A Triumverate of Test Cricketers

Published: 1993
Pages: 21
Author: Keenan, Terry
Publisher: Port Melbourne CC
Rating: 3 stars

I first became aware of the existence of this booklet a few years ago, and have struggled to find a copy ever since. To my delight I finally tracked one down a couple of weeks ago – was it worth the wait?

All that I knew about the booklet before it arrived was that it concerned three early Australian Test cricketers, the brothers Charles and Robert McLeod, and James Kelly. Between them they won 59 caps (17 +  6 + 36) back in the ‘Golden Age’, and were linked by the fact that all three played their club cricket for Port Melbourne.

None of the three have been the subject of a biography, which made the booklet all the more attractive, even though I knew from the off it consisted of just 21 pages. It was therefore slightly disappointing to note on finally opening the booklet that I did in fact already have the pen portraits that compiler Terry Keenan uses which, a single introductory paragraph apart, are taken from Jack Pollard’s encyclopaedic Australian Cricketers: The Game and its Players, a mighty tome that was published in 1982.

There is a little more however, and for each man there is also a photograph and some press cuttings are reproduced, all of which add materially to Pollard’s summaries. There then follow scorecards and press reports from matches in 1890 against Williamstown and Melbourne Cricket Club, in which all three men appeared for Port Melbourne.

Finally the booklet is rounded off by a press report on the Club’s 1890 AGM, and the centre pages are occupied by an image of a display featuring all three men that Keenan, the then Club President, had made to the Club in 1993, and to mark which the booklet was published.

And therein perhaps lies the key to my overall impression. My main criticism of the booklet would, ordinarily, have been that there is no introduction to it explaining why it came to be produced. But then I rather suspect that it was never for sale in the first place, and that those who received a copy were all well aware of the summary that that introduction would have contained.

In short therefore I am confident that it never occurred to Terry Keenan that his little souvenir would ever end up, thirty years on, in the hands of an Englishman who knew nothing about the Port Melbourne Club. Following on from that I am sure his advice would be that to find the answers to my questions I should seek out a copy of Once Were Champions, his 2017 published history of the first fifty years of the club, a book that proved rather easier to source a copy of than A Triumverate of Test Cricketers, and which I hope will be dropping through my letterbox any day.

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