The 1968-69 test series
blooded three new faces in Dave Younghusband (Halifax), Bob Kilby (Swindon)
and exciting young Scotsman Jim McMillan. Coventry's Nigel Boocock
replaced Ken McKinlay as captain, while brother Eric made his final
tour of Australia along with veteran Mike Broadbank. For Australia
John Langfield made his test debut, as did Bert Kingston and Reading
'Racers' Geoff Mudge and Geoff Curtis.
England drew first blood in Melbourne before the second test was held in Adelaide (Rowley Park) on 6th December 1968. The Kangaroos were fired up to level the series and they did so in fine style, winning 61-47.
Adelaide favourite Charlie Monk led the way with a superb 18 point maximum, while captain Jim Airey helped secure victory with 16 (paid 17, lost to N.Boocock). For the Lions, McKinlay was best with 13, followed by Eric Boocock (11) and his brother Nigel, on 9.
Two weeks later the Aussie's won 68-40 at the Sydney Showground, despite a sterling 17 points from the stylish McKinlay. Fellow Scot McMillan was next best with 9. For Australia Airey (beaten once each by McKinlay and N.Boocock) set the standard with 16, while local expert Langfield excelled with 15 points and the fastest time of the night.
Almost a month later
the British Lions levelled the series again with a 57-51 win at
the 400metre Brisbane Exhibition Ground. It was a team effort
with Nigel Boocock notching up 16 points (paid 17, beaten once
by Jack White), while McKinlay scored 12 and Broadbank 10, in
his only decent score of the tour. Eric Boocock had a disastrous
night and scored a meagre 2 points.
Thirty years had passed but John Langfield remembered: "We were all so proud to race in the tests - it really meant a lot to us. We believed that the English were the best riders in the world and although that wasn't really the case at places like the Showground, the crowds that supported us were just amazing....we'd almost fill the place."
1968-69 series top scorers:
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