Club Cricket Conference

Tuesday, 30th November 2021

Chichester Priory Park second club to reinforce Australians

By Charles Randall

26 July 2013

Chichester Priory Park CC took a turn in the spotlight during their mediocre season when off-spinner Ashton Turner was unexpectedly drafted by the Australians into a three-day tour match against Sussex at Hove.

Unlike his Australia Under-19 team-mate Ashton Agar, with a hat-trick for Henley under his belt, Turner seemed highly unlikely to make a shock Test debut against England at Old Trafford the following week. He had not yet played first class cricket as a Western Australia age-group all-rounder before the Hove match, and his 18 wickets for Chichester in the Sussex Premier League had cost 40.78 each.
Henley CC were featured on Test Match Special during the first Test of the Ashes series when their left-arm spinner Ashton Agar became a surprise choice at Trent Bridge after only a handful of first class games in Australia. He was rushed into the team ahead of Nathan Lyon, the off-spinner assumed to be first choice. The international record books show that Agar scored 98 batting at No 11, the highest score for a last man in Test history, but worries about his spin-bowling began to mount in the heavy defeat at Lord's.

Turner and Agar arrived in England as part of a development programme run by Cricket Australia and Hampshire to give young players experience of English conditions. A group of players were seconded to various selected clubs in the region.

Turner could not rescue his club colleagues from a poor season, and in the most recent game before his Australian call-up Chichester were shot out for 63 on their own beautiful ground by table leaders Preston Nomads, with Carl Simon taking 6-38. The Gatting brothers, Joe and Oliver - nephews of Mike - knocked off the runs for a 10-wicket victory, the latest of a series of humiliations suffered by Turner and Priory Park.

Agar on the other hand had the good fortune to join Henley in a golden era. They opened up a sizeable gap at the top of the Home Counties Premier League in their effort to recapture the title from High Wycombe, and the loss of their young Australian to a higher calling seemed to make little difference.