Landon occupied the chair. On the motion of Mr. Ayrton the minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed. The balance sheet was read and adopted on the motion of Mr. Turner.”

“The secretary, Mr. E.M. Jackson, read a report received from Mr. A. Berry, the club’s delegate, intimating that he had received a challenge from the ‘Kultur’ Club, who boasted they were champions of Belgium, and claimed that they were unbeatable. Mr. R. Middlecoat said that the Ainslie team, by reason of their winning the Federal Territory premiership and having landed the Cup after that very exciting and memorable game with Hall on Easter Saturday, 1915, they too were justified in their claim of holding practically an unbeaten record and moved that the challenge be accepted. Mr. A. Berry supported the motion, saying he had seen the ‘Kultur’ Club at practice, and although they were rather a formidable side, he had no doubt that the champions of the Federal Territory wo

“Letters were received from Messrs Southwell, Edwards, Willis and Potter apologising for their absence from the meeting, but stated they were on their way and if chosen would be available for the team. The following eleven were then picked: - Jackson (captain), Landon, Berry, Middlecoat, Ayrton, Turner, Ryan, Southwell, Willis, Edwards and Potter.

“A long discussion ensued as to where the match should be played. The challengers under ordinary circumstances should, of course, come to the ground of the challenged club. That being impossible, the Ainslie team have placed the matter in the hands of their manager, Mr. Kitchener. The meeting was held in Jackson’s tent on the night of the arrival of an Australian transport in Egypt. Shortly after Berry, Ayrton and Turner went on and are now in France arranging details.”

Later that year an honour roll for the Ainslie Cricket Club was created and hung in the home of Mrs. Southwell at Fern Hill, Ainslie. Sadly neither Mack Southwell nor George Potter returned home to see it.

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