Our Own Ashes Series

A potted history of the major happenings in the game in WA from the official beginning in 1896 to the end of the 1960s.

Michael Vaughan

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THE Football Ashes rivalry between Western Australia and England has been a hot contest for over 100 years…albeit with a gap of several decades.

The better-known cricket version of the Ashes began in 1882 when Australia beat England at The Oval, their first Test victory on English soil.
The term originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times. It stated that English cricket had died, and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.

The mythical ashes immediately became associated with the 1883 series played in Australia, before which the English captain Ivo Bligh had vowed to “regain those ashes”. The English media therefore dubbed the tour the quest to regain the Ashes.

1902 Western Australian State team
Gary Marocchi and Richard Kreider

When the English cricketers stopped off in Fremantle on their return journey to Britain after an Ashes series in 1902, it was proposed that the cricketers – many of whom excelled at football – should take on the WA State football team in an unofficial ‘international’ at Fremantle Oval…and “Ashes Football” was born.

Some 5,000 spectators turned up to witness this unique contest, paying an entrance fee of 6d, with schoolboys half price. England won 4-0 and a few hours later were back on board their Mail Steamer RMS Omrah to continue their journey home.

Hostilities were resumed in 1904, with England winning 3-0, but WA put up stiffer resistance in 1906 when the English cricketers scraped home 3-2, again at Freo Oval.  It was 1925 before the series was resumed, this time WA prevailing 5-3, the same scoreline in the home side’s favour when they met again in 1929.

That was the last time the cricketers came out to play…but in 2002 Hall of Fame Committee member Richard Kreider came up with idea of reviving the Ashes series – with a twist – in order to celebrate the centenary of the Aussies/Poms footballing clashes.

Robbie Dunn and Michael Vaughan

With England’s cricketers more focussed on Test match events at the WACA Ground, Kreider hit on the idea of the English cricket-writing media taking on a WA media/Hall of Fame team. The idea was warmly embraced, particularly by England, who won 2-1 with former Test cricketer Angus Fraser getting the winner with a long-range blinder.

To further mark the anniversary, a certificate was presented to Phil Neal, chief executive officer of the MCC, at the Hall of Fame’s November 2002 induction night at the Parmelia Hilton Hotel.

The WA media, with a side boasting former Socceroos Robbie Zabica and Robbie Dunn – both genuine members of the media at the time – got revenge in 2006 with a 6-4 triumph in an entertaining contest.

In 2010 the local heroes again triumphed, 4-2 this time with Bobby Despotovski turning on the magic and Ashley Morrison proving in unbeatable man-of-the-match goalkeeping form for WA.

Morrison was again inspired in the clash at Dorrien Gardens in December, 2013 with a series of stunning saves. But, after leading 2-0 at half-time, WA ran out of legs after the break with England’s former Test captain Michael Vaughan displaying the touches that had brought him to the attention of Sheffield Wednesday before he focussed entirely on cricket. Vaughan inspired a comeback and scored one of the goals in the 3-2 victory.

Dean Wilson
Louis Prospero

Vaughan was again the hero as the English media beat WA on penalties (after the game was deadlocked at 2-2) in the most recent contest in December, 2017, at Dorrien Gardens.


Another former England Ashes cricketer, David “Bumble” Lloyd, brought great fun to the proceedings in his role as the visiting side’s manager in the 2013 game, with ex-England captain Nasser Hussain as his assistant.

The game was filmed and the highlights were shown on Channel 9 a few days later with Lloyd and Vaughan adding witty comments in the studio. The BBC even picked up on it, putting it on their website and the Daily Mail published a humourous column written by Lloyd, which is re-produced below.

There was a further clash in 2017 when a thriller at Dorrien Gardens ended 3-3, but England triumphed in a penalty shoot-out with Vaughan getting the decisive goal. 

There is, by the way, no ashes in a small urn for the victors. Instead, there’s a trophy which boasts a cricket bat on one side and a footballer on the other. One to be treasured!


WELL, what can I say? There was a fantastic English triumph in Perth today and what’s more it came from a side who were two down and went on to win 3-2! Could this be an omen for what is about to happen at the WACA?

Since I was appointed manager of the English Cricket Media XI for what has become their traditional match against Western Australia I have studied all the great motivational bosses, from Neil Warnock to John Sitton.

I think you can describe my style as a cross between Pep Guardiola and Barry Fry and even though I had a hairdryer in the dressing room for when we were losing at half time I didn’t have to use it.

I knew we were playing well and it was just a question of encouraging the lads and making sure their heads didn’t go down.


Michael Vaughan and David Lloyd


Our big lad in goal, Dean Wilson, conceded a soft second goal but that happens in football and it’s the way you bounce back that counts.

Deano bounced back spectacularly and even though it was very hot out there I was really proud of the way my boys fought back with two late goals to steal the honours.

I must give a mention to my No 2, Nasser Hussain, who played bad cop to my good cop and made sure there was no slacking among the boys by barking orders at them like he used to do to the England cricketers when he was captain. While our very own Top Spin, Lawrence Booth, was brilliant as a marauding right-back and rightly won the man-of-the-match award.

I was hoping our veteran cricket correspondent Paul Newman might do a bit of marauding from left-back too, but it turns out at his age he only had one maraud in him so I mainly kept him on the bench. He turned out to be more Benny the Ball than Benoit Assou-Ekotto…

Michael Vaughan had given me grief all week by saying he wanted away when I decided to make Oliver Holt of the Mirror captain instead of him and to be honest I might let him go in the January transfer window.
But to be fair to the lad he’s still giving me a 100 per cent and he scored a cracking curling goal with his right foot to make up for missing a penalty in the first half.

I have to say it was a tactical change from me that won it in the end. I decided that David Saker, our guest player from the England camp, wasn’t doing particularly well in his Mark Viduka role up front, so I sent him to the back and put Gideon Brooks of the Express up front.

Lo and behold Brooksy popped up with the winner with five minutes left to the delight of our travelling fans, who included England’s Steven Finn, a big Watford fan. We did it for them.

I’m already planning our next challenge and I think we might go on a World tour where we will test ourselves against Brazil and Argentina. No it’s over to Alastair Cook and the boys to follow our example.