Aboriginal cricketers may be rare on the national stage at the moment, but the first Australian cricket team to tour England in 1868 was an entirely Indigenous affair.
By
Craig Quartermaine

Source:
NITV News
18 Dec 2013 - 6:31 PM  UPDATED 18 Dec 2013 - 7:01 PM

John Maguire is a District Cricket legend in Western Australia and is widely regarded as one of the best to never get the chance to represent his state.

He says watching the third Ashes test at the WACA has provoked a range of emotions.

"Oh it's a bit bittersweet, but it's a fantastic ground," Mr Maguire tells NITV News. "The wicket, the outfield, all those things that make it an absolute paradise to bat on."

Related: Young Indigenous cricketers take a bash at the big league

John's prowess with the bat saw him win six District Premierships with his Club Mt Lawley, as well as scoring over 10,000 runs throughout his career.

One of John's biggest honours came when he was appointed captain on the 1988 Australian Aboriginal team that toured England.

"It really gave me some recognition for the way that I played the game, but also my leadership qualities for my longevity and success," he says.

The team Mr Maguire captained were named to mark the historic 1868 team that first toured England.

"It was just marvelous to be a part of that retracing of the first steps on a similar sort of trail."

Sledging is still a major topic in modern cricket and it got pretty colourful for this kid from Northam who went on to gain sporting scholarship at one of Perth's most exclusive schools, Guildford Grammar, through his cricket.

"When I was playing well I'd cop it like you wouldn't believe," he says.

"My father's message rung in my ears because I'm going all right, that's why they're having a go at me."

Inspired by his great grandfather, who famously walked with his team 130 km over two days for a District Cricket game, and growing up in Western Australia, the pre-1960's gave John both his love of cricket and a fortitude he still carries today.

"[I] spent time on a reserve [with] no water. We had to cart it from a well tin shack to live in dirt floors but you never felt like you were missing out."

He says one of the biggest let-downs was never getting that call up to represent his state despite his run scoring.

In the year John received his pennant for scoring 7000 career runs, he was the only one among the people to accomplish the feat that never represented Western Australia.