The following garrulous, unsigned, single-paragraph article about my great-grandfather, entitled “Mr. John William Trumble,” appeared on the front page of Cricket, Vol. 5, No. 119, on Thursday, May 27, 1886:
Of the thirteen cricketers forming the Melbourne Club Australian Team, Mr. Trumble is the youngest bar one. The junior of the party is Mr. Bruce, who completed his twenty-second year on Saturday last, and can claim an advantage in point of age of her comrade and great chum, though only to the extent of nine months. Born in
J.W. Trumble and his younger brother Hugh (q.v.) were both introduced to cricket by their father, William (q.v.), who was a slow leg-break bowler, and played for South Melbourne in the time of J. S. (“Jack”) Swift, who taught the Trumble boys on a patch of land by the Yarra at Kew.
The two brothers were chosen to play together for Victoria against the visiting English XI in March, 1887. In that season and the following one, i.e. 1887-88, they played together against New South Wales, South Australia, and G. F. Vernon’s English XI. This was the tail end of J. W.’s brief cricketing career, but only the very beginning of Hugh’s more stellar one.
Thereafter J. W. Trumble seems to have assumed the role of senior statesman, commentator, inveterate correspondent to the newspapers on cricketing matters, and something of a fixer, easily securing tickets to Lord’s Cricket Ground for visiting colonists, while Hugh became the star sportsman, and, much later, the full-time professional administrator, and club secretary.
In 1928, my great-grandfather was still writing to The Times newspaper with copious recollections of F. R. Spofforth, whom he described as “the World’s Best Bowler,” but his opinions were evidently considered worthy of leading articles in the Argus, as on New Year’s Day 1904, when they ran his “Views on the Problem of Disputed Decisions in Cricket.”
According to the Argus, Mr. J. W. Trumble’s proposed remedy for the nuisance of Sydney crowds, who were beginning to take up a discreditable, hostile, and insulting attitude towards the umpire,
is one that demands a high standard of behaviour from cricketers, and of loyalty to the game. All decisions should, he says, be accepted instantly, and without question, or any appearance of resentment, and then the susceptible and excitable crowd [even a Sydney crowd] will find no excuse for its attack upon the umpire.
Ill health may have caused J. W. Trumble’s premature retirement from first class cricket.
His son Jack, who evidently suffered from infantile paralysis, later recalled that an eminent doctor called Sir Colin Mackenzie visited the family in Nhill, and advised J. W. to sail with his family to Europe to seek better care and treatment. Auntie Winkie was born in London while the family was staying there.
Upon resuming his legal practice in Nhill, J. W. Trumble set up the local Golf Club, having been bitten by that particular bug whilst holiday-making in France, of all places.
Both J. W. and Hugh Trumble regularly went back to England, and witnessed the famous bodyline series at Lord’s in 1932, and returned the following year. They were familiar fixtures, sitting together in the committee box at the Melbourne Cricket Club.