As the 2012 West Indies team wend their way up to Trent Bridge, this week’s featured item is a cracking photograph of Martin & Roach going out to bat at Scarborough during the Windies’ 1928 tour. The 1928 tour was the first official international test match between England and the West Indies. There were high expectations for the Windies’ team after their more informal 1923 UK tour when they had played blindingly good cricket to win 12 matches, draw 7 and lose 7.
The 1928 team’s performance in the UK was much more disappointing . They won only five matches. A player like Challenor, a cornerstone of the team, was now 40 and his batting average had recently slipped from 86 to 27. Martin & Roach were relative rookies, whose potential shone through but fought too much of an uphill battle to change the course of events for the West Indies. The 1929 Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack describes Roach as “the best of the new batsmen and a brilliant fieldsman”, while Martin – a left hander – was “probably the most difficult man on the side to dismiss…and had a happier personal experience in the test matches than any of his colleagues”. He was only once out for less than 20 during the tour and never out for a single figure, which was more than all of his other team mates could claim.