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Title: Cricket
Author: Horace Gordon Hutchinson, - To be updated
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



                                CRICKET

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting by_    _R. James._
_TOSSING FOR INNINGS._]



                                CRICKET

                               EDITED BY

                         HORACE G. HUTCHINSON

 [Illustration]

                         “_DESIPERE IN LOCO_”

                   LONDON: PUBLISHED AT THE OFFICES
                 OF “COUNTRY LIFE,” TAVISTOCK STREET,
                    COVENT GARDEN, W.C. & BY GEORGE
                   NEWNES, LTD. SOUTHAMPTON STREET,
                       STRAND, W.C.       MCMIII

[Illustration]



PREFACE


Surely it is sheer neglect of opportunity offered by an official
position if, being an editor, one has no prefatory word to say of the
work that one is editing. It is said that that which is good requires
no praise, but it is a saying that is contradicted at every turn—or
else all that is advertised must be very bad. While it is our firm
belief that the merits of the present book—_The Country Life Cricket
Book_—are many and various (it would be an insult to the able heads
of the different departments into which the great subject is herein
divided to think otherwise), we believe also that the book has one very
special and even unique merit. We believe, and are very sure, that
there has never before been given to the public any such collection
of interesting old prints illustrative of England’s national game as
appear in the present volume. It is due to the kind generosity of
the Marylebone Cricket Club, as well as of divers private persons,
that we are able to illustrate the book in this exceptional way; and
we (that is to say, all who are concerned in the production) beg to
take the opportunity of giving most cordial thanks to those who have
given this invaluable help, and so greatly assisted in making the
book not only attractive, but also original in its attraction. In the
first place, the prints form in some measure a picture-history of the
national game, from the early days when men played with the wide low
wicket and the two stumps, down through all the years that the bat was
developing out of a curved hockey-stick into its present shape, and
that the use of the bat at the same time was altering from the manner
of the man with the scythe, meeting the balls called “daisy-cutters,”
to the straightforward upright batting of the classical examples. The
classical examples perhaps are exhibited most ably in the pictures
of Mr. G. F. Watts, which show us that the human form divine can be
studied in its athletic poses equally well (save for the disadvantage
of the draping flannels) on the English field of cricket as in the
Greek gymnasium. The prints, too, give us a picture-history of the
costumes of the game. There are the “anointed clod-stumpers” of
Broadhalfpenny going in to bat with the smock, most inconvenient, we
may think, of dresses. There are the old-fashioned fellows who were
so hardly parted from their top-hats. These heroes of a bygone age
are also conspicuous in braces. We get a powerful hint, too, from the
pictures, of the varying estimation in which the game has been held
at different times. There is a suggestion of reverence in some of the
illustrations—a sense that the artist knew himself to be handling a
great theme. In others we see with pain that the treatment is almost
comic, certainly frivolous. We hardly can suppose that the picture of
the ladies’ cricket match would encourage others of the sex to engage
in the noble game, although “Miss Wicket” of the famous painting has
a rather attractive although pensive air—she has all the aspect of
having got out for a duck’s egg.

More decidedly to the same effect—of its differing hold on popular
favour—do we get a hint from the spectators assembled (but assembled
is too big a word for their little number) to view the game. “Lord’s”
on an Australian match day, or a Gents _v._ Players, or Oxford and
Cambridge, hardly would be recognised by one of the old-time heroes, if
we could call him up again across the Styx to take a second innings. He
would wonder what all the people had come to look at. He hardly would
believe that they were come to see the game he used to play to a very
meagre gallery in his life. But he would be pleased to observe the
progress of the world—how appreciative it grew of what was best in it
as it grew older.

Another thing that the collection illustrates is the various changes
of site of the headquarters of the game, if it had a headquarters
before it settled down to its present place of honour in St. John’s
Wood. There is a picture (_vide_ p. v) of “Thomas Lord’s first
Cricket Ground, Dorset Square, Marylebone. Match played June 20,
1793, between the Earls of Winchilsea and Darnley for 1000 guineas.”
With regard to this interesting picture, Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane,
in his catalogue of the pictures, drawings, etc., in possession of
the Marylebone Cricket Club, has a note as follows:—“This match was
Kent (Lord Darnley’s side) _v._ Marylebone, with Walker, Beldham, and
Wills (Lord Winchilsea’s side). M.C.C. won by ten wickets. It will be
noticed that only two stumps are represented as being used, whereas,
according to _Scores and Biographies_, it is known that as far back as
1775 a third stump had been introduced; many representations, however,
of the game at a later date show only two stumps.” No doubt at this
early period there was no very fully acknowledged central authority,
and such little details as these were much a matter of local option.
The wicket shown in this picture does not seem to differ at all from
the wicket in the picture of “Cricket” by F. Hayman, R.A. (_vide_ p.
1), in the possession of the Marylebone Club, though the date of the
latter is as early as 1743. Neither does the bat appear to have made
much evolution in the interval. It is on the authority of Sir Spencer
Ponsonby-Fane, in the catalogue above quoted, that we can give “about
1750” for the date of the picture named “A Match in Battersea Fields”
(_vide_ p. 3), in which St. Paul’s dome appears in the background.
Here they seem to be playing with the three stumps, early as the date
is. Again, in the fine picture, “painted for David Garrick” by Richard
Wilson, of “Cricket at Hampton Wick” (_vide_ p. 375), three stumps
are in use, and the bat has become much squared and straightened. Of
course the pictures obviously fall into two chief classes—one in which
“the play’s the thing”; the cricket is the object of the artist’s
representation; the other in which the cricket is only used as an
incidental feature in the foreground, to enliven a scene of which the
serious interest is in the background or surroundings. But the pictures
in which the cricket is the main, if not the only, interest are very
much more numerous. A quaintly suggestive picture enough is that
described in Sir S. Ponsonby-Fane’s catalogue as, “Situation of H.M.’s
Ships _Fury_ and _Hecla_ at Igloolie. Sailors playing Cricket on the
Ice.” In this, of course, there is no historical interest about the
cricket (_vide_ p. 392). The one-legged and one-armed cricketers make
a picture that is curious, though not very pleasant to contemplate;
and the same is to be said of the rather vulgar representation of the
ladies’ cricket match noticed above. The “Ticket to see a Cricket
Match” (_vide_ p. 40) shows a bat of the most inordinate, and probably
quite impossible, length; but we may easily suppose that the artist,
consciously or unwittingly, has exaggerated the weapon of his day.
Here too are two stumps only. We may notice the price of the ticket as
somewhat remarkably high, 2s. 6d.; but it was in the days when matches
were played for large sums of money, so perhaps all was in proportion
(length of bat excepted, be it understood). There is a picture of the
“celebrated Cricket Field near White Conduit House, 1787” (_vide_ p.
17), which is named a “Representation of the Noble Game of Cricket.”
It is a picture of some merit, and evidently careful execution, and
here too the players are seen with bats of a prodigious length; so it
may be that these huge weapons came into fashion for a while, only
to be abandoned again when their uselessness was proved, or perhaps
when the legislature began to make exact provision with regard to the
implements used. In this same picture of the “Noble Game of Cricket” a
man may be seen standing at deep square leg, who is apparently scoring
the “notches,” or “notching” the runs, on a piece of stick. This at
least appears to be his occupation, and it is interesting to observe
it at this comparatively late date, and at headquarters. In the match
between the sides led by Lord Winchilsea and Lord Darnley respectively,
it is seen that there are two tail-coated gentlemen sitting on a
bench, and probably scoring on paper, for it is hardly likely that
they can have been reporting for the press at that time. England did
not then demand the news of the fall of each wicket, as it does now.
Nevertheless, that there must have been a good deal of enthusiasm for
the game, even at a pretty early date, is shown conclusively enough by
the engraving (_vide_ p. 190) of the “North-East View of the Cricket
Grounds at Darnall, near Sheffield, Yorkshire.” What the precise date
of this picture may be I do not know, but it is evident that it must
be old, from the costumes of the players, who are in knee-breeches and
the hideous kind of caps that have been reintroduced with the coming
of the motor-car. Also the umpires, with their top-hatted heads and
tightly-breeched lower limbs, show that this picture is not modern.
And yet the concourse of spectators is immense. Even allowing for some
pardonable exaggeration on the part of the artist, it is certain that
many people must have been in the habit of looking on at matches,
otherwise this picture would be absurd; and this, be it observed, was
not in the southern counties, which we have been led to look on as
the nurseries of cricket, but away from all southern influence, far
from headquarters, in Yorkshire, near Sheffield. To be sure, it may
have been within the wide sphere of influence of the great Squire
Osbaldeston, but even so the picture is suggestive. The scorers are
here seated at a regular table. A very curious representation of the
game is that given in the picture by James Pollard, named “A Match on
the Heath” (_vide_ p. 29). It is a good picture. What is curious is
that, though the period at which Pollard was producing his work was
from 1821 to 1846, the bats used in the game are shown as slightly
curved, and, more notably, the wicket is still of the two stumps only.
There are only two alternative ways of accounting for this: either they
still played in certain places with the two-stump wicket, or else,
which is not likely, Pollard was very careless, and no cricketer, and
took his cricket apparatus from some older picture. I observe, by the
way, that I have, on the whole, done less than justice to the ladies,
as they are portrayed playing the game, for though it is true that the
one picture is, as noticed, vulgar enough, there is another, “An Eleven
of Miss Wickets” (_vide_ p. 248), that is pretty and graceful. While
some of the pictures in this collection are interesting mainly for
their curiosity, or as being something like an illustrated history or
diary of events and changes in the game, there are others that are real
works of art and beauty, sometimes depending mainly on their expression
of the game itself, and sometimes only using it as an adjunct to
the scenery. Of the former kind, we must notice most especially the
remarkable series of drawings by Mr. G. F. Watts, R.A., which show the
batsman in the various positions of defence or attack. To very many it
will be a revelation that the great artist could lend his pencil to
a matter of such trivial importance (as some base souls may deem it)
as the game of cricket; but without a doubt that great knowledge of
anatomy, which has been one of the strong points in all his paintings,
has been learned in some measure from these studies, which also give
it a very high degree of expression. There is a force, a vigour, a
meaning about these sketches which are interesting enough, if for no
other reason than because they show so vividly the inadequacy of the
mechanical efforts of photography, when brought into competition, as
a means of expression, with the pencil of a really great artist. You
feel almost as if you must jump aside out of the way of the fellow
stepping forward to drive the leg volley, or of the fearful man drawn
back to cut, so forcefully is the force expressed with which the
batsman is inevitably going to hit the ball (_vide_ p. 67). One of the
most charming pictures of those who have taken cricket for their theme
is that which is lent by His Majesty the King to the M.C.C., and is
styled “A Village Match.” It is by Louis Belanger, of date 1768 (_vide_
p. 361). Charming, too, is the picture attributed to Gainsborough,
“Portrait of a Youth with a Cricket-bat”; it is said to be a portrait
of George IV. as a boy, but it seems doubtful. The bat here is curved,
but hardly perceptibly; it shows the last stage in evolution before the
straight bat was reached (_vide_ p. 208). Our frontispiece is a jolly
scene—the ragged boys tossing the bat for innings—“Flat or Round?”
and the fellow in the background heaping up the coats for a wicket. We
all of us have played and loved that kind of cricket. A wonderfully
good and detailed picture is that of “Kent _v._ Sussex” (_vide_ p.
137). It is a picture of a match in progress on the Brighton ground,
and Brighton is seen in the background; in the foreground is a group of
celebrated cricketers in the spectators’ ring, yet posed, in a way that
gives a look of artificiality to the whole scene, so as to show their
faces to the artist. Even old Lillywhite, bowling, is turning his head
quaintly, to show his features. One of the most conspicuous figures is
the great Alfred Mynn, who was to a former generation what W. G. Grace
has been to ours. All the figures are portraits, and every accessory to
the scene is worked out most carefully. The drawing is by W. H. Mason.
Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane has a note on this picture: “As a matter of
fact, this match, as here represented, did not take place, the men
shown in the engraving never having played together in such a match,
but they all played for their respective counties about 1839-1841.”
Very delightful, too, is the picture that is the last in our book (p.
433), “At the End of the Innings”—an old veteran with eye still keen,
and firm mouth, telling of a determination to keep his wicket up and
the ball down “as well as he knows how,” and with an interest in the
game of his youth unabated by years. A jolly painting is that of “Old
Charlton Church and Manor House” (_vide_ p. 415), with the coach and
four darting past, and the boys at cricket on the village green. And
last, but to many of us greatest of all, there is the portrait of Dr.
W. G. Grace, from Mr. A. Stuart Wortley’s picture, which sums up a
modern ideal of cricket that we have not yet found ourselves able to
get past (_vide_ p. 228).

There are other pictures, not a few, that we might select for notice,
but already this ramble goes beyond due prefatory limits. There are the
sketches in which the cricket is made to point or illustrate political
satires. To do full justice to these, one would need to be well versed
in the history (other than the cricketing history) of the period. But
enough has been said. One could not let such a gallery of old masters
go without an attempt to do the showman for them in some feeble way.
They need neither help nor apology. They are good enough to win off
their own bat.

In our modern instances we have been no less lucky: with Mr. Warner
to bat, Mr. Jephson to bowl, Mr. Jessop to field, and the rest of the
good company, we do not know that any other choice could have made our
eleven better than it is; but after all, that is for the public to say;
it is from the pavilion, not the players, that the applause should
come.



CONTENTS


  CHAP.       PAGE

  1. SOME POINTS IN CRICKET HISTORY                            1

  2. EARLY DEVELOPMENTS OF THE CRICKETING ART                 29

  3. BATTING                                                  48

  4. BOWLING                                                  79

  5. FIELDING                                                117

  6. COUNTY CRICKET                                          137

  7. AMATEURS AND PROFESSIONALS                              193

  8. EARLIER AUSTRALIAN CRICKET                              217

  9. ENGLISH AND AUSTRALIAN CRICKET FROM 1894 TO 1902        251

  10. UNIVERSITY CRICKET                                     296

  11. COUNTRY-HOUSE CRICKET                                  342

  12. VILLAGE CRICKET                                        361

  13. FOREIGN CRICKET                                        381

  14. CRICKET IN SOUTH AFRICA                                396

  15. CRICKET IN NEW ZEALAND                                 409

  16. CRICKET GROUNDS                                        415

      INDEX                                                  443

[Illustration]



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  Tossing for Innings                                     _Frontispiece_

  Cricket as played in the Artillery Ground, London,
  in 1743                                             _To face page_   1

  The Royal Academy Club in Marylebone Fields             ”    ”       2

  A Match in Battersea Fields                             ”    ”       3

  An Exact Representation of the Game of Cricket          ”    ”       6

  The Game of Cricket                                     ”    ”      16

  The Cricket Field near White Conduit House              ”    ”      17

  The Noble Game of Cricket                               ”    ”      18

  A Match on the Heath                                    ”    ”      29

  “Cricket.” After the painting in Vauxhall Garden        ”    ”      36

  A Ticket for a Cricket Match in 1744                    ”    ”      40

  William and Thomas Earle                                ”    ”      41

  Mr. James Henry Dark                                    ”    ”      44

  Mr. Thos. Hunt                                          ”    ”      45

  “Block or Play”                                         ”    ”      52

  “Forward Play”                                          ”    ”      53

  The Draw or Pull                                        ”    ”      65

  The Leg Volley                                          ”    ”      66

  The Cut                                                 ”    ”      67

  Eighteenth-Century Bats                                 ”    ”      70

  Celebrated Bats                                         ”    ”      71

  War-worn Weapons                                        ”    ”      72

  Relics of Past Engagements                              ”    ”      73

  George Parr                                             ”    ”      74

  N. Felix                                                ”    ”      75

  The Bowler (Alfred Mynn)                                ”    ”      79

  William Lillywhite                                      ”    ”      84

  John Wisden                                             ”    ”      85

  Alfred Mynn                                             ”    ”      92

  James Cobbett                                           ”    ”      93

  William Lillywhite                                      ”    ”      98

  William Clarke, etc.                                    ”    ”      99

  Lord’s Ground early in the Nineteenth Century           ”    ”     106

  One Arm and One Leg Match                               ”    ”     107

  A Match at the Gentlemen’s Club, White Conduit
  House, Islington                                        ”    ”     110

  The Kennington Oval in 1849                             ”    ”     117

  The Cricket Field at Rugby                              ”    ”     124

  A Match in the Eighties                                 ”    ”     125

  Kent _v._ Sussex at Brighton                            ”    ”     137

  A Cricket Match (about 1756)                            ”    ”     148

  A Curious County Club Advertisement                     ”    ”     152

  Grand Female Cricket Match                              ”    ”     153

  The Batsman (Fuller Pilch)                              ”    ”     156

  An Old “Play” Bill                                      ”    ”     174

  Rural Sports                                            ”    ”     182

  The Cricket Ground at Darnall, near Sheffield           ”    ”     190

  The Earl of March                                       ”    ”     193

  Mr. J. H. Dark, Hillyer, The  Umpire Martingell         ”    ”     200

  Fuller Pilch                                            ”    ”     201

  Portrait of a Youth                                     ”    ”     208

  William Doorinton                                       ”    ”     209

  George Parr                                             ”    ”     214

  Thomas Box                                              ”    ”     222

  Dr. W. G. Grace                                         ”    ”     228

  Youth with a Cricket Bat                                ”    ”     236

  An Eleven of Miss Wickets                               ”    ”     248

  The Honourable Spencer Ponsonby                         ”    ”     260

  A Cricket Song                                          ”    ”     272

  A Lyric of the Cricket Field                            ”    ”     273

  Salvadore House, Tooting, Surrey                        ”    ”     298

  Cricket Ground, Todmorden                               ”    ”     299

  Cricket at Rugby in 1837                                ”    ”     304

  Cambridge University Students playing Cricket, 1842     ”    ”     305

  The Corinthians at Lord’s in 1822                       ”    ”     320

  A Match in 1805                                         ”    ”     328

  Miss Wicket and Miss Trigger                            ”    ”     344

  A Country-House Cricket Match                           ”    ”     352

  A Village Match in 1768                                 ”    ”     361

  “‘Out,’ so don’t fatigue yourself, I beg, Sir!”         ”    ”     370

  A Cricketer                                             ”    ”     371

  Village Cricket in 1832                                 ”    ”     374

  Cricket at Hampton Wick                                 ”    ”     375

  An Eighteenth-Century Caricature                        ”    ”     381

  A Parliamentary Match                                   ”    ”     386

  A Match at Igloolie between H.M. Ships _Fury_ and
  _Hecla_                                                 ”    ”     392

  A State Match                                           ”    ”     398

  The Soldier’s Widow or Schoolboys’ Collection           ”    ”     402

  Old Charlton Church and Manor House                     ”    ”     415

  Cricket’s Peaceful Weapons                              ”    ”     432

  At the End of the Innings (William Beldham)             ”    ”     433

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting by_    _Francis Hayman, R.A._
_CRICKET, AS PLAYED IN THE ARTILLERY GROUND, LONDON, IN 1743._]


[Illustration]



CHAPTER I

SOME POINTS IN CRICKET HISTORY

By THE EDITOR


Cricket began when first a man-monkey, instead of catching a cocoanut
thrown him playfully by a fellow-anthropoid, hit it away from him
with a stick which he chanced to be holding in his hand. But the date
of this occurrence is not easy to ascertain, and therefore it is
impossible to fix the date of the invention of cricket. For cricket
has passed through so many stages of evolution before arriving at the
phase in which we find it to-day that it is difficult to say when the
name, as we understand its meaning, first became rightly applicable
to it. The first use of the name “cricket” for any game is indeed a
matter entirely of conjecture. It is not known precisely by Skeat,
nor Strutt, nor Mr. Andrew Lang. But whether the name was applied by
reason of the cricket or crooked stick, which was the early form of
the bat, or whether from the cross stick used as a primitive bail, or
from the cricket or stool, at which the bowler aimed the ball, really
does not very much matter, for all these etymological vanities belong
rather to the mythological age of cricket than the historical. Neither
is it of great importance whether cricket was originally played under
another name, such as club-ball, as Mr. Pycroft infers, on rather
meagre authority, as it seems to me, from Nyren. Nyren did not hazard
the inference. The fact is that the form in which we first find cricket
played, and called cricket, is quite unlike our cricket of to-day, so
that we do not need to go seeking anything by a different name. They
played with two upright stumps, 1 foot high, 2 feet apart, with a cross
stump over them and a hole dug beneath this cross stump. The cross
stump is evidently the origin of our bails. Nyren does not believe in
this kind of cricket, but he gives no reason for his disbelief, for the
excellent reason that he can have had no reason for his scepticism; and
the fact is proved by the evidence of old pictures. He was a simple,
good man; he never saw anything like cricket played in that way, so he
did not believe any one else ever had. He did not perhaps understand
much about the law of evidence, but he wrote delightfully about
cricket. The fourth edition of his guide, which a friend’s kindness
has privileged me to see, is dated 1847, some time after the author’s
death.

[Illustration:
  _Engraved from a Painting by_    _Francis Hayman, R.A._
_THE ROYAL ACADEMY CLUB IN MARYLEBONE FIELDS._]

[Illustration: _A MATCH IN BATTERSEA FIELDS._]

Yes, in spite of Nyren, they bowled at this cross-stick and wicket
which the ball could pass through again and again without removing
the cross piece, and the recognised way of getting a man out was not
so much to bowl him as to catch or run him out. You ran him out by
getting the ball into the hole between the stumps before he got his bat
there—making the game something like rounders. Fingers got such nasty
knocks encountering the bat in a race for this hole that bails and a
popping crease were substituted—at least the humane consideration is
stated to have been a factor in the change.

It is not to be supposed that even we, for all our legislation, have
witnessed the final evolution of cricket. Legislate we never so often,
something will always remain to be bettered—the width of the wicket
or the law of the follow on. About the earliest records that have come
down to us there is a notable incompleteness that we must certainly
regret. The bowler gets no credit for wickets caught or stumped off
his bowling. What would become of the analysis of the underhand bowler
of to-day if wickets caught and stumped were not credited to him? But
at the date of these early records all the bowling was of necessity
underhand. Judge then of the degree in which those poor bowlers have
been defrauded of their just rights. Whether or no the name of our
great national game was derived from the “cricket” in the sense of
the crooked stick used for defence of the wicket, it is certain, from
the evidence of old pictures, if from nothing else, that crooked
sticks, like the modern hockey sticks, filled, as best they might,
the function of the bat. They are figured as long and narrow, with
a curving lower end. There was no question in those days of the bat
passing the four-inch gauge. They must have been very inferior, as
weapons of defence for the wicket, to our modern bats—broomsticks
rather than bats—more than excusing, when taken in connection with the
rough ground, the smallness of the scores, even though the bowling was
all underhand and, practically, there was no defence. The solution of
these problems, however, is, I fear, buried in the mists of antiquity,
and one scarcely dares even to hope for a solution of them, or the
fixing of the date of the changes. There are other problems that do not
seem as if they ought to be so hopelessly beyond our ken. In Nyren’s
cricketer’s guide, one of the laws of cricket, therein quoted, provides
that the wickets shall be pitched by the umpires, yet in part of his
time, if not all of it—and when the change was made I cannot find
out—it must have been the custom for the bowler to choose the pitch,
for he records special praise of the chief bowler of the old Hambledon
Club, that on choosing a wicket he would be guided not only by the kind
of ground that would help him individually best, but also would take
pains to see that the bowler from the other end had a nice bumping knob
to pitch the ball on—for by this time “length” bowling, as it was
called, had come into general use. Nyren’s words are that he “has with
pleasure noticed the pains he—Harris—has taken in choosing the ground
for his fellow-bowler as well as himself.”

In 1774 there was a meeting, under the presidency of Sir William
Draper, supported by the Duke of Dorset, the Earl of Tankerville, Sir
Horace Mann, and other influential supporters of cricket, to draw up
laws for the game, and therein it is stated that the “pitching of ye
first wicket is to be determined by ye cast of a piece of money,” but
it does not then say by whom they are to be pitched, nor does this
function come within the province of the umpires as therein defined.
This, therefore, is the first problem which I would ask the help of
all cricketing readers towards solving—the date at which the pitching
of the stumps ceased to be the business or privilege of the bowler. It
was the introduction of “length” bowling, no doubt—previously it was
all along the ground—real bowling as in bowls—that forced them to
straighten the bats. Mr. Ward, in some memoranda which he gave Nyren,
and which the latter quoted at large, says of these bats, used in a
match that arose from a challenge on behalf of Kent County, issued by
Lord John Sackville, to play All England in 1847: “The batting could
neither have been of a high character, nor indeed safe, as may be
gathered from the figure of the bat at that time, which was similar to
an old-fashioned dinner-knife curved at back and sweeping in the form
of a volute at the front and end. With such a bat the system must have
been all for hitting; it would be barely possible to block, and when
the practice of bowling length balls was introduced, and which (_sic_)
gave the bowler so great an advantage in the game, it became absolutely
necessary to change the form of the bat in order that the striker
might be able to keep pace with the improvement. It was therefore made
straight in the pod, in consequence of which, a total revolution, it
may be said a reformation too, ensued in the style of play.”

Then follows a record of the score of the match, which need not be
detailed. England made 40 and 70, and Kent 53 and 58 for nine wickets,
a gallant win. “Some years after this,” Mr. Ward continues—it is to
be presumed Nyren quotes the _ipsissima verba_, for whenever he wants
to put in anything off his own bat it appears above his initials in a
note—“the fashion of the bat having been changed to a straight form,
the system of blocking was adopted”—that is to say, some years after
1740.

The date is vague. Let us say early in the second half of the
eighteenth century, and I think we may go so far as to say that
cricket, as we understand it, began then too. It can hardly have been
cricket—this entirely aggressive batting. The next date of importance
as marking an epoch, if we may speak of the next when we have left
the last so much to conjecture, is 1775. On 22nd of May of that year
there was a great match “in the Artillery Ground between five of the
Hambledon Club and five of All England, when Small went in, the last
man, for fourteen runs and fetched them. Lumpy”—a very famous bowler
baptized Edward, surnamed Stevens—“was bowler upon the occasion, and
it having been remarked that his balls had three times passed between
Small’s stumps, it was considered to be a hard thing upon the bowler
that his straightest ball should be so sacrificed; the number of the
stumps was in consequence increased from two to three.”

[Illustration:
  _Engraved in 1743 by H. Roberts._    _After L. P. Boitard._
_AN EXACT REPRESENTATION OF THE GAME OF CRICKET._]

That is plain enough, but what is not plain is the height of the stumps
at that time.

Mr. Pycroft puts the height of the stumps at 1 foot, with a width
of only 6 inches, up to 1780, and it is evident from what Nyren
says—(_a_) that he had never seen stumps of 1 foot high and 2 feet
wide; and (_b_) that they were not of 22 inches high until 1775.
Therefore here is evidence in support of Mr. Pycroft’s 1 foot high and
6 inch wide wicket, to say nothing of the unimpeachable value of his
own statements. But he himself adduces nothing that I can find in its
support, nor does he attempt to give us the date of the first narrowing
of the stumps; and with regard to the alteration from two low stumps to
three 22-inch stumps I am obliged to find him at variance with Nyren.

The point, therefore, that I want to light on is the date and
circumstances of the change from wickets of two stumps 1 foot high and
2 feet apart, to wickets of two stumps 1 foot high, and only 6 inches
apart. This very drastic change appears to have been accomplished
without a word of historical comment upon it. There was a deal of
discussion at the time of the introduction of the third stump about the
probable effect on the game of this change, some arguing that it would
shorten the game—that every one would get out quickly.

Mr. Ward took the opposite view, that it would lead to more careful
and improved batting, and cites a remarkable match played in 1777
between the Hambledon Club and All England, in which, despite the third
stump, England made 100 and 69; and Hambledon, in a single innings,
made the wonderful score of 403. Aylward, who seems to have gone in
eighth wicket down, scored 167, individually, notwithstanding that he
had the mighty “Lumpy” against him.

Mr. Ward’s memoranda therefore give us some interesting facts.

So far as we can see back, the distance between the wickets has always
been 22 yards, but up to about some time in the first half of the
eighteenth century the wicket consisted of two stumps 1 foot high, 2
feet apart, with a cross stump, and a hole between them.

Later, this was changed for two stumps, first of 1 foot and then of 22
inches high, 6 inches apart, with a bail and a popping crease.

About 1750 “length” bowling was introduced, superseding the
all-along-the-ground business, and nearly concurrently the bats
straightened instead of curved. And I think we can scarcely say
“cricket” began before that, whatever “club-ball” or “stool-ball” may
have done.

In 1775 a third stump was added.

This last date, I know, does not agree with Mr. Pycroft, but I cannot
quite make out what his original sources are. He writes: “From an MS.
my friend”—he has mentioned so many friends in the previous paragraph
that it is impossible to identify the one he means—“received from
the late Mr. William Ward, it appears that the wickets were placed 22
yards apart as long since as the year 1700. We are informed also that
putting down the wickets, to make a man out in running, instead of the
old custom of popping the ball into the hole, was adopted on account
of severe injuries to the hands, and that the wicket was changed at
the same time—1779-80—to the dimensions of 22 inches by 6, with a
third stump added.” So, on the authority of the “MS. received by his
friend”—it may have been the very memoranda given to Nyren, for Mr.
Pycroft has mentioned Nyren in the preceding paragraph—Pycroft cites
Ward as lumping together the double change from the two low stumps to
the three higher stumps in 1779-80, whereas, in his memoranda to Nyren,
Mr. Ward distinctly names 1775 as the date at which the third stump was
added.

Curiously enough, Pycroft must have known all about this, really, but
it slipped his memory, for, a page or two further, we find him quoting
almost Nyren’s or Ward’s words: “In a match of the Hambledon Club in
1775, it was observed, at a critical point in the game, that the ball
passed three times between Mr. Small’s two stumps without knocking off
the bail, and then, first a third stump was added, and seeing that the
new style of balls which rise over the bat rose also over the wickets,
_then but 1 foot high_, the wicket was altered to the dimensions of 22
inches by 8, and again, to its present dimensions of 27 inches by 8
in 1817.” Though I find all up to that point in Nyren, I do not find
the italicised words, but I have no doubt they present the fact quite
accurately. They tell us nothing, however, as to the date at which the
wicket was first narrowed.

Another curious piece of information Mr. Ward gives us, by the way.
“Several years since—I do not recollect the precise date—a player
named White, of Ryegate, brought a bat to a match which, being the
width of the stumps, effectually defended his wicket from the bowler,
and in consequence a law was passed limiting the future width of the
bat to 4-1/4 inches. Another law also decreed that the ball should not
weigh less than 5-1/2 oz. or more than 5-3/4 oz.” Nyren appends a note
to this: “I have a perfect recollection of this occurrence, also that
subsequently an iron frame, of the statute width, was constructed for,
and kept by, the Hambledon Club, through which any bat of suspected
dimensions was passed, and allowed or rejected accordingly.” “Several
years since,” says Mr. Ward, or Nyren, writing, as I presume, about the
year 1833, so that perhaps we may put this invention of the gauge about
1830, or a little earlier. I wonder who has this iron gauge now. Has it
been sold up for old iron?

That is a third very practical problem that one would like answered.

And is it not curious to see how the rules were made and modified to
meet the occasions as they arose. The misfortune of that

  Honest Lumpy who did ‘low,
  He ne’er could bowl but o’er a brow—

in bowling so many times between the stumps of the too greatly blessed
Small—whence the introduction of the third stump. And White with
his barn-door bat, from “Ryegate,” as it pleases them to spell it,
compelling the use of the gauge.

We are too apt to think of the laws as “struck off at one time,” like
the American Constitution, instead of regarding them as something of
slow growth in the past, that will have to grow, with our growth, in
the future. We shall get into trouble if we regard them as something
too sacred to touch and do not legislate as occasion arises.

We have altered them greatly since that meeting at the Star and Garter
in Pall Mall in 1774, when they seem first to have been committed to
writing, and by the end of the twentieth century it is likely that we
shall have modified them considerably from this present form. We have
a notion that our forefathers played the game in such a sportsmanlike
manner, taking no possible advantage but such as was perfectly open
and above-board, that they required scarcely any rules to guide them,
but some sad things that the stern historian has to notice about the
influence that betting had at one time on cricket—this, and also a
sentence or two from these very memoranda of Mr. Ward, whom Nyren
extols as the mirror of all cricketing chivalry—may show us, I think,
that our cricketing forefathers had something human in them too. How
is this for a piece of artful advice? “If you bring forward a fast
bowler as a change, contrive, if fortune so favours you, that he shall
bowl his first ball _when a cloud is passing over_, because, as this
trifling circumstance frequently affects the sight of the striker,
you may thereby stand a good chance of getting him out.” And again,
a little lower on the same page: “Endeavour, by every means in your
power—such as, by changing the bowling, by little alterations in the
field, or by any excuse you can invent—to delay the time, that the
strikers may become cold or inactive.”

A very cunning cricketer, this Mr. Ward.

Previously he had said: “If two players are well in, and warm with
getting runs fast, and one should happen to be put out, supply his
place immediately, lest the other become cold and stiff.” Now just
compare these two last suggestions with each other, you will say, I
think, that the last is fair and just and proper counsel, instilling a
precaution that you have every right to take, but the former, according
to the modern sense of what is right and sportsmanlike, seems to me to
be counselling something perilously near the verge of sharp practice.
You send your man out quickly, that the other may not grow cold,
and what happens? Your purpose is defeated by the bowler and field
purposely dawdling in order that the man _may_ grow cold. It does not
strike one as quite, quite right, though no doubt it is not against the
rules. But it is tricky, a little tricky. And so again we draw a date,
without his suspecting it, of a new moral epoch, from our invaluable
Mr. Ward. About 1833, or a little later, we grew a trifle more delicate
and particular in some small points of cricketing behaviour and
sportsmanlike dealing. The betting, and the like evil practices at one
time connected with the game, were a grosser scandal which carried
their own destruction with them.

If any man, therefore, can throw light on these three dark points, I
shall be very grateful to him—the date at which the first high wicket
was narrowed down to 6 inches, the date at which the bowler ceased
to have the pitching of the wicket, and the present habitation of
that famous piece of old iron, the gauge used on the barn-door bat of
White of Ryegate. Nyren, the matchless historian of the game, reveals
himself, in his little history, as a very estimable man, of some
matchless qualities for his task—an unbounded love of his subject and
a sweet nature perfectly free of the slightest taint of jealousy. He
writes of no other cricketing societies, except incidentally, than of
those men of Hambledon in Hampshire. _Quorum pars magna fui_, as he
says, with a single explosion of very proper pride, and a note appended
thereto explaining apologetically that he has some certain knowledge
of Latin. But after this single expression, very fully justified, for
he was the beloved father of the Hambledon Club for years, he speaks
of himself again hardly at all, just as if he had no hand in its
successes, preferring to find some generous word to say of all the
rest—of Beldham, Harris, Aylward, Lumpy. Beldham was not nearly so
handsome to him, speaking of him to Mr. Pycroft. “Old Nyren was not
half a player as we reckon now,” was Beldham’s verdict. However, the
old man was fifty then.

At least he was a very good type of an Englishman and cricketer,
whatever his class as a player, or he could never have written that
book. And how much Hambledon may have owed to Nyren we can never know.
As it is, Hambledon has the credit that Nyren specially claims for
it of being the _Attica_, the centre of early civilisation, of the
cricketing world. But there may have been other Atticas—only, like the
brave men before Agamemnon, unsung, for want of their Homeric Nyrens.

The fact of the matter is, we know little but gossip of how the cricket
world went before the year 1786, when Bentley takes up the running and
records the scores. A sad fire occurred in the M.C.C. Pavilion—at
that time the Club played where the Regent’s canal now runs, after
being built out of Dorset Square—and burnt all the old score
books—irreparable loss.

Mr. Pycroft made an excursion into the home of the Beldhams, and
brought out much valuable gossip, along with the unhandsome criticism
on Nyren. “In those days,” says Beldham—1780, when Mr. Beldham was a
boy—“the Hambledon Club could beat all England, but our three parishes
around Farnham at last beat Hambledon.”

“It is quite evident,” adds Mr. Pycroft to this, “that Farnham was the
cradle of cricket.”

Something that Beldham and others may have said to Mr. Pycroft may have
made this fact “quite evident” to him, but I cannot see that he has
transmitted any such evidence to us. This much, however, I think we may
say with confidence, that all that was best of cricketing tradition
and practice _in the south of England_—that is to say, as far as was
in touch at all with its influences—clustered in the little corner of
Surrey in which the parish of Farnham is. But that is not to say that
there were not other nuclei of cricket in the north and elsewhere, and
I think there is evidence to lead us to think there were other centres,
perhaps less energetic.

The “county” boundaries were not so rigid in those days. “You find
us regularly,” says Beldham to Mr. Pycroft—“us” being Farnham and
thereabouts—“on the Hampshire side in Bentley’s book,” and it is quite
true.

Then, from this little nucleus, cricket in the south extended. Beldham
had a poor opinion of the cricket of Kent at first. Crawte, one of the
best Kent men, was “stolen away from us,” in Beldham’s words. Aylward,
the hero of the 167 runs, was taken, also to Kent, by Sir Horace Mann,
as his bailiff, but “the best bat made but a poor bailiff, we heard.”
Sussex was a cricketing county from an early date, but Beldham had a
poor opinion of its powers likewise.

The elements of the nucleus formed round Farnham were disseminated,
as much as anything, by the support that certain rich and influential
people gave the game. We have seen how Sir Horace Mann stole away
Aylward. Other great supporters of the game were Earl Darnley, Earl
Winchelsea, Mr. Paulet, and Mr. East—all before the centuries had
turned into the eighteens.

“Kent and England,” says Mr. Pycroft, “was as good an annual match in
the last as in the present century.” But in those days, as even his own
later words show us, “Kent,” so called, sometimes had three of the best
All England men given in, even in a match against “England.” They were
not so particular then—what they wanted was a jolly good game, with a
good stake on it.

“The White Conduit Fields and the Artillery Ground,” Pycroft goes on,
“supplied the place of Lord’s, though in 1817 the name of Lord’s is
found in Bentley’s matches, implying, of course, the old Marylebone
Square, now Dorset Square, under Thomas Lord, and not the present,
by St. John’s Wood, more properly deserving the name of Dark’s than
Lord’s. The Kentish battlefields were Sevenoaks—the land of Clout, one
of the original makers of cricket balls—Coxheath, Dandelion Fields, in
the Isle of Thanet, and Cobham Park, also Dartford Brent and Pennenden
Heath; there is also early mention of Gravesend, Rochester, and
Woolwich. The Holt, near Farnham, and Moulsey Hurst, were the Surrey
grounds.

[Illustration: _THE GAME OF CRICKET_.]

[Illustration:
  _From an Engraving._    _Published in 1787._
_THE CRICKET FIELD NEAR WHITE CONDUIT HOUSE._]

But there was cricket further afield. In 1790 the Brighton men were
playing, and in the following year we find an eleven of old Etonians,
with four players given, playing the M.C.C. team; also with four
professionals, in Rutlandshire. This M.C.C. team went on to play eleven
“yeomen and artisans of Leicester,” defeating them sorely, and in the
same year the Nottingham men met with a similar fate at the hands of
the Club.

From these matches and their results we are now able, I think, to infer
two things—first, that cricket had been played for some long while,
not as an imported invention, but as an aboriginal growth, in these
northern counties before these teams visited them from the south, and
secondly, that the southern counties had brought it to a much higher
pitch of perfection, for they could never have gone down so ninepinlike
before any eleven of the Marylebone Club. Likely enough the inspired
doctrine, of the straight bat and the left elbow up, of that gifted
baker of gingerbread, Harry Hall of Farnham, had not travelled so far
as the home of these northern folk, and in that case they would have
been at a parlous disadvantage to those who had been brought up by its
lights. They had not perhaps been so long in the habit of coping with
“length” balls, which made the adoption of the left elbow up almost a
necessity of defence. When the bowling came all along the ground it did
not matter. Also there was in the south that prince of bowlers, Harris,
whose magical deliveries shot up so straightly from the ground that
it was almost essential for playing them to get out to the pitch of
the ball. And if they had not this bowling, what was to educate them,
unassisted, to a higher standard of batting? But they were not left
unassisted, for the masterly elevens from the south began to come among
them, and taught them many things, no doubt, both by example and by
precept.

This was in 1791. 1793 brings a wider ray of light on the scene of
cricket history. Essex and Herts come on the scene as cricketing
counties—of second class, as we should call them now, to Kent and
Surrey, but players and lovers of cricket all the same. They combined
elevens apparently, and played twenty-two against an eleven of England,
which beat them in a single innings. Mr. Pycroft has a specially
interesting note in this connection. He was told by two old cricketers,
one a Kent man and the other an Essex man, that when they were boys,
cricket in both these counties was a game of the village, rather than
of clubs. “There was a cricket bat behind the door, or else up in the
bacon rack, in every cottage.” Of course in London it was a game played
in clubs, for they only could find the spaces where land was valuable.
It was in the year of 1793 that “eleven yeomen at Oldfield Bray, in
Berkshire, had learned enough to be able to defeat a good eleven of the
Marylebone Club.”

I am scandalised by the wholesale way I have to steal early history
from Mr. Pycroft’s book. The only excuse is that I do not know where
to go to better it, though probably I may supplement it from chance
sources.

[Illustration: The LAWS of the NOBLE GAME of CRICKET.
as revised by the Club at S^t. Mary-le-bone.
_From the Frontispiece to the Laws._]

In 1795 he tells us of matches in which the captains were respectively
the Hon. Colonel Lennox—who fought a duel with the Duke of York—and
the Earl of Winchelsea. A munificent supporter of the game was my
Lord of Winchelsea, and used to rig out his merry men in suits of
knee-breeches, shirts, hosen, and silver caps. It was a kind of feudal
age of cricket, when the great captains prided themselves on the powers
of their retainers, and staked largely on the result.

“In 1797,” says Pycroft, “the Montpelier Club and ground attract our
notice,” and then goes on to speak of Swaffham in Norfolk, as a country
of keen but not very successful cricketers. Lord Frederick Beauclerk
took down an eleven that appears to have beaten three elevens combined
of the Norfolk folk, and that in a single innings. This Lord Frederick
Beauclerk, with the Hon. H. and Hon. J. Tufton, got up the first Gents
_v._ Players match in 1798; but though the Gents, after the generous
fashion of the day, were reinforced by the three chief flowers of the
professional flock—namely, Tom Walker, Beldham, and Hammond—the
Players beat them. In the same year Kent essayed to play England,
only to be beaten into little pieces, and in 1800 they began the new
century more modestly by playing with twenty-three men against twelve
of England.

For of course, after all has been said, the centre of the national
game, as of everything national, was then, as now, smoky London.
Lord’s Pavilion was then, as it had been since 1787, on the site
that Dorset Square occupies now. In London the men collected who
loved cricket, and had the money to bet on the game and to engage the
services of the players. There were keener cricketers, more general
interest in cricket, then than a little later in the century. Three to
four thousand spectators sometimes came to see a match at Lord’s, and
royalties sometimes took a hand in the game.

In the first years of the new century, Surrey was the great cricketing
county. Only two of the All England eleven, Lord Frederick Beauclerk
and Hammond, came from any other county. Hammond was wicket-keeper to
the famous Homerton Club—“the best,” says Mr. Ward, quoted by Pycroft,
“we ever had. Hammond played till his sixtieth year, but Brown and
Osbaldestone put all wicket-keeping to the rout”—by the pace of their
bowling, of course.

About the first decade of the century the counties seem to have been
divided off more strictly, for cricketing purposes, than before.
Hampshire and Surrey, as we saw, ran in double harness, the men of
Hants helping Surrey in a match, and the Surreyites mutually helping
Hampshire. But now they no longer play together. Broadhalfpenny and
even Windmill Down have gone to thistles, and the gallant Hambledon
Club is no more. Godalming is mentioned as the strongest local centre
of the game, and in 1808 Surrey had the glory of twice beating
England in one season. But in 1821 the M.C.C. is again playing the
“three parishes,” Godalming, Farnham, and Hartley Row, and it is
in the accounts of this very same year that we tumble on a dark
and significant observation. “About this time,” said Beldham to Mr.
Pycroft, “we played the Coronation match, M.C.C. against the Players
of England. We scored 278 and only six wickets down, when the game was
given up. I was hurt, and could not run my notches; still James Bland
and the other Legs begged of me to take pains, for it was no sporting
match, ‘any odds and no takers,’ and they wanted to shame the gentlemen
against wasting their—the Legs’—time in the same way another time.”

“James Bland and the other Legs.” At this distance of time we may
perhaps repeat the epithet or nickname, and even class a named man
under it, without the risk of an action for libel. Perhaps even the
term “Legs” did not imply all the qualities which attach to it to-day,
but in any case it is surely something of a shock to come on the
presence of these questionable gentlemen just casually stated, not with
any note of surprise, but merely as if they were a common and even
essential accompaniment of a cricket match.

Of course we knew quite well that our forefathers betted large stakes
between themselves, often on single-wicket matches. This was a
favourite style of match with Mr. Osbaldestone—the Squire,—because
his bowling was so fast that no one, practically, could hit it in front
of the wicket, and hits did not count for runs, in single-wicket,
behind the wicket. In double-wicket matches he often “beat his side,”
we are told—beat his own side—“by byes,” no long-stop being able to
stop his bowling effectively. The chief check to the Squire’s career
seems to have been the discovery of the famous Browne of Brighton, who
bowled, some said, even faster. Beldham, however, made a lot of runs
off the latter on one special occasion. This is a digression, into
which the consideration of single-wicket matches for money—and is it
a wonder we do not have more of them now?—beguiled me. But perhaps it
is a good thing that we do not have them, for they may well have been
the root and source of all the subsequent “leg-work.” The Coronation
match is the first occasion on which Mr. Pycroft notices the “Legs,” in
his order of writing, but lower down on the very same page he quotes
some words of Mr. Budd, who shared, with Lord Frederick Beauclerk,
the credit of being the best amateur cricketer of the day, relative
to a match at Nottingham—M.C.C. _v._ Twenty-two of Notts—in which
the same evil influence is apparent. “In that match,” he says, “Clarke
played”—the future captain of the All England travelling team. “In
common with others, I lost my money, and was greatly disappointed at
the termination. _One paid player was accused of selling_, and _never
employed after_.”

Mr. Budd must have done his level best to avert defeat, too, for
Bentley records that he caught out no less than nine of the Notts men;
but _one paid player was accused of selling_, and Clarke was on the
other side! However it happened, Notts won. Mr. Pycroft also says that
in old Nyren’s day the big matches were always made for £500 a side,
apart, as we may presume, from outside betting. Nowadays a sovereign
or a fiver on the ‘Varsity match is about the extent of the gambling
that cricket invites. The James Bland referred to above had a brother,
Joe—_Arcades ambo_, bookmakers both. These, with “Dick Whittom of
Covent Garden—profession unnamed,—Simpson, a gaming-house keeper, and
Toll of Esher, as regularly attended at a match as Crockford and Gully
at Epsom and Ascot.”

Mr. Pycroft scouts the idea that a simple-minded rustic of Surrey or
Hampshire would long hold out against the inducements that these gentry
would offer them, “at the Green Man and Still,” to sell a match, and
indeed some of the naïve revelations that were made to him by rustic
senility when he went to gossip with it, over brandy and water, might
confirm him in a poor opinion of the local virtue.

“I’ll tell the truth,” says one, whom he describes as a “fine old man,”
but leaves in kindly anonymity. “One match of the county I did sell, a
match made by Mr. Osbaldeston at Nottingham. I had been sold out of a
match just before, and lost £10, and happening to hear it, I joined two
others of our eleven to sell, and get back my money. I won £10 exactly,
and of this roguery no one ever suspected me; but many was the time I
have been blamed for selling when as innocent as a babe.” Then this old
innocent, with his delightful notions of _cavalleria rusticana_ and the
wooing back of his £10, goes on to tell the means—hackneyed enough in
themselves—by which the company of the Legs seduced the obstinacy of
rustic virtue. “If I had fifty sons,” he said, “I would never put one
of them, for all the games in the world, in the way of the roguery that
I have witnessed. The temptation was really very great—too great by
far for any poor man to be exposed to.”

There is a pathetic dignity about this simple moralising that contrasts
well with the levity of his previous confession, but the state of
things that it shows is really very disgusting. It is another tribute
to the merit of this first of English games that it should have lived
through and have lived down such a morbid condition.

“If gentlemen wanted to bet,” said Beldham, “just under the pavilion
sat men ready, with money down, to give and take the current odds.
These were by far the best men to bet with, because, if they lost,
it was all in the way of business; they paid their money and did not
grumble.” The manners of some of the fraternity must have changed, not
greatly for the better, since then. “Still,” he continues, “they had
all sorts of tricks to make their betting safe.” And then he quotes,
or Mr. Pycroft quotes—it is not very clear, and does not signify—Mr.
Ward as saying, “One artifice was to keep a player out of the way by
a false report that his wife was dead.” It was as clever a piece of
practical humour as it was honest. What a monstrous state of things it
reveals!

And then Beldham, inspirited by Mr. Pycroft’s geniality and brandy
and water, goes on to assure him—as one who takes a view which the
majority would condemn as childishly charitable—that he really does
not believe, in spite of all that has been said, that any “gentleman,”
by which he means “amateur,” has ever been known to sell a match, and
he cites an instance in which for curiosity’s sake he put the honesty
of a certain noble lord to the test by covertly proposing selling a
match to him. But though his lordship, who seems to have been betting
against his own side, had actually £100 on the match, even this
inducement was not enough to tempt the nobleman from the paths of
virtue.

We will hope that no amateur did fall, and may join with Beldham in
“believing it impossible,” but the fiction that they did was used by
the Legs to persuade any man of difficult honesty to go crooked. “Serve
them as they serve you,” was the argument, or one of the arguments,
used. That “fine old man” whom Mr. Pycroft drew out so freely gives
no edifying pictures of the players of the day: “Merry company of
cricketers, all the men whose names I had ever heard as foremost in
the game, met together, drinking, card-playing, betting, and singing,
at the Green Man—that was the great cricketers’ house—in Oxford
Street—no man without his wine, I assure you, and such suppers as
three guineas a game to lose and five to win—that was then the sum for
players—could never pay for long.”

That was their rate of payment, and that their mode of life—perhaps
not the best fitted for the clear eye and the sound wind.

It appears that this degrading condition of cricket was brought to an
end by its own excesses; it became a crying scandal. “Two very big
rogues at Lord’s fell a-quarrelling.” They charged each other with
all sorts of iniquities in the way of selling matches, all of which
accusations, when compared with the records, squared so nicely with the
truth that they carried conviction, and “opened the gentlemen’s eyes
too wide to close again to those practices.”

Mr. Pycroft has a note on his own account about the match at Nottingham
in which his informant confessed to him that he was paid to lose. There
were men on the other side who were paid to lose too, but, perhaps
because there were twenty-two of them, they could not do it, but won in
their own despite.

It must have produced funny cricket, this selling of a match both
ways, and Mr. Pycroft picked up a story of a single-wicket match in
which both were playing to lose, where it was only by accident that a
straight ball ever was bowled, but when it came it was always fatal.
It reminds us of the much-discussed wides and no-balls bowled in the
‘Varsity match to avert the follow-on: but, thank heaven, there is
no suspicion of fraudulent financial motives in even the queerest of
cricketing tactics to-day.

It is truly wonderful how all heavy betting has gone out. Partly, no
doubt, this is because men play more in clubs. When individuals used
to get up matches the players’ expenses came very heavy; therefore
they made the matches for a considerable stake to cover them, but the
practice cannot have comforted the losers much. Nowadays the club pays
players out of the subscribed funds.

Why the single-wicket game is all given up is hard to say, for it is an
age of individual emulation, but we are content with the better part
of the game of eleven aside. And when first was that number, which
seems to have some constant attraction for the cricketer, introduced?
We cannot tell. It seems usual from the dawn of history. Moreover, the
length of the pitch was always, so far as the historic eye can pierce,
twenty-two yards—twice eleven, and twice eleven inches was the height
of the stumps when they were first raised from the foot-high wicket.

Mr. Budd told Mr. Pycroft of a curious single-wicket match in which he
was something more than _magna_, even _maxima_, _pars_. It was against
Mr. Braund, for fifty guineas. Mr. Braund was a tremendously fast
bowler. “I went in first, and, scoring seventy runs, with some severe
blows on the legs—nankin knees and silk stockings, and no pads in
those days—I consulted my friend and knocked down my wicket, lest the
match should last to the morrow, and I be unable to play”—on account
of the injuries to his nankin knees, I suppose. “Mr. Braund was out
without a run. I went in again, and making the seventy up to a hundred,
I once more knocked down my own wicket, and once more my opponent
failed to score.”

Another interesting match that Mr. Pycroft records was Mr. Osbaldeston
and William Lambert against Lord Frederick Beauclerk and Beldham. Mr.
Osbaldeston, on the morning of the match, which was fixed under “play
or pay” conditions, found himself too ill to play, so Lambert tackled
the two of them, and actually beat them. I am sorry to say I find a
record of a little temper shown—perhaps naturally enough—in this
match, as on another occasion, when he was bowling to that barn-door
bat of the Hambledon Club, Tom Walker, by Lord Frederick Beauclerk; but
after all, what man is worth his salt without a temper? And no doubt
both occasions were very trying.

The date of these single-wicket matches was about 1820, which brings
matters up to about the time at which a stopper should be put on the
mouth of this gossiping and cribbing Muse of History, for we are coming
to the days as to which men still living are able to tell us the things
that they have seen.

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting by_    _James Pollard._
_A MATCH ON THE HEATH._]


[Illustration: The LAWS of the NOBLE GAME of CRICKET.
as revised by the Club at S^t. Mary-le-bone.]



CHAPTER II

EARLY DEVELOPMENTS OF THE CRICKETING ART

By THE EDITOR


When I first formed the presumptuous design of editing this work, it
was my original purpose to divide this chapter into two parts, whereof
the one should treat of the development of batting and the other of
the development of bowling. But I very soon found that such a division
would never do, for it would be a dividing of two things that were in
their nature indivisible, from the historian’s point of view, the one
being the correlative of the other, and the effects of the one upon the
other being ever constant. Of course those effects have been mutual;
the bowling has educated the batting, and in his turn, again, the
batsman has been the instructor of the bowler. No sooner has the one
changed his tactics at all than the other has changed front a little
in order to meet this new attack. Naturally, perhaps, it seems that
the bowler has the oftener taught the batsman, than _vice versa_; the
aggressor, by a new form of attack, forcing on the defendant a new line
of defence. I think it is the generally accepted view to-day that it
is the bowling “that makes the batting,” but on the other hand one is
inclined to think that the excellence of the Australian bowling, and
also of their wicket-keeping and general fielding, is very much the
result of playing on such perfect wickets that the batsman practically
would never get out unless fielding, wicket-keeping, and bowling were
all of the highest quality. Therefore, in that special instance it may
rather be said that the batting, under specially favourable conditions
of climate and wickets, has “made the bowling.” Of course the natural
effect of playing on perfect wickets in matches that last as many days
as you please has had its effect, and to us not altogether a pleasing
effect, on the Australian batting, but this is scarcely the place to
consider that feature of the case.

The first point of interest to notice is that Beldham is quite at
one with us in attributing the advance in batting to the advance of
bowling, notably to the wonderful bowling of Harris, which was of
that portentous character to which the name of epoch-making is not
misapplied, and Nyren is of the same opinion with Beldham, whom he
considers to have been the first to play Harris’s bowling with success
by getting out to it at the pitch.

We have seen, in another part of the book, that, setting aside the
stool-ball, and the other legendary sports of the ancients, which
were “not cricket,” the first game worthy of the name of cricket that
appears in the dim twilight of history is the game they played at the
beginning of the eighteenth century—say for simplicity’s sake in 1700.
In 1700 and for some time later the wicket that men bowled at was
formed, as we have seen, of two stumps, each 1 foot high, 2 feet apart,
and with a cross-stump by way of a bail laid from one to the other.
Between the two stumps, and below the cross one, was a hole scraped
in the ground—the primitive block-hole. There was no popping-crease:
the batsman grounded his bat by thrusting the end of the bat into the
block-hole. Then he was “in his ground.” But if the wicket-keeper, or
any fieldsman, could put the ball into the hole before the batsman had
his bat grounded in it, the batsman was out. Observe, it was not a
matter of knocking off the cross-stump with the ball, but of getting
the ball into the hole before the batsman grounded his bat in it. It
takes no very vivid imagination to picture the bruised and bloody
fingers that must have resulted from the violent contact of the bat
when there was a race for the block-hole between wicket-keeper and
batsman.

And the bowling? The bowling of course was _bowling_, all along the
ground, as in the famous old game of bowls. Very likely it was in some
respects the best sort of bowling for the business. With a wicket only
a foot high, anything between the longest of long-hops or the yorkiest
of yorkers would have jumped over it. They found out this disadvantage
later, when they began to bowl “length” balls, which, after all is
said, must have been far the more puzzling for the batsman. And besides
the chance of going over the wicket, there was also the excellent
opportunity of going through the wicket, between two stumps set as far
apart as 2 feet. Probably this occurred so often that it did not seem
particularly hard luck. The batsman, more probably, deemed himself very
hardly used if he did not get two or three extra lives of this grace.

And after all, though no records that I can find have come down to us
from those times, it is safe to infer that the batsmen did not make an
overwhelming number of runs. Had it been so we should almost certainly
have heard of it by oral tradition, and Aylward’s great score of 167
at the end of the century would not have stood out as such a unique
effort. Nor have we far to seek for the reason that the scores were
not prodigious. Though the wicket was low, it was very broad, and a
ball running over the surface of bumpy ground, as we may suppose those
wickets to have been, would very often have taken off the cross-stump
only a foot above the ground. Perhaps, even, at a foot high it was more
assailable than at two feet by these methods of attack. Then too the
weapons of defence—the bats, so to call them—are figured more like
the hockey-sticks of to-day—“curved at the back, and sweeping in the
form of a volute at the front and end,” Mr. Ward’s memoranda of Nyren
say. Of course these were very inadequate weapons of defence, and in
point of fact no defence seems ever to have been attempted. It was all
hit. And for actual hitting of a ball always on the ground a bat of
this shape may not have been so very ill adapted after all.

We do not know what the wiles of these old all-along-the-ground bowlers
may have been. Probably they were fairly simple. Yet there is a
significant word that crops up in the pages of Pycroft, that delightful
writer, that almost inclines one to suspect these old-fashioned fellows
of some guile. He constantly uses the expression “bias” bowling. He
speaks of it, it is true, in connection with “length” balls, breaking
from the pitch. But why should he have used the word “bias” unless it
were in common parlance, and how should that singular word have come
into common parlance unless from the analogy of the game of bowls, in
which it is a cant term. In the game of bowls the bowls are sometimes
weighted on one side, for convenience in making them roll round in a
curve and so circumvent another bowl that may “stimy” them, to borrow
a term from golf, from the jack; but sometimes—and this seems a more
scientific form of the game—there is no bias in the bowl itself,
but “side” can be communicated to it, by a finished player, with the
same result as before. Now if it was the habit of these old-fashioned
cricketers to bowl their “daisy-cutters” with bias on the ball, so that
it would travel in a curve as it came along, the reason for the term as
used by Pycroft is simple enough; but if this is not the explanation,
the only alternative one is that the term first came into use—never
having been mentioned in cricket before—for balls that broke from
the pitch, wherein the analogy from bowls would be very far-fetched
indeed, and the term altogether not one that would be likely to suggest
itself. Therefore I think there is a likelihood—I claim no more for my
inference—that these old cricketers bowled their underhand sneaks with
spin on them, just as we often have seen them bowled—and a very good
ball too on a rough wicket—in country cricket matches to-day.

Then we come to a change, and the date of that change appears to
involve some of the highest authorities in a certain disagreement. But
I am going to stick to Nyren, or rather to Mr. Ward’s memoranda as
edited by Nyren, rather than to Pycroft, both because the former wrote
nearer to the date of the occurrences treated of, and also because
the latter—though I love and revere his book—seems to me to have
lumped dates together in a certain scornful, contemptuous haste, as if
they were scarcely worth a good cricketer’s attention. Nyren, or Mr.
Ward for him, is more careful in his discrimination, according to my
judgment as a grave historian.

According to Nyren, then, it was some time about or before 1746
that the stumps were both heightened and narrowed. From 1 foot they
sprang up to 22 inches in height, and from 2 feet across they shrank
to as little as 6 inches in width. A bail crossed their tops, and a
popping-crease was drawn for the grounding of the bat, to the great
saving, as we cannot doubt, of the wicket-keeper’s fingers. Still,
however, unless Nyren was mistaken, there were not as yet but two
stumps—virtually it is certain he was mistaken in declining to
believe that the game ever was played with a wicket of 2 feet width,
but that does not prove him wrong in another matter in which all the
probabilities are in his favour.

We are not given any very clear reason for this change in the height
of wickets, but we very quickly see its effects. Hitherto bowling
had been all along the ground, the wicket being so low that it was
almost necessary to bowl in this now derided fashion if it was to be
hit at all. But a wicket 10 inches higher might have its bail taken
off by a higher-rising ball, the higher-rising ball was found to be a
more difficult one for the batsman to hit, the higher-rising kind of
ball was thereby proved the best for the bowler’s purpose; in a word,
“length” bowling, as they called it—the bowling of good length balls,
as we should say—was introduced.

And now, all at once, the position of the unfortunate batsman was found
to be a very parlous one indeed. For, remember, he had in his hand, to
meet this bowling, a thing that had more resemblance to a hockey-stick
than a cricket-bat. There is a certain “invisible length” which, as we
all know, is extremely difficult to play with a modern square-faced bat
and with all the science of modern theories of wielding it. How much
more helpless then, as Euclid would put it, must the unfortunate man
with the bandy-stick have felt when he saw coming towards him through
the air a ball of that length which he knew would make it impossible
when it reached him. Batsmen must have had a most miserable time of it
for a year or two.

At length, out of their necessity was produced a new invention. It was
about the year 1750 that the “length” bowling came into fashion, and
very soon afterwards the form of the cricket-bat was altered to that
straight and square-faced aspect which gave it a chance of meeting the
new bowling—which was assailing comparatively new wickets—on equal
terms. Obviously there ought to be some kind of relation between the
shape of the bat and the contour of the wicket that it is concerned to
defend, and the contour of the upright 22-inch wicket demanded defence
by a straight bat—that is to say, at first, merely a bat straight in
itself. The gospel of the left elbow up and the meeting of the ball
with bat at the perpendicular had not been preached thus early.

[Illustration:
  _Engraved by Benoist_    _After F. Hayman, R.A._
_CRICKET, “AFTER THE PAINTING IN VAUXHALL GARDEN.”_]

And I take it that virtually cricket, worthy to be called by any
such great name, did not really begin before this. This game of
trundling along the ground at a two-foot wide wicket, and a man with
a hockey-stick defending it, is really rather a travesty of the great
and glorious game. The origin of cricket it was, no doubt, and as such
is to be most piously revered, but actual cricket—hardly. Consider
that old print of a game in progress on the Artillery Fields, where the
players are equipped with the curved bats, wear knee-breeches, and the
wicket is low and wide, with two stumps upright and one across. There
is not a fieldsman on the off side of the wicket—a significant fact in
itself; but further, and far more significant, a spectator is reclining
on the ground, entirely at his ease, precisely in the position that
point would occupy to-day. There can be but one meaning to this
picture—that such a thing as off hitting was absolutely unknown.
Possibly it was difficult enough to hit to the off, even with the best
intentions, off these bats like bandy-sticks; it is at all events
certain that it was a style of stroke not contemplated by the gentleman
reclining on the ground.

I have spoken above of the bat as an instrument of defence. So to
style it when writing of this era is to commit an anachronism. The
earlier cricketers, even of the straight-bat epoch, were guiltless of
the very notion of defence. They were all for aggression, trying to
score off every ball. The reason of this was, no doubt, in the first
place that the idea of merely stopping the ball had not occurred to
them—partly because the object of the game is to score, and because
the bandy-stick style of bat must have been singularly ill designed
for defence; but also there is this further reason, that chance was
much more on the batsman’s side in the old days than it is now.
Nowadays, if a ball is straight and the batsman misses it, it is a
simple matter of cause and effect that the bails are sent flying and he
is out. But with the wicket 2 feet wide, and no middle stump, this was
by no means so inevitable. On the contrary, it must have been a very
frequent occurrence for the ball to pass through the wicket without
any disturbance of the timber. Even when the wicket was narrowed to 6
inches, there was still room for the ball to pass between the stumps,
of which the fortune of the before-mentioned Small was a celebrated
and flagrant instance. The old-time batsman was therefore not so
essentially concerned with seeing that no straight ball got past his
bat. He did not bother himself about defence. He gallantly tried to
score off every ball that came to him.

Yet, for all that, his slogging was not like the slogging of to-day. He
had no idea of jumping in and taking the ball at the half-volley. His
notions went no further than staying in his ground and making the best
he could of the ball in such fashion as it was pleased to come to him.

“These men”—the “old players,” so called in 1780—says Mr. Pycroft,
quoting the authority of Beldham, backed by that of Fennex, “played
puddling about their crease, and had no freedom. I like to see a player
upright and well forward, to face the ball like a man”—at this time of
day, the wicket had lately been raised from 1 foot to 2 feet high, but
had for some while been only 6 inches wide, a small mark for the bowler.

Mr. Pycroft goes on, quoting Beldham again: “There was some good
hitting in those days”—towards the close of the eighteenth century
is the date alluded to, as far as I can make out—“though too little
defence. Tom Taylor would cut away in fine style, almost after the
manner of Mr. Budd. Old Small was among the first members of the
Hambledon Club. He began to play about 1750, and Lumpy Stevens at the
same time. I can give you some notion, sir, of what cricket was in
those days, for Lumpy, a very bad bat, as he was well aware, once said
to me, ‘Beldham, what do you think cricket must have been in those days
when I was thought a good batsman?’”

This is instructive comment, as to the style of batting previous to
1780—that is the date that it appears we must fix for the change of
style that brought batting in touch with modern theories. But by the
way we ought to notice that Beldham spoke of the fielding as being very
good, even in the oldest days of his recollection, and Mr. Pycroft is
careful to add a note saying that this praise from Beldham was high
praise indeed, and eminently to be trusted, as Beldham’s own hands were
also eminently to be trusted, whether for fielding the ball on the
ground or for a catch.

But with the year 1780 we come to a new era in the art of batting,
associated more particularly with the name and art of a famous bowler,
David Harris, the association being again an illustration of the truth,
which has several times already been in evidence, that it is the
bowling that is the efficient cause in educating the batsman—that it
is the bowling that “makes the batting.”

“Nowadays,” said Beldham to Mr. Pycroft, “all the world knows
that”—namely, that the upright bat and the left elbow up and forward
is the right principle of batting—“but when I began there was very
little length bowling, little straight play, and very little defence
either.”

Beldham was a boy in 1780, and even before this, Harry Hall, the
gingerbread-baker of Farnham, of immortal memory, was going about the
country preaching the great truths about batting. May be he was but
little listened to. At all events it is certain that until men had the
straight bat to play with and the length bowling to contend with there
can have been little opportunity or demand for straight batting.

“The first lobbing slow bowler I ever saw was Tom Walker,” Beldham
says. “When, in 1792, England played Kent, I did feel so ashamed of
such baby bowling, but after all he did more than even David Harris
himself. Two years after, in 1794, at Dartford Brent, Tom Walker, with
his slow bowling, headed a side against David Harris, and beat him
easily.”

[Illustration: _AN EARLY TICKET._]

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing by_    _Wm. Fecit._
_WILLIAM AND THOMAS EARLE._]

And this Walker, by the way, was a wonderful fellow in more departments
of the game than one. A terrible stick, but very hard to get out—very
slow between wickets, so that one of the old jokers said to him,
“Surely you are well named Walker, for you are not much of a runner”—a
moderate jest, but showing the sort of man he was. Then he was
“bloodless,” they said. However he was hit about the shins or fingers,
he never showed a mark. Only David Harris, that terrible bowler, made
the ball jump up and grind Tom Walker’s fingers against the handle of
the bat; but all Tom Walker did then was to rub his finger in the dust
to stanch the reluctant flow of blood. It is all very grim and Homeric.
David Harris, rather maliciously, said he liked to “rind Tom,” as if he
were a tree stem withered and gnarled. And it is a marvellous fact that
a man of this character, whom you would call conservative to the core
of his hard-grained timber, should actually have invented something
new. But he did. He first tried the “throwing-bowling,” the round-arm,
which was credited to Willes—probably an independent invention, and so
meriting equal honour—many years after. Well may Nyren speak of the
Walkers, Tom and Harry, as those “anointed clod-stumpers.” Harry was a
hitter, his “half-hour was as good as Tom’s afternoon.”

And meanwhile what has become of David Harris? David Harris, it is
said, once bowled him 170 balls for one run. And what manner of balls
were these? Let us consider a moment a description of David Harris’s
bowling culled from Nyren. Parts of it lend themselves to the gaiety
of nations, and the whole description, if not very lucid, is full
of terror. “It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to convey in
writing an accurate idea of the grand effect of Harris’s bowling”—the
effect, as a matter of fact, is conveyed a deal more clearly than
the way in which it was produced. “They only who have played against
him can fully appreciate it. His attitude, when preparing for his
run previously to delivering the ball, would have made a beautiful
model for the sculptor. Phidias would certainly have taken him
as a model. First of all, he stood erect as a soldier at drill;
then, with a graceful curve of the arm, he raised the ball to his
forehead”—singular and impressive ritual—“and drawing back his right
foot, started off with his left. The calm look and general air of the
man were uncommonly striking, and from this series of preparations he
never deviated. His mode of delivering the ball was very singular. He
would bring it from under the arm by a twist, and nearly as high as
his arm-pit, and with this action _push_ it, as it were, from him.
How it was that the ball acquired the velocity it did by this mode of
delivery, I never could comprehend.”

Nor any one else either, for Harris was a very fast bowler. But I am
inclined to think that there must have been some explanation to be
discovered out of the fact that he was by profession—before cricket
became his profession—a potter. With the strength of fingers that
the potter acquires through working at his clay, he may have had the
power of putting an amount of spin on the ball impossible for men
whose digits had not gone through this course of training. In underhand
bowling such as, after all is said, Harris’s must have been, the spin
is almost entirely the work of fingers. The turn of wrist had little
share in it; for one thing, it was forbidden to deliver the ball with
the knuckles uppermost.

And so it may well have been that, whatever the pace with which the
ball was propelled, by these singular and statuesque means, through
the air, it may have carried so much spin as to leap up twice as fast
off the ground, as a billiard ball with much side on will seem to gain
twice as much life after touching a cushion. And all that we read of
Harris’s bowling shows that the balls did come off the ground with
tremendous speed.

“His balls,” says Nyren, in another place, “were very little beholden
to the ground when pitched; it was but a touch, and up again, and woe
be to the man who did not get in to block them, for they had such a
peculiar curl that they would grind his fingers against the bat. Many a
time have I seen the blood drawn in this way from a batter who was not
up to the trick. Old Tom Walker was the only exception. I have before
classed him among the bloodless animals.”

We have seen, however, that even from him Harris occasionally drew
blood.

In Harris’s day it was the custom for the bowler to choose the wicket,
and it was always his preference to have a bump to pitch on, and so
help this rising tendency of the ball off the pitch. Of course this
would be the recognised aim of a bowler of to-day, but it was not so
recognised then, and indeed Stevens, nicknamed “Lumpy,” generally
regarded as the second-best bowler to Harris of his day, always liked
to bowl “o’er a brow” in order to make his balls shoot. The result
was, as Nyren points out, that Lumpy—Lumpy of the honestly avowed
preference for bowling “o’er a brow”—would hit the wicket oftener, but
that more catches were given off Harris, though his balls often went
over the wicket. But there was no manner of doubt as to which was the
finer bowler. Harris was the man.

And now as to its effect on the batting. Notice these words of Beldham,
for really they contain the kernel of the whole matter: “Woe be to the
man who did not get in to block them, for they had such a peculiar curl
that they would grind his fingers against the bat.”

And again he says the same in more distinct words: “To Harris’s fine
bowling I attribute the great improvement that was made in hitting, and
above all in stopping, for it was utterly impossible to remain at the
crease, when the ball was tossed to a fine length; you were obliged to
get in, or it would be about your hands, or the handle of your bat, and
every player knows where its next place would be.”

[Illustration: _MR. JAMES HENRY DARK._
(_The Proprietor of Lord’s Cricket Ground, 1836-1864_).]

[Illustration: _T. HUNT, OF DERBYSHIRE, d. 1858._]

In this connection Mr. Pycroft writes as follows: “‘Fennex,’ said
he”—“he” being Beldham again—“‘Fennex was the first who played out at
balls; before his day, batting was too much about the crease.’ Beldham
said that his own supposed tempting of Providence consisted in running
in to hit. ‘You do frighten me there jumping out of your ground,’ said
our Squire Paulet; and Fennex used also to relate how, when he played
forward to the pitch of the ball, his father ‘had never seen the like
in all his days,’ the said days extending a long way back towards the
beginning of the century. While speaking of going in to hit, Beldham
said: ‘My opinion has always been that too little is attempted in that
direction. Judge your ball, and when the least overpitched, go in and
hit her away.’ In this opinion Mr. C. Taylor’s practice would have
borne Beldham out, and a fine dashing game this makes; only, it is a
game for none but practised players. When you are perfect in playing in
your ground, then, and then only, try how you can play out of it, as
the best means to scatter the enemy and open the field.”

So says Mr. Pycroft, a very high authority, and one whose instructions
to the batsman are very sound and worthy of the very highest respect.
No doubt he is right in his cautious counsel—human nature is prone to
err on the side of rashness—but he does not notice the indisputable
fact that it is easier to meet the ball at the pitch, if you can reach
it, than later—always supposing it is not a rank long hop. He is
rather inclined to treat this principle of getting out to the pitch
as a counsel of perfection, and perhaps it is more easily put in
practice now that wickets are more perfect than in his day, though
if you really go out far enough—and unless you can get so far as to
command the ball, however it break, it is surely better not to go out
at all—the most troublesome ball has not time to develop much of its
dangerous eccentricity before you have met it. Of course there is
always the chance of missing it, and then there’s the wicket-keeper’s
opportunity.

But, all details of prudence apart, there is no doubt that we have
here a totally new departure in batting, devised, as is usual, to
meet some new requirements on the part of the bowler. A very kindly,
genial, remarkably honest man—a really loveable man—was this potter,
David Harris, though he did say, in chaff, that he liked to “rind” Tom
Walker, and certainly he was an epoch-making bowler, for he made the
ball come off the ground with an underhand action in the very way that
is the study of our overhanders. He was a good sportsman too, and when
he had the pitching of the wicket, tried to give Lumpy, at the other
end, a brow to bowl over, while he chose for himself a brow to pitch
against. No one ever seems to have hinted that Harris’s action was a
jerk, though there were jerkers in the world in those days.

Beldham and Fennex, then, were the first to pick up the new style of
going in to meet the pitch of the ball, and so prevent its jumping up
“and grinding their fingers on the bat.” Hitherto there had been good
hitting, but all inside the crease, cutting and drawing to leg. Small
had his bat straightened for the special purpose of making the draw
stroke better. But hitherto there had been no idea of driving a shorter
ball than a half-volley. Now first was developed the idea of going in
to drive the ball and of forward defensive play; and therewith, as I
conceive, the batsman’s art became, in its principles, pretty much as
Mr. Warner found it when his school coach began his education.


[Illustration]



CHAPTER III

BATTING

By P. F. WARNER


It has been said that good batsmen are born and not made, but my
experience is rather to the contrary. There are certain gifts of eye
and hand which all really good batsmen must possess, but I am strongly
convinced that early practice and good coaching have a very great
deal to do in the acquiring of all-round skill. A. E. Stoddart, whose
retirement from first-class cricket has proved such a loss, not only to
Middlesex, but to English cricket, is the only batsman who has attained
to the first rank who did not start to play the game quite early in
life, and he is the exception that proves the rule.

Any success I may have had as a batsman I attribute to my devotion to
the game from my youngest days. Early rising in the West Indies is the
custom, but so enthusiastic about cricket was I that I often got up
at half-past five, so as to practise to the bowling of a black boy on
a marble-paved gallery which provided the fastest and truest wicket
I have ever played on. Even now I am ashamed to recall the number of
broken window-panes I was responsible for, and many was the time that
my black hero and I have taken to our heels, to be speedily followed
by an irate nurse, who never failed to report the damage I had done
to headquarters. But despite many a scolding, and prophecies that I
should come to a bad end, I persevered in my wrong-doing, and to that
perfect marble wicket and a good coach I owe the fact that I was seldom
guilty of running away to square leg, a fault so common among boys.
Therefore the first essential is a thoroughly good wicket to practise
on, and a good wicket is not a difficult thing to obtain nowadays, what
with the improved condition of grounds all over the country. And let
me urge on every young cricketer the absolute necessity of practising
in earnest from the very beginning. Endeavour to play at a net exactly
as you would in a match, and if you are bowled out, try to feel almost
as disappointed as if a similar fate had befallen you in a game. Pay
attention to details, and if you make a bad stroke, notice where your
mistake lay, remember it, and take the lesson to heart. But practise,
practise, practise, and, if you are a keen cricketer, batting at the
net may be made almost as enjoyable as batting in a match. Well, then,
practise in earnest from the start of your career, and if possible
get some keen and intelligent cricketer—not necessarily a great
one—to coach you, but one with infinite patience and tact, who will
occasionally give a word of encouragement, for an encouraging word and
look do a greater amount of good than is generally imagined.

Having got a good wicket and a capable coach, see that a suitable
bat is in your hand, and I strongly advise every boy to play with a
bat suited to his strength and style; and here I may mention that
it is a thousand times better to play with too light a bat than too
heavy a one, for with too heavy a bat one cannot cut or time the ball
correctly; besides, it is hardly possible to play straight with it,
and a straight bat is the very essential of good sound batting. Giving
the young cricketer a good driving and well-balanced bat, see that
he puts on two pads, and at any rate one, if not two batting gloves.
Thus equipped, he will be ready to take his place at the wicket, and
the first thing our imaginary coach will have to teach him will be
his POSITION AT THE WICKET. No fixed rules can be laid down as to the
position a batsman should take up at the wicket, but undoubtedly the
best advice that can be given is to take up the position most natural
to him. The most popular way of standing is to place the right foot
just inside the popping-crease, with the left just outside it, pointing
towards the bowler or mid-off; but no two players stand exactly alike,
and as I have said before, the most natural position is the best.

There used to be a difference of opinion as to whether a batsman should
stand with his weight equally balanced on both legs, or on the right
leg only, but nowadays the universally accepted theory is that the
weight should be chiefly on the right leg. At any rate, W. G. Grace, K.
S. Ranjitsinhji, C. B. Fry, and A. C. Maclaren are all of that opinion,
and they certainly ought to know. L. C. H. Palairet’s method of
standing at the wicket is generally supposed to be the model attitude,
and another cricketer whose position might well be studied is R. E.
Foster, who, like Palairet, stands straight, but with a slight easing
of the knees, which helps him to get a quick start at the ball. Both
these cricketers stand as near as possible to their bats, without being
leg before wicket, and I am a strong believer in this, for the reason
that the nearer one is to the bat the more chance is there of playing
absolutely straight and getting well over the ball. I am quite aware
that there are one or two first-class batsmen who do not play with a
straight bat, but they are men of wonderful eyesight, and their success
has not altered my conviction that a boy should be taught to play with
a straight bat.

As for taking guard, it does not matter whether you take middle, middle
and leg, or leg stump. I have taken all three in a season. It is a mere
question of inclination.

The bat should be held, I venture to think, in the manner most natural
to the batsman, but the most common method is with the left hand
nearly at the top of the handle, and the right hand somewhere about the
middle; but there is no golden rule on the subject, and G. L. Jessop,
for instance, holds the bat with his right hand at the very bottom of
the handle. But Jessop is a genius, and his method should certainly
not be copied by the young cricketer, unless the style of play Jessop
adopts comes quite natural to him; then by all means he should be
allowed to cultivate it. I rather believe myself in holding the bat as
high up the handle with the right hand as possible—that is to say,
about an inch or an inch and a half interval between the two hands.
This is the manner in which L. C. H. Palairet holds his bat, and I have
always regarded and always shall regard him as the model for young
cricketers to copy.

The first principle the coach has to instil into our young batsman is
that he _must never move his right leg backwards_ in the direction of
short leg. He may move it to jump out to drive or to cut or to play
back, but _never should he move it away from the wicket_.

This is the first point to be mastered by the beginner, for if the
right leg is withdrawn away from the wicket, it is impossible to play
with a straight bat, which, as I have said before, is the very essence
of good batting. If a young batsman cannot refrain from running away,
he should have his right leg pegged down.

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing by_    _G. F. Watts, R.A._
_BLOCK OR PLAY._]

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing by_    _G. F. Watts, R.A._
_FORWARD PLAY._]

The second principle to be inculcated is that _a_ _straight bat is
essential to success in batting_, though I do not mean to say that the
bat should be held straight for every stroke, for the cut and the pull,
for instance, are not made with a straight bat; but what I mean is that
for defensive strokes, and in some scoring strokes, the bat must be
held straight. A batsman who plays with an absolutely straight bat is
nearly always a strong defensive player.

The third maxim is, _watch the ball_. Watch the bowler’s arm as he runs
up to bowl, and then the ball as it leaves his hand. Watch it closely
right on to your bat, and do not start with a preconceived idea of
where the ball is going to pitch, and do not make up your mind to make
a certain stroke before the ball is actually delivered.


PLAYING THE BALL

All strokes may be conveniently divided into two kinds, back and
forward, and back play and forward play may be further divided into
back and forward play for defensive purposes and back and forward play
with the object of making runs. I will deal first with _Forward play_,
and I will imagine that a good length ball has been delivered on a
hard, true wicket. To play this ball correctly the batsman should get
his left leg well out in the line of the ball, and then bring his bat
as close as possible to his leg. This is the secret of all forward
play, and the young cricketer cannot be too often urged to “get the
left leg well out to the bat” when playing forward. Care should be
taken not to overbalance oneself, but if body, wrist, and legs work
correctly, the ball may be forced past the fielder, and it is really
quite extraordinary the power that may be got into the stroke. The
position of the hands changes during the forward stroke, the left wrist
being on the side of the bat away from the wicket before the stroke
is played, and on the opposite side at the expiration of the stroke.
The ball must of course be kept down, and in order to do this the left
shoulder must be kept well forward, pointing in the direction in which
the stroke is made, and the bat must be at such an angle that the top
of the handle is nearer to the bowler than the bottom of the blade. The
whole weight of the body should be brought to bear on the stroke, and
the batsman must make the most of his reach, and the whole thing should
be one action and in one motion. Tom Emmett, the famous old Yorkshire
cricketer, who was our coach at Rugby during the five years I was
there, was never tired of teaching us this stroke. In playing forward
the bat must be quite straight, and at the moment of actual contact
with the ball the bat should be just behind the left leg. Now that
the wickets are so good, forward play is a very effective weapon both
of offence and defence to have in one’s armoury, and it is therefore
distinctly worth while for a batsman to acquire the highest efficiency
in it.

The off drive may range anywhere from the left of the bowler to just in
front of point, and the ball to be thus driven is one that is fairly
well pitched up on the off side of the wicket, but not necessarily a
half-volley. The great thing is to get well to the pitch of the ball,
watch it, and not slash wildly at it. Care must be taken not to have a
“go” at too wide a ball, for this is a favourite trick of slow bowlers,
especially left-handers, and often results in an easy catch on the off
side. There is one stroke, which is neither a genuine cut nor a genuine
off drive, which may for convenience sake be dealt with here. The left
leg is thrown out, as if the batsman were about to play a genuine off
drive, but the ball is hit later than in the off drive, and with a
horizontal rather than a perpendicular bat, the shoulders and forearm
being brought into play rather more than the wrist. In some respects
the stroke is very like the forward cut, of which I shall speak later,
and many cricketers do not consider it an off drive, but rather in the
nature of a cut. It is a useful stroke for a weak-wristed player. A
good length ball on the off stump should be played in the direction
of mid-off. A ball just wide of the off stump in the direction of
extra cover, and a ball about a foot wide on the off side, should be
played towards cover-point. The farther the ball is pitched outside
the off stump, the farther ought the left leg to be thrown across the
wicket, and the farther ought the left shoulder to be thrown forward.
The wider the ball is, the more difficult it is to play, and a mistake
common amongst beginners is that, without considering the direction
of the ball, they advance the left leg straight down the wicket, just
as if, in fact, the ball had pitched on the off stump, and not, for
instance, a foot outside it. The left leg should be thrown _across the
wicket almost in a line with the flight of the ball_. If the batsman
plays forward at a ball a foot outside the off stump with his left leg
straight down the wicket, he will find that the weight of his body will
play no part in the stroke, and that should the ball break back he will
be bowled out; therefore always remember to get the left leg well out
to the bat, for apart from this being the golden rule for all forward
play, there is an added advantage to be gained from the fact that, if
the ball breaks enough to beat the bat, there will be little or no room
for it to pass between the bat and the leg.

But in forward strokes, as in all other strokes, the great thing is to
watch the ball carefully, for should you be playing forward with “your
head in the air,” that is to say, not looking at the ball, which at
the last minute does something unexpected, either bumping or hanging
on the pitch, you will for a certainty find yourself in trouble; and
therefore, until you are thoroughly well set and have got the exact
pace of the wicket, there should be a margin for emergencies, so that
it should be possible to alter one’s stroke at the last moment. The
best way of playing a ball which one has gone forward to, and which
one finds one cannot reach far enough to smother at the pitch, is to
adopt the “half-cock” stroke. This stroke is made by holding the bat
quite straight just over or slightly in front of the popping-crease
and letting the ball hit it. It is a most excellent defensive stroke,
and the proper way to play a ball whose length one has misjudged. W.
G. Grace uses this stroke very frequently, as does F. S. Jackson. In
making a forcing forward stroke the great thing is to swing the arms
well and carry the stroke right through, which if well timed will send
the ball very quickly to the boundary. Some batsmen play this forcing
forward stroke so hard that it is difficult to distinguish it from a
genuine hit, and I have a very vivid recollection of a grand innings
of a hundred odd which A. E. Stoddart played at Lord’s for Middlesex
against Kent some five or six years ago. The wicket was hard and
fast, and the power with which Mr. Stoddart forced good length balls
from W. M. Bradley to the off boundary was astonishing. In offensive
forward play great care should be taken not to bend the right knee,
for with the bending of the right knee comes the sinking of the right
shoulder, and if the shoulder sinks the batsman is very likely to
get under the ball. When a batsman who is a strong forward player is
thoroughly well set on a hard, true wicket, many of his runs will come
from off drives, especially if the bowling be fast or medium paced, and
the power one can get into an off drive, if body, wrist, and eye are
working together, is almost as great as in the case of a genuine hit.
It requires no great physique to be a powerful off driver, for a man
of very slight build, if he is timing the ball well—and by timing the
ball I mean the harmonious working of body, wrist, and eye—can make
the ball travel to the boundary as fast as a strongly and powerfully
built man. There are few better moments at cricket than when one
has forced a good length ball through the fielders on the off side,
standing well balanced where one is, and the ball making haste to the
ring. There is a very conscious feeling that brain, eye, body, and hand
have all acted in concert, and that a great deal has been accomplished
with a minimum of exertion.


BACK PLAY

As soon as a batsman has made up his mind to play a ball back, the
weight of his body should be transferred to the left leg, and the right
foot should be moved back towards the wicket and the left leg drawn up
to it.

Many writers on cricket have laid it down as a rule that the right leg
should never be moved in playing back, which may be all very well as an
elementary principle for a boy who is just starting cricket, but which,
I submit, with all respect, is altogether wrong if applied to one who
has got over the initial difficulties of the game. For myself, were
I coaching a boy, I should tell him to move the right leg in playing
back, though of course I would never allow him to move it away from
the wicket. With a moment’s thought it will be seen that a batsman who
moves his right leg towards the wicket must have a better chance of
playing the ball correctly than one who stands with his right leg glued
to the ground. In the first place, by moving back he makes the ball
which he is shaping at shorter than it would have been if he had stood
where he was by the distance that he stepped back. The ball is made
shorter by two feet if the batsman moves two feet towards his wicket,
instead of playing it where he originally stood, and the two feet more
which in this case the ball has to travel gives the batsman so much
the more time to judge and play it. Again, supposing a ball pitches on
the off stump or just outside it, the batsman will assuredly play that
particular ball more correctly if he moves his right leg across the
wicket in a line with the off stump than if he keeps it firmly planted
just off the leg stump. It stands to reason that if he moves his right
leg across the wicket in a line with the ball, he will be nearer the
direction the ball may take after pitching than if he adhered to his
original position. Moreover, should the particular type of ball we are
discussing break an inch or two from leg, the odds on his being caught
at slip or the wicket are very great, should he not move his right leg
across the wicket; whereas, should he bring his right leg across to
the off stump and watch the ball closely after it has pitched, he will
stand a far better chance of playing that ball in the middle of his bat
than if he had remained with his right leg rooted to the earth. I well
remember a very promising boy at Rugby, one who is now a county player,
being nearly ruined by one of the cricketing masters insisting on his
never moving his right leg, with the result that time after time was he
caught at slip or the wicket, for the simple reason that he was too
far off the ball when he played at it.

In playing forward, the golden rule is to get the left leg well
forward to the direction the ball is taking, and the bat well up to
the leg. The same rule applies in playing back. Get the right leg up
to the line of the ball, and the bat as near as possible to the leg.
The difficulty about moving back across the wicket is that the stroke
requires considerable quickness of eye and foot, and quickness of foot
is a point not half enough insisted on by the majority of coaches. All
the best back players play back in this classical way—Victor Trumper,
Ranjitsinhji, C. B. Fry, Tyldesley, A. C. Maclaren, and F. S. Jackson.
If the ball in question breaks back into the batsman, he is equally
well prepared for it, for he is well over the ball and better able to
contend with the break, because more easily able to move his bat and
get into position to play the stroke, than if he were standing firmly
fixed on his right leg. Any one who thinks about the matter at all
must see the advantage of playing in this way. It seems to me that in
cricket the nearer the striker’s body is to the ball, the more likely
he is to make a correct stroke, for the reason that his eye is nearer
to the object he is striking at. If then a batsman keeps his right foot
firmly fixed just off the leg stump to a ball which pitches on the off
stump or a couple of inches outside it, his eye is necessarily farther
away from that ball than if he moved his right leg across the wicket
in the direction the ball is taking. I do not think this point can be
insisted on too strongly by coaches. Besides, let any cricketer compare
the two methods of playing back, and he will, I am convinced, find the
one I have urged the easiest and most natural.

I am a firm believer in this method of playing back, not only because
all the famous players use it—and that in itself were sufficient—but
because from one’s own experience it has proved not only the easiest,
but by far the most effective. By drawing back the right foot towards
the wicket, not away from it, a batsman is often able to force the ball
away between mid-on and the bowler, or between mid-off and the bowler,
or between short leg and mid-on, the ball in the last instance being
played away by a quick turn of the wrist at the last moment.

“It is a mistake to play back behind the legs, for it is impossible
to put any power into a stroke when the bat is held nearer the wicket
than the batsman himself is standing.” These are the words of K. S.
Ranjitsinhji in the _Jubilee Book of Cricket_, and as Ranjitsinhji is
about the best back player in the world, he ought to know.

It is comparatively easy to play back as a defensive stroke, but any
one who aspires to be a really good batsman must learn to make his
back play a means of scoring runs. On a difficult wicket back play is
everything; in fact, it may be safely said that a good rule to bear in
mind on a sticky wicket is _to play back or hit_.

A batsman, unless he be an experienced one, ought not to try and
hook short balls round to leg, especially if the bowling is fast, but
a “rank long-hopper” may be hit to any point of the compass with a
horizontal bat; though, however short and bad a ball, it should be
carefully watched all the way, in case of an unexpected hang or rise.
Short and straight balls, if they do not get up to any height, may be
flicked round on the on side by a quick turn of the wrist.

In making the hook stroke the batsman should move back towards the
wicket, turn almost square to the ball, and hit with a horizontal
bat to the on side. The ball should be watched right on to the bat,
so that, if it does anything unexpected, an ordinary back stroke may
be substituted. Even a very short ball outside the off stump may be
hooked round to leg, especially if there are seven fielders on the off
side and only two or three on the on side. Shrewsbury, Tyldesley, A.
C. Maclaren, C. B. Fry, K. S. Ranjitsinhji, and Victor Trumper are,
or were, very good at this stroke, which may be made, by using the
wrists, with an almost straight bat. Men who play the stroke with their
arms, like A. C. Maclaren, hit across the ball. To hook a fast bowler
is a proceeding fraught with no little danger, and ought only to be
indulged in very occasionally, for it is a stroke that requires no
little skill and nerve, for often the ball comes shoulder or head high
to the batsman. A. E. Stoddart was particularly good at hitting this
type of ball round to leg. Indeed, all round there have been few finer
players to fast bowling than Stoddart. On slow wickets the hook stroke
is simply invaluable, and short straight balls may be despatched to the
boundary quite easily.


THE BACK GLANCE

A ball rather short of a good length pitching just outside the leg
stump should be played away on the leg side with a backward movement.
The right foot is put well back in a line with the leg stump, and the
left foot drawn up beside it, but different cricketers play the stroke
differently. Ranjitsinhji, for instance, moves his left leg across the
wicket towards point, faces the ball, and plays it at the last instant
by a quick turn of the wrist. Other batsmen turn almost right round,
and others get right in front of the wicket. The ball must be watched
right on to the bat, and the ball should glance away somewhere behind
the umpire, or in the direction of long leg. It is a most useful and
fascinating stroke, and can be employed to balls pitching on the middle
and leg stumps, especially to a break-back bowler, though of course
there is a danger here of being given l.b.w.


THE FORWARD GLANCE

A good length or slightly overpitched ball just outside the leg stump
should be played in the following manner: The left leg should be thrown
down the wicket in a line with the ball, and the moment the ball
touches the bat, the bat should be pushed forward by a quick turn of
the wrist, the whole weight of the body being put into the stroke. The
body is thrown well forward, with the result that the ball will go
round to leg at a great pace.

I have found this a very useful stroke to bowlers like Mold,
Richardson, and Lockwood, who break back into one, and, as in the
case of the back glance, the stroke may be made to a ball pitching on
the middle and leg stump to a break-back bowler. At Lord’s it is a
particularly effective stroke if one is batting at the end opposite
the Pavilion, for the slope in the ground tends to accentuate the off
break of any bowler who is on at the Pavilion end. Altogether it is a
very productive stroke in first-class cricket. The back glance and the
forward glance have practically taken the place of the leg hit, though,
with the new-fashioned type of leg-break bowling as practised by Vine,
Braund, Armstrong the Australian, and others, the genuine leg hit was
more often seen last season than in some past years; but with six or
seven men on the on side, it is extremely difficult to hit a leg ball
without running the risk of being caught somewhere on the leg side,
especially as the Braund type of bowler bowls a good length outside the
batsman’s legs.

The square leg hit is made by advancing the left leg down the wicket,
and hitting the ball just as it passes the left leg. It is either just
before the ball pitches or on the rise, according to the length of the
ball. It is a very difficult matter to keep the ball down, the complete
success of the stroke depending upon perfect accuracy of timing. This
hit ought only to be attempted to a ball short of a half-volley. If the
ball is a half-volley or well up, the correct stroke is in front of the
wicket or square to leg with a vertical bat.

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing by_    _G. F. Watts, R.A._
_THE DRAW OR PULL._]

I am inclined to think that the glance stroke is preferable to the
square leg or long leg hit, for it is quite as good for scoring
purposes, and the ball can be watched right on to the bat, and placed
and kept down with far greater certainty.


THE PULL

differs from the hook stroke in that it is more in the nature of a
drive. The pull stroke is used to hit a ball pitched outside the
off stump round to leg, and the stroke may be applied either to a
half-volley or a good length ball outside the off stump.

W. W. Read used to be the great exponent of this stroke, and
Ranjitsinhji also plays it with wonderful certainty. It is a dangerous
stroke, for the ball which can thus be treated requires very careful
choosing, and it is the difficulty of choosing the right ball which
makes the stroke dangerous. The left foot should be thrown out to the
pitch of the ball, and just as the ball rises from the ground it should
be hit round on the on side with a horizontal bat. It is often a very
useful stroke on a sticky wicket, to a bowler who is breaking back,
though there is some risk of being caught at deep square leg, rather in
front of the wicket, by the fielder who is almost invariably placed
there when the wicket is helping the bowler.

A straight half-volley is a ball which every player ought to be able to
drive, and it should always be hit in the most natural direction. It is
a mistake to try and pull a straight half-volley. The chief point to
remember in hitting a half-volley is to get as much swing as possible
into the stroke. One or two batsmen swing the bat so far back that they
occasionally hit themselves with the back of the bat on the head. The
shoulders should come greatly into play in the drive, for they give
added power to the swing of the arms, and throw the weight of the body
with great force on to the left leg at the moment of hitting the ball.

In driving, the back of the left hand remains facing the bowler,
instead of being on the opposite side of the handle, as in the case
of forward play. The bat, as in forward play, must be kept as near as
possible to the left leg. Batsmen who are quick on their feet often
jump out to the pitch of a ball, and thereby make it a half-volley.
Victor Trumper, the finest batsman Australia has ever produced, is the
great exponent of this stroke, and the rapidity with which he gets to
the ball is astonishing.

It is, if successfully played, a very useful stroke, for nothing is
more apt to put a bowler off his length than by thus attacking him. It
is of course a stroke more suitable for slow bowling than for fast.

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing by_    _G. F. Watts, R.A._
_THE LEG VOLLEY._]

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing by_    _G. F. Watts, R.A._
_THE CUT._]


THE ON DRIVE

Nearly every batsman prays for a half-volley on the leg stump, or one
pitching within three or four inches of the leg stump, for, if properly
timed, it is a stroke which sends a thrill of joy through the batsman.
If the ball pitches on the wicket, the hit should be made between the
bowler and mid-on, though with a break-back bowler the ball may often
be forced wide of mid-on’s right side. If the ball pitches outside the
leg stump, it should be hit anywhere to the right of mid-on.

The whole body should work in agreement, the arms should swing freely,
and the stroke should be well followed through. Nearly all the great
batsmen play this stroke to perfection, but none better than F. S.
Jackson.


THE CUT

There are three classes of cuts: the forward cut, the square cut, and
the late cut.

The forward cut is made at a shortish ball outside the off stump, the
right foot being kept still, but the left foot brought across in the
line of the ball. It is a stroke that requires very accurate timing,
but when timed well, the ball often goes to the ring like a flash of
lightning, somewhere between point and cover-point. W. L. Murdoch plays
this stroke particularly well, as do A. O. Jones, H. K. Foster, and W.
Gunn, while C. H. B. Marsham made the great majority of his fine 100
not out in the ‘Varsity match of 1901 by its means. It is a somewhat
dangerous stroke, for should the ball hang or bump unexpectedly, an
uppish hit will in all probability follow.

The square cut sends the ball just behind point, and is made by moving
the right foot across the wicket in a line with the off stump; and just
as the ball is passing the batsman’s body, the bat is brought down by
a quick movement of the arms, while more power is added to the stroke
by a sharp flick of the wrists. The bat should be slanting downwards
towards the ground, in order to get well over the ball.

Tyldesley of Lancashire plays the same cut as well as any one else,
though he often hits across the ball rather than over it, a fine
stroke, harder than if he had got over the ball, being the result. His
method is, however, a little dangerous, as there is a chance of the
ball going up, though Tyldesley seems to have brought the stroke to
perfection.

In the late cut the right foot is moved across to the same position
as in the case of the square cut, but the ball is hit _after_ it has
passed the batsman’s body. The most suitable ball for the late cut is
one pitched wide of the off stump, not quite so short as the ball for
the square cut, but still short of a good length. It is essentially a
wrist stroke, and a man with a weak wrist will be wise not to attempt
it. Late cutting requires a little manœuvring-ground, and care must be
taken to avoid cutting at a ball too near the wicket.

There are few players who cut late really well, for the stroke requires
the greatest nicety in timing and a strong, flexible pair of wrists.
Ranjitsinhji makes this stroke with great certainty and brilliancy, but
then he possesses an extraordinarily supple pair of wrists.

There is another kind of cut, called the “chop,” which should be used
to a short ball outside the off stump which keeps low after pitching.
The bat should be brought down with great force horizontally, and if
well timed the ball will go very hard. This is a favourite stroke
of Sir T. C. O’Brien, K. G. Key, Victor Trumper, and R. E. Foster,
who in the ‘Varsity match of 1900 brought off this stroke on several
occasions off E. M. Dowson’s bowling. On a hard, true wicket, against
fast or medium-paced bowling, forward play is the best; against slow
bowling and lobs play back or hit is, generally speaking, the soundest
advice that can be given a young cricketer, though on some wickets slow
bowling may be played forward to, and even forced forward. But every
really good slow bowler varies his pace. Five out of the six balls
may be more or less of the same pace; but one ball out of the over is
generally a fast one, or at any rate medium pace. Rhodes, the Yorkshire
left-hander, bowls a very good fast ball, which comes across quickly
with his arm, and the same may be said of Blythe of Kent and Cranfield
of Somerset; while amongst slow right-handed bowlers C. M. Wells, for
instance, is constantly varying the flight and pace of the ball. But in
distinguishing the different styles of play which should be adopted
in playing fast and slow bowling, it is well to remember that to fast
bowling one plays forward to score runs, while to slow bowling you play
forward to defend your wicket; though, as I have said before, a slow
bowler may often be pushed forward between the fielders for one and two
and sometimes four runs.

I do not think that batsmen jump out enough to slow bowling, for there
is nothing so demoralising to a bowler as a batsman who comes out of
his ground and hits when the ball is at all overpitched. Remember, if
you do make up your mind to jump out and hit, to get right to the pitch
of the ball; forget, too, for the moment, that there is such a person
as the wicket-keeper.

When the bowling is fast enough to compel the wicket-keeper to stand
back, I have found it a good plan to stand a foot or two outside the
popping-crease. This tends to put the bowler off his length, for he
finds his good length balls hit on the half-volley, and this, for the
time at any rate, is apt to disconcert him.

[Illustration: _EIGHTEENTH CENTURY BATS, WHICH BELONGED TO THE FOURTH
DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH._]

[Illustration: _CELEBRATED BATS._
_The one on the left belonged to Alfred Mynn, 1850; the centre one
was originally used by Merser, of Kent (left-handed batsman); and the
right-hand bat by E. Bagot, 1793._]

In playing lobs you may stand in your ground and play back,
occasionally scoring a single, but in dealing with lobs offensive
tactics are the best, for, as a great general once said, “The best
method of defence is to attack.” Lobs should therefore be either hit on
the full pitch or played back, and the batsman should stand a little
easier on his right leg than if he were playing fast or medium bowling,
so as to be ready to jump out and take the ball on the full pitch the
moment he sees that it is slightly overpitched. By far the best lob
bowler of the present day is D. L. A. Jephson, the Surrey captain, for
he varies the flight and pace of the ball extremely cleverly, often,
indeed, sending in quite a fast good length ball. He can, too, make
the ball break both ways, and many people think that he might with
advantage to Surrey bowl more than he does.

Batting on a hard, true wicket and on a sticky, difficult one are two
entirely different things, and one often sees a man who is a fine
player on a fast wicket absolutely at sea when rain has ruined the
pitch. A left-handed bowler like Rhodes is then in his element, for
he pitches the ball a good length on the leg stump; it comes across
quickly to the off, and you stand a very good chance of being either
bowled, or caught by David Hunter at the wicket, or snapped up by eager
and lengthy John Tunnicliffe at short slip. Haigh, also of Yorkshire,
is an extremely difficult bowler on this kind of wicket, for the amount
of off break he can get on the ball is prodigious; while Trumble,
the Australian, is probably as hard a bowler to play under these
circumstances as ever lived.

As a rule the hitting or “long-handle game,” as it has been called,
pays best under these circumstances, but some men who are really strong
in their back and on side play can play their ordinary game. A strong
defensive back player can often get a good length ball which breaks
back away on the on side for two or three runs, while a good puller has
a great advantage on this kind of wicket. The man who does not watch
the ball, and watch it well, will have little or no chance on a sticky
wicket. At one time there were very few men who could play at all
successfully on a really difficult wicket, but of late years, what with
the general improvement in back play—due chiefly to Ranjitsinhji’s
influence on the game—the number, though far from being large, has
increased. Victor Trumper, F. S. Jackson, Ranjitsinhji, C. B. Fry, A.
C. Maclaren, T. L. Taylor, and Tyldesley are the best batsmen we have
under conditions favourable to the bowler, and I shall never forget an
extraordinary innings Ranjitsinhji played at Brighton in July 1900 for
Middlesex _v._ Sussex. When stumps were drawn on the second evening
of the match, Ranjitsinhji was not out 37, the game up to that time
having been played on a perfect wicket. Rain, however, fell heavily
in the night, and with the sun coming out next morning, the wicket
was altogether in favour of the bowler. Vine made 17, but no one else
on the side that day got more than 5, excepting Ranjitsinhji, who was
last man out, l.b.w. to Trott, for 202! He gave one chance in the long
field when he had made about 160 runs, but apart from this, his batting
was absolutely without a flaw. Most of his runs came from hard drives,
chiefly to the on, and strokes on the leg side. It was an astonishing
innings, and its full significance was possibly not appreciated until
Tate, on an exactly similar wicket, dismissed a powerful Middlesex
eleven for just over 100 runs.

[Illustration: _WAR-WORN WEAPONS._]

[Illustration: _RELICS OF PAST ENGAGEMENTS._]

A few words now on running. Never attempt a run if you feel any doubt
as to its safety, for it is better to lose a possible single than to
run out your partner. At the same time, I do not think that cricketers
as a rule run as well as they ought to between the wickets. The
Australians are an exception; they are extraordinarily quick.

Always back up two or three yards; when you call, call in a decided
manner. If your partner calls you, run hard if you intend to go; if
you do not, stop him at once. The great thing is to make up your mind
instantly.

If you are the striker, and you play the ball in front of the wicket,
_always say_ something—either “Yes,” “No,” or “Wait.” If you hit the
ball behind the wicket, your partner at the bowler’s end should call,
but as to whether the striker or non-striker should call the hit to
third man many cricketers differ. The best plan, in my opinion, is to
arrange with your partner. In that event a disaster is not likely to
occur.

Always run the first run as hard as you can, and always look out for
a second run when the ball is hit to the long field, for even to a
Tyldesley, a Denton, or a Burnup, good runners, who understand one
another, may often with safety get two for a drive to the long field
when a slower runner would be content with a single.

There are, too, very few third men to whom one cannot run. I do not
mean to say that a run should be attempted to third man when the ball
goes hard and straight to him on the first bounce, but for a stroke
a little to one side of him there is frequently a run. But the two
batsmen must use their own discretion—and as has been said, _it is
a thousand times better to lose a run than to risk running out your
partner_. I was twice run out in the ‘Varsity match of 1896—to a
great extent my own fault in the second innings,—and since that
game—memorable for the fact that Oxford, going in with 330 runs to
win, hit off the number for the loss of four wickets, and for the
no-ball incident which led eventually to an alteration in the follow-on
rule—I have taken particular pains to improve my running between the
wickets. I am not often run out now, and I hope I but seldom run my
partner out—_Experientia docet sapientiam_.

Many batsmen, when nearing their 50 or 100, attempt the most absurd
runs. This fault is more common amongst professional cricketers than
amongst amateurs, for the reason that all the counties, with the one
exception of Yorkshire, give their professionals a sovereign for every
50 runs they make. This so-called “talent-money” has been the cause
of many a run-out. Yorkshire gives no “talent-money,” but over and
above the usual fee of £5 or £6 a match, each professional is “marked”
according to his work in a particular game. For example, if a man made
25 runs on a bad wicket at a critical time, or even 10 not out in a
one-wicket victory, he would be marked according to the merit of his
performance in the eyes of his captain—in this case Lord Hawke. A fine
bowling feat or a fine catch would be similarly rewarded. Each mark
represents five shillings, and this system might with advantage be
adopted by other counties.

[Illustration: _GEORGE PARR, THE FAMOUS NOTTINGHAM BAT._]

[Illustration: _“N. FELIX” (N. Wanostrocht)._]

There is one thing that no coaching will teach a young cricketer, and
that is confidence. Time alone can give him that, for confidence is a
plant of slow growth. I do not believe the cricketer who says he has
never been nervous—he is certainly not a first-class cricketer if he
adheres to that statement; but nervousness will gradually disappear as
a batsman gains confidence in himself. I have known men who when they
first played county cricket were almost paralysed with nervousness, but
who after two or three years’ experience went out to bat with every
confidence. Nervousness is undoubtedly a great handicap, and young
players should try to overcome this weakness as soon as possible.
Too much confidence is a mistake, for, to go back again to the Latin
grammar, _nimia fiducia calamitati solet esse_. But too much confidence
is better than no confidence—and by confidence I do not mean conceit,
but a belief in one’s own capabilities, founded on past deeds.

There are cricketers, too, who are so superstitious as to be almost a
nuisance. There is the man who thinks he cannot make runs unless he
goes in in a particular place. These men are somewhat annoying, but I
think a captain should always try to humour them, if by so doing he is
not upsetting the batting order of his side.

The typical instance of superstition affecting one’s play at cricket
seems to me to have been exemplified in the case of the Rugby boy who,
alighting at the St. John’s Wood Station on the Metropolitan Railway,
for the Rugby and Marlborough match, saw the advertisement of Mr. John
Hare’s play, _A Pair of Spectacles_, staring him in the face. That boy
had made heaps of runs during the summer at Rugby, but he came on to
the ground fully convinced that he would make a pair of spectacles, and
make them he did.

Again, G. O. Smith, to whose splendid batting Oxford were mainly
indebted for their victory over Cambridge in 1896, had a firm
conviction that he could only make runs in a certain pair of trousers;
and G. J. Mordaunt, the Oxford captain of the previous year, took it as
an evil omen, when, on awaking on the morning of the ‘Varsity match,
he saw from his bedroom window the flag with “Druce” in large letters
on it flying from the Baker Street Bazaar. W. E. Druce was captain
of the Light Blue eleven that year, and Mordaunt’s feeling of coming
disaster was, I regret to say, justified by the result of the match,
for Cambridge beat us by 134 runs.

Coaches should be careful to avoid cramping the style of a young
batsman, and of suppressing individuality and budding genius. Batsmen
cannot be all of one type. Had G. L. Jessop been made to play according
to the rules laid down, a great hitter would have been lost to the
world, and England would never have won that last test-match at the
Oval, for there would have been no Jessop on the side to accomplish
what was, perhaps, the finest piece of hitting ever seen on a
cricket-ground. It is useless trying to make a Barlow into a Lyons, or
a Lyons into a Barlow.

Always endeavour to reach the ground in good time before a match
begins, and to have five or ten minutes’ practice; though there are
some batsmen who do not believe in too much net practice. Every man
must of course decide what suits himself best, but I cannot believe
that a few minutes at a net can do anything but good, for one gains a
sight of the ball, and gets the pace of the wicket.

If you are put in to bat anywhere but first, always remember that it is
your duty not to take more than two minutes in getting to the wicket,
for that is the limit allowed by law. This is most important, for you
have no right to keep your partner waiting, and to waste time.

No one will ever become a great batsman without enthusiasm, and
enthusiasm of the kind which will carry him through the inevitable
disappointments and troubles of his early career. The path to success
is not easy, and success comes only to the few. But the goal once
reached, he must be a poor man indeed who does not feel a glow of pride
on seeing the magic figures 100 going up on the big scoring-board at
Lord’s beneath his name; for believe me, the satisfaction is so great,
and the applause such sweet music, that it is worth while taking the
greatest pains to attain the proficiency necessary to the achievement
of the feat. There is, too, a subtle charm and fascination about
the game which creates among its devotees a bond of fellowship and
_camaraderie_ which nothing can alter.

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing by_    _G. F. Watts, R.A._
_THE BOWLER._
(_Alfred Mynn_).]


[Illustration]



CHAPTER IV

BOWLING

By D. L. A. JEPHSON


To those that have time hanging all too heavily on their hands, and in
good truth know not what to do—to those perchance that may, through
lack of occupation, be compelled amid adverse circumstances, finding
that anything is occasionally better than nothing, to peruse these
jagged, untrimmed sentences—I would say this: that for many days,
with a deep determination of purpose, I have perused the writings of
our great cricketers—I have read the golden words of Grace, of Steel,
of Ranjitsinhji—and have arrived hot-haste, sick at heart, at the
conclusion that I cannot retell what has so often been told by them,
and told so clearly, so succinctly, with such prodigious insight into
the profound ramifications of this art. And so, like some pale-faced
curate sitting fear-bound beneath the terrifying presence of a ruddy
bishop, I must perforce scratch with a rusty pen of the bowlers I have
met. In the ten years of my cricket life I have met many.

Let us divide them into classes. We will take the old-time division;
we will divide them into four—those that are of a slow pace, those
that are of a medium pace, those that are fast, and those semi-moribund
trundlers, the dealers in lobs.

Having myself started in my early days with the firm conviction that
this old game of cricket was the best game for boys and men of moderate
years that the ingenuity of generations had invented, I became also
convinced that to be a great bowler was the highest pinnacle of fame,
and at the same time of usefulness, that a cricketer could hope to rest
on.

The work, without doubt, is hard, the labour of the day strenuous, but
the pleasure of bowling a length with the wicket a bit in your favour,
with a side that are trying to field, and not loafing as “little mounds
of earth or waxen figures in a third-rate tailor’s shop,” is a goodly
thing, a thing to dream of. And this craft of bowling is so sure, so
certain. A great batsman may make a mistake, even on the Oval in the
height of summer, even on the Oval in the height of perfection—and
all those that have played there know the miraculous opportunities for
run-getting this ground affords—he may make a mistake, let us say,
bowled Richardson, 0! Well, for the day he is done—up to now of no
use to his side, of no use to himself. Now, take the great bowler on a
wicket of this excellence, or of any other. He can make a mistake, drop
a slower one a bit too short, overpitch the well-intentioned yorker,
falter in his stride and be placed to leg for four. What matter from a
selfish point of view? His fun for the day has not departed. He bowls
and bowls, and continues to bowl; and probably the blind goddess gives
in the end the wherewithal to be cheerful. Therefore, on this miserable
lowest ground of self-interest, be a bowler!

And then again, when he has done a noble thing—or perchance it is his
birthday, and the elements give heeding to his call—there falls, let
us say, a gentle rain in the early-bird hours, and a hot sun scorches
from 10 to 12. He has got his money on a two to one chance (and nobody
else in the race)—Peel, Rhodes, Haigh, Jack Hearne, the wonderful
George Lohmann, and dozens more. What does the other side make? They
are lucky to make 100—lucky to make 70!

To be a bowler on a bit of bird-lime is the biggest certainty the
cricket world has knowledge of. You may meet a Ranjitsinhji, a Bonner,
a Jessop, or a Frank Crawford; but if you don’t meet these, the odds on
you are as the odds on an arc light to a farthing dip.

Again—for a moment to raise the platform on which we have
been discussing so casually this selfish side of the bowler’s
existence—there can be little doubt that of the three branches
of the game (batting, bowling, fielding), bowling is the pivot on
which the other two turn. Who is the more use to his side—the great
batsman or the great bowler? Nine out of ten intelligent beings answer
unhesitatingly, the bowler; and rightly too, especially if he be
of medium pace, or even slow medium, on a great variety of wickets,
ranging from the fiery, cast-iron, stone-strewn rock of an Old Trafford
wicket (I don’t mean for a second that the Old Trafford ground is often
in this state, but when it is, it is a little faster, a little more
susceptible of bump, than anywhere else I know) down to Bristol or
Southampton after a wet day, he is invariably of supreme assistance to
his side. And what a number of graduated shades of differing wickets
there are, from the sun-scorched cracking clay, where the fast bowler
finds your fingers, or failing these your ribs, where your runs are
made through the slips or first hop over their heads to the boundary,
down through the varying degrees of good, natural, fast wickets to the
Valhalla of batsmen, let us say Taunton, the Oval, or Bristol, where
the ball rarely rises stump high, and where there is as much life
in the wickets as there is in a barrel of oysters! On grounds like
these the batsman assuredly cometh into his own, and metaphorically
layeth the bowler by the heel, bruising him hip and thigh through
the weary hours of an August day, till the welcome news of the last
over revives the rag of a man that is left, and he slowly wends his
way to the rabbit-hutch, in sore need of the well-earned bath and its
ensuing rub down—in sore need of a ginger beer. Perhaps there are too
many of these superexcellent wickets; perhaps, from certain batsmen’s
point of view, there are not. But the moment the rain appears, the
bowler is another being; in the language of the card-room, he wears
a four-ace smile, and there is a corresponding depression in the
countenance of the great batsman. All down the still more numerous
phases of wet, sticky, and real bird-lime wickets (impossible for
nine out of ten batsmen)—down through all these the four-ace smile
remains, and it is only when we arrive at the thoroughly sodden ground,
with a faint drizzle or slight showers at convenient intervals, when
the ball is wet, the footholds greasy, and there are bucketfuls of
sawdust besprinkled here, there, and everywhere, that the batsman again
reverses the situation, and, like an overfed fox-terrier, has acquired
another poor rat of a bowler.

I say overfed advisedly—not that he is replete with runs on too
many occasions in an ordinary season, when a fair amount of rain
falls, and the good and bad wickets are allotted us fairly evenly,
and a decent percentage of catches are held (which is very seldom
the case); but when he glues himself for a day or day and a half to
some easy-paced billiard-table wicket, where a blind boy could stay
with a toothpick, I say he is overfed—he gluts himself with runs;
and though, as I have said before, he has, in my humble opinion, less
chances of distinguishing himself than the medium-paced bowler, and
is in consequence of less value to his side (which, after all, is the
very essence of the game), yet when his opportunity arises he overeats
himself to an astonishing degree, and often grouses to a similar extent
as the rat of a bowler catches him by the tail with a duck and one on a
wicket of sun-baked clay.

I have sorely digressed, but the trend of the digression was this, that
if as a youth you wish to play cricket, devote all your time, all your
energies, to bowling. A great bowler is born, not made; but though you
may never soar to the heights of a Spofforth or a Lohmann, you can
learn to bowl a good length, you can learn to bowl intelligently, and
be a source of comfort to yourself, and, what is infinitely better, in
all probability a source of comfort to your side.

We have divided the bowlers of to-day and yesterday into four: it
were better to say three, leaving the few dealers in lobs to huddle
themselves into a minute band that can nowadays follow many leagues
behind the great cavalcade that comprises the real three divisions.
Lobs are occasionally useful things to carry round with a side, but
should in a healthy team be used medicinally.

They act as a stirring tonic to men in the field who have grown lazy
and careless from lack of work, for with all the lobs I have ever seen
there is always a blissful uncertainty as to where a good batsman will
place the next one; and some players hit them so uncomfortably hard
that it is best for the slackers to keep their weather eyes open, or
they may experience a rude awakening. There is no more exhilarating
spectacle on a cricket-field than to see a drowsy dreamer of a field
receive the ball in a most unexpected place, on the wrist or the ankle,
on the nose or somewhere where the injury is not likely to be serious.

[Illustration: _WILLIAM LILLYWHITE._]

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting by_    _W. Bromley._
_JOHN WISDEN._]

Three years ago at the Oval, I remember, Sam Woods was watching a
match, and a certain individual in an immaculate sweater, brilliantly
decorated in front with letters a foot long, sauntered on to the field.
It was evidently a part of the game with which he had no sympathy. Sam
glared down on him, and in his terse phraseology commenced—

“Who’s that feller?”

Some one mentioned a name. “I know,” says Sam. “I know the silly
bloomer.... He was fielding in the country—I was playing—up she went
in the air—he was fast asleep—catch her, you fool!—and he caught
her—_plumb on the nut_.”

And this genial cricketer was pleased for the rest of the day at the
mere recollection.

At last we have arrived, through devious paths, at our three great
divisions. Many bowlers whom I class as slow may in reality consider
themselves to be medium; many medium may prefer to be known as fast;
and perhaps there may be a very few fast bowlers who prefer the
description of medium—but I doubt it.

First and foremost we must place the Old Man, or Old ‘Un, as we so
endearingly like to speak of him. There can be but few people in this
country who do not know this full-bearded, full-bodied figure of a
man—the few short shuffling strides, the arm a little above the
shoulder, the right hand a shade in front of him, the curious rotary
action before delivery, _and the wonderful length_.

The hand is large and the ball well concealed, and as you face him,
for he stands full fronted to you, it seems to leave by the back door,
as it were, that is, over the knuckle of the little finger.

I have played with him many times, but he does not seem to me to do
very much (of course I am speaking of a good wicket), but some come
a little higher, others a little lower, some a little faster, some
slower; on the middle leg is his favourite spot—two or three off the
leg stick with a square deep who is not asleep, then a straighter one
with a “bit of top on it”—the batsman tries to push to leg—there is a
somewhat excited _’s that?_ and the would-be run-getter is sauntering
pavilionwards.

Certainly of all the slow bowlers I have met he is the most successful
against _new faces_, whether they are young or old. He generally bowls
them neck and crop, or else they are l.b.w., and it makes very little
difference if the batsman is an Australian wonder, or a boy in a
village school: they come in and they go out, and they can’t understand
it—it looks so extremely harmless. They forget the master-hand, with
the master-mind to work it; they forget the wonderful perseverance! If
you can’t get them out over the wicket, try round; if you can’t succeed
this end, have a rest and try the other.

To-day he may bowl a trifle slower than he did twenty years ago. It
seems to me, however, that he bowls with very much the same effect. He
is a bowler that stands by himself. As long as I can remember, no one
has ever compared “W. G.” with any other bowler; he stands alone—it
is a distinct form of attack. We hear of Rhodes being contrasted with
Peel, and Peel discussed in relation to Peate, and so on in thousands
of instances, but the Old Man stands by himself, with a style, a
method, a success of his own.

Of really good amateur slow bowlers, during the last twelve years, in
which time I have been more or less nearly connected with first-class
cricket, there has been a phenomenal dearth.

They can literally be counted on the fingers of a man’s hand. As I
write only two stand out—C. L. Townsend and C. M. Wells. Of course
there have been others, and there are others, but unless I have missed
my way through the long lists of bowlers through which I have passed,
I have lighted on no names that, without some slight stretch of the
imagination, one could place on anything like the same level with the
two already mentioned. Should there be any, I sincerely apologise for
their omission. A. G. Steel and E. A. Nepean never entered into my
short first-class cricket experiences.

I have met them both, however, in club games, and even with the small
amount of natural and acquired intelligence at my disposal, I could not
fail to see how good they must have been at their best.

One feat of Nepean’s I remember well. He was playing for the Gentlemen
_v._ the Players at the Oval. Arthur Shrewsbury was batting, and Nepean
was bowling, if my recollection fails me not, at the gas-works end,
and, greatly to the astonishment of many of us present, _bowled him
round his legs!_

Great as was the astonishment of the spectators, it paled before the
wonder of the two in question, and the tale went round on the morrow
that gentle sleep had failed to visit their respective couches on the
evening of this memorable day. One was said to have lain awake all
night marvelling _how on earth he had done it_, and the other _how on
earth he had let it be done!_

Whether the tale be of truth or otherwise I know not, but it was a ball
that probably Nepean will remember long after he has ceased playing
even club cricket.

The one exception that proves the rule that great bowlers are born and
not made is C. M. Wells. To the best of my belief, when he started
his career at Dulwich as a bowler, he was of the shut-your-eyes,
bang-’em-down, never-mind-where-but-plug-’em-down style. Only a slight
success, I think, attended his efforts in this direction, and so,
having seen some good slow bowler on the school ground, assiduously
worked day after day at the nets, until up at Cambridge he proved
himself to be on his day one of the finest slow bowlers we have seen.
He possessed, and still possesses, a wonderful command of length, with
plenty of spin from the off—a considerable variation of flight—a
slower ball with several inches of break from leg, delivered, by the
way, from almost the palm of the hand, and a ball that, as it comes
sailing up the pitch towards you, has every appearance of being
intended for a leg break, but which in reality is simply propelled with
a large quantity of “top on.” It comes naturally quick off the ground,
and it comes along straight as a die, and many a batsman has ceased
from troubling, out l.b.w., through playing for a break that did not
exist. I should perhaps not have said ceased from troubling, for it is
a curious fact, and one for which there seems no adequate explanation,
that though a batsman generally grumbles a little at being given out
l.b.w. to a fast bowler, a _rara avis_ is occasionally found agreeing
with the decision; men as a rule grumble and trouble themselves vastly
being dismissed in a similar manner to a slow ball, and a _rara avis_
in this connection is almost as the dodo.

Of Wells’ fast ball I am perhaps not so eulogistic, but no doubt he
uses it as an astute hunter uses dead wood and briars to cover the many
pitfalls into which his intended victims are to cast themselves. This
end or that end, he never tires; if the laws of the game permitted it
he would bowl both; and as regards fielding his own bowling, I think he
is the best I have ever seen. I remember once at Cambridge in the Long
Vac. playing with him—I think it was against the M.C.C. I know the
side included Shacklock and Barnes. The latter was batting, and Wells
let go a slow full pitch, and poor old Barnes dashed at it as a dog at
a dinner. Wells, as he generally is, was well up the wicket, his legs
well apart, looking for what he could find. Barnes found the full toss,
and Wells the ball. As the veteran passed me at mid-off, his face was
as the face of a man who stoops to pick up a sovereign and finds a
brass button. It was the hardest catch, I should think, ever made at a
range of 10 yards from the gun, and Barnes was no niggard with the wood!

Having played with and against Wells a great many times, I have had
copious opportunities of watching him closely. He invariably starts
with the ball in the left hand, and in the first stride or two throws
it into his right. For the off break it falls into a cradle of fingers;
the middle digits are spread open, while the first and fourth are bent
double at the second joint. The ball rarely touches the thumb; the
natural straightening of the first finger at the moment of delivery
imparts the required break; but to bowl a length without the use of
the thumb, and to train your fingers to fall at will into this cramped
position, involves considerably more patience and practice than the
average cricketer cares to give.

Here again I shall digress. In all the excellent works on cricket
that at one time or another I have so diligently studied, I find
most elaborate instructions on this same subject, the holding of the
ball—“Always use your fingers,” “Never use the palm of the hand,”
etc., etc.; but despite all this worthy advice, I have never yet seen
two bowlers gather their fingers, or fingers and thumb, round the
ball in such a manner that the hand of one could not for an instant
be confused with the hand of the other. The length of their run may
occasionally coincide, very occasionally their stride may be of the
same compass, but these are the only two similar characteristics
which any two bowlers may be said to possess. The action and method
of handling the ball are as different in different bowlers as the
features on the face of the one are unlike the features on the faces
of the others. George Lohmann, one of the greatest bowlers that has
ever lived, spread his long, sinuous fingers (in which I include the
thumb) at almost equal distances round the whole circumference of the
ball. Spofforth, on the other, held only half the ball, the little
finger underneath, with the thumb on the top, both resting on the
seam—believing, as at billiards, that a ball struck on one side will
of necessity spin in its run or flight in the direction of the side
to which the propelling force was given. Turner, on the other hand,
covered the whole of the circumference, with the ball resting nearer
the palm of the hand than is the case with the majority. Mead, again,
being blessed with a long, strong forefinger, produces the same off
break with this finger and the slight use of his thumb and second
finger. Those who have played against Albert Trott know well the
particular delivery when they see part of the ball projecting below his
little finger, and the strong thumb standing straight up in the air;
it is practically propelled by the second, third, and fourth fingers.
I give these simply as a few instances. Every bowler, whether first
class, second class, or “no class,” has a peculiar method of his own,
some idiosyncrasy, however slight, in his manner of gripping the ball,
and this, too, _in addition_ to the varying flexibility, the varying
“flicks” or “whips” of the wrist, that each in his very own way
employs.

Now for C. L. Townsend—by accident this is a suggestive phrase, and
one that in his prime exactly describes the plan of action adopted by
the incoming batsmen—“Now for Charles,” “Go for him”—and they went;
and a great number came back sorrowing—bowled round their legs with a
two-foot break, stumped a couple of yards, caught at cover trying to
drive, bowled with an off break or a fast one—out in every possible
way. Bowling with a high, shambling action, he was very deceptive in
the flight and very deceptive in the pace, the ball coming slow in air
and fast off the pitch with as much finger leg break as he wanted.

On a sticky wicket, unlike the majority of slow leg break bowlers, he
could, if he wished, leave it alone and rely almost entirely with very
satisfactory results on the off break, bowled a bit faster. And, like
Wells, he could bowl all day, and did until towards the end of his
regular cricket career, when he forsook the stony path that a regular
first-class bowler must tread for the scented groves where dwell our
great batsmen, and, lapped in the luxury of 2000 runs per annum,
forsook to a great extent his former mistress.

Among all the famous slow left-handers there is one that to me stands
out more clearly than the rest, whether his striking personality—for
who did not know that bouncing ball of a man?—whether his wonderful
all-round skill, or his possession of that golden quality on a cricket
field, the golden quality of _life_, stood uppermost in my mind, I
cannot say, but to this day, as often as I think on the game, there
always arises the short, thick-set figure of poor Johnny Briggs.

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting by_    _W. Bromley._
_ALFRED MYNN._]

[Illustration: _JAS. COBBETT._]

Buffoon, perhaps, at times, but never with an obnoxious buffoonery.
And what a bowler! The ball left his hand with a finger flick that
you could hear in the pavilion, and here was every known variety of
flight: three or four short, half walking, half running strides, and
the ball was at you, spinning like a top; first a balloon of a ball
that would drop much farther off than you thought, a lower one just
on the same spot, both breaking away like smoke; then another, with
nothing on, straight at the sticks; and then you saw the arm come
round a shade faster, and, if you weren’t on the watch, you found you
had struck a snag in the form of a really fast yorker, bowled at a
considerably greater pace than you have ever received one from either
Peel or Rhodes. Poor Johnny! I have no space to dilate further on your
wonderful gift of bowling with this indefinite “_you_.” In conclusion,
as this chapter seems rapidly to be casting itself into the mould of
personal reminiscence, I will relate my last two meetings with you.

We were playing at Hastings in the Week. “W. G.” was in command. It
was my lucky day, having made 50 or so by blind slogging, and the
liberal help of a sluggish field. The Doctor suggested you should try
the Chapel end. I took 28 off the first three overs, six of them
fours, mostly well off the off stump, bouncing up against the canvas at
square leg. I remember the aggrieved look on your face as you remarked
to the Old Man, “That’s not much of a stroke, Doctor,” and the Doctor
answered, “It’s all right if you can do it, Johnny”; and then, Johnny,
you were taken off.

We were playing at Lord’s, North _v._ South. It was a perfect wicket.
I was in need of a few runs to end the season with. Poor Johnny was
bowling, and bowling as well as ever, a bit faster on the fast wicket,
and going considerably with his arm.

“W. G.” had made as good a 130 as he ever made in his life. I went to
the wicket, played two, and the leg stump leant wearily back with a
ball that pitched on the middle and off—0!

The second innings, through the clemency of Ernest Smith, I avoided a
pair. I got to the other end and faced Johnny: the same ball, the same
languid attitude of the same stump, and the balance was mightily in
your favour, Johnny, as it always was.

He was a great bowler on his day, a bowler that was never done with,
and the void he has left on the cricket field will not be filled for
many a day, if ever it be filled at all.

The mind of every cricketer naturally associates with the memory of
Briggs the names of the other two great left-handers, Peel and Rhodes;
and what a wonderfully successful trio they have been, and what an
amount of amiable argument has been expended in the vain attempt to
decide which is the greatest of the three! I prefer to bracket the
three. And as no side is thoroughly equipped for attack without the
inclusion of a bowler of this stamp, had the captain of a side the
first call on the services of these two, he no doubt would include Peel
on a fast wicket, and in the event of the rain falling, would give the
preference to Rhodes. The smile on the face of either of them after a
goodly shower, and an hour or two’s stickying sun, has struck terror
into the heart of many a creditable run-getter.

My first experience of Peel was at Cambridge. As usual, and rightly
too, my place was number eleven on the list. There was six minutes to
time, and the good MacGregor told me to buck up and go in. So into
the dark I went, and, backed by the luck that sometimes falls to most
undeserving persons, I stayed through an over and a half of Robert—not
out 0 at night, and my last game for the ‘Varsity! On the morrow, on
not a very easy wicket, my marvellous luck remained with me, and stayed
with me even until lunch! 41! It must have been a dreary show. I only
instance this to once again emphasise the old old truism of what a game
of chance this cricket is. Here was I playing in my last match, playing
as a bowler, but, as the vulgar say, “couldn’t bowl for toffee,” or any
other desirable sweetmeat. Here was I, number eleven, and by a kindly
turn of fortune’s wheel allowed to stop Bobby Peel for two hours and a
half. Well, that six minutes in the dusk gave me ten years’ cricket,
so _I_ have nothing to grumble at in the luck of the game!

As every one knows, Yorkshire owe much of their great success to the
efforts of these two. Always to be relied upon—always ready to bowl
either end for two or twenty overs at a stretch: bowlers that a captain
can put on for an over, and knowing that neither of them will throw
away a couple of fours trying to find their length. Should we compare
the actions of the two, we must award the palm for style and easy
rhythmic swing to Peel. To Rhodes we must allow the greater amount of
spin.

Wilfred, as his intimates designate him, for some years had a bad time
when he journeyed with his friends to the Oval, for he nearly always
struck a fast wicket, and very few bowlers are affected to the same
extent as he is by the varying conditions of the ground.

On the Oval we have generally managed to score against him, provided
it is fine; but give him a little rain, and he gets his own and a bit
more back. I remember, three years ago, at Kennington, Yorkshire and
Surrey both made over 300. On the third day of the match there had been
rain, and a blistering sun was doing its best to give the spectators
their money’s worth in the afternoon. In this it succeeded. Yorkshire
held a lead of about 25. “Another drawn match, I suppose,” was heard on
every side; but the members and their friends don’t quite realise the
enormous difference of Rhodes, and of Rhodes and Haigh coupled, on a
dry and on a sticky wicket.

Latterly, Surrey have been anything but a good side on a bad wicket,
and those of us that knew this were by no means so happy in our minds,
and our dismal forebodings came very nearly being realised. Haigh at
the pavilion end and Rhodes at the gasometer did exactly as they liked.
The former, with practically only three men on the off and innumerable
short legs and silly mid-ons, bowled a perfect length off the off
stump, coming back anything from three inches to a foot. Only once
during the sorry rot that ensued did he get hit on the off. Rhodes, now
a totally different bowler from the day before, plugged away on the off
stump, and did exactly as he liked with the ball.

_Four wickets for 8_, and an hour and a bit to go! Poor old Surrey
in the soup again! It certainly looked like it, for the mouldy eight
runs on the tins were only hoisted there by a mighty effort and a
considerable amount of luck. All out 15; and it would have been so had
not Hayward stayed forty-five minutes, amassing another 8, and for
Tom Richardson’s pluckily slogged 17. The total, I think, reached by
devious and rugged, very rugged paths, 51—and so Yorkshire were robbed
of a well-earned victory. Rhodes had his own back, as he always does
have it back when sun and rain put their heads together and strive
strenuously for his welfare.

On another occasion that I recollect we made the handsome compilation
of 37 against him and Wainwright at Bradford. The score-sheet was
covered with “Stumped Hunter, b. Rhodes, 0.” It was a most catching
complaint, and five of us succumbed to it. It attacked us in two
distinct varieties. We either played forward and slipped—“Stumped
Hunter, b. Rhodes, 0,” or we charged gaily up the pitch for home or
glory. The result was precisely the same—“Stumped Hunter, b. Rhodes,
0.”

But enough of Rhodes. Helped by his two good god-parents, sun and rain,
the subject is a painful one to us of the south.

His co-helper in this match, Wainwright, is another bowler to whom the
varying conditions of weather, and consequently of wickets, makes a
phenomenal difference—perhaps more strikingly pronounced even than to
Rhodes.

Harmless enough on a good wicket, on a bad one he could make the ball
do what he liked. Many, of course, can do this; but they cannot make
it turn with the astonishing rapidity from the pitch that Wainwright
could. Slow in its flight, yet on touching the mud it would rush at
you—I had almost said bite you—at any rate bowl you as you were
playing back for the hang.

And now, my indulgent reader, we will make full sail southwards, with
the brave north wind full astern, to the headquarters of the cricketing
world, the abode of the all-powerful M.C.C. Here we find a slow bowler;
I call him slow, for though bowling every conceivable pace, I always
maintain that he is at his best when four or five out of the six sent
down are leisurely in their progress up the pitch, mixed up with one or
two so exceedingly fast that “eye cannot follow them in their flight.”
I refer to Trott, or “Alberto,” as he is generally called.

[Illustration: _WILLIAM LILLYWHITE._]

[Illustration: _WILLIAM CLARKE_,
_Famous for Underhand Bowling_.]

A bowler of infinite resource—at times no doubt he gives many runs
away through the persistence with which he tries new theories, new
dodges, or a new action; but he is one of the few bowlers that
the batsman is compelled to watch more closely than many another.
Personally, I have retired from the conflict with Albert through
every one of the exceedingly varied methods by which he has removed
obstructing batsmen. As a rule he bowls with a decidedly low action,
with any amount of off break on—with every degree of pace. Again the
ball is held in the last three fingers, and a powerful upright thumb
confronts the player opposed to him; this is generally a “pull-backed”
one which hangs most uncomfortably in the air. The next comes as the
lightning, and as likely as not catches you full pitch on the toe,
or hits the bottom of the stumps as you are lifting the bat to play.
At his best (for sometimes I have seen him bowl for hours without
employing his fast one) it is as fast a ball as one wishes to meet,
and its pace is made in the last of the few short steps Trott takes.
Should he be unsuccessful, he will suddenly raise his arm and deliver
one right over his head at a medium pace, which very often whips back
sharply from the off, or, reverting to something like his original
action, he will bowl an over or two of slow leg breaks, which, if their
length is not all it should be, break about as much as Harry Trott was
wont to break, and that is saying a good deal.

He is a bowler that I have never seen tired, and a wonderful gatherer
of unconsidered trifles in the way of almost impossible “c. and b.’s.”
He stands in front of you like a brick wall, and you’ve got to hit
it mighty hard for him to let it go by. Truly a great worker, this
Anglo-Australian, as the papers so frequently call him.

At Taunton, a year or two ago, we invariably came across the slowest
overhand bowler that has played in first-class cricket for ten years or
so. Tyler was for a long time the stumbling-block in the way of many
sides, more particularly of Surrey. Time after time he has bowled us
out on all sorts of wickets—it was too slow, too high in the air, and
consequently such a long time coming to you. Dozens of players I have
seen bowled trying to sniggle one to leg, and if they were not bowled
they were out l.b.w. Of course he has been “planted” again and again
into the churchyard, but he knew what he was doing, and a ball a little
higher or a little shorter found a resting-place in the safe hands of
Palairet or Daniell on the pavilion rails. He has much to thank Sam
Woods for. Wicket after wicket has he got at mid-off through Sam’s
fearless fielding, and run after run has he been saved. A great many
cautious batsmen, too, have been irritated into hitting through the
close proximity of Sam at silly point, and this silly point to a bowler
of Tyler’s pace is no sinecure, even with the most gentle of batsmen.
I often wonder that this placing of a man right under the batsman’s
nose is not more often adopted, as the result seems always to justify
it, for whether you get the man out or not, he is most decidedly put
off his game. It is not, however, a place to go to sleep in, even with
the mildest of performers. I was sorry that Tyler should have been
no-balled at the close of his career, for the day on which he was
penalised there seemed to be no difference whatever from the action he
always had, and which was universally passed for years.

Of the leg-break bowlers there is Braund, one of the best all-round
cricketers of the day. He is second only in the matter of pace to Vine,
and he is easily first in the matter of length and direction—perhaps
not so difficult as Vine is at his best, but he always bowls well,
consistently well, on all sorts of wickets, and he is never punished to
the extent the other bowlers of this class are when one is lucky enough
to catch them on an off day.

There are many other slow bowlers of whom I should like to scribble,
but time presses, and we must pass on to our second division, to the
bowlers of the medium pace, whose numbers are as sands on the seashore.

There is very little doubt that the bowlers who comprise this our
second division are in the majority of instances of more general value
to their side than the faster bowlers, for the obvious reason that they
can always obtain a foothold.

They can also bowl longer at a stretch, they can vary their pace,
they can alter the whole principle of their attack to suit the varying
stages of a wicket in a way that is given to very few of our really
fast bowlers. There are, too, so many that one must include in this
class, that it is a matter of considerable difficulty to make anything
like an adequate selection. There are some, however, whose names will
immediately occur to the minds of every average cricketer.

I asked W. G. Grace not long ago, “Who was the best medium-paced bowler
you ever played against?” Almost without thought the answer came back,
“George Lohmann”; and there is many another player who, asked the same
question, would make answer in a similar strain.

We all knew that tall, fair-haired, broad, rather high-shouldered
figure—a splendid worker in every section of the game. Great as the
pleasure was in studiously watching the man bowl, or watching him bat,
taking the extraordinary risks he did, to my mind an almost equally
enjoyable thing was to watch him at extra slip. Before his time there
were good slips, bad slips, fast-asleep slips, and since his time every
variety of “slipper” has passed across the stage, but none ever had the
same catlike activity, the same second-sight to practically foretell
the flight, the pace of a ball, and the same safe pair of hands to hold
it in.

But I am presumably writing on bowling and not fielding. The following
description of George Lohmann by C. B. Fry is one of the very best
things of the many that he has done:—

 He made his own style of bowling, and a beautiful style it was—so
 beautiful that none but a decent cricketer could fully appreciate
 it. He had a high right-over action, which was naturally easy
 and free-swinging, but, in his seeking after variations of pace,
 he introduced into it just a suspicion—a mere suspicion—of
 laboriousness. Most people, I believe, considered his action to have
 been perfect. To the eye it was rhythmical and polished, but it cost
 him, probably, more effort than it appeared to do. His normal pace
 was medium; he took a run of moderate length, poised himself with a
 slight uplifting of his high square shoulders, and delivered the ball
 just before his hand reached the top of its circular swing, and, in
 the act of delivery, he seemed first to urge forward the upper part
 of his body in sympathy with his arm, and then allow it to follow
 through after the ball. Owing to his naturally high delivery, the
 ball described a pronounced curve, and dropped rather sooner than the
 batsman expected. This natural peculiarity he developed assiduously
 into a very deceptive ball which he appeared to bowl the same pace
 as the rest, but which he really, as it were, held back, causing the
 unwary and often the wary to play too soon. He was a perfect master
 of the whole art of varying his pace without betraying the variation
 to the batsman. He ran up and delivered the ball, to all appearances,
 exactly similarly each time; but one found now that the ball was
 hanging in the air, now that it was on to one surprisingly soon. He
 had complete control of his length, and very, very rarely—unless
 intentionally—dropped a ball too short or too far up. He had a
 curious power of making one feel a half-volley was on its way; but
 the end was usually a perfect length ball or a yorker. He had that
 subtle finger power which makes the ball spin, and consequently he
 could both make the ball break on a biting wicket and make it “nip
 along quick” on a true one. He made a practice of using both sides of
 the wicket on sticky pitches. If he found he was breaking too much,
 he would change from over to round the wicket, and on fast pitches he
 soon had a go round the wicket at a batsman who appeared comfortable
 at the other sort. But he was full of artifices and subtleties, and
 he kept on trying them all day, each as persistently as the others,
 one after another. With all his skill, he would never have achieved
 his great feats but for his insistence of purpose. He was what I call
 a very hostile bowler; he made one feel he was one’s deadly enemy,
 and he used to put many batsmen off their strokes by his masterful
 and confident manner with the ball. He was by far the most difficult
 medium-pace bowler I ever played on a good wicket.

In the spring of a year eighteen summers ago three or four of us were
playing cricket on the wilderness of Clapham Common. A young man
watched the game for a little, and eventually took a hand. He bowled to
us and he batted for us, and we learnt something. At the end of half an
hour he left. We asked his name. “Lohmann,” came the reply. We said,
“Good-morning, and thank you.” And to-day I think that there are dozens
of committeemen all over the country, and especially in the county of
Surrey, who would like to go out into the same or a similar wilderness
and encounter another George Lohmann. They may go out hot haste to find
one, but they will return empty-handed.

In reply to the same question that I asked W. G. Grace, Ranjitsinhji
said, “Noble.” Now of Noble I have not had sufficient experience to
write, so I asked him again, and the next answer was, “Jack Hearne”;
and for perfection of action, with its open-shouldered, almost
three-quarter arm swing, I have never seen his equal. He has every
variation of pace, and, on a wicket that suits him, as much off break
as he wants; and he bowls, or did bowl at his best, a length that only
a very few bowlers like Alfred Shaw ever excelled. It has been said
that on a perfect wicket he plays a man in. Well, perhaps he does; but
those of us who on a sticky wicket at Lord’s—and at Lord’s a sticky
wicket spells perdition—have had the temerity to stand up against him,
bowling as he nearly always is from the pavilion end, know with what
difficulty he can be stopped, and with what superhuman effort scored
off.

Two other great medium-paced bowlers appeal immediately to the player
of cricket—Attewell and Mead—both of a wonderful length, and doing a
bit either way, not in the same way as Jack Hearne, who is practically
an off break bowler, with a fast ball going with his arm, but with
distinctive finger or hand break going both ways.

Who does not remember Attewell’s easy, full-faced run up to the wicket,
the splendid control of length—a very machine, but a machine with an
untiring human intelligence. Both these two are perfect gluttons for
work—this end, the other end, both ends, all day and probably all
night if the span of the hours for play were lengthened. Attewell I
should have taken on a good wicket, and Mead on a bad.

The latter I remember years ago at Broxbourne, where he and I led the
attack for the local club, and wonderfully successful he was; but
in those days he bowled almost entirely leg breaks, and it was only,
I believe, after journeying Leytonwards, that he developed the off
theory, with an occasional straight one and with an occasional leg
break, that ultimately gave him the position amongst great bowlers that
he holds to-day.

Lancashire some seasons ago possessed a quartette that very few sides
have been able to equal. I refer to Briggs, Hallam, Cuttell, and Mold.
Each of the four obtained a hundred wickets. Lancashire were playing
at the Oval; the wicket was on the slow side, not very difficult and
not very easy; each of the four had a turn, and in this particular
match Hallam bowled extremely well. In my own mind he was at his best
one of the most difficult of medium-paced bowlers, for the flight was
so deceptive. He has a good variation of pace, but the bad luck he has
had in his health has clung to him in the matter of bowling—there seem
to be more missed chances, more balls that beat the bat and evade the
wicket, than fall to the lot of many another bowler in the same class.

[Illustration: _LORDS GROUND EARLY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY._]

[Illustration:
  _From a Water-Colour by_    _H. Alken._
_ONE ARM AND ONE LEG MATCH._]

In the matter of length, in the knowledge of the art of bowling, in
his phenomenal success, there is one man in this our second division
who occupies an almost unique position—Alfred Shaw. Every one knows
the records that he holds, but there is one thing that at the time of
its occurrence certainly was the subject of much gratifying comment,
and this was Alfred Shaw’s astonishing resurrection in first-class
cricket, which hardly to-day receives the recognition that it merits.
Sussex journeyed to the Oval. Shaw, who for a considerable time had
given up first-class cricket, was included in the side, and those of
us who were playing against him saw and realised one of the finest
pieces of bowling ever given on a perfect Oval wicket. Surrey’s score
was well over 300. Shaw bowled one end and then the other till he had
completed 50 overs. _During this time only 60 odd runs had been scored
from him_, and there were seven Surrey victims labelled Shaw in the
score-sheet. He bowled as only a marker could bowl, and every man that
proceeded to the wicket either played a bit too soon or a bit too late
at some period or other of his innings. It was a remarkable bowling
performance, and remarkable evidence of stamina of a bowler not in the
first flush of youth.

Another in this same class, and who at the start of his career was
engaged on the staff at the Oval with his future club-mate Hulme,
was George Davidson, a fast medium bowler with a longish run and an
imperturbable length—full of life and vigour, and a man whose place in
the side Derbyshire have not yet been enabled to fill.

Tate, like Rhodes, is again a cricketer to whom the state of a wicket
makes a phenomenal difference, even more so than is usually the
case. Given suitable conditions, there are few bowlers that can make
the ball come up faster off the pitch than Tate. He bowls a really
good length, and can apply the off break at will, and for years has
stepped into the breach for Sussex and saved the rest of his side
many many wearying hours of fielding. And now to make an end of our
second division we will include F. S. Jackson and J. R. Mason. It is a
very moot point whether they should be termed fast or medium—let us
say they are fast-medium. It really does not matter much what we call
them, for any one whose patience has held out thus far in this article
has no doubt seen them both bowl again and again. F. S. Jackson is a
confident bowler; he bowls with a confidence born of the past, and
with an unlimited confidence in the future, and to this self-reliance
I attribute a large proportion of his success. Bowling fast-medium,
with an occasional off break and an occasional slow ball, he invariably
manages to keep the runs down, and at the same time to take his quota
of wickets; and a bowler that can go with Sam Woods through the whole
of a Gentlemen _v._ Players match unchanged must be a really good
bowler, even though as we watch him we cannot exactly determine how he
succeeds as he undoubtedly does.

J. R. Mason is probably a bit faster than Jackson. He has a free
upstanding delivery, an easy run up to the wicket, and a full-arm
swing. He bowls a good length just off the off stump, and on his day
and with a wicket in his favour can make the ball do a lot from the
off. Sam Woods said that he had never in his life seen much better
bowling than Mason’s in the Somerset _v._ Kent match at Taunton in
August 1901. The home side were dismissed for 74 and 78, Mason’s share
of the wickets being four for 26 and _eight for 29_, an excellent
performance for any amateur on any wicket.

The last of our three divisions now claims our limited attention, and
here it would be as well if I made yet another apology: the names of
many of the great Australian bowlers have been omitted from these
pages, from the fact that I have so seldom played against them. Of
Giffen, Palmer, Turner, Ferris, Jones, and the “Demon Spofforth” I
wish I could write, but what I could say of them would be as the sum
of the runs I should in all probability have made against them. As I
said before, to the cricketer who has got his heart and soul in the
game, there is nothing much more exhilarating than the sleepy field
being rudely awakened to a just sense of his duties. Speaking from a
spectator’s point of view, there is nothing more exciting than to watch
the uprooting of the sticks, to note their gyration in the direction of
the glorified long stop, and to follow the flight of a bail for fifty
or sixty yards. To this end we must possess ourselves of a really fast
bowler.

The best natural fast bowler, taken at the zenith of his fame, was
Tom Richardson. Those of us that have watched him pounding away hour
after hour and day after day at the Oval, have marvelled much at
the wonderful natural spin, and have marvelled perhaps more at his
inexhaustible energy and neverending fund of good-humour. He was never
tired and never out of sorts, and when the wicket was badly broken
I have known him time after time slacken his great pace for fear of
injuring an opposing batsman. Always, and rightly too, one of the most
popular players that ever stepped on to a cricket-field, still to-day,
when perhaps his prime is past, there is no figure more welcome to the
thousands that throng our grounds than the figure of “Long Tom,” as the
crowds delight to call him. It was indeed a gustable tit-bit to watch
him in 1894 bowl Essex out at the Oval, taking the whole ten wickets
himself.

A noteworthy fact in connection with Richardson, in the four years when
he aggregated over 1000 wickets, was the great success he met with on
all sorts and conditions of wickets. He could be quite as deadly in the
slime or on a drying wicket as on the fieriest piece of asphalt. Now
this ubiquitous wicket-taking is given to practically no fast bowler
that I have ever seen, with the exception of Spofforth, and he did it
not by bowling his usual great pace, as was the case with Richardson,
but by slowing himself down to the speed of a Haigh or a Jack Hearne.

It is the general opinion of many of our greatest cricketers—W. G.
Grace and Ranjitsinhji, for example—that on a fast good wicket, and
when bowling at the top of his form, we have never known the equal of
Lockwood. Bowling with a long bouncing run, he can make the ball flick
higher and faster from the pitch than any other bowler in this our
third class. There is at times the very devil in it, and when the ball
is not rapping incontinently at your fingers, it is hitting the middle
and leg from well outside the off stump. One of the finest balls bowled
that failed to get a wicket was bowled by Lockwood to Ranjitsinhji at
the Oval three or four seasons ago.

[Illustration: _From an Engraving Published in 1784._
_A MATCH AT THE GENTLEMAN’S CLUB, WHITE CONDUIT HOUSE, ISLINGTON._]

I was standing at mid-off, and can see it to this day. Ranjitsinhji had
just come in to bat, and was, I think, still on the mark. It was very
fast; it pitched three to four inches off the off stump, and came back
like lightning. I listened for the pleasing rattle of the sticks, but
at the eleventh hour—no, I had better say the last hundredth part of
a second—Ranjitsinhji’s right leg was bent across, and he received
it full on the thigh. There was no other player living who, having
failed to stop it with his bat, could have got his leg there in time.
He certainly acquired a bruise, but the pain of this surely and swiftly
dwindled in an innings of over 190!

One of the finest victories Surrey ever won over Yorkshire was at the
Oval. On a perfect wicket Surrey scored over 300 on the first day and a
portion of the second. Richardson at the pavilion and Lockwood at the
gasometer end started the attack, and on the same magnificent wicket
_dismissed Yorkshire for 78!_ Of these, Jack Brown made 48! Those of us
who were playing, and those who were lucky enough to have visited the
Oval that day, could never in their lives have seen finer fast bowling.
Both bowled at a tremendous pace, both bowled at the top of their form;
they seemed almost to be bowling man against man, to be vying for
supremacy. It was a great day to catch the finest natural fast bowler
in conjunction with the finest cultivated fast bowler making sad havoc
of a very powerful side. It was in the second innings of Yorkshire that
poor Frank Milligan made his last appearance at the Oval, and right
well he played, making 64 out of a total of 170 odd. (I should have
mentioned before that F. S. Jackson was unfortunately incapacitated
from batting through an injured thumb. This of course greatly weakened
the Yorkshire batting, but at the time Lord Hawke said he had rarely
seen finer bowling.)

Of Arthur Mold this can be said with absolute certainty, that no bowler
ever attained a similar pace with such a minimum of exertion—two or
three long loose strides, two at a trot, and an arm swinging round
like a flail, a good length, great pace, and on any wicket at times a
considerable flick back from the off—a bowler that, like Richardson or
Lockwood, might bowl a man at any period of his innings, however well
set he might be. For as many of us know, there are certain bowlers,
generally of the slow or medium class, that a respectable batsman,
after an hour or so’s stay at the wicket, can negotiate with safety,
unless of course some violent risk be taken. With these three, and
perhaps one or two more, it is quite possible to be bowled neck and
heels when taking no risk whatever.

Of all the other fast bowlers I have met, the majority, and it is a
large majority too, either go with the arm or go up the pitch straight
as a die. Wass and Barnes are exceptions to this general rule, for
under favourable conditions they bowl with a distinct leg break, and
very difficult to play they are.

George Hirst, I think, stands in a section of fast bowlers entirely
his own. It is a curious thing that we possess so few really fast
left-handers. Hirst is equipped not only with great pace, but also
with an extraordinary swerve, that is to say, he does not always have
it under his immediate control, but when starting fresh and with a new
ball, he swirls inwards in a stump-uprooting manner, and the swerve
seems to take place in the last two or three yards of the ball’s
flight. I remember seeing Captain Bush confront him last year at Leeds
for the first time. Hirst came up to the wicket with his swinging run,
the ball left his hand; Bush’s left leg shot out for his slashing
stroke by cover, and it was only by astonishing luck that at the very
last moment he stopped a yorker almost behind his right foot, and in
stopping it overbalanced and lay prone—thus emphasising the luck
he had experienced and the amount of the swerve. With a new ball it
usually stays with him from twenty minutes to an hour, and it can occur
again after a sufficient rest and the acquisition of another new ball.
I think I am doing Rhodes no injustice when I say that for some time
now Hirst has dismissed, largely through this swerve of his, more of
the first five or six batsmen than have fallen to his, Wilfred’s, lot.

Of all the really fast amateur bowlers none have given me so much
pleasure to watch as Sam Woods. At Brighton College they tell me he was
quite as fast as he ever was afterwards all through his first-class
career as a bowler. Personally I experienced the same luck as many
another would-be run-getter who met him for the first time, that is to
say, I went in to bat and came out again without having heard the sound
of the bat striking the ball, b. Woods 0! The pace was bewildering. At
his best and in full health he was as fast as an ordinary player cares
to encounter. Exceedingly even in temper for a fast bowler, there were
only one or two little things that really worried him. One, however,
was to see a man draw away as he came up to the crease with those short
shuffling strides he always adopted. I shall never forget one day at
Fenner’s in some trial match a rather nervous performer against fast
bowling wobbled to the wicket. Sam was bowling _over_ the wicket, and
the newcomer, who practically relied on a very late cut for scoring
purposes, promptly planted him for two or three fours through the
slips, having first withdrawn, at the approach of “the Terror,” in the
direction of the square leg umpire. The same sliding motion at right
angles to the wicket, the same stroke, the same lucky four, and Sam
goes round the wicket. If fast at first, he is faster now, and the
nervous player is still more nervous. The ball comes down well clear
of the leg stick, and is cut _behind the wicket and between the wicket
and the stumper!_—a truly miraculous stroke, and one that I have never
seen executed save on this solitary occasion. Four! but the next was
straight, and it crept a bit, and the nervous batsman retired, having,
however, before his departure credited himself with fifty or so on the
sunburnt “tins.”

Of W. M. Bradley, there is nothing to be said—a natural fast bowler
with the mind of a man and the strength of a bull. I faced him two
years ago at Canterbury. He was bowling against the pavilion and
against the sun; the slope of the ground went with him, a new ball was
in his hand, and it whizzed down the pitch as it left it. It was about
the most uncomfortable ten minutes I ever spent. They came “down the
vale” with a four-inch off break; they grazed one’s ribs, one’s chest,
one’s nose; and at last I was caught in the slips protecting my eye
with my hand. It was on this occasion that I was truly convinced of
what a grand player Tom Hayward is against really fast bowling. Though
we were easily beaten, he made 97 not out! Good boy!

There are many more in this our third class that I should like to write
about, but space and the clock forbid, and so perforce am I compelled
to halt awhile and wait for the little cavalcade of “lobsters” that
are so far behind, so very far behind, the pressing throng of modern
bowlers. To quote from _Wisden_:—

 We, the solitary few who still strive to hold upright the tottering
 pillars in the ruined temple of lob bowling, unto whose shrine the
 bowlers of the olden time for ever flocked, to-day we are but of
 small account; there is scarcely a ground in England where derision
 is not our lot, or where laughter and jaunting jeers are not hurled
 broadcast at us. To-day perhaps to an all-powerful side we are of
 little use—to a side that is weak, to a side whose special weakness
 is its fielding, we are the strychnine of tonics. By himself stands
 Simpson-Hayward, for he “flicks” the ball as we have all seen many
 a wrathful billiard-player do when returning the white from a most
 unexpected pocket—it spins and spins and breaks sharply from the
 off, and it sometimes hits the wicket. There are two more, Wynyard
 and myself, and we both bowl in the old, old way, and we bowl with
 a persistence born of tentative success—occasionally we hook a
 fish, and great is our rejoicing. We are both fond of this bowling,
 I particularly so, and when on many a ground throughout the country
 there has arisen on every side the gentle sound of “Take him orf! Take
 him orf!” were it not that the side ever comes before oneself, I would
 bowl, and bowl, and bowl, until at eventide the cows come home.—

  D. L. A. J., _Wisden_, 1902.

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting by_    _C. J. Basébe._
_KENNINGTON OVAL IN 1849._]


[Illustration]



CHAPTER V

FIELDING

By S. L. JESSOP


It has become almost an axiom of the game that more matches are lost by
bad fielding than through any superexcellence of batting or bowling,
and that this is really the case few will deny.

How many of those favoured mortals who participate in first-class
cricket can call to mind instances of brilliant batting, followed up
by capital bowling, all to be rendered null and void by the missing
of a “sitter” by some lazy fieldsman whose thoughts were anywhere but
on the game. Cricketers are but mortals, and catches will be missed
as long as the game of cricket is played, but less mistakes would be
made, especially in the slips, if fieldsmen would but pay the strictest
attention to the game, and not allow their thoughts to wander. That
chance that “Cain” gave to third slip, which might have turned defeat
into victory, would in all probability have been accepted, had the
culprit’s thoughts not been too much engrossed in the choice of
theatres that evening for his fiancée; and to such causes as these,
if one could but read the thoughts of those at fault, many of the too
frequent mistakes could be traced. Too much emphasis cannot be attached
to this lack of attention, for one can but judge from one’s own
experience.

That fielding, the most important branch of the game, has deteriorated
during even the past five or six years may be accepted as a true bill,
and we can only look for improvement to those who have the rising
generation under their charge. No one can expect to become a good
fieldsman without assiduous and often irksome practice, and this,
combined with the undue prominence bestowed on batting, may account
somewhat for the deterioration. A batsman, by scoring 50 runs, feels
that he may have had a material hand in the success of his side, and
in the same way so does a bowler who takes five or six wickets, for
they both have something tangible to show in the score-sheet. True, the
fieldsman may have helped the bowler by a brilliant catch or two, but
there is no record of the amount of runs he may have saved. Thus it is
that a little selfishness may crop up, for whereas the fieldsman may
feel that, like the spoke of a wheel, he is only part of a whole, the
batsman or bowler feels that he is an individual. Be the reason what it
may, there is no doubt that the practice of fielding is much neglected,
and as there is not that monotony in it that so frequently crops up
in batting achievements, it is difficult to understand the cause of
that neglect. When one considers that the best batsman in the world
is not absolutely certain of scoring a run, and that a good fieldsman
nearly always saves 20 or 30, the importance of fielding can at once be
appreciated.

From a spectacular point of view there is no more stirring sight than
to see eleven players, each of whom is striving his utmost to outdo
the other in his efforts to save runs, bringing off catches that an
ordinary field would not even attempt, and saving runs in a manner
which at times borders on the miraculous. It is such a sight as this
that saves cricket from becoming too monotonous. As has been mentioned
before, sufficient practice is not indulged in; players who take
great pains to improve their batting look upon fielding in the light
of a “something” that has to be put up with, and as such only to be
tolerated. Let these same players take half an hour’s practice every
day for a month, and they will find an improvement in their fielding
such as they would have hardly deemed possible. The only feasible way
of obtaining practice is for some one to hit the ball to you from all
sorts of distances, varying from 10 yards to 70, as this range will
include different kinds of chances, from “slip” catches to catches in
the long field. It is a good plan to use a light bat and hold it in the
same manner that one would grasp a racquet, as by doing so one is able
to impart a “cut” to the ball which closely resembles the spin that
would result from a mis-hit to “cover” or a “snick” in the “slips.”
Excepting at school, throwing at the wicket is seldom practised, which
is a great mistake, for many a run has been saved and many a wicket
taken by the accuracy of a smart return.

In classifying fieldsmen, one can roughly do so by saying that there
are two kinds, those that field near the wicket and those that field
in the out-field, and these latter are in the minority. In the same
manner, fielding may be dissolved into two parts, namely, ground
fielding and catching. Ground fielding has been brought to a state of
perfection for which the improvement in the modern cricket-grounds is
in a large manner responsible. To become a good ground fieldsman one
must be able to judge the pace of the ball to a nicety; otherwise,
although one may succeed in stopping it, one will fail to gather the
ball accurately, and consequently will not save the run. The fieldsman
who excels is the one who, gathering the ball accurately, returns it to
the keeper or bowler with one and the same action. The time saved by
this almost simultaneous action of stopping and returning the ball is
of immense value to fielders in the long field, not only in the saving
of singles, but also in the running out of unwary batsmen. When a ball
is travelling along the ground, the first duty of a fieldsman is if
possible to get in front of it, drawing the legs close together, so
that, should the ball through any irregularity in the turf bump over
the outstretched hands, it will be impeded by the fieldsman’s body. He
must be equally certain with right or left hand in stopping those hits
that he cannot get to with both hands, and there may be a time when it
is absolutely necessary to use his foot in order to save runs. This
method, useful and indispensable though it may be at times, is, one is
sorry to say, becoming a little too general. Whenever possible the hand
should always be used, and only as a desperate last chance should the
foot be resorted to.

On the perfect grounds that now abound, in nine cases out of ten the
chance of overtaking a ball that has been only moderately hit is very
small, but it is worth while to pursue, even with the odds so great
against one. And one should bear in mind that the quicker one starts in
that pursuit, the more likely is that boundary to be saved, especially
as to gauge the decrease in the pace of the ball is a most difficult
matter. Grounds too must be taken into consideration, for it does
not follow that a boundary which one might save at Birmingham would
be saved at Brighton. When you are attempting to save a boundary by
_pursuing_ the ball, never try to seize the ball too soon, for you are
only more likely to miss it altogether, and your chase to be rendered
futile. Even should you succeed in grasping the ball, your effort of
stooping down and diving forward so upsets your balance that to turn
round and return the ball without unnecessary loss of time is extremely
difficult. The method that should be adopted, and one that is more
likely to meet with success, is for the fieldsman to overtake the ball,
and when a little in front, or even level with it, to stretch the hand
out and allow it to roll into the hand.

No matter how accurate one may be in returning a ball, accuracy is
of little avail unless it be tempered with speed, for even though
occasionally a man may be given out when the wicket has been hit and
he has regained his ground, yet the fieldsman will find that it is the
exception and not the rule. Without speed of return the fieldsman, be
he ever so certain a catch or brilliant a ground field, will never
reach a high point of excellence; he will be useful, but not great.
Even this useful field is not so frequent as he should be.

Opportunities of running men out are often lost by the fieldsman
becoming flurried, and returning the ball in a haphazard manner to
whichever end he happens to be near. This is a most fatal mistake,
and one that has been the cause of allowing many a batsman to proceed
on his way safely when the reverse should have been the case. When
an opportunity of running out a man does occur—and these, from the
fieldsman’s point of view, are too few and far between—the fieldsman
should determine as to which end he is to return the ball before
it reaches him. He will then have more time to make certain of the
accuracy of his aim. Should he be fielding near the wicket, he should
return to the wicket-keeper at the height of the latter’s chest; if
from the long field, on the first bounce, but always at the utmost
speed. A time may come when it is imperative to aim at the stumps, for
the time occupied in the keeper breaking the wickets may just suffice
to give the batsman the benefit of the doubt in a close race; but as
a general rule it is one’s duty to rely on the keeper. The bowler at
times has to fulfil the duties of a wicket-keeper in receiving the
return balls, and as he does not possess the protection of gloves, one
has to consider the question of damaging his fingers. With a bowler who
is wont to flinch at a fast return, it is wiser in the end to leave the
wicket entirely to the accuracy of the thrower and the nimbleness of
the backer-up. Many “run outs” may accrue in this manner which might
not have come to pass if too much reliance had been placed on the
bowler. Preventing runs is made much easier by the faculty of being
able to anticipate the direction of the batsman’s stroke before he has
actually played the ball, and this capacity is only acquired by most
careful attention and experience. By being on one’s toes, somewhat in
the same manner as one would start for a race, it becomes much easier
to cut off a ball than if one’s foot is placed flat on the ground. The
adoption of this attitude not only saves actual runs, but it has the
further advantage of preventing batsmen from attempting those short
runs which so often have the effect of demoralising a weak fielding
side. Difficult as it is at times to judge to which end the ball will
be returned, especially when a fieldsman feints to throw in at one end
and then suddenly returns it to the other, some one should always be
backing up both the wicket-keeper and bowler. Nothing is more annoying
to the bowler than to see a sharp-run single converted into a two or
even more by the lack of adequate backing-up. It is those who are
fielding near the wicket who should be responsible for the prevention
of overthrows, especially the man in that place to which it is usual to
relegate a weak fieldsman, mid-on.

There is no hard-and-fast rule for the proper position to hold the
hands when about to receive a catch. The hand should be so held as
to form a cup, with the fingers extended, and the moment the ball is
inside, the hand should be allowed to give, in order to minimise the
impact. For catches in the long field one should thrust the hands up
as high as one can, so that, if the ball should be fumbled, a chance
may be left of securing it on a second attempt. One-handed catches
must be made at times, even in the long field, but whenever possible
two hands should be used. Confidence is a great factor of success at
cricket, but even that quality may be overdone, especially in catching.
To make a comparatively easy catch look difficult, in order to extort
applause from the crowd, is a most unsportsmanlike act, jeopardising
as it does the success of a side in order to gain a few moments of
self-glorification. Fortunate is the side which does not possess one
of these mountebanks. Catches should be looked upon as timely gifts of
Providence, and as such not to be lightly treated, for in these days of
concrete-like wickets chances occur all too infrequently.

[Illustration: _THE CRICKET FIELD AT RUGBY._]

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting by_    _W. J. Bowden._
_A MATCH IN THE EIGHTIES._]

In no branch of the game is the improvement so marked as it is in
wicket-keeping, and for this improvement present-day cricketers have
to thank that prince of wicket-keepers, the Australian, Blackham.
Before he made his appearance in England, long-stops were looked upon
as quite as indispensable to a side as the wicket-keeper himself,
but on his arrival in 1878 the fallacy of that theory was quickly
demonstrated. Wickets in those days were not quite the perfect wickets
of to-day, and with Spofforth bowling his fastest and best, the manner
in which Blackham stood close up to the wicket, and without the aid of
a long-stop, was looked upon as something approaching the marvellous.
Magnificent keepers as we have had, since he revolutionised the art of
wicket-keeping, he is still without an equal.

No one, unless he possesses a natural aptitude for the position, is
likely to achieve any considerable success, though it is a mistake
to suppose that a wicket-keeper, like the poet, is born, not made.
Much can be done by practice, and by studying the methods of the many
brilliant keepers that abound to-day. Excepting the captain of the
side, no man is more open to criticism than the wicket-keeper, and in
nine cases out of ten this criticism tends in the direction of abuse.
By those who have been unfortunate enough to have been persuaded to
don the gloves, the difficulties of the position are duly appreciated,
but unless one has done so, one is hardly able to judge the great
assistance that a good keeper can render a bowler. Besides his duties
of stumping, running out, and catching, he is often able to inform
the bowler as to the weak spots in a batsman’s play, for from his very
position he can more easily detect them. In the case of a good bowler
and an equally competent stumper, it is a combination of two heads
against one, the most valuable combination that a side can possess. The
confidence that a good keeper inspires in a bowler is only equalled
by the confidence that one would naturally possess in using one’s own
billiard-cue. An incompetent wicket-keeper will make a good bowler
powerless, whilst a good keeper considerably strengthens a weak bowling
side. A wicket-keeper without a good nerve may be likened to a ship
without a rudder, for each is practically helpless. The slightest sign
of flinching would result in an appalling amount of byes and missed
opportunities. Very rarely indeed is a match concluded without the
wicket-keeper having played an important part in either the winning
or the losing of it. He should never lose sight of the ball from the
moment it is out of the bowler’s hand to the moment it reaches him,
and above all, he should never snap at the ball. He stands up in a
stooping posture, with his hands close enough to the bails to allow
him to remove them in almost the same action as receiving the ball.
Until the ball has been struck or has passed the bat, he should remain
stationary, for it is much easier to accurately judge the ball thus
than when on the move. Necessity compels him at times to jump to this
or that side, but this should be done before the ball reaches him, in
order to allow the body to be again stationary when his hands receive
the ball. In order to run the least chance of injury to the hands,
especially to the top joints of the fingers, the hands should be held
at a downward angle, and allowed to “give” with the impact of the
ball. This “give” should be very slight to slow or medium bowling,
as the drawing back of the hands after taking a ball, even though
occupying the slightest fraction of a second, often results in a
missed opportunity of stumping. Wicket-keepers who are in the habit of
allowing their hands to “give” considerably are, on account of their
hands being farther back, invariably better catchers than stumpers.
This is especially applicable to Board, the Gloucestershire keeper.
He brings off some most wonderful catches, but from this very habit
of drawing the hands back too far, he is often unable to outpace the
batsman when a question of stumping arises. Considering how completely
a batsman, especially a left-hander, often obscures the sight of the
ball from the keeper’s view, it is a distinct credit to his skill
that he is able to perform his duties so ably. How many times has the
explanation of a dropped catch by cover or mid-off been put down to
want of a proper sight of the ball; but one rarely hears that excuse
from the stumper, and yet he, above any of the other fields, has
a right to use it. To a very fast bowler even the most proficient
of wicket-keepers should stand back, for he is more likely to make
catches there than if he stood up. Stumping off fast bowling is of rare
occurrence, not on account of the pace of the bowling, but because in
playing it a batsman rarely leaves his crease, and consequently the
keeper gets few opportunities. The latter’s most difficult duty is the
taking of balls on the leg side. He rarely gets a clear sight of these,
and consequently has to rely more or less on guess-work, especially
to bowling above medium pace. The South African, Halliwell, was quite
as much at home in keeping on the leg side as he was on the off, and
frequently used to stump batsmen whilst attempting to glance fast
bowling to leg. Thankless as the post of wicket-keeping is at times,
yet from the frequency of his opportunities the wicket-keeper must
often gain some solace.

Because a fieldsman is a good out-field, it does not follow that he
will be equally successful in any position nearer the wicket, so that,
though it may be an excellent plan for a fieldsman to become acquainted
with other positions in the field, yet, as “use is second habit,” it
may be wiser for him to make a specialty of that position in which he
has become accustomed to field. On account of the comparatively little
movement that it requires, “point” is a much sought after position by
those players who, either from stress of age or laziness, do not wish
to indulge in much running or throwing. Such is really not the use
for which this position was intended, for, from the very fact of its
being so adjacent to the wicket, it requires extreme attention and
activity. “Point” should never be farther away from the wicket than 12
yards, either to slow bowling or fast, and he should always be ready to
take the place of the stumper whenever the latter, either because of
the bad return or on account of his zeal in running after a “snick,”
leaves his post. Many “points” stand too far out, so much so that they
encroach on the duties of “cover.” If a “point” stands some 16 or 17
yards away from the wicket, the “cover” must of necessity stand much
deeper, and by doing so he can rarely stop two determined batsmen from
stealing many short runs during the course of a long partnership. No
finer “points” than Noble, and Wright of Derbyshire, who stand rarely
more than 10 yards from the bat, could be found, and the number of
catches that they have brought off because of their propinquity to the
wicket more than counterbalances the number of runs that they might
have saved by standing back.

There is no position in the field that gives so many opportunities
for a fine field to shine as does that of “cover-point.” It is a most
trying position for any one who may not be in the best of condition,
as he has to be continually on the move, for he it is that is held
responsible for the prevention of short runs, quite the most arduous
part of his many duties. As he has a large area of ground to look
after, he must be very exact in keeping in his right place, as even a
yard may mean all the difference between taking or missing a chance,
especially as the ball sometimes travels at great speed in his
direction. The difficulty of the position lies in the amount of “spin”
that is often imparted to the ball, not only when on the ground, but
also when in the air. Catches which often appear to be going to one’s
right hand have suddenly to be attempted with the left, on account of
the curve, and this curve being of a very sudden nature, these catches
are extremely hard to judge. This curve is most pronounced when a slow
left-hand or a leg-break bowler is bowling. One often sees apparently
easy catches from mis-hits dropped at “cover” in a most unaccountable
fashion, but in reality these simple “dolly” catches are much more
difficult to hold than those from hard drives. An incredible amount of
“spin” is put on a mis-hit ball, so that, unless the catch is received
well into the middle of the hand, the spinning ball will act in much
the same fashion as does a billiard-ball when “check side” is imparted
to it. When assisted by an extra mid-off, “cover” should place himself
much squarer with the wickets, as he will have a much less area of
ground to guard, and he must be just deep enough to be able to save
singles. He should be able to return the ball from below the shoulder
with a fast wristy action, full pitch to the wickets. The introduction
of extra mid-off has somewhat lessened “cover’s” duties, so much so
that often a brilliant field has very little to do in that position,
this being especially the case with slow bowling. Naturally, strokes
off slow bowling are made more in front than behind or square, so that
to this class of bowling the extra mid-off is indispensable. To see
Gregory fielding at “cover” is an object-lesson to those fielders who
may have fallen into the disastrous habit of allowing the ball to come
to them, instead of dashing in to meet it. There are many admirable
cover-points, but for many years the Australian has been quite in a
class by himself in that position.[1]

The duties of “third man” are of the same description as those of
“cover,” for the position calls for equal activity and dash. Short
runs are invariably attempted if the “third man” is at all likely to
be flurried, so that the fieldsman selected for the position must
essentially be cool and collected. The pace of the wicket and the
bowling should determine the exact position in which he should stand,
and he should cultivate a stooping attitude, as the balls come to him
as a rule very low. He will not get many catches, but when he does, it
is extremely likely that they will be very difficult, on account of
the “cut” that the ball will possess from being hit in that direction.
When a short run is attempted, it is better to return the ball to the
bowler, as the batsman who is backing up has less ground to cover than
the striker. Any ball that goes to the left hand of “point” he has to
attend to, and he must also back up the wicket-keeper when the ball is
returned from the on side. One of the long fields is generally deputed
to fill the position, often solely in order to save him from having
to walk too far in order to fill some other position. Naturally it is
a wise precaution to avoid tiring your fieldsmen, but unless the long
field shows a marked aptitude for the position, he should not be placed
there. Third men that one cannot occasionally steal runs from are very
rare, but he would be a daring runner who would attempt to do so when
such brilliant men as Trumper, Sewell, or Burnup are fielding in that
position.

If one could trace the position of the field in which most catches are
missed, “the slips,” it would be safe to say, would pan out as the
chief offenders. Excepting the wicket-keeper’s, theirs are the most
important places, and require quick-sighted fieldsmen who are certain
catches. Attention is the most important quality, combined with the
faculty of being able to judge the flight of the ball from the bat.
One must adopt a stooping attitude, in order to reach low catches, and
also because it enables one to spring in any direction with more ease
than if one stands upright. Though two hands, as in other positions in
the field, should be used whenever possible, yet one must be certain
with either hand, as the majority of catches are brought off with one
hand. Two common faults are pretty general, namely, snapping at the
ball instead of letting it come into the hand, and standing in the
wrong place. The distance at which the slips should stand varies very
much in accordance with the state of the pitch and the nature of the
bowling. They would naturally be farther back to fast bowling than to
slow. It is a moot point as to whether a slip should be stationary
or occasionally on the move, in order to anticipate a stroke. An
experienced slip has his own method, and he is wise to stick to it
if he finds it meets with success, even though it be a method not
altogether orthodox. Of present-day slips individually, R. E. Foster,
A. O. Jones, Tunnicliffe, J. R. Mason, and Braund stand out very
prominently, but collectively the combination of Braund, Maclaren, and
Jones is all that one could desire.

An easy position, but one that requires considerable nerve and
activity, is “mid-off.” As a rule the ball comes straight to the
fielder and at great pace, but usually with very little twist on,
though occasionally, when a left-hander is bowling, the ball swerves
a good deal. The most difficult catches that he has to deal with are
those that rise from the very moment that the ball touches the bat,
and unless he judges the ball very accurately, he will find that the
tips of his fingers will suffer very considerably, and that success
will not attend his efforts. “Mid-off” should be in such a position
as to be able to back up the bowler when the batsman returns the ball
hard, and also to save short runs. Like “cover” and “third man,” he
should be always ready to start, as he often gets chances of a run-out.
The amount of runs that the Australian Jones and Hirst save in that
position, and the catches that they bring off, are phenomenal.

In all the course of my experience I have never yet seen a really
first-class “mid-on.” It may be that I have been peculiarly unfortunate
in that respect. It is an easy position to field in, because the ball
is not often hit in that direction, and when it is, there is no twist,
although there may be a good deal of pace on it. On account of the
easiness of the position, the weak fieldsmen are deposited there. When
a “short leg” is utilised, “mid-on’s” duties are a perfect sinecure,
but on fast wickets, when the short leg’s services are dispensed with,
he has a considerable amount of work to get through. He is often the
only man fielding on the on side of the wicket, and accordingly he has
to run for any ball that may be played on that side. He must be ready
to back up both the wicket-keeper and the bowler, so that a great many
runs can be saved by a smart field in this position.

On a bad wicket and with an off-break bowler the position of short
leg is indispensable, as under these conditions many balls, though
intended to be played straight, hit the edge of the bat and, on account
of the break, proceed in his direction. Though weak fielders are also
relegated to this position, it is a difficult post to fill adequately,
as the ball comes often very quick and low, with a good deal of spin
on. His position varies a good deal according to the style of the
batsman, but he should not be too deep. As a general rule, he should
be about 10 or 11 yards from the batsman. As so much leg-break bowling
is now in vogue, he often gets bombarded in a dangerous manner. When a
bowler of this kind is performing, it is just as well to place one of
the best fieldsmen in that position.

Fielding in the “long field” requires more nerve and judgment than
does fielding near the wicket. The ball is much longer in the air and
on the ground, and it is on account of this fact that nerve plays
such an important part. The ball is so long in coming to the fieldsman
that he has time to conceive all manner of things that may happen,
and it is for this reason that the knowledge of the temperaments of
those playing under him is so useful to the captain. A fieldsman who
is nervous in the long field need not necessarily be classed as a bad
field, for cases have come under my own observation of the wonderful
change that has been wrought in a “nervy” field when fielding close to
the wickets. Generally speaking, there are two positions in the long
field, “long on” and “long off,” but now that the fashionable method of
bowling wide of the leg stump has somewhat superseded the “off theory,”
the old position of “long leg” has lately been made more use of. In all
three positions the duties are similar, and they require a safe pair
of hands, speed in running, and great accuracy in returning the ball.
Everything in the nature of a chance must be attempted, even at the
risk of not saving a boundary, for often catches are made that at times
look impossible. “Long field” must return the ball the moment that it
is in his hands, and should never wait for the ball to come to him, but
should dash in the moment it is struck. Few “out-fields” can throw a
distance of 70 or 80 yards without going through some such preliminary
as moving the arms round and round in order to gain sufficient momentum
to aid them in propelling the ball, and even running 2 or 3 yards
before returning it. This waste of time is simply a sign of lack of
practice, and can easily be remedied by sufficient attention paid to
it.

The importance of good fielding cannot be too greatly emphasised, for
without it a good bowling side is rendered ineffectual and powerless
to win matches, excepting on bad wickets. Unless a batsman or a
bowler should possess great proficiency, he should not be included
in a first-class match if he cannot attain to an average standard
of fielding; _i.e._ he should be able to throw, not jerk, and catch
reasonable catches. The time comes when a fieldsman, through advancing
years, may not be so speedy in the field as he was wont to be in
his younger days, though his powers as a batsman may be scarcely
diminished. Provided he is still able to hold catches, in positions
that require little or no running about, he may still be a powerful
factor of success to his side. But for young fieldsmen who either from
sheer laziness or inability cannot either hold catches or save runs,
one cannot but have a feeling of disgust, and it is such players as
these that are out of place in first-class cricket.

[Illustration: _KENT_ v. _SUSSEX, AT BRIGHTON._
_A supposed Match played between 1839-41._]


[Illustration]



CHAPTER VI

COUNTY CRICKET

By W. J. FORD


It has been always cast in the teeth of us Englishmen by our
Continental critics that we take our amusements seriously—that our
idea of recreation is to go forth and kill something, and that anything
of the nature of excitement is unknown to us; even our wars seem to
them to be conducted by us in a cold-blooded, business-like, almost
saturnine fashion, such as the foreigner cannot understand. Our almost
fanatical excitement over the relief of Mafeking and of Ladysmith might
have served to disenlighten our neighbours to a certain degree, but
they probably regarded those wild bursts of enthusiasm as a mere phase
of a fever, as one of the periodic alternations of heat and cold that
are characteristic of a severe attack of ague. It is for the historian
and the student of human nature to decide whether our nature is
phlegmatic or merely proud, and whether these rare outbursts are not in
reality a genuine eruption of violent volcanic feelings which have long
smouldered beneath the crust of our real nature. The true account seems
to be that in matters of a public and, still more, of an international
character, insular pride does not allow us to reveal the fact that the
Englishman possesses a certain amount of that excitability which we
choose to attribute to the southern and the Latin races: it is only a
special stress that reveals this side of our nature. When, however,
the Englishman’s foot is on English soil, and when his only critics
are of the same blood as himself, then and only then does he allow
the true keenness of his disposition to run riot. The Englishman, in
short, only casts aside his phlegm, his reserve, and his pride when
he is in congenial society, and the presence of the necessary society
is in no place more apparent than on the scenes of those sports that
afford him the amusement and, in some cases, the means of life. Those
scenes may be narrowed down to the football field, the race-course, and
the cricket ground. It is with the last of these that our business at
present lies.

It would be impossible to lay down any cast-iron reason for the fact
that general interest in cricket has increased by leaps and bounds
in the last twenty years. The fact is incontrovertible, whatever the
cause may be, but to most of those who have watched the course of
cricket events, the progress of county cricket will present itself as
the primary cause of the progress of the game as a whole. At the same
time, there is a fair field left for those who choose to maintain that
the impetus given to county cricket is really due to the rapid spread
of the game itself and the attendant enthusiasm of its admirers; while
there is, as usual, a third course left to us, which is to maintain
that the two things, general cricket and county cricket, have advanced
_pari passu_, each owing much to the other. And at this point we may
abandon the question as one that will produce abundant controversy and
no conviction, especially as all the theorists can meet and agree as
to the one common effect, differ as they may as to the cause, namely,
that both players of the game and lovers of the game have increased by
innumerable multiples during the last fifteen or twenty years. There
are those who think it good to decry this desperate enthusiasm for a
pastime—who declare that it is a symptom of national decadence, and
declare that a mere game is an irrational thing, inasmuch as a rational
treatment of it at once destroys its existence as a game in the true
sense of the word. We are hardly prepared, however, to have our
pastimes handled in this Socratic manner. A game is a game, and if it
is a good game, we who love it consider that it deserves something more
than casual and ephemeral treatment; hence we throw ourselves into it
heart and soul, and those who like to see heart-and-soul work have only
to go to the nearest county ground on a match day to see how energy
and rivalry can, on the principle enunciated above, turn a game into a
no-game.

Nor is it illogical at this point to assume that county cricket is to
us the highest popular embodiment of our pastime; it is true that a
certain and a limited number of special matches attract more attention,
for sentimental reasons, than do mere county matches, but it is on
the latter class of games that genuine and general interest is mainly
expended, earning for those who exhibit it a certain amount of contempt
from those who hold that to lavish interest on a game is to squander
a valuable asset. Political economy and its votaries would doubtless
tell us—indeed, they do tell us—that such labour as is expended on
hitting, or on bowling, or on stopping, or on catching a mere ball,
is unproductive labour, and consequently labour lost, while they show
no limit to their contempt for those who, not being actual players
themselves, squander—so they call it—valuable time in watching other
people waste time that is equally valuable. However, the cynic and his
butt, like the poor, are always with us; all that we can desire and all
that we can hope for is that he will confine himself to his dwelling,
and leave us to enjoy ourselves in peace, while we may fairly ask him
to reflect in the recesses of his barrel as to what the watchers of
cricket would do with themselves if there were no cricket to watch.
That they would be better employed is possible; that they would be
worse employed is probable; and he would be a poor philosopher indeed
who would find fault with the open-air stage of Lord’s or the Oval,
and would yet allow the music-hall and the theatre to stifle their
nightly victims. The strictest of Puritans could hardly find fault with
bat and ball as being the inculcators of evil principles; rather, like
the study of the ingenuous arts, do they “soften our characters and
forbid them to be savage.” The cynic and the rhymer have had their say,
but cricket is still with us, and seems likely to stay, howl as they
will.

In connection with the game’s advance, it would be unjust not to
acknowledge the fillip that has been given to it by the periodical
visits of Australian elevens, the first of which occurred as far
back as 1878, combined with the return of their calls by our men. It
was a new truth to us that there was growing up in Greater Britain a
race of men who, taught by ourselves, profiting by our lessons, and
in the process of time perhaps improving on our methods, were able
to withstand us to our face, the pupil often proving the superior
of the master; and it may be that to this fact, and the perhaps
unconscious conviction that “the old man” must not be “beaten by the
boy” at cricket as at chess, is due the uprise of county cricket as
the readiest means of ascertaining our strength and organising our
resources, though it was not till several years after the first visit
of Australians that any real attempt to organise county cricket into
a formal competition succeeded. Such an attempt had been made in 1872
by the Marylebone Cricket Club, which offered a cup in that year for
competition among the counties, but the offer was coldly received, the
counties that entered were so few that such words as “competition” and
“championship” became misnomers, and the offer was withdrawn. Not that
the word “champion” had not been and still was applied to some county
or another as soon as the last ball of the season had been bowled, but
the expression was visionary; it was merely the outcome of the views
of the press or of individuals, and it naturally happened that when
these views conflicted there were “two Richmonds in the field,” both
styled champion by their respective supporters. It was not till the
representatives of counties met in peaceful conclave, coded laws and
bye-laws, with the request that the M.C.C. would exercise a fatherly
and presidential rule over county cricket, that the latter became
historical fact.

It seems to me that the growth and systematization of general cricket
are due to the growth and systematization of county cricket, and the
emulation which accompanied its increase. The counties, having set
their hands to the plough, were in no mood to look back; those which,
as exceptionally strong, were rated first-rate, set themselves to see
that no weakness on their part should cause them to be degraded to the
ranks; while the rank and file, on the other hand, spared no effort
to secure their own promotion. And at this point it is well to remind
those who profess to see a mere desire of money-making underlying the
expansion of county cricket, that the then junior counties, many of
which are now seniors, owed their existence and its prolongation not
to gate-money or speculating syndicates, as is the case with many
football clubs, but to the generous assistance of enthusiastic patrons,
whose only motive for liberality was their own love of the game, as a
game, and their desire to see it not merely extended, but perfected.
At the present day there are county clubs which rely mainly for their
existence on the voluntary subscriptions and donations of their
supporters, men whose only reward is the opportunity of seeing good
cricket brought home to their own doors, and the promotion, expansion,
and improvement of the game. Gate-money is of course an important
factor in a club’s receipts, but it is sheer nonsense, it is almost
mendacity, to declare that the county cricket of to-day is played for
gate-money and for nothing else. Yet such assertions have been made,
and are still made, by men who do not reflect that the patrons who
subscribe to a club do not do so with the idea of providing the public
with a gratis entertainment, though—I am thinking of one patron in
particular—such an act would not be without precedent: their idea is,
as stated before, to provide amusement for themselves, encourage the
game, and help those who help themselves. The last people to grumble at
the payment of gate-money are the payers themselves, who are not slow
to recognise that sixpence is not a large sum to expend for a day in
the open air, with a display of skill and activity thrown in, for which
the spectator pays at the rate of about one penny per hour! Lastly,
and briefly—for there is no satisfaction gained by dealing with
misstatements—when accounts are balanced, the surplus that remains,
if any, does not go to swell the speculator’s income, but is devoted to
the improvement of accommodation, the advancement of the game, or that
prudent economy that provides against the cricketer’s bugbear, in every
sense of the word—a rainy day.

I have suggested that we owe the increase of cricket to the growth
of county cricket, and the reasons are not far to seek. When once a
county is included in the first class, or aspires to it, its first
effort is to enlist all its available talent, and as the reward of the
great cricketer is no mean one, whether that reward come in the shape
of reputation and amusement to the amateur, or of good red gold to the
professional, the aim and ambition of every promising player and of the
club to which he belongs is to get at least a fair trial in the higher
spheres of the game. Further than that, the executive does not merely
wait to receive the applications of the ambitious, but, like Porsena
of Clusium, it “bids its messengers ride forth, east and west and
south and north,” not exactly “to summon its array,” but to ascertain
what fighting blood there is in the county ready for immediate action,
and what recruits there are whose early promise may be developed into
disciplined effectiveness. In other words, the cricketing pulse of
the county at once begins to throb, and the executive, like a wise
physician, keeps its finger on that organ, to ascertain the condition
of the patient. But it is not merely by inquisition into the talent
that is available that the ranks of a county eleven are filled up:
the promising players are invited to attend at the county ground for
inspection, practice, and tuition, being drafted into the company of
the “ground” bowlers, and given opportunities in minor matches of
exhibiting their natural and their trained powers, a further impulse
being given to cricket by the distribution of the big matches among
different centres, where such distribution is possible, and by the
mission of so-called second elevens to the most distant bounds, to
play matches and to discover talent. These trips may well be compared
to the marches of different regiments through those districts from
which, under the territorial system, they hope to draw their recruits.
When to these different forms of encouragement we add the sums spent
in occasional subsidies, to say nothing of the salaries of players and
officials, and of the expenses entailed by the upkeep of the club’s
ground and property, it will be seen that, though the sour may sneer,
it would be and is impossible for a crack county to maintain its
position unless its assured income from subscriptions were augmented
by the humble sixpence of gate-money. It is not, of course, every
county that can manage its cricket _en prince_ in the way indicated:
that implies a heavy rent-roll, a handsome and dependable income, and
perhaps a snug little sum in the 2-3/4 per cents; only rich counties
can do things with a lavish hand, and find themselves able to spare
a lucrative match that will produce a bouncing benefit for some
deserving professional. Others have to look rather wistfully at the
small roll of cloth from which their coat has to be cut, and have to
curtail expenses accordingly; but the county cricket club, even if run
upon humble lines, recollects that Rome was not completed within the
twenty-four hours, and that as nothing succeeds like success, its first
and primary duty is to be successful, if possible; that it is only by
pains and patience that the best men are to be discovered and utilised,
and that its turn can only be served by inoculating as many people and
clubs as possible with the most virulent type of cricket fever.

I am disposed to think that that county is likely to prosper which
can find two or three grounds within its borders which are suitable
for county cricket, and are in the centre of fairly populous
districts; to which fact I attribute, in no small degree, the success
of the Yorkshire County C.C. as an institution, and of its eleven
as a fighting body. Not that the side has always had the pleasant
experiences of 1900, 1901, and 1902, when in a series of eighty-three
matches only two resulted in failure, for as recently as 1889 the big
county and Sussex met at the fag-end of the season in an encounter
which was to decide whether the northern or the southern county was
to find its name at the bottom of the roll; but the county of so
many acres has not only a large field of selection, but has also, in
Sheffield, Leeds, Huddersfield, Bradford, Scarborough, York, Hull, and
Dewsbury, so many centres of action that she can display her powers to
tens of thousands, where other counties can only muster thousands, and
can thus command a very large and consistent income. But in strict
and strong relief stands out the figure of Nottingham, a county that,
to the best of my knowledge, has never played a “home” match away from
the Trent Bridge ground, and has never been blest with a superabundance
of this world’s goods, yet has for many years not only possessed a
formidable eleven of its own, but has also been able to send out a full
and steady stream of professional players of all classes, some of whom,
though not exactly thankless children, have proved a veritable set of
serpent’s teeth when arrayed against the mother county. Nottinghamshire
is a standing exception to the rule that great elevens are the outcome
of great incomes.

There is no doubt that the true nucleus of a county eleven lies in the
body of professional players that the executive has at its disposal.
As men who are in receipt of a definite wage for their services, and
as men who, by reason of their skill, obedience, and civility, have
something like a right to expect a benefit match after some ten or
twelve years of service, they find it a duty as well as a pleasure
to keep themselves in good condition as well as in good practice,
and, their services being always available, they are in the long run
of more general use than the amateurs, many of whom, having other
avocations, are unable to play regularly. Not that any eleven is
complete without its amateurs. Among professionals a certain amount
of professional jealousy is sure to arise, which sometimes grows into
something stronger; while it has been proved by actual experience
that in an eleven entirely composed of paid players, and of course
captained by a professional, difficulties of discipline will occur,
the management of the eleven being acridly criticised by those who
think that in some form or other their abilities have not been duly
recognised, which lack of recognition is attributable to the worst and
meanest of motives. There is no such thing, fortunately, as a cricket
trade-union, nor is there any place for it, but as a matter of history
it is right to record that various secessions, almost amounting to
mutinies, have occurred in the professional ranks at different times,
which have sometimes taken the form of a strike, based either on a
claim for higher pay, or on a demand that certain players who are
regarded as obnoxious—almost as blacklegs—by their comrades should
not take part in a given match, under no less a penalty than the
refusal of the protestants to appear themselves. All these things have
occurred, but just as the intestine disputes of bees may, according
to Virgil, be allayed by the flinging down of a handful of dust, so
a little diplomatic negotiation has settled the dispute. But nothing
tends so much to bind a team together in the bonds of amity as well
as of discipline as the presence of capable amateurs—men of tact
and education as well as efficient cricketers, one of whom, acting
as captain and supreme controller, can readily check the earlier
symptoms of discontent, or, better still, by his wise administration
of his office prevent the incubation of a disease so disastrous as
indiscipline. The moral effect of the presence of amateurs is no whit
less than their value as players, preventing as it does the somewhat
sordid troubles that are apt to arise among those to whom cricket
is a livelihood, and not merely a pastime. Further, a great deal
has been said and written—mainly by those who know nothing of the
subject—as to the exact relations existing between the amateur and
the professional. Only ignorance permits a man to apply such a word
as “snobbish” to the custom of providing separate accommodation for
the two classes of players; worse is it when such a one hints at such
a thing as stand-offishness on the part of the amateurs. There are
certain differences in the education and the social position of the two
classes that makes the closer intimacy of the pavilion undesirable, and
undesired also by both parties. At any rate, cricketers are perfectly
capable of making all such arrangements for themselves, without
the intrusion and interference of others. They have their own code
and their own method, nor does there exist any analogy between the
regulations, especially as to the amateur _status_, of cricket and of
other games. Cricket stands on its own pedestal, and it is good that it
should.

[Illustration: _A CRICKET MATCH (about 1750)._]

One of the troublous parts of cricket legislation has been the question
of the residential qualification of cricketers for their counties,
and the manner of defining what _bona fide_ residence is. It has been
always recognised, I believe, that a man may play for the county in
which he was born, or for the county in which he resides, though for
“or” might have been written “and” as recently as 1873. Up to that
date a man might, and many men did, play for two counties in one
and the same season, under the two qualifications, while it was an
understood thing that when those two counties met he represented the
county of his birth. There were, however, obvious objections to this
dual license, though they only first took shape in the form of proposed
regulation in 1868. Five years later it was made law that a man who was
doubly qualified must elect at the beginning of each season to play
for one of these counties, and for no other. It was undoubtedly an
abuse that such a state of things should exist, but it must have been
a convenient source of revenue to a few professionals in the days when
fees were low and matches few. But the accurate definition of _bona
fide_ residence is still a difficulty: in some cases a man has taken
a room, or a room has been taken for him, in the county for which he
is desired to qualify, and he has, as occasion suited, occupied it
for a night or two, while similar evasions or elastic interpretations
of the law have existed; but the present solution of the question
is probably the best one, _i.e._ to fall back on the patient and
ever-willing committee of the M.C.C., which consents to adjudicate on
all such questions as they arise. It should be added that proposals
have been made several times, notably by Lord Harris in 1880, that
the residential period should be reduced to one year; but though this
reduction would have acted well in certain cases, especially in those
of Colonial and army players who took up their residence in England,
it has been held that objections outweigh the advantages, and the tale
of years has not been reduced.

Some men consider that only the qualification of birth should be
considered, so that only natives of a county should represent it;
but, after all, this qualification is a mere accident as far as the
individual himself is concerned; it would act hardly on a man born
in a poor county—poor, that is, as a cricket-playing county; it
would condemn many a first-class player to take little or no part in
first-class cricket, which is the same thing as county cricket, and we
might even have the anomaly of a county desiring, owing to its plethora
of great players, to put two teams into the competition. As long as
one county does not attempt to lure away men from its neighbours, as
long as every club keeps its eyes wide open in its quest for its own
young blood, and as long as every man feels that it is a primary duty
to keep his allegiance to his native county, so long will the present
rule be thoroughly satisfactory, and the “sporting spirit” must be
trusted to see that the unwritten laws are not transgressed. At the
same time, a hard case may readily be stated, the case of the man of
true and tried merit, who has only the prospect of a small income and
a small benefit as the reward his birth-county can give him, while
by naturalising himself with its neighbour he may look for a large
pecuniary reward. As a general rule, however, the present system works
well: useful men are sometimes overlooked, and allowed, so to speak,
to take foreign service as soldiers of fortune, but as the process is
largely reciprocal, it reacts, to some extent, on all counties alike.
To Yorkshire, and I believe to Yorkshire alone, belongs the credit of
having been represented for many years by Yorkshiremen alone; but then
Yorkshire is a very big land.

[Illustration: _A CURIOUS COUNTY CLUB ADVERTISEMENT._]

[Illustration]

As soon as cricket became a part and parcel of English sporting life,
the contesting sides naturally ranged themselves, in some cases at
least, under the political subdivisions of England, viz. the counties,
and consequently we find county cricket existing in a form as far back
as 1730, when “a great match was played on Richmond Green, between
Surrey and Middlesex, which was won by the former” (I quote from T.
Waghorn’s _Cricket Scores_). It is interesting, by the way, to note
that two of the keenest rivals of to-day met in friendly combat some
130 years before Middlesex could boast of a county club, while the
Surrey Club did not really come into existence till 1845. It may be
added that Middlesex had its revenge three years later, _i.e._ in 1733,
and that the then Prince of Wales, a great patron of cricket, was so
pleased with the skill and zeal of the players, that he presented them
with a guinea apiece. Organisation, classification, championships,
and all the paraphernalia of modern county cricket did not exist,
of course, in the times when locomotion was difficult and matches
consequently few, except among near neighbours; but it may not, on
the whole, have been bad for cricket that at the outset many matches
were made for money, and that all contests of importance were vehicles
for universal and heavy betting. It may seem heterodox to approve of
wagers and stakes, when nowadays it is the pride of those interested in
cricket that it rises above such things, but it must not be forgotten
that customs change with the times; that betting was universal in the
eighteenth century and the early part of the nineteenth among all men
who wished to be considered “smart”; and also that, but for the support
and encouragement given to the game by “sportsmen” and “Corinthians,”
it would never have flourished in the fashion in which it flourishes
to-day: indeed, there was nothing more absurd in Kent playing Hampshire
for 500 guineas, than that the representatives of the two counties
should fight a main of cocks for the same sum. We naturally find
certain abuses which are due to the betting system, but on the whole,
it kept the game alive, and soon quickened it into a more vigorous
existence. Money had to be found somehow; gate-money was out of the
question in the days when most matches, even the very greatest, were
played on village greens or open commons; hence the natural sequence
that in the men who found the stakes and laid the wagers cricket
found its best and keenest patrons. To the love of betting we may
probably attribute the formation of various matches in which curious
combinations of numbers were made, or when certain men were played as
“given” men, so that the strength of the contending parties might be
equalised. Who, however, would care to go nowadays to see twenty-two
of Surrey play twenty-two of Middlesex, a game that took place in
1802, and again in 1803? In 1797 we find that England played against
_thirty-three_ of Norfolk, and won in a single innings by 14 runs.
Again, in 1800, twelve of England play nineteen of Kent, and we find
about this period such matches as “Middlesex, with two of Berkshire and
one of Kent _v._ Essex, with two ‘given’ men”; but a special interest
attaches to this match, as being the first ever played on Lord’s
ground, the old “Lord’s” of Dorset Square, in 1787. Perhaps it is not
unfair to conjecture that the original match was to be between the two
counties, but that the sides had to be patched up owing to defections.
It seems hardly probable that monetary or other reasons would prompt
such curious combinations of men and counties. Proper qualification
can hardly have been insisted upon; indeed, we find that the famous
Hambledon Club, practically Hampshire county, was largely composed of
Surrey men who received enthusiastic invitations to visit the famous
Broad Halfpenny Down. Harking back to some stray scraps of historical
interest, we read that in 1739 Kent, “the unconquerable county,” played
England in the presence of 1000 spectators, but the match ended in a
fiasco, owing to disputes; indeed, such terminations were not very
uncommon when party feeling ran high and betting was rampant. In 1746
Kent again plays England, and wins by a short neck, _i.e._ by one
wicket, while Sussex and Surrey seem great rivals; Surrey, indeed,
beats England three years later, and in 1750 loses to Kent by 3 runs,
but wins the return by nine wickets. From the names quoted, it is
evident that cricket flourished in the south rather than in the north;
but cricket was not unknown in the big manufacturing shires, for we
find that Manchester and Liverpool were then, as now, desperate rivals,
as were Sheffield and Nottingham. Sheffield, indeed, was so strong that
it could play, and used to play, the rest of Yorkshire single-handed.
In a note to a match played between Hants and England in 1772, we find
that “Lumpy,” for England, bowled out Small, “which thing had not
happened for some years”! Perhaps “Lumpy” had secured one of those
wickets on which he could bowl—

  For honest Lumpy did allow
  He ne’er could bowl but o’er a brow.

Hence if the wicket had a “brow,” and Lumpy pitched one of his
“shooters” on it, Small’s downfall is not remarkable. However, though
Hambledon was the best club and Hants the best county, England was too
strong to be tackled single-handed. Surrey first met Kent in 1772,
and beat the county of cherries and hops, having previously done the
same for Hants, though in the latter case the nuisance of “given men”
crops up on both sides; yet such games were clearly popular, strength
being thereby equalised, for we find numerous matches between Hambledon
and England in which the former club was supported by the presence of
outsiders. However, the Hambledon Club, “the cradle of cricket,” with
its “ale that would flare like turpentine”—what a use to put good
“October” to!—“a viand (for it was more than liquor)” that was “vended
at 2d. per pint,” collapsed towards the end of the century, and it
was many a long year before Hants became great again. Alas, too, for
Hambledon cricketers! They were not content to play cricket for love
or for glory, but for stakes, the stakes being pints, doubtless of the
famous “viand”!

A few stray notes on the early half of the century may be not
inappropriate, and most interesting seem to be the trio of matches
played between England and Sussex in 1826. No such contest had ever
taken place before, and the series was really arranged to test
the relative merits of underhand bowling and the then new-fangled
roundhand. The results may be regarded as conclusive. Not only did
Sussex win the first match by seven wickets and the second by three
wickets, but the third match was lost by the county by as few as 24
runs. More conclusive was the action of nine of the professionals,
who refused, after the second match was over, to play in the third
game, “unless the Sussex bowlers bowl fair—that is, abstain from
throwing.” The triumph of the new style was complete, though five of
the recalcitrants played in the third match after all. It was in the
Kent-Sussex match of this year, Kent having some given men, that wides
were first counted, though they did not appear as a separate item.
Three years later no-balls received a similar distinction, the match
being, nominally, between Middlesex and the M.C.C.; but the county had
no regular organisation till five-and-thirty years later. Indeed, it is
illustrative of the then condition of some so-called “county elevens,”
that “Yorkshire” plays the Sheffield Wednesday C.C. and is beaten in
1830, while in 1832 Sheffield plays twenty-two of Yorkshire! However,
in 1834 an eleven, called Yorkshire, consisting mainly of Sheffielders,
lost to Norfolk by no less than 272 runs, Fuller Pilch contributing
87 not out and 73; yet Pilch was a Suffolk man, who was eventually
induced to settle in Kent, though in this year he played for England
and against Kent, which at this time was easily the strongest county.
Next year Yorkshire had its revenge on Norfolk, as, though Pilch made
153 not out in the second innings, the Norfolk men surrendered, the
game being hopeless, probably to avoid the necessity of coming up on
the third day.

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing by_    _G. F. Watts, R.A._
_THE BATSMAN._
(_Fuller Pilch_).]

It is unnecessary to dive more deeply into dates, figures, and facts,
beyond the important fact that early in the last century there were
many counties that played cricket between themselves, and in certain
cases could challenge the rest of England, though they did not exist
as regularly organised societies. The matches were arranged by the
patrons of cricket, as an exciting form of contest in which money
was to be won or lost by betting, and with a view to the increase of
the excitement, men were given to one side or barred from another,
or else extra numbers were allowed as a counterpoise to extra skill,
till in due course counties began to exist as organisations of
themselves, with a view to county cricket pure and simple. Their
establishment, however, was a matter of time. Sussex led the way in
1839; Kent seems to have followed the lead in 1842, the year when the
first Canterbury “Week” was held, under similar conditions to those
that now exist; while the year 1845 saw the birth of the Surrey Club,
with the Oval as its cradle. Then came a gap, but in the ‘sixties
county clubs sprang rapidly into existence—Notts in 1859 or 1860,
Yorkshire in 1862, Hants in 1863 (though the club collapsed early,
and was resuscitated in 1874). Middlesex saw the light in 1864, and
so did Lancashire. Leicestershire dates back to 1878, Derbyshire to
1870, while Gloucestershire is only a year younger, being followed by
Somerset in 1875, by Essex in 1876, and by Warwickshire in 1882. With
the appearance of Worcestershire on the scene in 1899, at least as a
first-class county, we have reached the last-joined of the present big
cricketing counties; but it should be clearly understood that the dates
given are as a rule only those of the years in which the clubs were
originally formed. Their pretensions to be included in the privileged
list of those who are entitled, as being “first-class,” to take part
in the championship competition were only gratified when they had by
active service and doughty deeds established a claim to promotion.

The formation of county clubs, especially in the middle of last
century, may fairly be traced directly to the success, in finance as
well as in cricket, of those famous organisations, the All England
and the United All England elevens. Originally founded as purely
financial speculations, for the promotion and success of which the
best cricketing talent of the country was enlisted, they made annual
progresses through England, meeting the picked local talent of all
cricketing centres, generally reinforced by imported men, and meeting
each other at Lord’s on Whit-Monday, this last match being regarded as
at least the equal of the Gentlemen and Players fixture as a display of
scientific cricket. The periodical visits of these skilled _troupes_
not only excited the interest and improved the cricket of the local
centres—Dr. Grace himself bears ample testimony to the keenness caused
by their presence—but they also opened the eyes of cricket-lovers to
the fact that good cricket could be made self-supporting. Further, they
saw the immense progress that the game would make, and the enormous
facilities that would be offered to that progress, in every county
which had a club and a centre of its own. It may be said, indeed,
that the success of these peripatetic teams, while it conduced to
their own collapse, suggested and promoted the foundation of county
cricket as it is played nowadays. The two great elevens did their work
well and thoroughly, both for themselves and for the game, and when
they dispersed, and their constituent members were drafted into the
county elevens, they could at least claim that they had popularised
the game, had improved the methods in which it was played, and had
left behind them a valuable legacy to all those who either played or
admired cricket. Think of this, all of you who are apt to remember only
the pettinesses and schisms of those two great elevens! There were
pettinesses, and there were schisms, but these must be forgotten in the
recollection that the men who erred were likewise the men who put our
first-class cricket on its present basis, who made the existence of
county cricket feasible, possible, and profitable.

It should here be noted that though only fifteen counties have been
enumerated, the cricket-playing counties are by no means restricted to
that number. Norfolk and Suffolk have for many years been cricketing
counties. Cambridgeshire was at one time, thanks to Hayward, Carpenter,
and Tarrant, one of the strongest of counties. Northamptonshire,
Durham, Northumberland, Lincolnshire, and many others, _quos nunc
perscribere longum est_, have all fostered cricket and cricketers,
and if they have not come into the forefront of the battle yet, there
is no reason why they should not yet figure as champions, considering
the vigour and keenness with which the game is played and watched.
In fact, the question of classification is an extremely hard one,
the uncertainty of cricket and the part that luck plays adding most
materially to the difficulties. By the present system the general
results pan out pretty well, and harmonise, as a rule, with public
opinion, but accurate organisation and registration, with due regard
to merit, is impossible in a game at which such curious results
are possible as were seen in the Yorkshire-Somerset match of 1901.
Yorkshire, undefeated, was at the head of the list then, as at the
end of the year. Somerset, at the time the match was played, had won
but one match out of eight; further, the game in question was played
on Yorkshire territory, and Somerset, dismissed for 97, was headed
on the first innings by 238 runs. In the end, Somerset won by 279!
Who can classify, who promote, who degrade, when such extraordinary
fluctuations are possible? It is clearly no solution of the promotion
question to suggest that the lowest of the first-class counties should
play the highest of the minor counties, the first-class certificate
being the stake. Nor are matters facilitated when we remember that,
for financial and other reasons, the minor counties contend in a
competition in which only two days are allotted to a match instead of
three. Doubtless public opinion, _i.e._ the opinion of the players who
are before the public, offered the best solution of the difficulty of
promotion by co-opting Worcestershire into their ranks, the formality
being of the simplest nature; for Worcestershire, the fresh claimant
for the highest honours, simply announced at the Counties’ meeting
that they had arranged to play the minimum number of matches that
qualify for the first class with the requisite number of counties.
The first-class counties co-opted Worcestershire; arbitration and
adjudication were unnecessary.

In the infancy of county cricket the meetings of the different
clubs were arranged by a sort of process which we may appropriately
describe as natural selection. What could be more natural than the
rivalry between the great professional sides—I am writing of the
‘seventies—of Yorkshire and Nottingham, and of both with Lancashire,
and of the amateur elevens of Middlesex and Gloucestershire?
Geographical convenience brought certain counties into close contact,
and pre-eminent strength tempted others to ignore all difficulties,
geographical and sentimental, and to fight the good fight to the
bitter end. All things, indeed, seemed to be working up for some form
of county competition, when the M.C.C., in 1872, offered a challenge
cup to be held by the leading county of the year. The conditions, put
in an abbreviated form, were that a certain number of counties, not
exceeding six, were to be selected by the M.C.C. as the competitors;
that the matches were to be played at Lord’s, and apparently on the
“knock-out” principle; in the event of a draw, the match was to be
replayed; the cup to be retained by any county that could win it three
years in succession. The competition, however, fell through, several
of the counties withdrawing their entries, and the Marylebone Club
consequently withdrawing its offer. Kent, however, played Sussex at
Lord’s for perhaps the only time, and on “dangerously rough wickets,”
Kent winning by 52 runs.

It is not possible to give a list of champion counties that is
absolutely accurate, as, until the competition was regulated by proper
laws, and a recognised system of scoring points existed, the champions
were selected partly by popular opinion, partly by the written opinions
of the press, the two often differing, especially when party feeling
ran high. In the following list, however, the opinion expressed by Dr.
W. G. Grace in his _Cricket_ has generally been regarded as paramount,
and few will venture to dispute his authority.


CHAMPION COUNTIES, 1864-1901

  1864.   Surrey.                   1883.   Yorkshire.
  1865.   Notts.                    1884.   Notts.
  1866.   Middlesex.                1885.   Notts.
  1867.   Yorkshire.                1886.   Notts.
  1868.   Yorkshire.                1887.   Surrey.
  1869.   Notts.                    1888.   Surrey.
  1870.   Yorkshire.                      { Notts      }
  1871.   Notts.                    1889. { Lancashire } equal.
  1872.   Surrey.                         { Surrey     }
        { Gloucestershire }         1890.   Surrey.
  1873. { Notts           } equal.  1891.   Surrey.
  1874.   Gloucestershire.          1892.   Surrey.
  1875.   Notts.                    1893.   Yorkshire.
  1876.   Gloucestershire.          1894.   Surrey.
  1877.   Gloucestershire.          1895.   Surrey.
  1878.   Notts.                    1896.   Yorkshire.
        { Lancashire }              1897.   Lancashire.
  1879. { Notts      } equal.       1898.   Yorkshire.
  1880.   Notts.                    1899.   Surrey.
  1881.   Lancashire.               1900.   Yorkshire.
        { Lancashire }              1901.   Yorkshire.
  1882. { Notts      } equal.       1902.   Yorkshire.

Thus in the last thirty-eight years, if we reckon in the occasions when
two or more counties have tied for the first place, we find that the
championship has been held by Nottinghamshire thirteen times, by Surrey
eleven times, by Yorkshire ten times, by Lancashire five times, by
Gloucestershire four times, and by Middlesex once. Sussex did not lose
a match in 1871, but only played its neighbours of Kent and Surrey,
in a year when the three northern counties were particularly strong.
The above list is of course given for what it is worth, but may be
regarded as fairly accurate, though the conditions and the methods of
calculation have differed so widely at various periods. Up to 1888, no
special system for reckoning the “order” seems to have obtained, the
results being practically arrived at “by inspection”; in that year and
in 1889 the proportion of wins to the matches played was the accepted
process, losses being ignored, and drawn games counting half a point,
so that Notts, with nine wins and three draws in fourteen games, tied
with Surrey and Lancashire, both of which had ten wins and one draw,
ten points and a half, in the same number of matches. Next year, and
till 1895, defeats were deducted from victories, and the points thus
obtained decided the award, but in the latter year the present system
was adopted: a win counts a point for, and a defeat counts a point
against; losses are deducted from wins, and a ratio is calculated
between the figure thus obtained and the number of finished matches,
draws being ignored. Thus, if a county plays 20 matches, wins 11, loses
4, and draws 5, the figure is 11-4, _i.e._ 7; the proportional fraction
is 7/15 (15 being the number of completed matches), and the figure
of merit 46.66, the original vulgar fraction being, for the sake of
convenience, multiplied by 100 and reduced to a decimal.

Referring back to the list once more, we note that Gloucestershire was
not beaten in 1876 or 1877. Lancashire lost no match in 1881, and won
six games with an innings to spare. Lancashire and Notts had identical
figures in 1882; but critics were inclined to favour the superiority
of Lancashire, as having beaten Notts on one of the occasions when the
two counties met, while the other match was drawn. Notts in 1884 won
nine games out of ten, and drew the tenth—a great record, eclipsed by
Yorkshire, who lost no match in 1900, and only one in both 1901 and
1902. Yorkshire’s career since 1889 has been curious: in that year
she played Sussex at the very end of the season, the “wooden spoon”
depending on the result; however, Yorkshire won. In 1890 she was third.
Then followed two bad years, but in 1893 the big county was at the top,
and also in five of the next nine years, her lowest place being fourth
in 1897. Surrey has a fine sequence of six headships, beginning with
1886, by far the largest series on the list.

A word may here be added on the connection between the Marylebone
Club and the counties. The club has always religiously abstained
from interfering in county matters unasked, though reserving to
itself the sole right of deciding all questions connected with
the game in general. But at times there seem to have been signs
of a little petulance on the part of some of the counties, or
their representatives, kindly patronage having been mistaken for
interference. Nothing, however, could be more satisfactory than the
present state of things, the M.C.C. being regarded, as it rightly
should be regarded, as the supreme _junta_ of cricket, and consequently
as the oracle to be consulted in case of difficulty, and the arbiter
in the event of difference. The county delegates discuss all county
matters, and refer the results of their deliberations to the M.C.C.,
with a request that the club will duly hall-mark them, and settle any
disputes or questions that may arise out of them. A powerful neutral is
indeed necessary as arbitrator, seeing that the County Cricket Council,
which was born in 1887, proclaimed its own dissolution in 1890, having
shown no great capacity for managing its own affairs.

We may now note a few of the more important landmarks in the history
of county cricket. The question of qualification, as already stated,
was raised as early as in 1868, for it was felt to be an abuse, as well
as unfair to certain counties, that men should be allowed to represent
two counties in one year; it was, however, an unwritten law that a man
did not play against the county of his birth, even if he did not play
for it. Thus Howitt, who was practically identified with Middlesex,
did not play against his native Notts. Southerton, however, who
played regularly for Surrey by the residential qualification, always
represented Sussex against Surrey, often to the discomfiture of his
foster-county. However, it was not till 1872 that formal legislation
took place, when the following arrangements were made:—

 (1) No man to play for more than one county in the same year.

 (2) Any player with a double qualification to state at the beginning
     of each season for which of the counties he proposed to play.

 (3) Three years’ _bona fide_ residence to qualify professionals; two
     years sufficient for amateurs.

These regulations were passed at Lord’s, but next year a meeting, held
at the Oval, asked that the Lord’s authorities would put professionals
and amateurs on the same footing, and two years of residence are
now required of both alike. It was also enacted that under the term
“residence” was included the parental roof, provided that it was open
to a man as an occasional home. Lord Harris proposed in 1880 that the
two years should be reduced to one, but did not carry his motion,
though it was and is felt that in certain cases, _e.g._ in that of an
Englishman born in India, or of an officer home on furlough, the rule
bears rather hardly. It was further passed in 1898 that a man who had
played for a particular county for five years was permanently qualified
for it, provided that the series had not been broken by his playing for
another.

It seems hardly credible, considering what county cricket has grown
to be, to hear that not till 1890 was any real classification of
counties undertaken; however, it was at a meeting of the moribund
Cricket Council, held at the Oval on 11th August, that eight counties
were pronounced to be first-class, and to be the competitors for the
championship in 1891. The sacred eight were:—

  Notts.             Kent.                   Yorkshire.
  Lancashire.        Middlesex.              Sussex.
  Surrey.            Gloucestershire.

And these were to play home and home matches with each other. In
1892—prospective legislation this—the lowest of the first-class
counties was to play the highest of the second-class for its place,
and various details were worked out in connection with this scheme,
but when the Council assembled at Lord’s on 8th December of the same
year, so much difficulty and trouble occurred over the question of
classification that it was felt to be a relief when a representative of
Middlesex jumped up and proposed that “this Council do adjourn _sine
die_.” The resolution was accepted with gratitude, and the County
Cricket Council was no more.

Next year Somersetshire, having arranged a purely first-class
programme, announced the fact at the annual meeting of county
secretaries, and was duly recognised as a first-class county. In
1894 the matches played by Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire,
Leicestershire, and Essex were recognised as first-class, though for
convenience the counties were considered to be outside the competition
for that year. In 1899 Worcestershire made a similar announcement to
that of Somerset, and was admitted into the sacred circle, thus making
the number of first-class counties up to fifteen. With these increases
in the number of competitors, it was clearly impossible to maintain
the original principle that each county should play home and home
matches with every other, especially in those years when an Australian
eleven was in England. Some of the larger and richer counties manage to
get through so huge a programme, even with Australian matches thrown
in, but in ordinary years the original number of eight is retained as
the qualifying number, reducible by decree of the M.C.C. in those years
when reduction is necessary. It was in consequence of the increase in
the number of the playing counties that the proportional system of 1895
was introduced.

We may now glance at the history of the various first-class counties,
taking them seriatim; and I must here express my indebtedness to K. S.
Ranjitsinhji’s _Jubilee Book of Cricket_, which is a perfect mine of
information on the subject.

_Derbyshire._—Though the county club only came to its birth in 1870,
cricket had long flourished in the land, fostered largely, as one
authority tells us, by the clergy. “The game in Derbyshire,” he tells
us, “owes much at one time and another to the parsons—a fact that is
perhaps worthy of more general recognition than is sometimes allowed.”
The first appearance of the new county was remarkable, as on the Old
Trafford ground, in its very first match, it defeated no less a side
than Lancashire by an innings and 11 runs, the home county mustering
no more than 25 notches in its first innings, when Gregory actually
had six wickets for 9 runs. So strong was the county attack in its
early days, Gregory being reinforced by Platts and Hickton, Flint, W.
Mycroft, and Hay, that the eleven was jestingly described as consisting
of ten bowlers and a wicket-keeper, the batting being by no means
powerful. Mycroft was one of the most formidable bowlers in England,
but with the decadence of himself and the rest of the band, the bowling
weakened as the batting improved, though at last the latter, thanks
partly to the transfer of good men to other counties, failed so sadly
that in 1887 the county was reduced to the second class, only to be
restored in 1895, and in that year to reach as high a place as fifth
in the championship competition. Fine bowling was again the chief
contributory to this success, G. G. Walker, George Davidson, Porter,
and Hume, with Storer to keep wicket, being backed by such good
batsmen as S. H. Evershed, L. G. Wright, and Chatterton. In Davidson
and Storer, indeed, Derbyshire possessed a pair of wonderfully fine
all-round men, Davidson’s premature death being a grievous loss. Last
year (1902) the fortunes of Derbyshire were not particularly brilliant,
but the county, always a by-word for bad luck, especially at one period
when it seemed impossible for its captain to win the toss, made a good
step forward. It is unfortunate for a hard-working and enthusiastic
committee that the Derby public gives to cricket but one tithe of the
support that it lavishes on football; however, there are plenty of
liberal supporters of the club, which has also, in its times of need,
proved its ability for raising the necessary funds by means of bazaars
and the like. The ground, which is at Derby, has a total extent of
eleven acres, with a good pavilion and an excellent pitch.

Essex, founded in 1874, originally settled at Brentwood, but migrated
to Leyton, as a more accessible place. The county has had a hard fight
in the past to make both ends meet; indeed, at one time the end seemed
to be at hand, but kindly friends, chiefly in the persons of C. M.
Tebbut and C. E. Green, helped it out of its trouble. To the latter’s
enthusiasm the very existence of the club is largely due. Created
first-class in 1895, Essex has never achieved the championship, though
it has more than once knocked possible champions out, especially in its
earlier years, when the ground was not all that a batsman could desire;
but in 1901, thanks to some of the modern patent “mixtures” used in
dressing the pitch, so easy was the wicket that it was impossible,
apparently, to get batsmen out, and the scoring was in consequence
abnormally large. By way of revenge, when the ground is spoilt by
rain, it is absolutely unplayable. In cricketers Essex has been rich:
C. J. Kortright is one of the fastest bowlers of this age or any
other, and in the days of rough pitches was a terror to the county’s
opponents; C. M’Gahey and P. Perrin, known as “the Essex twins,” have
helped to win or save many a match; while in Young, an ex-sailor, the
county unearthed a bowler who was good enough to play for England in
1899, but has done little or nothing since. The name of A. P. Lucas
must not be omitted, as, though he is now some forty-six years old,
he plays cricket in as sound and stylish a fashion as when he was an
undergraduate at Cambridge. As before hinted, though Essex has never
been close up for the championship, it has always been a factor to be
reckoned with.

Gloucestershire is, of course, “the county of the Graces,” which
is synonymous with stating that its fortunes have been watched and
assisted by three of the most talented and experienced cricketers
who have ever taken the field. In the early days, it seemed to exist
by them and for them; but though professional talent appeared but
slowly, a sturdy band of amateurs soon gathered round the brotherhood,
and showed that good batting, especially when attended by superb
fielding, can compensate for only fair bowling. Such men as W. O.
Moberley, F. Townsend, W. Fairbanks, W. R. Gilbert, and J. A. Bush (the
wicket-keeper) were both scorers and savers of runs. Of the Graces it
is needless to say anything; they were batsmen, bowlers, and fieldsmen,
all of different types, but all of one class. E. M.’s fielding at point
was only to be matched by G. F.’s at long-leg and W. G.’s anywhere,
while it was mainly in county cricket that the Doctor’s famous leg-trap
was so successful. Pages might be devoted to what the champion did for
Gloucestershire, but probably no individual triumph ever delighted him
so much as that it should, in 1874, four years after its foundation,
be the champion county of England. It was in a Gloucestershire match
that Grace scored his hundredth century, completed the 1000 runs that
he made in the single month of May 1895, and twice scored a double
century, _v._ Kent in 1887 and _v._ Yorkshire in 1888. To pry deeper
with the pen into the great man’s performance would be to write,
what has been written before, a history of modern cricket or his own
biography: the works would be almost identical. Woof is undoubtedly
the best professional bowler that the county has unearthed, just as
Board is the best wicket-keeper, but Midwinter, the Anglo-Australian,
Paish, and Roberts have all done good service with the ball. Ferris,
however, another Australian who settled in Gloucestershire, quite lost
his bowling as his batting improved. Of more recent players the most
prominent are undoubtedly Charles Townsend, son of the aforementioned
Frank Townsend, and G. L. Jessop. Like Ferris, the former lost a little
of his bowling when he became—he has now apparently retired—the best
left-handed batsman in England. Of Jessop’s hurricane hitting and
rapid scoring the whole cricket world has heard and talked. The county
ground is at Bristol, and is well equipped for its purpose, but the
more famous cricket used to be played on the grounds of Clifton and
Cheltenham Colleges, the Cheltenham “Week” being one of the events of
the season. One hears, however, that the Clifton cricket ground will be
used no more for county matches, owing to the lack of local support. In
the early days the matches between Middlesex and Gloucestershire, two
teams of powerful amateur batsmen, were famous for the long scoring
that prevailed.

Hampshire, as already stated, was the champion county as far back as,
roughly speaking, 1780, its famous downs, Windmill Down and Broad
Halfpenny Down, having been the scene of many great contests in the
days when the Hambledon Club was the champion of England. The history
of those days and of the heroes of those days has been so often and
so admirably written, besides being somewhat foreign to the scope of
this chapter, that one need do little more than record the names of
David Harris and William Beldham, as the champion bowler and batsman of
their day. But Hampshire found that cricket, like everything else, is
transient and ephemeral, and almost a century after the championship
days, in 1874, to be accurate, the old Cambridge captain, Clement
Booth, worked hard to restore the county’s old prestige. Even his
energy failed, for, as already noted, it was not till 1894 that the
county was recognised as being of first-class merit. Hampshire has
naturally been the county of the soldier cricketer, and can boast of
E. G. Wynyard and R. M. Poore as being probably the best batsmen that
ever wore the King’s uniform, J. E. Greig, another soldier, being but
little behind them. What the value of these men was to the county is
amply demonstrated by the fact that in the absence of the first two
Hants won never a match in 1900, but with Greig’s appearance next year
the county, with six each of wins, losses, and draws, at least gave as
good as she got. In E. I. M. Barrett and the professional Barton the
army is still further represented in the Hampshire ranks, with a new
and valuable civilian recruit in Llewelyn. In fact, now that the piping
times of peace have arrived, and the soldier cricketers listen for the
pavilion’s bell rather than the _réveillé_ of the bugle, Hants may
well hope to find herself higher up the ladder of cricket. Other good
names are those of the two Cantabs, A. J. L. Hill and F. E. Lacey, the
present secretary of the M.C.C. The ground, a very fine one, is in, or
rather near, Southampton, the club having bought the freehold of it,
and it is a great improvement on the classical but unsuitable Antelope
ground, situated in the middle of the town.

[Illustration: _AN OLD “PLAY” BILL._]

Kent was one of the pioneers of cricket, the earliest match which she
played as a county dating back to 1711, nearly two hundred years ago,
when she tackled an eleven of All England. It was, however, a full
century later when she was at her prime, supported by such famous
performers as Alfred Mynn, Fuller Pilch, Adams, Wenman, “Felix,” and
others; but of these Pilch was a Suffolk man, who was induced to settle
in Kent and give his services to the county. Mynn was probably one of
the finest all-round cricketers that ever lived—a fine bat, tremendous
hitter, and a grand bowler of the very fast type; yet it is recorded
that “off one of Mr. Mynn’s tremendous shooters” T. A. Anson, a Cantab
wicket-keeper, stumped a man, “using the left hand only”! In later days
Kent has continued to flourish exceedingly, but has never achieved
champion honours, being, as a rule, like most of the southern counties,
deficient in bowling, though Willsher, whose career terminated in the
early ‘seventies, was a left-handed bowler who was second to none.
He was also the hero of the first great no-balling incident. No one
has worked harder for Kent cricket, and cricket in general, than Lord
Harris, to whose vigour, and to whose enthusiastic efforts to enforce
the proper spirit in which the game should be played, the county owes
a deep debt of gratitude. The headquarters of the county club, which
was established in 1842, the year of the first Canterbury “Week,” are
at Canterbury, but the executive rightly believes in the distribution
of matches throughout the county, and we find that county games have
been played, and are still played, not merely at Canterbury, but at
Gravesend, Catford Bridge, Beckenham, Tonbridge—where there is also
a “week,”—Maidstone, Tunbridge Wells, and Blackheath—truly a goodly
list for a county that is not abnormally large. The Mote ground at
Maidstone probably possesses a greater slope than any other ground on
which great games are played. Among the more famous Kent cricketers we
may quote the names of W. Yardley, W. H. Patterson, J. R. Mason, F.
Marchant, W. Rashleigh, E. F. S. Tylecote, Stanley Christopherson, the
brothers Penn, W. M. Bradley, C. J. Burnup, and Hearnes innumerable.
Than J. R. Mason, the late captain, there are few finer all-round men.

Lancashire dates back to 1864 as a county club, but Liverpool and
Manchester had long had strong clubs of their own, and at present the
whole county is a perfect hotbed of cricket. Nowhere is a more critical
and enthusiastic body of spectators to be found, though cricket “caught
on” later in Lancashire, as in other northern counties, than in the
south. The bulk of the big matches, including one test match when the
Australians are in evidence, are played at the Old Trafford ground in
Manchester, where there is huge accommodation and a capital pavilion,
a reduced facsimile of that at Lord’s; but the wicket, though the turf
is excellent, is often on the slow side, as Manchester is a rainy spot.
A certain number of big matches are also allotted to the Aigburth
ground, Liverpool. It would be hard to say who is the finest player
that the county has produced, but it is easy to name the most popular
and the most famous, namely, A. N. Hornby, the present president, who
played his first county match in 1867, and has only recently retired
from county cricket. He was for many years the captain of the team and
has probably stolen more runs (and run more partners out) than any
other cricketer. From a mere cricket point of view, A. G. Steel is
doubtless the greatest of Lancastrians as an all-round player, but his
career was all too short, while another equally famous Lancastrian, A.
C. Maclaren, holds the record for the highest individual score made
in big cricket, to wit, his 424, made against Somerset in 1895. Like
Hornby, he is a Harrovian, while Steel, as all the world knows, or
ought to know, hails from Marlborough. Among other great amateurs who
have played for the county should be mentioned the names of Appleby,
Rowley, Makinson, F. W. Wright, Eccles, and Crossfield, while the roll
of professionals is equally famous—Barlow, Briggs, Watson, Mold,
Crossland, Albert Ward, Tyldesley, Pilling (prince of wicket-keepers),
Frank Sugg, and others. It is a curious fact, however, that no less
than four of the great Lancashire bowlers have, rightly or wrongly,
been severely criticised, and even penalised, for throwing when they
were supposed to be bowling.

Leicestershire took to itself a county club in 1878, the very first
match being played against the first Australian eleven, and a very
fair fight being made against that strong team. Matches had, however,
been played under the title of “Leicestershire” between the years 1789
and 1829. Like other counties, Leicestershire has had some hard times,
pecuniarily, to pass through, but now that the storm has been safely
weathered and a permanent home found, greater prosperity in every sense
may be hoped for. It cannot be said that the county has hitherto had
great success in the county contests, as eleventh is the highest place
it has yet reached; but the 1902 eleven was considered to be much
stronger than any other that had represented the county, so that, as
there is plenty of fight left in the men, better results may be looked
for. Pougher is probably the best all-round man that Leicestershire has
produced, the bright, particular star in his career being the bowling
down of five Australian wickets for _no_ runs. This occurred at Lord’s
in 1896. In C. E. de Trafford, the present captain, Leicestershire
possesses one of the hardest hitters and fastest scorers in England,
and in Woodcock one of the fastest bowlers. Among its amateur players
have been numbered, or are numbered, R. A. H. Mitchell, T. S. Pearson,
H. P. Arnall Thompson, G. S. and C. Marriott, C. J. B. Wood, and Dr.
R. Macdonald, and, of professionals, King, Knight, Geeson, Whiteside,
Parnham, Rylott, Wheeler, Warren, and Tomlin.

The Middlesex County Club first saw the light in 1864, the year of
Lancashire’s birth, but, like all other counties, had played matches
long anterior to that year under the style and title of “Middlesex”; in
fact, in 1802 and 1803, as mentioned before, twenty-two of Middlesex
encountered twenty-two of Surrey. Middlesex is as much “the county of
the Walkers” as Gloucestershire is “the county of the Graces,” for the
name of John Walker is identified with the county as closely as are the
initials V. E., R. D., and I. D. Indeed, it is to their perseverance
and enthusiasm, to say nothing of their unbounded generosity, that the
club ever existed or continued to exist. The first home of the club
was a ground near the Cattle Market, in Islington. It then migrated to
the Athletic Club’s ground at Lillie Bridge, and was nearly dissolved
for want of funds. A migration to Prince’s ground in Chelsea helped to
replenish the treasury, and a final resting-place—at least all hope it
will prove to be final—was found at Lord’s in 1877. It is noteworthy
that in 1866, only two years after the club’s foundation, Middlesex
was the champion county, and was specially invited to play All England
next year; but the result was disastrous. The weakness of Middlesex was
always due to a dearth of bowling; in amateur batting Gloucestershire
itself was hardly its superior; but of late years J. T. Hearne was in
the very first flight of bowlers, as also A. E. Trott, the Australian
professional. Howitt, of Nottingham, long did good service, as also
Burton, Clarke, Phillips, and Rawlin, most of whom—one blushes to
say it—were aliens. Several brotherhoods have done good service to
Middlesex—in triads, the Walkers, Studds, and Fords, and in pairs, the
Lytteltons, Webbes, and Douglases; while of the individuals who have
been at the very top of the tree may be mentioned especially the three
Walkers, C. T. Studd, A. J. Webbe, Sir T. C. O’Brien, A. W. Ridley, T.
S. Pearson, G. F. Vernon, A. E. Stoddart, F. G. J. Ford, S. W. Scott,
C. I. Thornton, G. MacGregor, E. A. Nepean, and a host of others who
are only in a sense of the word “minor lights.” To attempt to single
out individuals for comparison would be equally hopeless and invidious;
it is only when we recall the weakness of the Middlesex bowling that
we appreciate the strength of the batting that has enabled it to hold
its own, though since 1866 championship honours have not come the
metropolitan county’s way. It has, however, till last year, 1902,
held a high place. Among its amateur bowlers should be mentioned the
Walkers—of course,—J. Robertson, A. F. J. Ford, E. A. Nepean, C. K.
Francis, A. W. Ridley, and E. Rutter, while no county has produced such
a trio of amateur wicket-keepers as M. Turner, Hon. A. Lyttelton, and
Gregor MacGregor, the present captain of the side.

Nottinghamshire played its first match in 1771, but the Trent Bridge
ground was not opened till 1839, nor the club formed till 1859 or 1860;
but it is safe to say that no club has sent forth such a stream of
great cricketers, some to play for their own county, and some to take
out naturalisation papers in others, to say nothing of hosts of useful
second-class players and practice-bowlers. The Trent Bridge ground,
originally opened by the famous slow bowler William Clarke, is rather
larger than most grounds, and tries the batsman’s powers of endurance
rather severely, but the pavilion and the other appointments of the
ground are inferior to none, Lord’s alone and the Oval being excepted.
Of the famous players the name is legion; posterity and contemporaries
must settle among themselves as to whether George Parr (the great
leg-hitter), Daft (the stylist), Shrewsbury (the all-patient), W. Gunn
(the personification of style and patience combined), or Barnes were
the greatest, not forgetting that among Notts batsmen were such men
as A. O. Jones, J. A. Dixon, and J. G. Beevor, with William Oscroft,
Selby, Wild, Summers, Flowers, and Guy, while the bowling names are a
dazzling array of talent—Clarke, Tinley, Jackson, Grundy, Alfred Shaw,
J. C. Shaw, Morley, Flowers, Martin M’Intyre, Attewell, and John Gunn,
with Biddulph, Sherwin, and Wild as wicket-keepers; while to the best
of bowlers should be added the name of Lockwood, who, unsuccessful for
his native county, has done wonderful work for his adopted county,
Surrey. Notts has been champion in no less than thirteen years, and
thus heads the list.

Somersetshire can boast of no recorded antiquity as a cricketing
society, the county club only being inaugurated in 1875. Curiously
enough, the first meeting to consider the proposed club was held
at Sidmouth, and the first circular issued from Ilfracombe, both
Devonshire towns. It was not till 1891 that Somerset, having defeated
all the other second-class counties, passed into the upper ranks, being
then almost as strong as it ever has been since. The county ground at
Taunton is a gem, but rather a small gem; hence hits into churchyard
and river are not infrequent, and scoring rules high. Further, it is
a tradition of the county that it generally beats Surrey, and not
seldom Yorkshire, in the Taunton match. Of its players, H. T. Hewett
was a splendid left-handed forcing player; L. C. H. Palairet is a
grand player and a stylist that has no rival; his brother, R. C. N.,
who has partly retired, was always valuable, but inferior to his
elder brother; S. M. J. Woods has lost his wonderful bowling, but is
a fine and scoring batsman; V. T. Hill was a wonderful hitter, while
J. B. Challen, C. E. Dunlop, W. C. Hadley, and G. Fowler were all
useful men. No great professional players have as yet been unearthed,
as Braund is a Surrey man who has cast in his lot with the western
county, though Tyler, Nicholls, Cranfield, and Gill were, or are, a
fairly good quartette of bowlers; but bowling has always been a weak
point, ever since Woods strained his side. There has never been a
dearth of wicket-keeping, all amateur, such names as A. E. Newton,
Rev. A. P. Wickham, and L. H. Gay being famous. It must be admitted,
however, that, with its crack players ageing, and new blood not being
forthcoming, the prospects of Somersetshire are not at their brightest;
but whatever the brilliancy of the prospects, there can be no question
as to the brilliancy of the cricket as played both in the present and
in the past. No side has been more exhilarating in its methods than the
sides captained successively by Hewett and Woods.

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing by_    _Thos. Rowlandson._
_RURAL SPORTS OR A CRICKET MATCH EXTRAORDINARY AT BALL’S POND,
NEWINGTON, ON OCT. 3rd, 1811._
(_Probably the return Match to that
mentioned in the advertisement facing page 152._)]

Though Surrey has only been champion eleven times to Nottinghamshire’s
thirteen, yet she might quite fairly assume the words _nulli secunda_
as her motto. Not that unbroken success has been the law of her
existence, for there were times when Surrey’s fortunes were at a
very low ebb, but patience and perseverance have enabled the county
to win its way upward, while in the list of brilliant cricketers few
counties, perhaps none, can claim the right to enrol more names. The
foundation of the club dates back to 1845, the first match between
Surrey and England to 1747, and by the end of that century, when the
dispersion of the Hambledon Club set several Surrey players—Beldham
(“Silver Billy”) among them—free to return to their native shire,
the county was actually strong enough to play fourteen of England,
but then almost collapsed, as far as organised cricket was concerned,
for over thirty years. With resuscitation came success, and for
three consecutive years, 1849-51, Surrey was unbeaten, her successes
continuing till the ‘seventies, and being due to such fine amateurs
as F. P. Miller, C. G. Lane, and F. Burbridge, supported by H. H.
Stephenson, Lockyer, Southerton, Griffith, Mortlock, Julius Cæsar,
Jupp, the brothers Humphrey, Caffyn, Street, and Pooley. But as these
men passed into the veteran stage, no others of equal merit arose
to take their place, and with the bowling sadly deteriorated, the
position of Surrey was quite unworthy of its name and fame, though by
a kind of spurt she was champion county in 1872, Jupp, the Humphreys,
Pooley, and Southerton being the chief factors in this success, which
was not repeated for fifteen years, when for six consecutive seasons
Surrey headed the table. It was mainly the stubborn discipline of
John Shuter, the Winchester cricketer, that kept the eleven together
during its period of depression, and he had his reward when Lohmann,
Bowley, Beaumont, and Sharpe, by their excellent bowling, did much to
make their foster-county—none of these were natives of Surrey—forge
ahead and stay ahead. In later days Richardson and W. Lockwood (the
discarded Nottinghamshire player) bore the brunt of the bowling.
It is instructive to note that so many of the Surrey bowlers have
been born in other counties, but if even the fact lends itself to
criticism from one point of view, it at least throws excellent light
on the Surrey system of selection and training where young players are
concerned. Surrey’s wicket-keepers have been Lockyer, Pooley, and Wood
in practically unbroken succession, and all three were of the best,
Lockyer’s name being worthy of classification with those of Pilling
and Blackham. Of her batsmen, the names of some of her professionals
have already been mentioned, but there are others who are and will be
equally, or more, famous—those, to wit, of Abel and Hayward, Maurice
Read and Brockwell, and in a less degree Lockwood and Holland. Among
amateur batsmen the name of W. W. Read is a name that will never be
forgotten, nor those of the successive captains—J. Shuter, K. J. Key,
and D. L. A. Jephson, while we may add those of W. E. Roller, H. D. G.
Leveson-Gower, F. H. Boult, C. W. Burls, V. F. S. Crawford, as those of
men who have at different periods rendered good service to the county.
Though not situated amid picturesque scenery, the Oval is _qua_ cricket
ground perfect, the accommodation being ample and the wickets superb.
The new pavilion alone cost from £25,000 to £30,000. The Prince of
Wales is the county’s landlord.

Sussex can boast a venerable antiquity and the royal patronage of
George IV. when he was Prince of Wales, these being the days of William
Lillywhite, the “Nonpareil,” Box and the Broadbridges, to say nothing
of C. G. Taylor, the Cantab “crack.” The county club was formed in
1839 on Brown’s ground, the said Brown being the famous fast bowler,
who is said to have bowled through a coat, and to have killed a dog on
the other side! But the builder was inexorable in Brighton, and the
county was hustled from place to place, till it settled finally—it
is hoped—in its present splendid ground at Hove, which is, however,
save in the comfort of its appointment, not one whit better for cricket
purposes than the Brunswick ground, which the county used between 1847
and 1871. In modern times the names of great Sussex bowlers are few,
Southerton playing but rarely, and the others being Tate, the brothers
Hide, Parris, and Walter Humphreys, the “Lobster.” The earlier names
include those of several Lillywhites, Wisden, Brown, and Dean, while
of wicket-keepers we may quote those of Box and Ellis, Harry Phillips,
and Harry Butt. One is almost bewildered by the dazzling list of great
batsmen who have represented Sussex—C. G. Taylor, Wisden, J. M.
Cotterill, L. Winslow, R. T. Ellis, W. Newham, G. Brann, F. M. Lucas,
Bean, Killick, and Marlow, to say nothing of the great Anglo-Australian
player, W. L. Murdoch, who settled in Sussex and was at once invited
to captain the eleven. But great as these names are, the names of
C. B. Fry and K. S. Ranjitsinhji are perhaps even greater. They are
household words at present, as are their wonderful feats with the bat,
which—as the tale is not yet complete—may be left to be chronicled by
posterity. At the present day, were the Sussex bowling in any sense
on a par with its batting, the county would probably carry all before
it. One record of Fry’s should, however, be recorded, as it is so far
ahead of any similar feat. In 1901 he actually scored six successive
centuries, the scores being: 106 _v._ Hants, 209 _v._ Yorks, 149 _v._
Middlesex, 105 _v._ Surrey, 140 _v._ Kent, and 105 _v._ Yorkshire. The
last of these was made for an Eleven of England, all the others for
Sussex. No one else, not even W. G. Grace, has ever made more than
three hundreds in succession.

The Warwickshire County C.C. only dates back to 1882, but it was some
years before it “caught on,” though it was the energy of William Ansell
in pushing the club that led not only to its recognition, but, more or
less directly, to the dissolution of the County Cricket Council. Being
first of the second-class counties in 1892 and 1893—bracketed with
Derbyshire in the latter year—it was duly promoted to higher rank, and
opened the 1894 season in sensational fashion by defeating, in rapid
succession, Notts, Surrey, and Kent, no other county being successful
that year in beating Surrey at the Oval. The county has always held its
own well, even though, with the exception of the internationals, Lilley
and W. G. Quaife, it has produced no very prominent men: it has won
its way by steady and consistent cricket, rather than by brilliancy.
The Quaifes—there are two of them—were originally Sussex men, and
it is but right to record that a good deal of feeling was caused by
the manner of their secession. The present[2] and the only captain of
the club is an old Eton and Cambridge captain, H. W. Bainbridge, who
has been blessed in having so superlative a wicket-keeper as Lilley,
and such prodigies of steadiness as Quaife and Kinneir, to serve under
him. L. C. Docker, the brothers Hill, and T. S. Fishwick are the
better-known amateurs, with Devey, Charlesworth, Santall, Hargreave,
Field, Pallett, Shilton, Diver, and Whitehead among the professionals,
few or none of whom have made a great stir in the cricket world. The
county ground is at Edgbaston, a suburb of Birmingham, and being well
equipped in every way, was selected as the scene of the first test
match played in 1902, a match that is dealt with in a later chapter.

The existence of Worcestershire, the latest recruit to the first
class, may be considered as due to the superlative excellence of three
brothers, the brothers Foster of Malvern College, whose initials, W.
L., H. K., and R. E., are as familiar as are those of the Studds,
Graces, or Walkers; indeed, some wit, with a keen ear for assonance,
has dubbed the county “Fostershire.” Splendid batsmen as they all are,
no one of them is a bowler, wherein they fall behind the three great
fraternities quoted above. The family has, however, a record of its
own, as in 1899, playing against Hampshire, R. E. scored 134 and 101
not out, and W. L. 140 and 172 not out; further, R. E. has a private
record of _his_ own, having made 102 not out and 136 against the
Players at Lord’s in 1900. In Burrows, Wilson, Arnold, and Bowley, with
Straw to keep wicket, Worcestershire has put some useful professionals
into the field, while the other better-known amateurs are W. W. Lowe,
G. Simpson-Hayward, and the Bromley-Martins. The county ground is to
be found at Worcester, and, like most of its sort, is in all respects
excellent.

On Yorkshire cricket, and especially on Yorkshire bowlers, volumes
might be written, but powerful as the county is now in the present,
and has been in the past, it has not been free from the ordinary
vicissitudes of life in general and of cricket in particular, to which
fact allusion has been made earlier in this chapter. It has also
been stated before that Sheffield was the original home of Yorkshire
cricket, being a club strong enough to play the rest of the county and
beat it, and boasting in Dearman and Marsden, the famous left-hander,
two of the great stars of the early nineteenth century. However,
the county club was organised in 1862, with the Sheffield ground at
Bramall Lane as its headquarters, though the big county is so rich in
fine grounds that it distributes its favours among many towns. In the
plethora of great professionals the amateur element has always been
in a minority in the county eleven, though the names of Lord Hawke,
T. L. Taylor, Frank Mitchell, and F. S. Jackson, and in a quieter way
of George Savile, Rev. E. S. Carter, A. Sellers, F. W. Milligan, E.
T. Hirst, and R. W. Frank, will always be familiar to cricketers, to
which may be added that of G. A. B. Leatham, whose wicket-keeping
powers would have found him a place in many a good county eleven; but
the county of Pinder and the two Hunters has not been hard up for a
custodian for many years. Of the amateurs, be it said that no more
brilliant all-round cricketer has walked out of a pavilion than F. S.
Jackson, and that in Lord Hawke the county found an ideal man, apart
from his batting powers, to command its side, a side, too, that has
for many years been composed exclusively of Yorkshire-born men. Lord
Hawke found the county at a low ebb, shared its struggle upward, and
is finally the proud leader of a body of men that lost but two county
matches in three years, and he has had the additional satisfaction of
helping to raise the county to such admirable financial condition,
that it is able to treat its professionals with a liberality that but
few other counties can emulate or even approach. It is not unnatural
in consequence that the Yorkshire eleven should be practically a band
of very happy and contented brothers. The names of the great county
bowlers are legion: every one has read of Freeman and Emmett, Ulyett
and Bates and Peate, Hirst and Rhodes, Slinn, Atkinson, Allan Hill,
Peel, Haigh, Ulyett and Wainwright, but one notes with interest how
many of these have been left-handers. Then the batsmen—Stephenson
(E.), Rowbotham, Iddison (a lob bowler of much merit), the Greenwoods
(Luke and Andrew), Ephraim Lockwood (of wonderful cutting powers),
Bates, Louis Hall (the pioneer of stickers), Peel, Brown and
Tunnicliffe, Denton and Wainwright, _cum multis aliis_. It is indeed
a wonderful list of names, names of cricketers of all sorts and
conditions, as versatile as they are numerous. One wonders, considering
the years that they cover, that Yorkshire has ever been anything but
champion county, especially as the names excluded are only a whit less
well known than those that are included.

[Illustration: _THE CRICKET GROUND AT DARNALL, NEAR SHEFFIELD._]

Such in brief is the history, a mere sketch, of our more important
counties, their rise and their fall: a full and complete account of
them would fill the whole of a goodly volume, which would be replete
with interest and anecdote, but which would require the patience and
the genius of a Macaulay or a Froude for its adequate and comprehensive
compilation. Cricket may indeed be but a mere pastime, but it is a
pastime that has come home to the hearts of Englishmen, or at least
to the hearts of a goodly number of Englishmen, during a period of
some two hundred years. He who would write that history must be a man
of infinite patience and vast perseverance. He will not find cricket
history writ large in columns of big print, but, for the earlier days
at least, often packed away in obscure corners of local journals.
Thirty years ago there was no daily sporting paper, while the big
“dailies” took but little notice of cricket matches. Add a hundred
years on to the thirty, and only local papers record a great match.
Consequently, he who would write a full and accurate account of the
cricket played by the counties, must rummage even more painfully than
the recorder of political facts, and in journals that are far less
accessible and that give less prominence to the special facts of which
the writer is in quest. The great work may yet be written, but the
writing thereof will be largely a labour of love, for the divers into
cricket lore are but few, and the writer will naturally wonder whether
the game will be worth the candle.

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting by_    _J. Lush._
_THE EARL OF MARCH._]


[Illustration]



CHAPTER VII

AMATEURS AND PROFESSIONALS

By the HON. R. H. LYTTELTON


It would not appear to be a difficult task to make a clear and accurate
definition of the two common words found at the head of this chapter.
Forty years ago the making of such a definition would have been easy,
and if we could regard things from an ideal point of view, it would
be easy now. There are, however, so many difficulties at present in
the way, so many changes in the carrying on of the game of cricket,
so much acquiesced in which formerly would not have been dreamt of,
that the old boundary line has been obliterated—all is confusion, and
in too many cases there can hardly be said to be any difference or
distinction between the amateur and professional in these days in the
world of cricket.

It is strange that such should be the case, and it is also strange that
these difficulties should exist so much more in the case of cricket
than any other game. Whether this always will be the case appears to
be doubtful. In the case of rowing there seem to be dangers ahead, and
perhaps in the world of football also. But if I am not misinformed,
the rowing authorities are not troubled in the matter as far as this
country is concerned. It is owing to the fact that in America there
do not appear to be the same regulations on this vexed question as
in England—and the American invasion of England includes the chief
prizes of Henley as well as the tube railways of London. The rowing
authorities have a very difficult task before them. To come to a
right decision, and yet not to offend the feelings of a nation we all
respect, and have every wish to be, from a sporting point of view, on
good terms with, is by no means an easy task, but I can only hope that
a satisfactory decision will be attained.

Cricket, however, seems to stand altogether on a different footing to
any other game. The boundary line between the two classes of amateurs
and professionals has become blurred and indistinct, if indeed it has
not entirely disappeared. As far as I know, no such state of things
exists in other games, such as golf, tennis, football, or billiards.
The reason why this is so seems to be twofold. The first is that if
a man wants to play as much cricket as he likes he must practically
devote five months of the year to nothing else. A match takes three
days to finish, and the whole of each day is taken up by the game, and
in this respect cricket stands alone. You may play golf or tennis every
day if you have the opportunity; but two or three hours is enough for
this, and the rest of the time may be spent in the counting-house.
First-class cricket, however, now is of so exacting a nature that
it really amounts to this, that nearly half the year must be wholly
devoted to the game, and comparatively few amateurs can afford to do
this. The other reason is somewhat on a par with the experiences of
rowing men, and is because of the Australian invasion. International
cricket between this country and Australia has come to stay, and it
is much to be hoped this will always remain. Nothing in cricket is so
interesting, and no other matches contain so many exciting elements,
and in no other class of match is such a high standard of skill shown.
In Australia, however, there does not seem to be any very clear
distinction between the amateur and professional. In 1878, when they
first came to England, the two Bannermans and, I think, Midwinter were
classed as professionals, the rest as amateurs. In subsequent years
there was no distinction drawn, and without going too minutely into the
merits of the case, they are now all called amateurs. It may not be
obvious what difference this makes to English cricket, but nevertheless
on more than one occasion there has been friction, and it is notorious
that the bone of contention is to be found in the fact that the
English professionals have a somewhat well-founded idea in their
minds that the Australian cricketers are really professionals like
themselves, and they should in both countries stand on the same footing.

It is necessary, however, that some comparison be made of the
conditions that existed thirty years ago, with the state of things now.
This is a delicate and thorny subject, and it is almost, if not quite,
impossible to avoid treading on corns; but the matter is a critical one
for the welfare of the great game, and some clear understanding should
be arrived at, and to attain this the public should know all the facts,
that they may come to a right opinion.

It has been said that a definition of the words amateur and
professional forty years ago would have been easy, and this is true.
The question of money for the amateur was purely a personal one for
himself. He played cricket according to his means. If he was of a
sufficiently high class, and was qualified to play for a leading
county, he played on the home ground if his business, if he had one,
allowed him, and if he could not afford railway and hotel fares, he
did not play the return match, it may be two hundred miles away. No
doubt there were far fewer matches in those days, for Surrey, the chief
county in the ‘sixties, only played on an average ten or eleven matches
a year. For an amateur of Surrey to have played in all these matches
was no doubt a tolerably arduous task, but it was not an impossible
one. If the first-class amateur could not afford to play away from
the neighbourhood of his home, he simply declined to play. The reason
was obvious, but tact forbade the cause being inquired into, and the
amateur was not thought any the worse of on this account. No doubt
cricket was not in one sense the serious thing it is now. There were no
carefully compiled and intolerably wearisome tables of statistics that
drown one in these days; nevertheless there was just as much keenness
for success, but championships and records did not constitute the
_summum bonum_; it was the genuine sport that was chiefly considered.
In other words, the game was generally carried on, in the best sense,
in more of the amateur spirit than now, and this notwithstanding the
fact that far more so-called amateurs play first-class cricket now than
formerly. There was more cricket in matches of the class of Gentlemen
of Worcestershire against Gentlemen of Warwickshire; the famous touring
pure amateur clubs, such as Quidnuncs, Harlequins, I Zingari, and Free
Foresters, played as they do now; and there were as many club matches
played by the M.C.C. and Surrey clubs as were in those days wanted, and
in these the amateur was able to take his part.

The ambition of every player in these days is to reach such a measure
of skill as to earn him a place in the picked eleven of England
against Australia, and very properly is this the case. To represent
the Gentlemen against the Players at Lord’s is still the goal of many,
but not so much now as it was. For a University man a place in his
University eleven is as keen an object of ambition now as it used to
be, and though the bowling may be weak and the fielding not so good
as it ought to be, still University cricket is the same as it always
has been—the embodiment of the purest amateur spirit of the game.
But forty years ago, to be selected to represent the Gentlemen or
the Players, as the case might be, set the seal on both amateurs and
professionals, in the same way as to be selected to play for England
against Australia does now. The amateur came up cheerfully to share
in the annual defeat that almost invariably awaited him; the bowling
for most of them was too good, and his record, speaking generally, at
Lord’s at any rate, would be laughed at by the modern critic, stuffed
out as he is with centuries, statistics, and comparisons, but to be
selected made him happy.

The reader may now naturally ask, When and how does the amateur of
forty years ago differ from the amateur of the present day? The
question will be discussed more fully later on, but the answer is
simply this, that in former times no amateur ever received one penny
for his services, whether disguised under the name of expenses or by
the receipts of a benefit match, euphemistically called a complimentary
match. Here at once is the difference, and for the present it is
sufficient merely to state the fact, and file it, as it were, for
future reference.

The professional of old was drawn from the same sources as he is now.
He comes from the shop, from the factory, from the pit, and from the
slum. He had by no means so much cricket as he has now in the way of
first-class county matches, but he filled up his time, if he arrived
at a certain height of skill, by playing a series of touring matches
against local twenty-twos, and these matches, if they did nothing else,
gave an impetus to local cricket. There can be no doubt, however,
that an enormous change has taken place in the type of professional
cricketer. The first-class modern player moves altogether in a higher
plane. He earns far more money in populous centres, such as Bradford,
London, and Manchester. He has been known to clear £2000 and more by
a benefit match. A spectator coming on to Lord’s at five o’clock in
the afternoon, during the annual match between Gentlemen and Players,
might easily for a moment be uncertain which side were fielding. There
could have been no mistake in old days. Older cricketers well remember
Jemmy Grundy in an old velvet cap more fitted for the North Pole than
an English cricket ground, such a cap as a poacher would wear. You can
see prints of Hayward and Carpenter in spotted shirts and large belts
and ties, and Jemmy Shaw bowling his hardest in a yellow shirt that did
duty apparently for the whole summer. Now, without any disrespect to
the amateurs, the professional is as smartly dressed as his opponents.
He is clad in spotless white; he is smart; and, in fact, as far as
appearance goes, he is an amateur, and good at that. Two reasons may be
given for this. In the first place, he is more highly paid; in the next
place, the great number of county matches brings him more frequently
into contact with amateurs; and it is also true that county committees
look more closely after the players than they did. The life of a
professional is a very hard life in the way of work, and though a sound
batsman, who is of steady habits, like poor Shrewsbury, can play for a
long while, the fast bowlers are overweighted with the constant labour
of bowling on too perfect wickets, and they cannot keep their pace and
skill for much more than six or seven years.

The professionals who are not good enough to play for a first-class
county have by no means so good a time. They get engaged by clubs
such as are found all over South Lancashire and in the West Riding
of York, and they bowl for several hours all the week to members of
the club at the nets, and on Saturdays play for the club in league
matches. The results of these matches are tabulated in the local
newspapers and in the sporting papers published on Sundays, and in
their own district cause no end of excitement. The end of the season
finds one of these clubs champion of the local league; and cricket is
carried on very much like football in this respect. There are senior
and junior leagues, there are Pleasant Sunday afternoon leagues, and
in each of them there exists a carefully considered system of tables
and elaborately calculated records of averages, and the leading
cricketers, like the leading football players, are heroes. The game,
however, as played in such matches, is of a distinctly lower type,
and if report speaks truly, the umpires have often more than their
proper share in determining the issue of the match. The professional
supplements his income in other ways. He generally supplies bats and
balls and other cricket materials, and sometimes, if he is a man of
business, he establishes himself finally in a shop, more frequently in
a public-house, and settles down for life.

[Illustration:
  _MR. J. H. DARK._             _THE UMPIRE._
  (_Proprietor of Lords_).      (_Wm. Caldecourt_).
  _WM. HILLYER._                _WM. MARTINGELL._]

[Illustration: _FULLER PILCH_,
_Who was considered, till the days of Dr. W. G. Grace, the best Batsman
that had ever appeared_.]

The descriptions of the amateur and professional as given above are
accurate enough, and many of us who can remember the former state of
things probably think that, in comparing the epoch of 1860 to 1870 with
that of 1892 to 1902, the condition of things was better, as far as the
amateur is concerned, in the ‘sixties, and worse for the professional,
and that now the position is exactly reversed. An amateur should be
either one thing or the other, but nobody can say in these days what he
is. The change has taken place gradually, and began from causes that
sprang into existence perhaps thirty years ago, and these we will now
try to explain.

Nobody who has watched the game carefully can fail to be struck with
the wonderful development of county cricket. The ideal county cricket
really exists, speaking of first-class counties alone, in the three
counties of Nottingham, Yorkshire, and, we think, Derbyshire. Regarded
impartially, a county ought to be represented solely by county players,
but as a matter of fact this is not the case anywhere but in Nottingham
and Yorkshire. But in many counties are to be found gentlemen who like
to have first-class cricket in their county, and a county cricket club
is founded. The financial prosperity of the club depends in a great
measure on the success of the county eleven, and if a county has three
or four amateurs who materially strengthen the side, the committee
make great efforts to secure their services all through the season.
The natural result follows. The amateur is driven to confess that he
cannot afford the expenses of travelling and living at hotels, and he
must decline to play. The winning of matches being the golden key to
financial prosperity, the committees have been driven to adopt a system
of paying the amateur money, that their counties may play their best
elevens, and the first step in obliterating the boundary line that
should exist between the amateur and professional has been taken, and
what thirty years ago was done in one or two instances is now a matter
of universal practice.

I am now for the moment making no comment; only stating a fact. As far
as the balance-sheet of the county club is concerned, you cannot assume
that the club can run its eleven cheaply by playing amateurs, who in
truth cost the committee as much per head as the professionals. It
would involve too much worrying into detail, and might lead to other
harmful consequences, to get exact statements of the cost of railway
tickets, etc.; so there is a fixed payment in a majority of cases given
to every amateur, and this fixed payment is on a sufficiently generous
scale to enable many an impecunious amateur to devote his services
to his county. Nor is this the only way of providing livelihoods for
skilful amateurs. There has to be, of course, a secretary, and you can
either appoint a cricketer to this post, and provide him with a clerk
who can do the work while his employer is playing cricket, or else
make the cricketer an under-secretary, both posts, of course, having
a salary attached.[3] It is also, if report speaks truly, a matter of
fairly common practice for employers somehow or other to find some
employment for cricketers during the winter, of course at a salary, and
it has therefore come to this, that many an amateur has found in the
game of cricket a means of access to a livelihood. No distinction has
yet been given between a complimentary match and a benefit; the result
is much the same in both instances; the proceeds of gate-money, after
deduction of expenses, are handed to the player for whom the match is
played.

A short time ago there was a proposal, emanating, if I am not mistaken,
from the Australian authorities, that the M.C.C. should undertake
the arranging and selection of an English eleven to represent this
country in a series of matches in Australia. The committee of the
M.C.C. undertook the task, though not, it must be confessed, in a very
sanguine spirit. Their labours did not last long. Difficulties met
them on the very threshold, and these difficulties were entirely on
the ground of the amateurs’ expenses. Now it must be assumed that, if
the principle of paying amateurs’ expenses be allowed, there ought to
be no difficulty in the way of settling with amateurs. A manager has
to go out; why should not he take all the tickets, pay the coaching
and railway expenses and hotel bills, receive the proper share of
the gate-money, and deliver the amateur safe back in his own country
without the payment to the amateur of a penny? The word expenses has a
well-defined and proper meaning, known to everybody. It represents the
actual cost to a player of living, travelling, and playing, from the
moment he leaves this country to the moment he sets foot in it again;
but it is perfectly certain that, if left to the amateur to make a sort
of private bargain, other and improper developments will take place,
and it is notorious that they do.

Now let us consider for a moment the position of affairs, as far as
this question of amateurs and professionals is concerned, in the case
of Australia. As was said before, there was some sort of discrimination
between the two in the first Colonial eleven in 1878. Both the
Bannermans, as noted above, were avowedly professionals, and Midwinter
also, if I remember rightly, and perhaps one or two others. But the
bulk were amateurs, and the mystic sign “Mr.” was placed before their
names. If no authoritative statement is made, and no balance-sheet
made public, nobody can be surprised if the facts are more or less
conjectural. But for all that, rumour in this instance is no lying
jade, and without fear of contradiction, I assert that many of the
so-called Australian “amateurs” who have been to this country have made
money over and above their expenses.[4] Let nobody be misled, or assume
from this that any stigma attaches to any of these Australian players;
it is not their fault, but some may complain of the system. The
profession of a cricketer, the calling of a professional, is in every
way an honourable and good one. What puzzles so many of us is that,
this being the case, so many should adopt the profession, but deny the
name. They seem to prefer the ambiguous position of a so-called amateur
to the straightforward, far more honourable one of a professional. This
is not the case in other professions. Take the case of the dramatic
career. There are many actors and actresses of more or less high social
standing who have been driven by their love of the work and skill to
adopt the calling of an actor. There is no ambiguity about it. They
become what they are. They do not call themselves amateurs and receive
salaries under the guise of expenses, which is exactly what cricketers
do; and many of us ask ourselves, what is the reason of this?

To this question all that can be said is that circumstances have so
changed that what was easy to define formerly is difficult now. It may
be impossible to have the same rules and regulations now that used to
exist forty years ago. But even if this is true, there can be no doubt
that in these days a most unhealthy state of things prevails. It is
bad for the nominal amateur, it is bad for the game, and it is bad for
the country. Cricket is the finest game ever invented, but it is after
all only a game, and it is wrong that things should have developed in
such a way that amateurs become professionals in all but the name,
and that gate-money should be the real moving spirit and ideal of all
county clubs. To be prosperous financially a county must win matches,
to win matches you must get the best possible county eleven, therefore
the best amateurs as well as professionals must be played; and if these
amateurs cannot afford the time and the money to play, why, then, they
must be paid, and paid accordingly they are. That this is the case now
everybody knows, and it seems strange that the greatest game of the
world should be the one game where such things occur. No complaint need
be made of the Australian system, except in this, that players who are
in fact professionals should be treated as such. We are always glad to
give them every welcome and show them every hospitality; nevertheless,
they should have the same treatment and stand on the same footing that
our professionals do when they visit Australia. In the same way, if any
player feels himself unable, at the invitation of the M.C.C., to go out
to Australia, because he is only offered the payment of the actual cost
of travelling and living, and afterwards goes out under some private
arrangement, he should be treated and recognised as a professional.
It is an old proverb that you cannot eat your cake and have it, and
if the modern amateur does not care, on social grounds, to become a
professional, then let him honestly refuse to play cricket if he cannot
afford to play on receipt of his bare expenses only. Richard Daft, in
old days, found himself in the same dilemma, and grasped the nettle
and became a professional, and justly earned the respect of all for so
doing.

Put briefly, in these days the state of things is this. A large number
of amateurs directly and indirectly make something of a livelihood
by cricket, and yet they are recognised as amateurs. Such cricketers
are those who, under the guise of expenses, get such a sum that after
paying these expenses leaves something to be carried over, as Mr.
Jorrocks called it. A few others do things on a far more lordly scale.
They have complimentary matches given them by their counties; in other
words, they have benefits like many of the leading and deserving
professionals, but still they are called amateurs; and whether it is
correct to call a class of men one name, when they are obviously and
openly something different, is perhaps a matter of opinion, but for my
part I do not hesitate to say it is neither right nor straightforward.

Further trouble arises from the curse of gate-money. This hangs like
a blight over everything. County clubs dare not take a decided line
about cricket reform, lest a shortening of the game might diminish the
gate-money, and professionals do not speak out because they are forced
to bow the knee to Baal. County clubs are therefore in this position:
they must attract gates; to do this they must have a fine eleven; to
get a fine eleven they must have amateurs, and these amateurs cannot
play regularly without being paid, and so paid they are. The expenses
of running a first-class county eleven are therefore very great—so
great, in fact, that few can stand the strain. Some years ago we
used to have three or four wet seasons running occasionally. If ever
this occurs again, bankruptcy awaits several county committees, as
Warwickshire and Worcestershire have some reason from last season’s
experience to dread. It now costs as much to run a team of amateurs
as professionals, as all have to be paid. Perhaps some day, when the
public get tired of seeing match after match unfinished, and refuse
to pay their entrance money, and the cricket world find out that some
reform is necessary, and the duration of a match is two days and not
three, county clubs will find out that they cannot pay these wages for
amateurs, and a remedy will be found from an unlooked-for cause.

[Illustration:
  _Attributed to_    _Thos. Gainsborough, R.A._
_PORTRAIT OF A YOUTH._

(_Said to be of George, Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV._)]

[Illustration: _WILLIAM DORRINTON._]

Having thus given vent to a growl on an unpleasant subject, the
features of professional and amateur play may now be discussed. There
used to be great differences in old days, far more than there is now,
but in one respect there is a great difference still, and that is in
bowling. We all know what sort of bowling will be seen in a University
match, or in Free Forester and Quidnunc matches. There will be one or
two fair slow bowlers, but that is all. Good fast bowling has not been
seen for some years in amateur elevens, but for this the amateurs are
hardly to blame. The modern wicket, shaved and heavy rolled, has made
it practically impossible for any really fast bowler to do any good,
unless he is one of the shining lights, like Richardson or Lockwood.
Amateurs like Messrs. Jessop, Kortright, and Bradley have an occasional
day of success, but these bowlers, being naturally fast, depend mainly
for their success on the agility of the field in the slips, and on
their capacity to make the ball bump. To attain this they generally
have but a short career. They take out of themselves by adopting a
gigantic long run and banging the ball down from straight over their
head at a terrific pace. Flesh and blood cannot stand this for more
than a short time. A human being is but human after all; he is not a
machine built to order like a steam engine, and work like what he has
to undergo knocks him up. The professionals have always had much the
best of it as regards bowling, and they have so still; but why this is
so is not easy to see. Between the ages of twelve and eighteen there is
no reason to suppose that the professional practises more at bowling
than the amateur; the probability is the other way. A young amateur
is at school during this period, where cricket is more systematically
carried on than at the board school, which the professional leaves at
thirteen and exchanges for a shop or a factory. But the tendency in
amateur bowlers is to promise well as a boy, and not to come up to
expectations as a man, and especially is this the case when, as so
often happens, there is a corresponding improvement in batting.

In my experience of more than thirty years, the only instance I
can call to mind of an amateur who bowled above medium pace like a
professional—that is to say, with a professional’s accuracy and
method—was Mr. Appleby, who died last year. Mr. Appleby had a
beautiful easy action, and was always to be relied on to keep a length
and direction, as J. T. Hearne did for many years. Mr. Jackson is still
in the middle of his career, and next to Mr. Appleby, bowls more nearly
approaching to the professional standpoint; but, good bowler as he
is, he does not strike one as quite like a professional bowler. Slow
bowlers are not quite in the same class. Here the amateur is more at
home. Mr. W. G. Grace and the late Mr. David Buchanan were worthy of
being classed with Alfred Shaw, Peate, and Rhodes. Mr. Grace must be
so much used to hearing his merits discussed entirely from the batting
point of view, and has done so little bowling as compared with batting,
that it may interest the present generation that for some years as
a bowler he was as effective as the best professional. His method,
however, was very different. At a time when a wicket was supposed to
be worth only ten runs, and when nearly every bowler bowled more for
maidens than they do now, Mr. Grace was the first to show the way of
a deliberate system of getting wickets by getting men out, other than
by merely bowling them. He habitually placed a deep square leg in the
right place, and tempted men like Oscroft, Charlwood, and many more to
send chances there, and many a time and oft has the trick come off. He
frequently bowled in a way that showed what idea was in his head. A
very common device of his was in regard to l.b.w. He never objected to
being hit over the ropes, as he would silently argue that an ordinary
batsman, having once tasted the sweets of a mighty leg hit over the
ropes, would very much like to repeat the feat, and Mr. Grace would
drop down a tempting ball on the leg stump, and if, as often happened,
the batsman did hit at it and did miss it, he was out l.b.w. To this
day, to batsmen like those who come from Australia for the first time,
and have therefore never seen Mr. Grace bowl, I would as soon put on
Mr. Grace to bowl for a few overs as any man in England. He is and
always has been quite unlike any other bowler, both in the way he
delivered the ball and the strange way he placed his field.

Mr. Buchanan was another bowler who copied Mr. Grace in one sense, for
though he did not bowl for catches to leg, he carried out the theory
of bowling for catches on the off side more than any bowler before or
since. A bold hitter might hit Mr. Buchanan, if he was quick on his
feet and had a good eye, but for all that there were few bowlers who so
rarely bowled a bad-length ball. Neither were there many bowlers who
made such absolute fools of batsmen as Mr. Buchanan did. The picked
professionals who played against him in Gentlemen and Players matches
at Lord’s and the Oval as a rule displayed all the feebleness that
was possible. Daft, Lockwood, and Oscroft were exceptions to this.
Lockwood, who had a wonderful cut, more than any other, realised the
danger of hitting at the pitch of Mr. Buchanan’s off ball. Instead of
doing this, he got back and cut the ball behind the wicket for three
runs—it might have been four, but Lockwood was a slow runner. Mr.
Buchanan did not like to have a third man, and his nervous system was
seriously insulted at Lockwood’s method, which forced him to change the
disposition of his field in a way he did not like. Mr. Grace and Mr.
Buchanan were two amateur slow bowlers who really studied the art of
bowling, and both of them, Mr. Grace in particular, studied the play of
their batting opponents; but when you have mentioned Messrs. Appleby,
Grace, and Buchanan, and for a short time Mr. Steel, you have nearly
exhausted the list of bowlers who during the last thirty years may be
said to have challenged comparison with the best professionals.

In batting it is very different. Mr. Grace, of course, must be
left out of any calculation. Apart from him, however, the amateurs
can quite hold their own in batting. It is not fair to take as an
illustration the performances of each in Gentlemen _v._ Players
matches, because the bowling on one side is so superior to the other.
But in international test matches, both here and in Australia, Messrs.
Stoddart, Ranjitsinhji, Maclaren, Jackson, and Steel have been fully
as good and successful as Shrewsbury, Barnes, Gunn, Hayward, and
Tyldesley. As far as style is concerned, the older professionals, such
as Shrewsbury and Barnes, had a more distinctive difference of method
than their modern successors. Hayward and Tyldesley far more closely
resembled the amateur method of Messrs. Jackson and Palairet than
Shrewsbury and Barnes did that of Messrs. Steel and Stoddart. It is
not easy to explain on paper the difference, but every decent judge of
the game could see that a difference was there. Some of the players,
like Ulyett and Bates, could and did hit as hard and as often as the
amateur, but in the professional there was little real grace of style.
It is strange that this is so, for grace and ease are qualities that
must be born, not made, but it is true, nevertheless, speaking of the
older cricketers. Nowadays it would seem that Tyldesley and Hayward
have nothing to fear, as far as style is concerned, from any amateur,
always excepting Mr. Palairet. As far as mere run-getting is the point
of discussion, there would seem to be very little in it one way or the
other. In the great series of test matches, both here and in Australia,
during the last ten years there have been Stoddart, Maclaren,
Ranjitsinhji, and Jackson, as there have been Shrewsbury, Hayward,
Tyldesley, and Gunn, the amateurs perhaps having a shade the better of
it.

The fielding also is and always has been tolerably even. In this,
however, there is a great difference now as compared with old times.
Thirty years ago the professional wicket-keeper was a class, even two
classes, above the amateur. Lockyer, Pooley, Plumb, and Pinder formed
a class that the amateurs could not show any comparison with. Possibly
the rougher wicket and the, generally speaking, faster bowling made the
position more unpleasant than it is now, but undoubtedly the amateur
has improved beyond all knowledge in wicket-keeping, and there is not
much to choose now. In other respects also the quality seems tolerably
equal. The observer will undoubtedly notice a change in the figure
of the ordinary professional now. The old Yorkshire eleven, with the
well-known figures of Roger Iddison, Luke Greenwood, and Rowbotham, and
the Nottingham eleven with Bignall and Wild, seem quite out of date
now, though Hirst looks promising in this respect. But Gunn, Maurice
Read, Tyldesley, Wainwright, Hirst, Braund, and several others were
and are fully equal in fielding to any that the amateurs can bring to
compare with them.

It would appear, then, that in batting and fielding there is little
to choose between amateurs and professionals, but in bowling there is
great superiority among the professionals. Of course this superiority,
_cæteris paribus_, is so important that as long as it exists the
professional must win the vast majority of matches. As a general rule
this has been the case, but when Mr. Grace was in his prime, that is,
between 1869 and about 1887, his tremendous skill gave the amateurs the
predominance that, as far as appearances go, does not look likely to
occur again.

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting by_    _W. Bromley._
_GEORGE PARR._]

Some good judges of the game have maintained that the common practice,
which has prevailed for some time, of engaging professional bowlers
to bowl to boys at school and undergraduates at the universities,
and to the amateurs generally belonging to clubs, is a bad one, and
that amateur inferiority in bowling is to be traced to this custom.
Something no doubt may be done by practising bowling, but it is
probable that the bowler even more than the batsman is _nascitur non
fit_. Unless there is a natural break and some spin or mysterious
quality which makes the ball hang or kick in a bowler, he can hardly
acquire it. The utmost he can attain to, if he does not possess these
virtues, is experience in estimating the quality of his opponents, and
a modicum of skill in varying length and pace. But these will not avail
him much if the natural gifts of a bowler are not in him by nature.
Even these will go if, as frequently happens in these days of easy
wickets, the bowler gets too much work thrown on him, for the cricket
life of a very fast bowler is not more than six years on the average.

In the matter of generalship, or the managing of a side, professionals
have hitherto shown very little skill. The professionals themselves
would probably prefer to be led by an amateur. George Parr, Daft,
Emmett, Alfred Shaw, and Abel have at different times acted as
captains, but none are to be compared to Messrs. V. E. Walker, A. N.
Hornby, J. Shuter, and Maclaren. A professional who is captain seems
always to think it proper to give every bowler a chance, whether a
change of bowling is wanted or not, and a natural bias towards members
of his own county is not always successfully resisted.

From what has been said in this chapter, the reader will be able to
learn that, as far as England is concerned, the relations between
amateurs and professionals stand on an altogether different footing in
cricket from what they do in other games. In Australia, unless we have
been misinformed, most if not all the players who come to this country
earn, on an average of years, a fairly substantial sum by cricket
played over here. They are really professionals, and it is probable
that in their own country they are so regarded. If this is so, we have
the curious fact of a totally different standard prevailing in the two
countries. But this, as far as England is concerned, is not important.
What is important is that there should be some distinct understanding
on the subject, and the present nebulous state of things put an end to.
If it is necessary to have something paid to amateurs, the greatest
care should be taken that nothing beyond _bona fide_ expenses are paid,
and we believe that by the Surrey club this is done now. Not until
there is established some clear and understood principle under which a
true definition of the word “amateur” is arrived at, will the present
unsatisfactory state of things be put an end to, and it is earnestly to
be hoped that some day this will be done.


[Illustration]



CHAPTER VIII

EARLIER AUSTRALIAN CRICKET

By the EARL OF DARNLEY


The rivalry between English and Australian cricketers, which has been
productive in recent times of so many splendid matches, can now look
back to its starting-point through quite a respectably large number of
years.

In the year 1861 H. H. Stephenson captained the first English team
of cricketers which visited Australia, and it was seventeen years
later before the seeds then sown had sufficiently matured to allow
the Australians to feel full confidence in their powers to return the
compliment, and to try conclusions with English players on their own
grounds.

Between these dates, 1861 and 1878, three other English elevens
visited Australia—G. Parr’s in 1863, W. G. Grace’s in 1873, and J.
Lillywhite’s in 1876. Of these four elevens, three were almost wholly
made up of professional players, and the fourth, that captained by
“W. G.,” included five amateurs. Amongst their numbers, however, they
included most of the great players of the day, and the first and
second elevens in point of date each left behind in Australia one of
its members, whose coaching was invaluable to the rising generation of
Colonial players: these two instructors were C. Lawrence, who remained
from the first English eleven, and W. Caffyn, about the best all-round
man of his time, from the second. Many times has the writer heard
striking testimony offered in Australia to the invaluable help given by
these two cricketers in those early days, and certainly they might well
have felt proud of the aptitude of such of their pupils as have come to
us from 1878 onwards.

The matches in these first four English visits have no very special
points of interest, as they were almost invariably played against
considerable odds. It was, however, plain to all that the standard
of cricket in Australia was greatly improving year by year, and no
one was surprised when it was announced in 1878 that our friends felt
themselves strong enough to send their first eleven to England, to try
their fortunes on level terms. So many Australian elevens have come
and gone since then, that it is difficult now to imagine the intense
interest and excitement which was felt in English cricket circles at
this epoch-making event. The arrival of an eleven which might hold its
own against our best men was up to this time so wildly improbable an
eventuality, that the majority of the English cricketing public could
hardly be brought to believe in its possibility.

A very short time sufficed to show that there was no mistake about
the capacity of our visitors for holding their own with our best men
on even terms. After a moderate start at Nottingham, where the county
won by one innings and a few runs, came perhaps the most startlingly
dramatic match ever played by an Australian eleven in England, against
a strong selection of the Marylebone Club, including such well-known
performers as W. G. Grace, Hornby, Ridley, A. J. Webbe, A. Shaw, and
Morley. To dispose of such a side for 33 and 19, and win the match by
nine wickets in one day, was a feat that even the warmest admirers of
the Australians had hardly imagined, and from that memorable day may be
said to have begun that intensely keen and interesting rivalry that has
lasted right up to the present day.

It may be worth while to attempt some slight personal sketch of this
remarkable 1878 Australian eleven, which included several players who
were to be the backbone of future elevens, and which achieved its
successes in some measure by methods to which we in England were as yet
strangers.

On looking through their batting list, there are names which suggest
plentiful run-getting capabilities. As a matter of fact, however, at
that time the batting was, with one exception, C. Bannerman, of the
most rugged and unfinished description. The above-named exception,
Bannerman, might well have been given a high place among contemporary
batsmen as a fierce-hitting, powerful player, worthy of any eleven for
batting alone, but Blackham, Midwinter, Horan, Murdoch, A. Bannerman,
and Garrett had none of them yet acquired the powers which in after
years were to be theirs in such abundant measure, and the batting of
the whole side, after C. Bannerman, was distinctly of the rough, useful
order. In this connection it may be noticed, however, that although
finish was to be looked for in vain, even at this early stage was
evident that fearless and dogged resistance to adverse circumstances
which has since then successfully extricated many an Australian side
from a tight place, and has always given their adversaries that
uncomfortable feeling of never being quite certain that they have
really got them safely beaten. What an invaluable asset is a reputation
of this sort, and how well and consistently have our Australian friends
sustained this hardly-earned character!

Emphatically this was a bowling and fielding eleven. In nineteen
eleven-a-side matches, only twice was the 250 exceeded by their
opponents, a convincing record that speaks for itself. Of the four
bowlers, one great name stands out supreme, and who is there that
remembers that year and the ten or twelve that succeeded it, but
must confess that his whole ideas of bowling were revolutionised
by what he saw of Spofforth in the prime of his powers? With
physical qualifications admirably adapted to fast bowling, very
tall, long-limbed, active, wiry, and impossible to tire, Spofforth
had scientifically studied the art of bowling to a most unusual
degree. The hard, true wickets in Australia had even then begun to
exercise a decisive influence on the characteristics of bowling in
that country, and unless a bowler could develop quite exceptional
powers of deception, spin, and break, he was soon reduced to absolute
helplessness. This difference in climate may be said to be the one
element which makes a distinction between cricket as played in the
Colonies and cricket as played in England, and, while its influence
has been decisive in keeping up the standard of Australian bowling to
a very high pitch of excellence, it has been at the same time hardly
less favourable to the formation of a free and good style of batting, a
style far more difficult to acquire when the ground is unreliable and
the climate variable.

At that time Spofforth’s methods varied considerably from those which
he afterwards employed. He was then as a rule a fast, sometimes
terrifically fast, bowler, with occasional slow ones, the change of
pace being most admirably masked in the delivery. In after years his
average pace was rather over medium, with an unusually big break back
for that pace, while the very fast or very slow ones were the exception
and not the rule. In addition to these types of ball, no man ever
bowled a more dangerous fast yorker than Spofforth, and his armoury
may well be said to have contained as damaging a collection of weapons
as ever taxed the powers of an opposing batsman. Boyle, Allan, and
Garrett made up the bowling strength. Of these Allan, partly probably
through being the possessor of a constitution which suffered greatly
from the severities of our summer climate, never came out in his true
form; his bowling had a fine natural break, and swerved considerably
in the air, and, although not on the whole very successful, he
occasionally showed quite enough of his powers to warrant the great
reputation enjoyed by him in the Colonies. Both Boyle and Garrett
were extremely useful bowlers of the good-length-lasting style, which
carried them through many subsequent years of good performance.

In wicket-keeping again did English cricketers find that there was
something new to be learnt. Both Blackham and Murdoch showed for the
first time how perfectly possible it was to stand up to the fastest
bowling without a long-stop; and Blackham especially gave promise of
powers that were to make him for some years perhaps the most brilliant
wicket-keeper ever seen.

The fielding all round and throwing were unusually good, and climate
again may probably be answerable for the fact that Australian elevens,
taken all through, could almost invariably out-throw any English eleven
man for man.

[Illustration: _THOMAS BOX._]

From this short description it will easily be seen that they were a
team to be seriously reckoned with, whoever their opponents might
be, and when we look to the completed records of their matches, the
result must be held to be decidedly creditable. By comparison with the
programmes of after years, the relative test of their powers can hardly
be said to be so severe. No really representative English eleven was
encountered, although the full strength of both the amateurs and the
professionals was played separately. At the hands of the Gentlemen they
met with one of their heaviest reverses, but the professionals were
narrowly defeated once, while the other game ended in a fairly even
draw.

Nineteen matches played, of which the Australians won ten and lost
four, made up a highly satisfactory total, and, in addition, only three
out of twenty-one matches against odds were lost by them.

It was not a batsman’s year, 1878, but even taking that fact into
consideration, only one innings of over 100 hit against Australian
bowling shows unmistakably wherein lay the chief strength of the
eleven. Mention has already been made of the remarkable wicket-keeping
of Murdoch and Blackham, who for the first time in English cricket
performed their duties without the aid of a long-stop. We think we are
right in saying that Murdoch was at first looked upon as the regular
wicket-keeper of the team, but from that time onward the wonderful
talent of Blackham gained for him the superior position, and his
wicket-keeping for several years was at least the equal of that of any
other competitor that could be brought against him. Standing very close
to the wicket, and of marvellous quickness, he had the happy knack of
invariably showing at his best on great occasions; a batsman too of
a resolute, fearless description, and a very quick runner between
wickets, his play in Australian elevens for many years was no small
factor in their success.

The composition of this eleven is of especial interest, not merely
because it was the first of the series to come to us, but by reason of
its including some prominent names of men who were to be the nucleus
and backbone of those that were to follow. Blackham, Murdoch, A.
Bannerman, Garrett, Boyle, and Spofforth are names that will frequently
recur in following years, and we shall see how, with their help, the
standard of success rose consistently through the tours of 1880 and
1882, and then, after a slight falling-off in 1884, for reasons which
will afterwards be alluded to, fell gradually away until a revival set
in about the time of Stoddart’s first tour in Australia in 1894.

The next event of any prominence to be noticed is the visit of Lord
Harris’s eleven to Australia in the winter of this same year 1878. A
fine batting and fielding eleven, but hardly strong enough in bowling
to be really representative of English cricket at its best. Emmett and
Ulyett were the only two professionals included, and for a side so weak
in bowling, they may be said to have made an excellent appearance. One
match only was played against the returned Australian eleven, who were
successful by ten wickets. Four new names appear amongst those chosen
to represent the various Australian sides, all more or less successful,
Palmer, Macdonnell, Massie, and Evans. The last-named cricketer was
about that time at his best, and many and outspoken have been the
regrets that this fine cricketer could never spare the time to appear
much in English _v._ Australian cricket until he was well past his
prime. In both appearance and performance he was thoroughly typical of
the highest class of colonial cricketer. His tall, unusually active,
well-built figure, bearded, bronzed bushman’s face, presented the most
perfect example of the Australian athlete, while his overhand accurate
bowling and really splendid fielding and steady batting made him a
worthy addition to any eleven.

Against the representatives of the individual colonies the Englishmen
more than held their own, and six matches won to three lost make up a
highly creditable record.

In the summer of 1880 appeared the second Australian eleven, and
amongst their number several additional names to those who were with us
in 1878.

Palmer, whose performance against Lord Harris’s eleven made his
inclusion a certainty, appears for the first time, and he has more than
justified his selection by coming out top of the bowling averages in
eleven-a-side matches, according to number of wickets taken, although
Spofforth, who was unable to play in several matches, has the lesser
average of runs per wicket. No prettier bowler to look at than Palmer
ever bowled a ball; a style of delivery that apparently cost its owner
no effort whatever, and, as usual with great Australian bowlers, a much
greater break than the pace of the ball would lead you to suspect.
Strong and sturdily built, his power of bowling a very fast yorker was
unusually great, and was frequently used early in a batsman’s innings
with deadly effect. With such an easy delivery, it is not easy to see
why Palmer’s successes did not continue for much longer than they
actually did, but we may probably look for the explanation in a too
great fondness which he subsequently developed for the fast leg breaks,
which first destroyed the excellent length for which he was famous,
and finally lowered the standard of his bowling altogether. The great
improvement in his batting powers may possibly also in his case, as in
that of many other bowlers, have had something to do with it. His style
in batting was almost as attractively graceful as that of his bowling,
but lacked something of that tenacity which must be added to style to
bring about the real power over the bowlers characteristic of a great
batsman.

The name of Macdonnell recalls many a dashing, vigorous innings,
perhaps some of the most fascinating displays of hard, but not usually
high, hitting ever seen. This season of 1880 saw him already among
the leading batsmen, with an average in eleven-a-side matches second
only to Murdoch, whose immense improvement as a bat deserves separate
mention. Macdonnell belongs to that small circle of Australian players
who were able by the fierceness of their hitting to practically win
a match by their own unaided efforts when their companions were
comparatively helpless, and this type of batsman, which was one of
the chief features of every Australian eleven up to 1893, seems,
curiously enough, to have almost disappeared. We may not improbably
be able to trace this to the great predominant influence which has
altered the whole character of modern cricket, and, in the judgment
of many, brought about a dull level of too easily performed feats
of run-getting, that only drastic legislation can alter, viz. the
increasing excellence of the artificially prepared wickets. The value
of an exceptional hitter, such as any member of the little band above
alluded to, is far greater when the conditions are difficult. He alone
perhaps can offer any effective resistance when the bowler is revelling
in favourable conditions; but, if the ball comes along easily and well,
it pays far better to determine at all costs to keep up the wicket, to
abandon the more attractive methods of the hitter, and let the runs
come, as they almost inevitably will come under such circumstances.

A great feature of the cricket of this year was the immense improvement
noticeable in Murdoch’s play; from this time forward he took rank as
one of the greatest batsmen of the time, and perhaps the best of all
the Australian players that have come to us. It is gratifying to see
that, as in the case of our own champion, the ever-vigorous “W. G.,”
Murdoch’s perfect upright style has enabled him to keep up a more than
respectable proportion of his best form through at least twenty-five
years of first-class cricket. This very day in April 1903, the morning
paper tells us that, snow-showers and north winds notwithstanding,
these two grand old cricketers are once more making an excellent
appearance, going in first together at Kennington Oval. Long may they
flourish! Another name that strikes us as appearing for the first
time in these matches is that of G. Bonnor. We have already noticed
the athletic and powerful frames that help our Australian friends so
frequently to distinction in cricket, but how can we sufficiently
admire the really magnificent physique of this giant among cricketers!
6 feet 6 inches in height and between 16 and 17 stones in weight, a
very fast runner and prodigious thrower, we might well search the
country through before we find his match as a splendid specimen of
humanity. Let the reader think over all the men of at all similar
proportions that he has ever met with, and see which of them could
run at full speed and pick up a ball in the long field as he could.
In so big a man this great activity implies a perfection of muscular
development and proportion that is very rarely met with, and to see
Bonnor hit and field at cricket may without exaggeration be described
as the realisation of an almost ideal athletic experience.

There have been endless discussions as to who has been actually the
biggest hitter at cricket within living memory, but in the writer’s
mind there is no doubt that Bonnor’s extra power gave him the first
place for distance, although C. I. Thornton’s much more perfect swing
made the competition a closer race than their relative physical powers
would lead one to expect. Bonnor, Macdonnell, Massie, Lyons—what
prodigious smacks to the unfortunate ball do these names bring to our
recollection! It will be indeed a bad day for the old game when the
conditions do not give reasonable encouragement to this heroic type of
batsman, and, at all events while Jessop continues to play, we may well
hope that there is no immediate danger of the race becoming extinct.

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting by_    _A. S. Wortley._
_DR. W. G. GRACE._]

Taken as a whole, the team showed a decided advance on their
predecessors, and Murdoch and Macdonnell in particular gave many fine
displays of batting. The bowling suffered from the absence of Garrett,
and the failure of any adequate substitute to take his place, and also
from Spofforth’s absence in half the eleven-a-side matches. When he was
able to play, however, his bowling was as irresistible as ever, while
Palmer at once worked his way into the front rank of bowlers.

A new departure in the programme was made in the match against a picked
England eleven played rather too late in the year, on 6th September.
The weather, however, was all that could be wished at that time, and
a great match resulted in a well-deserved win for England by five
wickets. Murdoch and W. G. Grace were fittingly the batting heroes of
the match, and the time was evidently at hand when the best English
eleven would find its equal in our rapidly improving Australian
friends. Only four matches lost out of thirty-seven played was the
final result, although only eleven of these were eleven-a-side matches,
and the programme did not provide the sterner test of later tours.

In the winter of 1881 a very strong professional eleven under the
captaincy of Alfred Shaw played a short round of first-class matches in
Australia, and amongst these were two matches against Australia and two
against the Australian eleven which was to come to England in 1882. The
two Australian sides consisted of practically the same players, except
that Evans was not included in the team to visit England. So strong,
however, was that team that it is difficult to say who could have been
advisedly left out to make a place for him.

The results of these four matches clearly indicated the great strength
of Australian cricket at this time. Two wins and two drawn games
against a side which had Barlow, Ulyett, Selby, Bates, Shrewsbury,
Midwinter, and Scotton to bat, and Peate, A. Shaw, Barlow, Bates,
Ulyett, and Emmett to bowl, was a thoroughly unmistakable performance,
and added immensely to the interest with which the arrival of the 1882
Australian eleven was anticipated. No absolutely new names had appeared
on the colonial side, but the standard of play had everywhere made
a distinct upward movement, and almost every man of the eleven had
reached the prime of his powers. An opportune alteration of the match
list for that year provided eleven-a-side matches throughout the tour,
a better test, and one likely to keep up the interest and play of the
men more efficiently than a number of matches against odds, which are
no particular honour to win or disgrace to lose.

A glance at the composition of this famous eleven shows a collection
of very well distributed powers. For batting, Murdoch, now at his
best—and that means no small praise; Horan, a talented, correct
player, who, although not very successful with the first eleven, was
now one of the best in Australia; Massie, Bannerman, Bonnor, Giffen,
greatly improved, and soon to be one of the best all-round players of
the day; Macdonnell, Blackham, and S. Jones. In bowling, Spofforth,
Palmer, Boyle, Garrett, and Giffen—probably as good a company as ever
bowled together in one eleven. Blackham to keep wicket. No wonder that
the cricket critics, whose numbers were rapidly increasing, have never
ceased to dispute whether this eleven or one of those that have come to
us since 1896 was the stronger.

Unquestionably from 1884 to 1894 the Australian form steadily declined,
but whether the improvement that has since set in has reached or passed
the level of 1882 and 1884, is a question of considerable difficulty to
tackle, and has moreover this recommendation, so thoroughly favourable
to the pronouncement of varied and strongly-laid-down opinions, that
from the conditions of the problem it is impossible that the issue can
ever be really conclusive. Whatever may be the reader’s verdict on this
vexed point, no one can deny that few elevens have ever contained so
many brilliant performers in their own departments of the game.

The days of a series of test matches had not yet arrived, although
efforts were even then made by those arranging matters to fix dates
for them. Some more years of hammering against the gates of cricket
conservatism were necessary before this most palpably necessary
improvement was instituted.

The one England match was as usual fixed very late in the season, 28th
August, and for the first time an ever-memorable contest resulted
in a narrow win for Australia by 7 runs. Two very fine elevens
fought it out on difficult wickets, and in the end England failed to
score the 84 that was required of them by the above-mentioned small
margin. Spofforth’s bowling fourteen wickets for 90 runs stands out
conspicuously, but, for so important a trial of strength, what a pity
that wicket conditions should have rendered such figures possible!

It was curious that, out of four matches lost during the whole tour,
two were against Cambridge University and Cambridge Past and Present.
The other two defeats were at the hands of the Players and the North
of England, and these four defeats make a very small total when placed
against twenty-three victories out of a long series of thirty-eight
matches, while the average strength of the opposing elevens was far in
excess of anything previously met with.

The winter of 1882 saw a mixed team of amateurs and professionals,
under captaincy of the present writer, start for a tour in Australia.
The all-round strength of the side was very considerable, but only
four of their number had been chosen to represent England in the
previous summer. However, as the remainder included Morley, Bates, W.
W. Read, and Tylecote, the paper form was undoubtedly strong, and
had not illness and accident, especially the unfortunate mishap which
more or less crippled Morley, their only first-class fast bowler, been
unfortunately frequent, an even better record than the respectable
results achieved might have been realised. A rubber of three matches
was played with the victorious 1882 Australian eleven, and after each
had easily won a match, the decisive game ended at Sydney in the
victory of England by 69 runs.

Cricket enthusiasm was at a very high pitch in Australia at this time,
the first victory of Australia over England having greatly excited
the public mind, and the attendance at the test matches exceeded all
previous records.

The rubber having now been won by England, a suggestion was made that
another match should be arranged, and one or two players included in
the Australian side who had not been to England with Murdoch. Evans
and Midwinter were accordingly chosen to take the places of Garrett
and Macdonnell, and, although it seemed highly doubtful if this change
was calculated to be for the better, its advocates would doubtless
claim the justification of their choice in the Australian victory which
resulted by four wickets. Fifty-five thousand people were supposed to
have witnessed the play during the four days that the match occupied,
and a new plan was adopted of having a fresh wicket for each of the
four innings. This was necessitated by the peculiar nature of the
Sydney turf, a thick-bladed, flat-growing grass, which looked perfectly
smooth, but wore very badly.

These four matches showed the Australians hardly perhaps in their best
form, but Bonnor, Bannerman, and, in the last match, Blackham, did some
excellent service in batting, especially the first-named. His hitting
in three out of the four matches was terrific, and most difficult to
deal with, as our English eyes were not so well able, in the very clear
atmosphere of these latitudes, to judge the many high twisting catches
which he impartially presented to various fieldsmen. In an innings of
87 in the fourth match he was supposed to have been missed eight or ten
times, and several of these misses were to be laid to the charge of a
usually very safe fieldsman who shall be nameless. The demoralising
effect of such a succession of disasters on our bowlers and fieldsmen
may be well imagined, and the problem of how long a bowler should
be kept on who is having a chance missed off him nearly every over
presented itself in its most perplexing form to our captain.

The Australian bowling as usual found itself in safe and capable hands,
in the persons of Spofforth, Palmer, Boyle, etc., while the Australian
summer supplied us with an unusual number of wet wickets, much to the
delight of the sheep-farmers who came from all parts of Australia to
see the games.

On the English side Steel proved a tower of strength in both bowling
and batting, and Leslie, Barlow, Bates, and Read all well upheld their
batting reputations. Of the bowlers, Barlow and Bates did about the
best work, and the latter performed one or two notable feats in this
line. The want of a reliable fast bowler was many a time sorely felt,
poor Morley, who attempted to play several matches with a broken rib,
breaking down time after time.

For the first time Queensland was visited by an English eleven, but the
experience, in spite of the extraordinary hospitality and kindness of
the Queenslanders, was not altogether encouraging. The semi-tropical
heat caused several slight cases of sun effects amongst our players,
and the drenching thundershowers necessitated, in one case, small
drains being dug quite near the pitch to allow the water to subside
quickly after the storms.

Cricket touring in Australia in those days differed from more modern
experiences in several respects. The railways between Adelaide and
Melbourne and Melbourne and Queensland had not yet been completed, so
that most disturbing little sea journeys, lasting about thirty-six
hours, on small and not overclean steamers, had to be undertaken on
several occasions. Nothing more calculated to temporarily disarrange
the health and form of a travelling cricket eleven could be well
imagined, and the railway journeys which have now been substituted must
be far preferable, from the player’s point of view.

The cricket grounds in the chief capitals were already very good, but
in Adelaide the turf had been too recently laid to have nearly reached
the perfection to which it afterwards attained. In Sydney, the species
of grass which has been before alluded to has now, we believe, been
altered to English grass, then supposed to be quite unsuited to the
climate, with the best possible results.

No new players of any prominence appeared among the Australians, unless
we make an exception in the case of W. H. Cooper, the Victorian. He had
already played in first-class cricket for some years, and had made a
considerable reputation by his wonderful leg breaks. The usual penalty
attaching to this great power of twist, viz. loss of pitch, always
made him a very doubtful quantity, and he was liable to be ruinously
expensive in the matter of runs.

The arrival of an Australian eleven in England every second year had
now become quite an established custom, and 1884 saw a strong selection
of players once more with us. The changes in the personnel proved to be
the substitution of Scott, Midwinter, Alexander, and Cooper for Horan,
Massie, S. Jones, and Garrett, and there can hardly be a contrary
opinion that this change was slightly for the worse. Scott certainly
sustained his own part with considerable success, but the displaced
four names proved in the long run to be very difficult to replace
adequately.

Three matches with England produced the not very satisfactory result
of two drawn games and one win for England, a foretaste of the
indecisive sequences which have stirred up the attempts at legislative
interference in later times. Although unable to win one of the three
matches, the Australians had certainly rather the best of the two that
were undecided. In the first match, at Manchester, England was only
93 runs on with one wicket to fall, after a first innings of 182; and
in the third match, at the Oval, they gave us a very fine display
of batting, winning the toss and making 551, the largest total yet
recorded in these matches.

[Illustration: _YOUTH WITH A CRICKET BAT_
(_Supposed to have been Painted about 1780_).]

Murdoch, true to his character of leading batsman, headed the list
with 211, Macdonnell 103, and Scott 102, while the English bowling was
reduced to such straits that Alfred Lyttelton’s lobs were afforded the
chance of a lifetime, and actually captured the last four wickets for
19 runs!

When in the first innings eight English wickets had fallen for 181 runs
on a good wicket, the match looked almost over, but with W. W. Read’s
appearance began a notable partnership, which was not broken before 151
runs had been added to the score. Read’s 117 ranks very high indeed
among the great innings of great matches, and his mastery of the varied
and excellent bowling brought against him was complete. Two wickets
down for 85 runs represented England’s second innings, and Australia
could claim an immense advantage on the match as far as it went.

The third match, at Lord’s, ended in quite another fashion with a
one-innings defeat for Australia, principally due to a very fine 148
by A. G. Steel for England, and some excellent bowling by the two
Yorkshiremen, Peate and Ulyett.

The English representative eleven of the day showed a very high
standard of play, especially in batting. When one finds A. Lyttelton
going in ninth on the list of batsmen, and W. W. Read tenth, the side
may be safely estimated to be as strong in batting as any that has ever
played together. The bowling, on the other hand, did not stand out in
quite such overwhelming strength, although Peate, Ulyett, A. G. Steel,
Barnes, and Barlow are a by no means contemptible selection. On the
whole year’s performances in batting, Murdoch once more emphasised his
superiority, with an average of 30 per innings, 1.7 in advance of his
next competitor, while most of the older hands, in addition to Scott,
came out on the list with good figures.

Spofforth’s bowling was if possible even more successful than
before—216 wickets, with an average of 12 runs per wicket; with Palmer
second, with 132 wickets for an average of 16 runs. These two, with
Boyle and Giffen, made up an attack strong at all points.

Eighteen matches won and seven lost does not compare too favourably
with the figures of the 1882 eleven, and this difference was, we think,
exactly to be accounted for by the slight change for the worse in the
alteration made in the old eleven by the substitution of the four new
men before alluded to.

Although their successes had possibly not quite equalled those of 1882,
the four players who had not been able to come to England were still
in as good form as ever, and Australian cricket at this time was still
at about its highest point. No real symptoms of that gradual decline
which lasted up to 1894 had commenced to show themselves before about
1885-86.

In the winter of 1884 another strong lot of professionals under
Alfred Shaw visited Australia, and an unfortunate dispute with the
lately-returned Australian eleven deprived most of the chief matches of
their representative character, as the members of the Australian eleven
refused to play in them. However, towards the end of the tour matters
were smoothed over, and three matches were played against Australia’s
full strength. The first, a very fine struggle, was won by Australia by
7 runs, the second by the same side by eight wickets, and the third by
the Englishmen by an innings and 98 runs. The professionals were a very
strong side at all points of the game, and Barnes greatly distinguished
himself by heading both batting and bowling averages, sharing the
batting honours with Shrewsbury and Bates, while the bowling was very
equally distributed among six well-known names, Barnes, Bates, Flowers,
Attewell, Ulyett, and Peel.

The 1886 Australian eleven in England furnished some names new to
English grounds, and for the first time Evans was able to find the
time for the journey. As it turned out, however, his great reputation
would have been better cared for if he had not been brought over for
the first time when his powers were decidedly on the wane, and both
in batting and bowling he was practically a failure. Jarvis appears
as a wicket-keeper, and a very able colleague to Blackham he has
always proved himself, besides being at times useful with the bat.
J. Trumble, W. Bruce, and M’Ilwraith are the other new names, and
of these, Bruce alone has made much mark in first-class cricket,—a
beautiful fieldsman and thrower, and a pretty, hard-hitting,
left-handed batsman, but one who has never quite succeeded in doing
himself full justice on English grounds.

The same signs of deterioration that were observable in the 1884
eleven, as compared with that of 1882, were now more strongly
pronounced. The new men were quite unable to adequately replace
Murdoch, Macdonnell, Bannerman, Massie, Horan, and Boyle, while, to
add to their misfortunes, Spofforth met with a severe accident which
crippled him for some time, and never allowed him to again reach his
proper form during the tour. On the other hand, their English opponents
could command a very strong side, and in place of the dearth of fine
new players which the Australians were experiencing, found ready to
hand several younger players of great promise. The days of Lohmann,
Briggs, and Stoddart were commencing, names that were destined to
furnish a difficult nut for Australians to crack for many a day.
The older men too on the English side were all at the best period
of their play, and Grace, Shrewsbury, Read, and Steel could hardly
fail to put up a big score among them on any given occasion. The only
cheerful feature of a dismal record, in which the nine victories could
only claim a narrow lead of one over the eight defeats, was the fine
all-round form of Giffen. This great player, now at the top of his
game, headed both batting and bowling averages, and was to be from this
time a tower of strength to Australian cricket. Spofforth’s unfortunate
accident came at a time when there seemed every likelihood of his being
quite as successful as ever, but from that time to the end of the tour
his bowling powers seemed to have temporarily deserted him, and that
alone was a disaster to the side of the very first magnitude. Garrett
and Palmer still continued to do yeoman service in bowling, although
rather more expensive than formerly, and both S. Jones and Scott gave
some fine batting displays.

Of the three matches against England, the first was won by England by
the small margin of four wickets, and each of the other two in one
innings. Fortune had indeed deserted our Australian friends for the
moment, and, worst of all, the absence of promising young players gave
no hope for the immediate future. Yet, if we consider for a moment how
comparatively small had been the amount of first-class cricket hitherto
played in Australia, we may well rather wonder at the remarkable
brilliancy of the players sent to us up to this time, than that they
should now find some difficulty in replacing them.

Without making invidious distinctions, it may be safely asserted that
in these last two Australian elevens of 1884 and 1886, the loss of
Murdoch’s captaincy was severely felt, as he always seemed to have the
happy knack of keeping his team well in hand and up to the highest
standard of their play.

Once more in 1886 did a strong team of professionals go to Australia
under the indefatigable Shaw and Shrewsbury. Although beaten twice
by New South Wales, they won four matches out of five against
representative Australian elevens, the other being drawn, no mean
achievement. The days of Turner and Ferris were beginning, and the
former was now rapidly becoming one of the great bowlers of the day.
A beautifully easy delivery and great power of pace, combined with a
quickness of break back that baffled the strongest defence, were the
characteristics of this fine cricketer’s style. Ferris, although not so
attractive in his methods, made an excellent colleague in their bowling
partnership, with his steady left-handed deliveries.

Lyons for the first time appears among the representative Australian
players. Very big and powerful, he proved a worthy successor to the
great hitters of the earlier Australian elevens, and some of his
hitting, performed with little apparent effort and without moving
the feet, was a wonderful exhibition of sheer muscular force of arm.
Giffen’s loss from illness was a great blow to the Australians, and
some of the older bowlers were now losing something of their skill. On
the other side, the English bowling was very strong, with Lohmann and
Briggs to lead it, and Shrewsbury at the top of his form in batting.

So popular had these Australian tours now become that in the winter of
1887-88 two separate English elevens visited Australia, one under G. F.
Vernon, and the other under Shrewsbury. This division of forces, which
was for many reasons to be regretted, did not appear to materially
affect their chances of success, as the teams lost only two or three
matches between them. H. Trott and H. Trumble were prominently seen
for the first time this season, and were both destined to take a very
leading part in the games of the next few years. Trumble as a bowler is
probably now second to none, making admirable use of his great height,
and exercising the best of judgment in his admixture of different paces
and flights. Trott, an excellent batsman and useful change bowler, was
always a useful man on the side, but it has been his fine judgment as
captain that has proved him to be so invaluable a member of it.

The representatives of Australia were met three times by Shrewsbury’s
eleven, and twice by Vernon’s, and all these five matches ended in
English success—crushing evidence of the now seriously deteriorated
form of the Australians. Shrewsbury and W. W. Read gave many fine
exhibitions of batting, and came out more than 25 points ahead of
their nearest competitors in the batting list. Lohmann and Briggs for
Shrewsbury’s side, and Attewell and Peel for Vernon’s, did most of the
bowling with conspicuous success.

The 1890 Australian eleven for England furnished a surprise in the
return of Murdoch to the headship of affairs, and, in spite of some
obvious disadvantages of increasing age and weight, his form was once
more able to place him at the head of the batting averages. First
of a rather moderate lot must be the estimate of this performance,
and only Barrett besides himself was able to claim an average of over
20, his and Barrett’s being 23 and 22 respectively. Barrett, here for
the first time, was a left-handed bat with dogged powers of defence,
highly uninteresting to watch. Burn, the Tasmanian, a batsman of some
reputation, did not show to much advantage over here, and Walters, a
powerful Victorian, who had proved a great run-getter in Australia
for some years, seemed quite unable to accommodate himself to altered
conditions. S. E. Gregory appears for the first time, and at once made
a name for himself by his wonderful fielding and throwing in from
cover-point or mid-off. The powers of batting which were to make him
so useful a member of most of the Australian elevens of the next few
years were not yet much in evidence. The most of the bowling was as
before entirely thrown on the shoulders of the undaunted pair, Turner
and Ferris, and most admirably did they acquit themselves. 215 wickets
for an average of 12 and 215 wickets for an average of 13 are figures
that speak eloquently of a hard season’s work well performed. Charlton
and Trumble were their assistants nearest in point of performance,
but Trumble, although at that time a steady persevering bowler, had
not yet acquired sufficient mastery of break and pace to be really
dangerous. For the first time the losses of the team, sixteen, exceed
the victories, thirteen, a terrible falling-off from the successes of
ten years ago. Three matches were arranged against the full strength
of England, but only the first two were played, both won by England,
by seven wickets and two wickets respectively, the third match being
abandoned through rain. It was said, not untruthfully, that these two
narrow defeats against strong English sides, especially the latter of
the two, conferred more credit on the Australians than any other of
their performances, but an eleven can hardly be congratulated that has
such a criticism as its chief recommendation.

In the winter of 1891-92 quite a new plan was carried out, Lord
Sheffield collecting and taking out a strong English eleven, including
once more the veteran “W. G.,” Stoddart, and other fine players. The
eleven, to be really representative of England’s strength, would have
required some additions to the batting, but Grace, Stoddart, M. Read,
and Abel made at all events a strong backbone to the defence, and
the bowling was well up to the highest mark in the hands of Briggs,
Lohmann, Attewell, and Peel. Three matches were played against combined
Australia, the first two being lost by 55 and 72 runs, and the third
won easily in one innings. Of this last match, however, it should be
said that the two sides batted under quite unequal conditions, the
English on a hard dry wicket, and the Australians on one spoilt by
rain. Lyons, Bannerman, and Bruce all did excellent service in batting,
and Lyons’ second innings of 134 in the Sydney match was a very fine
display of hitting. Australian bowling had suffered considerably from
the absence in England of Ferris, and Turner, although still about
the best Australian bowler, was hardly so deadly as formerly. Grace
was able to show his Australian admirers that the eighteen years that
had elapsed since his last visit had little diminished his marvellous
skill, and his average of 44 in eleven-a-side matches brought him
easily to the top, Abel, Stoddart, and M. Read all coming out with good
figures.

The improved form of the Australians this season added much to the
interest which was felt in the 1893 Australian eleven, who came,
moreover, as a thoroughly representative side, no other Australian
cricketer, except possibly Moses, having any real claim for selection.
An advance on the form of the last few years they certainly exhibited,
but, although the quality of the cricket opposed to them was certainly
of great merit, the summed-up results of the tour, eighteen matches
won to ten lost, cannot be said to show conclusively that all the lost
ground had yet been made up.

The season of 1893 was exceptionally sunny and fine, so that many
more hard wickets were played on than in an average English summer.
The strain on the bowlers of a travelling eleven was accordingly
severe, and Turner was not able to preserve the unassailed position
of superiority hitherto held by him. On the hard wickets G. Giffen
was perhaps the best bowler of the side, and he is said to have not
unreasonably complained of the invariable regularity with which his
bowling was made use of on the hard wickets, while, on the more
difficult wickets, the other bowlers were able to dispose of their
more easily conquered victims.

A great improvement is to observed in Trumble both in batting and
bowling, and he had now reached a formidable degree of power in both
departments of the game. Graham made a most promising _début_ as a bat
and fine out-field; indeed, his batting was quite one of the features
of the tour. Another pair of batsmen of most unequal appearance and
batting methods were also very successful, Lyons and A. Bannerman, who
generally went in first together. Some of Lyons’ hitting ranks high
among the recorded feats of big hitting, and Bannerman’s dogged defence
was never more usefully employed during his long career. G. H. Trott,
too, and G. Giffen were both generally useful with the bat, and the
eleven throughout showed a higher level of batting power than had been
seen for some years.

If we compare this eleven with the strong years of 1882 and 1884, we
should say that the 1893 team would naturally suffer in the absence
of Murdoch at his best, and in the bowling falling somewhat below the
standard of that of the four great bowlers of that day, Turner not
being at his best and Trumble not quite attained to his full powers.

The English representatives of this year were of great strength. Grace,
Shrewsbury, Stoddart, Gunn, Jackson, A. Ward, W. W. Read, all in fine
form, made an immensely strong batting combination, while an era of
great fast bowlers was arising, with Richardson, Mold, and Lockwood
all now coming to the full possession of their great powers, and
the slow bowling in the safe and capable hands of Briggs and Peel.
It is doubtful if in the whole history of English cricket three such
exceptionally fine fast bowlers as these ever flourished at the same
time, and the bowling of one or other of them influenced the play of
most of the great matches for some years at this time.

Only one of the three matches against England was played to a finish,
and that resulted in a one-innings victory for England. The other two
both ended in draws none too favourable to the chances of an Australian
victory.

Many fine innings were played by the chief English players during these
matches, while Graham with 107 at Lord’s and Trott with 92 at the Oval
did great things for the Australians.

A great drawback to Australian success in a summer so favourable to
hard wickets was the absence of a reliable fast bowler. The days of E.
Jones were now soon to begin, and had he been available at this time, a
great addition to the all-round strength would have been realised. The
unusual wealth of bowlers of this description in the English elevens at
this time made this weakness especially noticeable.

[Illustration: _AN ELEVEN OF MISS WICKETS._]

And now, having traced in somewhat cursory fashion the ups and downs of
Australian _v._ English cricket through some thirty-two years of its
earlier existence, we leave the history of its further development at
a time when the present generation of Australian players are beginning
to make their appearance. The process of development between the days
of 1861 and the date of the first Australian eleven, 1878, seems to
have been gradual and steady. With the arrival of that notable eleven
were apparent great possibilities in the future, and, quicker even than
could have been thought possible, came the rapid progress, until the
culminating point of 1882 and 1884 was reached. From that time came the
curiously steady and disappointing decline, till, as we have lately
seen, the 1893 team once more gave promise that the ten lean years
were over, and a new era of prosperity about to begin. Right up to the
present day Australians were now to show themselves fully equal to
meeting our very best on even terms both here and in the Colonies.

How profoundly this interchange of cricketing visits has influenced
the course of cricket in England can hardly be too much insisted upon.
Without them a representative English eleven would have never been
seen in the field at all, and how great a loss this fact alone would
have been to the cricketing world, both of players and spectators, can
hardly be overstated.

That our Australian cousins should so soon have been able to tackle us
on even terms, in spite of their vastly smaller population and their
comparatively small number of first-class matches, must always be a
somewhat humbling problem for our cricketing philosophers. Certainly
they have the advantage of a longer cricketing season, and a greater
likelihood of finding the weather sufficiently fine to ensure their
cricket being played on good wickets. In this last factor we may
probably find the key to the whole matter, and, favourable conditions
being their normal experience, we may always look with confidence to
them for a very high level of play, and one that will tax to the utmost
the capacity of our best players.


[Illustration]



CHAPTER IX

ENGLISH AND AUSTRALIAN CRICKET FROM 1894 TO 1902

By A. C. MACLAREN


In the autumn of 1894 Mr. A. E. Stoddart, acting upon the invitation
from the New South Wales and Victorian Cricket Association, sailed
for Australia, with a side composed of the following players: A. E.
Stoddart, F. G. J. Ford, H. Philipson, L. H. Gay, A. C. Maclaren, T.
Richardson, W. Brockwell, W. Lockwood, A. Ward, J. Briggs, R. Peel,
J. T. Brown, and W. Humphreys. In the selection of his team Mr.
Stoddart gave general satisfaction, although some well-known names
were missing, which was not surprising, since it is impossible for
all who are invited to see their way to leave home for seven months
of the year. If there was a weak spot in the team, it was generally
admitted to lie in the batting; yet, as events proved, the bowling was
the more unreliable of the two. It should not be forgotten, however,
that bowlers cannot possibly be expected to come out with the same
figures as on our English wickets; and in the same way, it is only
reasonable to expect our batsmen to do even better than on our home
wickets, which certainly do not come up to those of Australia, where
the climate can be depended upon. L. H. Gay, whose performances at
Cambridge were of such excellence that the English skipper invited him
without ever having had the opportunity of seeing him perform behind
the wickets, kept so much below his form, at the outset of the tour,
that the second string, H. Philipson, took his place, and with such
excellent results that the old Cantab never secured a place in the team
at all. The wicket-keeping of H. Philipson had not a little to do with
our winning the rubber. The tour opened none too auspiciously, since
we went down before South Australia, our first big engagement; but
too much importance ought never to be attached to the opening game,
owing to those who have not previously visited Australia being wholly
unaccustomed to the great glare of Adelaide, and to the fast pace of
the wicket. Again, it should not be forgotten that the captain, without
wishing to jeopardise his chance of a win, distributes his bowling as
equally as he can, since there are but two matches before the first
test match takes place, and the men who are not bowling their length
in these early games are given longer turns with the ball than they
would have in a test match. Thus, when a man is found to be in form,
not much use is made of him, unless the game appears to take a turn
against his side; and the necessary amount of trundling meted out to
those out of form may have been the means of keeping off the star
bowler too long. The Australians, when touring in England, work on
very similar lines, to enable them to get the side as well balanced
as possible for the test matches, which is sufficient to prevent them
from quite winning one or two of the early games. In our first innings
at Adelaide, no fault could be found with our batting, since Lockwood,
Ford, Ward, Stoddart, Briggs, and Gay all scored from 38 to 66, whilst
Brown scored 113 out of a total of 477. Our opponents replied with 338,
Darling, whose first big match it was, contributing a fine innings
of 117, whilst Clem Hill also made his bow to the public, being sent
in to bat No. 10, and scoring 20 runs. Richardson, who never got his
length, since he kept over-pitching the ball, was bowled a great deal,
which was only natural, his one wicket costing 83 runs, whilst Peel,
as a contrast, took five wickets for 69; Lockwood had 70 knocked off
him without taking a wicket, and Briggs 74 for two wickets, whilst
Humphreys took two for 62. But in regard to the last-named, it was
apparent to all that he would do little or no good in the first-class
matches, since the Australians treated him with the greatest respect,
refusing absolutely to be drawn; thus the out-fields had little or
nothing to do, and singles and twos, chiefly by placing, were the
result. It caused us no surprise when our captain decided to leave him
out in the eleven-a-side matches. That Humphreys was past his prime,
I for one will not admit, for his bowling was as good as anything he
showed us at home; but, with only three days to finish a game, it is
not surprising that our players, for the most part, played a free game
when pitted against him, whilst the Australians preferred to take no
liberties when such were unnecessary, owing to the games being played
to a finish in their own country. To these altered conditions of the
game do I attribute the failure of the lob bowler, for he used his head
well, and his fieldsmen, upon whom a lob bowler must depend, were all
that he could have wished. During our tour it was very evident that
our opponents intended to do little or no hitting, with one or two
exceptions, and I am of opinion that their policy is the best; indeed,
with the exception of hitting in the air for the purpose of keeping a
man in the out-field, I would have none of it, and would never wish to
see any member of my side attempt the same, excepting always the hitter
of the Jessop or Ford type. It had very nearly escaped my memory that
Humphreys carried all before him in the up-country or picnic matches,
the locals for the most part attempting to hit him out of the ground,
with disastrous results so far as they were concerned. To return to the
Adelaide match, our batting failed hopelessly in the second innings,
although the wicket played well right up to the finish, our opponents
being left with 226 to win, and obtaining the same for the loss of four
men, Reedman, of somewhat awkward style, scoring 83 of the number.
Journeying on to Melbourne, we were more successful, for, always having
a bit the best of matters, we eventually won by 145. The batting was
rather uneven, for Stoddart, Peel, and myself scored no fewer than 350
out of 416. A. E. Trott bowled far and away the best of our opponents,
taking six for 103; whereas C. M’Leod, of whom much was expected, could
claim but two victims for 89 runs. Beyond his length, there was little
in his deliveries, although later in the tour he bowled a ball which
went away with his arm, and which required very careful watching. Our
opponents replied with a total of 306, Harry Trott coming out best
with a score of 70; but there was nothing which struck us very much in
regard to the batting of our opponents in this innings. Peel did what
little he had to do with the ball very well, taking three for 27, and
Briggs, who had a long turn, came out with the satisfactory analysis of
five for 97. Richardson, however, was far from himself yet, so far as
his bowling was concerned, but I can well remember dropping two easy
catches off his bowling at cover-point, and I was not the only culprit.
The fast bowler’s later successes only gave us a further proof, if any
was needed, of what determination and stamina he was possessed. In our
second innings, Stoddart, 78, again was seen at his best, with Briggs
43, and Peel 165. C. M’Leod came out with the best bowling figures,
taking four for 71. When the Victorians went in to bat, Peel, five for
73, and Briggs, three for 95, were too much for them. H. Trott, 63, and
R. M’Leod, 62, did best. Our first match with New South Wales resulted
in a very easy win for us, after Iredale, in the first innings,
proved himself well worthy of a place in the forthcoming test match,
by scoring 133 in his best style. The batting of our opponents was
very laborious, the total of 293 taking a long time to compile, Peel
bowling no fewer than forty-seven overs for 75 runs and three wickets.
Humphreys had one more trial, but without success. Our total of 394
was made up of three big innings from Brown, 117, Stoddart, 79, and
Brockwell, 81 run out, the latter playing a beautiful innings. In this
match Howell astonished all by taking five wickets for 44, a very fine
performance, on that excellent wicket at Sydney. C. T. B. Turner, on
the other hand, was far from successful, taking but one wicket for 100
runs, and on the face of this performance it would have been better to
have played the younger man in the following week, as events proved.
On going in a second time, Gregory was the only one who was able to do
himself justice, Peel accounting for the dismissal of our opponents,
his five wickets costing 64, whilst Briggs took three for 19. Left with
81 to make, Ford soon knocked up 39, and we eventually won with eight
wickets to spare.

Prior to the first test, we played one more game, and that against a
very poor team representing Queensland, the chief features of the match
being the return to form of T. Richardson, who had the satisfaction
of taking eight wickets for 52 in the first innings and three for
11 in the second, whilst in the batting, Stoddart, 149, Ward, 107,
each topped the century. The time had now arrived for the first test
at Sydney, with both sides in fairly good form. Stoddart lost the
toss to Trott, but so well did Richardson bowl that three wickets
had fallen for 21 before the game had been in progress half an hour,
Trott, Lyons, and Darling all being clean bowled by the fast bowler. On
Iredale and Giffen becoming associated, the game underwent a remarkable
change, no fewer than 171 being added for the fourth wicket; but had
our wicket-keeper, who was standing back to the fast bowling, been in
anything approaching form, no such stand for the fourth or for the
ninth wicket could possibly have been made. Owing to more than one
life, Giffen was batting for some four and a quarter hours, his cricket
being marked by stolid defence. Iredale played a far more attractive
game, his cutting and driving on the off side being excellent. After
Giffen’s departure, wickets fell with fair regularity until Blackham
joined Gregory, whose cricket throughout was of very high order,
his cutting, glancing to leg, and hooking of any short ball being a
treat to witness. For an innings of 201, the chances were few and far
between, and it will always stand out as one of the best innings ever
played in a test match. Blackham too played a great game for his 74,
which went a long way towards the making up of so big a total as 586.
Of our bowlers, Richardson did really well in taking five wickets for
181, considering how many catches were dropped off his bowling. Peel,
without bowling badly, certainly was disappointing, his two wickets
costing 140 runs. Against the huge total of our opponents, we replied
with 325, Ward 75, Briggs 57, Brockwell 49, and Gay 33, being our chief
scorers, whilst Giffen certainly bowled best of our opponents, keeping
a perfect length throughout and using his head well. His four wickets
cost 75 runs only, and bowling, as he did, forty-three overs after
scoring 161, the performance was all the more remarkable. Following on,
as so often happens, we did better at the second attempt, Ward again
playing a splendid innings of 117, and being well backed up by Brown,
Briggs, Ford, and Stoddart. Our total of 437 was a good performance
under the circumstances. Giffen, acting captain in the absence of
Blackham, who had unfortunately damaged his thumb at the close of our
innings of 325, had a very long bowl, his analysis reading, 75 overs,
25 maidens, 164 runs, 4 wickets; yet it could not be urged that he
bowled himself too much, since he always looked more like wickets
than any other bowler. If any one might have been used a little more,
that man was H. Trott, whose style was so different from that of the
other bowlers. With 177 left to get to win, it was expected that our
opponents would knock off the runs on the evening of the fifth day,
but so slowly did they play that 64 were still required when stumps
were pulled up for the day. Considering that heavy clouds were seen on
the horizon and that Richardson had to leave the field after bowling
a few overs, owing to having contracted a chill, it was all the more
surprising that Giffen and Trott should have played in such pottering
fashion on the fifth evening; and, without any exaggeration, no forcing
tactics were necessary to enable the Australians to get the runs that
evening. At the close of play on the fifth day, 113 runs had been
scored for the loss of but two wickets; then, owing to very heavy
rains in the night, the wicket was wellnigh unplayable on the last
morning, with the result that Peel and Briggs were too much for our
opponents, the last eight men being sent back for 53, leaving us with
a margin of 10 runs. Peel and Briggs were seen at their very best at
the close, when the fates favoured us; but small as the total was, it
would have been still less had not I, and later Brown, each missed a
catch. Against these mistakes, however, there was an exceptionally fine
catch by Brockwell, which sent back Darling, and which had as much as
anything to do with our victory.

The second test match at Melbourne resulted in another victory for us
by a majority of 94 runs, after our opponents had won the toss and
decided to put us in to bat. With such bowlers as Turner and Trumble
against us, on a difficult wicket, it was not surprising that our total
was a poor one, the whole side being sent back for 75. Turner took five
wickets for 32, whilst Trumble secured three for 17, after Coningham
had commenced the attack and had quickly got rid of two of the first
batsmen. As often happens, the wicket dried at a great pace, with the
result that we were bound to get wickets quickly on the afternoon of
the first day’s play, if we were to hold any chance of winning, since
it was patent to all that the wicket would be perfect on the following
morning. Tom Richardson, thoroughly grasping the situation, fairly
revelled in the importance of the occasion, taking five wickets for
57, and those good wickets were captured on a much-improved pitch.
This fine performance on the part of the fast bowler enabled us, in
the place of our opponents, to bat on a good wicket next day, with the
result that our captain fairly excelled himself by scoring the huge
total of 173, exercising much self-restraint throughout his long stay
at the crease; and thanks to this fine display, and to the general
consistency of the batting, we totalled 475. When our opponents went
to the wickets for the last time, so well did Trott and Giffen play
that 190 was on the board for the loss of but one batsman. At this
stage of the game a wise move on the part of Stoddart, in handing the
ball to Brockwell, brought about an extraordinary change, Giffen being
easily taken at point in attempting to play a ball to leg which went
away with the bowler’s arm, and immediately afterwards Trott, who had
played capital cricket for 95, being very well caught and bowled low
down by the same bowler, Brockwell. With the exception of Bruce, who
hit freely for 54, no other batsman withstood the attack of Peel and
Brockwell, a victory for us resulting. In regard to this match, I have
always thought that for downright good cricket it was not to be beaten.
The wonderful bowling of Richardson in the first innings, together with
that short, sharp piece of work on the part of Brockwell, will ever be
dear to our memory, when the fine batting of Trott and Giffen seemed
almost certain to reap the reward of a win for the Colonials; nor will
it be possible to forget the great effort on the part of our captain,
whose long innings never lacked sparkle, even if the importance of the
occasion demanded all his patience.

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing by_    _N. Wanostrocht._
_THE HON. SPENCER PONSONBY._
(_Right Hon. Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane, G.C.B._)]

The third test match, at Adelaide, was disappointing from a spectator’s
point of view, since on a perfect wicket our opponents were dismissed
for 238, of which number no fewer than 79 were made by the last two
men, A. Trott and Galloway, whilst our effort resulted in the paltry
total of 124, the wicket for both teams being in a good run-getting
condition. On going to the wickets a second time, our opponents played
in something approaching their proper form, scoring 411, Iredale
claiming 140, a very fine innings, whilst A. Trott again carried his
bat for 72. Our second venture proved no better than the first, the
whole side being sent back for 143, A. Trott meeting with extraordinary
success in taking eight wickets for 43; and seldom, if ever, has any
one met with such success as did the younger Trott with bat and ball
in this test match. Our failure was due, to a very great extent, to
the excessive heat, which deprived us of all chance of a good night’s
rest throughout the match, but at the time the match was played I
have no hesitation in giving it as my opinion that our opponents were
considerably the better team, and thoroughly deserved their victory.

Curiously enough, the fourth test match, at Sydney, like the first
game, was spoilt by rain, and on this occasion the Australians
extricated themselves from a very awkward position as only good men
can. On winning the toss, Stoddart decided to put his opponents in
first, a move which we, to a man, considered the right one, and up
to a certain point all went very well, six of our opponents having
been sent back for 51. Then, however, an extraordinary exhibition of
forcing tactics at the outset, to be followed by more careful play, on
the part of Graham, entirely altered the aspect of affairs, no fewer
than 284 being on the board at the close of the innings, A. Trott
once again playing admirable cricket for 86 not out. When the game
was resumed on Monday, there had been so much rain overnight that the
wicket was quite unplayable, and instead of having the firm wicket we
had expected to bat upon, we found the pitch to be impossible, with
the result that we were dismissed twice for the small totals of 65 and
72, Turner and Giffen doing what they liked with the ball. Had Graham
been dismissed cheaply, we would undoubtedly have batted for the last
two hours of the first day, the only occasion of the wicket being in
favour of run-getting throughout the match. In that case we should very
likely have won, since our opponents would have had a bad wicket for
their second strike. In my opinion, Graham’s performance in scoring 105
was one of the finest things that have ever happened in test matches,
coming in as he did when the wicket was at its worst, and going right
out to the bowling from the commencement of his innings, hitting to
all parts of the ground, until the wicket gradually improved, when he
settled down to a sounder game; nor should A. Trott’s fine score be
overlooked, although the wicket then had improved.

The final test game, at Melbourne, which was to decide the rubber, was
one of the very best fights in which I have taken part. On winning the
toss the Australians certainly gained an advantage, for the wicket was
in perfect condition for long scores, and thanks to consistent scoring
throughout the team, the good total of 434 was run up against us, to
which number Darling 74, Gregory 70, and Giffen 57, were the chief
contributors. Considering that H. Trott also made 42, and that several
others got going, it was perhaps astonishing that more runs were not
obtained, but Peel, Richardson, and Briggs all kept pegging away in
their best style, and few runs were given away. Our start was not too
good, four wickets being down for some 120 runs; Stoddart alone, in
scoring 68, playing up to form. On Peel joining me, 162 were added
for the fifth wicket, a stand which caused it to be anybody’s game.
Unfortunately, the tail end did little, and we finished the innings 29
runs to the bad. Of the Australian bowling, H. Trott did far better
than any other bowler, his four wickets costing 71 runs only, and I
have always thought that had he bowled more in the tests there would
have been a different tale to tell about these games. Turner might
have been very useful, and his exclusion caused a lot of criticism
at the time, and rightly so, too, we having the greatest respect for
him as a bowler. Still, it is very easy to be wise after the event.
In our opponents’ second innings, wickets were always falling with
fair regularity, thanks to Richardson putting in some sterling work,
whilst Peel kept them playing. Darling, Giffen, and H. Trott, all of
whom had done very well in the first innings, again played well, but
the rest were very disappointing from a Colonial point of view, and
the fact that a dust-storm made itself felt was scarcely a good enough
excuse to account for the want of success on the part of so many.
Richardson’s performance in taking six wickets for 104 was one of which
he might well feel proud, but to thoroughly appreciate such work one
should be on the spot, for there is a certain indescribable charm in
watching such a man. C. T. B. Turner and J. T. Hearne, in the same
manner, have always had their admirers. With 297 left for us to get
to win, our task was no light one for a fourth innings, and it became
no easier when Brockwell was sent back after scoring 5. Next morning
H. Trott succeeded in getting the skipper out l.b.w. from the first
ball bowled, and our position became desperate. As all the cricketing
world knows, Brown and Ward now made their never-to-be-forgotten stand,
the first-named from the commencement of his innings going for the
bowling in a manner which had seldom, if ever, been seen before on the
Melbourne ground. Driving along the ground and over the in-fields’
heads, together with the short-arm hook of any ball at all on the short
side, were his chief methods of scoring, and he treated all bowlers
alike. Ward in the meantime was playing his usual patient game,
without failing to score whenever opportunity presented itself, and
his effort was second only to Brown’s. Not until he had scored 140 was
Brown sent back, and, disappointed as the spectators must have been,
yet they could not resist giving him a splendid reception on his return
to the pavilion. Ward, too, was equally well received when he had the
misfortune to be sent back only 7 short of the century. With 30 odd
runs only left to get to win, Peel and myself were together when the
number had been scored. This was certainly one of the grandest matches
ever witnessed, and for downright good cricket from both teams I place
it in front of all the test matches in which I have taken part. If we
had any luck in the game, it was in the Scotch mist on the last day
of the match, which helped to put the dust together on the pitch, and
enabled the wicket to play as well as it did on the first morning of
the game. It was remarked by not a few at the time that seldom did
the best batsmen all come so well out of the bag together on such an
important occasion, and it certainly was exceptional that the five men
in form should have scored as follows—the two innings being added
together: Ward 125, Brown 170, Stoddart 79, Peel 88 for once out, and
myself 140 once out.

I have gone rather fully into details in regard to the 1894-95 tour
in Australia, for the purpose of laying the foundation of my work.
In 1896 it was the turn of our opponents to visit our shores, and H.
Trott brought over a far better combination than many expected after
reading the criticisms of some of the experts in Australia. It has
always remained a mystery to me and many others why A. E. Trott was
left behind, after all his good work against us in the Colonies, for
he was in those days unquestionably a greater player than in any one
of his English seasons’ cricket. The team did a great deal better than
expected, for not a single county defeated them, although two out of
the three test matches went against them. In H. Trott they had as fine
a leader as ever captained an Australian, or, for that matter, any
other team; never missing an opportunity throughout the many phases
of the game, he had his men well in hand from the commencement of the
tour, and his quiet manner, together with a never-ruffled temper, won
him the esteem and respect of opponents and comrades alike; indeed,
it is no exaggeration to say that no team from Australia ever pulled
quite so well together as did that of H. Trott. Possibly Trott’s
excellence as a captain lay in the fact that he always appeared to
know exactly what bowler to use against each batsman, added to which,
he never gave batsmen any presents of runs by having a fieldsman in
a useless position. Although there was nothing very startling about
the batting, yet it was very well balanced, no fewer than seven of
the side obtaining over 1000 runs, in a season when the wickets in
August were most difficult. Gregory, Darling, Hill, Iredale, Trott,
and Giffen all had their admirers, whilst Kelly kept wicket in his
best form throughout a long and trying tour; and but for coming
immediately after such an artist as Blackham, more notice might have
been taken of his excellent work. The variety of the bowling had not
a little to do with the success of the team, always remembering how
well it was handled, whilst we must not lose sight of the fact that
each fieldsman had every confidence in the bowler, occupying at times
the most daring positions under the very nose of the batsman, which
often resulted in the downfall of a wicket, without the said fieldsman
ever running much risk of an accident. The simple reason was that the
bowler always knew what his men were working for, and never gave them
away by an overtossed or by a short-pitched ball. The Australians,
generally speaking, have always appeared to me to know better than
we do how a batsman is the most likely to be defeated, and on their
side there is more of that mutual understanding between bowler and
fieldsmen that is so valuable. M’Kibbin, Trumble, Jones, and Giffen
all took over 100 wickets, and if the first-named came out with the
best analysis, Trumble took far more wickets, and could boast of never
having a bad day, for if the wicket was suitable for small scoring, he
never failed to do all that was asked of him, and if I had to name one
for excellence of length, I should without hesitation name Trumble of
all bowlers it has been my pleasure to see or play against. Jones’s
pace secured for him many wickets, and if some expressed a view that
his action was, to say the least, doubtful, there were others who
considered his bowling on this tour fair, and I certainly never saw
anything wrong on the occasions on which I played against him in
England. Giffen had the distinction of scoring 1000 runs and taking 117
wickets, a great achievement, considering the many times he has visited
us. In fielding the team more than held their own, for Gregory at cover
was always a treat to watch, whilst Iredale at the time had no superior
in the out-field, and Hill and Darling possessed the safest of safe
hands, in whatsoever position they were fielding. Added to this list
of honour must be the name of Jones, who did many brilliant things at
mid-off. In regard to returning the ball to the wicket from any part of
the field, the Australians have always, since I have known them, given
us a long start, the ball being returned more accurately and, what is
equally important, more swiftly. We naturally have our shining lights
in this respect, but as a team the Colonials show themselves off far
better than do we in the field. In regard to the test matches, the
first of the series, which was played at Lord’s, was rather peculiar,
since our visitors, playing a long way below their proper form, were
dismissed for 53 on a wicket which could have had little the matter
with it, after the total of 292 made against them. Richardson and
Lohmann were the two bowlers to carry all before them, but the aversion
the Australians have always had to the ground at headquarters may have
had not a little to do with the poor display of their batsmen. On our
batsmen going to the wickets, those two sterling veterans, W. G. Grace
and Robert Abel, after the dismissal of Stoddart, played so finely
that the game appeared to be at our mercy; but the tail end did not
do quite so well as expected, and the total of 292 was the result.
There was nothing in the bowling of the Australians worth commenting
upon. It was in the second innings that our visitors showed such good
form, when the game appeared too far gone to give them any chance of
a win. All the more credit then to the captain and Gregory for their
great stand of 221, which caused their side to have a lead of 44 runs
with six wickets to fall after the dismissal of Gregory; and had the
end batsmen taken as much getting out as usual, it is quite possible
that they would have won, since there was a lot of rain on the second
evening of the match. As it was, many of our supporters were dubious
as to the result when we were set 111 to get to win, on a wicket
which had been affected by rain. The runs, however, were hit off for
the loss of four batsmen, thanks chiefly to Stoddart and Brown; but
had all the chances been accepted, there is no doubt that the game
would have been closer. Every one was delighted with the fine batting
of Trott and Gregory, many being of opinion that it was the finest
exhibition ever witnessed in a test match; the Englishmen, however,
were very confident that Trott was caught by Hayward with his score
at 61. This was the occasion of the crowd encroaching on the field of
play, which handicapped our opponents not a little. The second test, at
Manchester, resulted in a meritorious win for the Australians, after
they had won the toss, and always appeared to hold the trump card in
a game which was played throughout on a perfect wicket—in fact, a
wicket after the heart of the Colonials. Thanks to Iredale, who started
very shakily, but later played a beautiful innings, and Giffen, who
played his usual game of soundness, a total of 412 was run up against
us. Iredale played a fine game for his side in compiling 108, most of
his runs being obtained by crisp cutting and driving on the off side.
With the exception of Trott, no one else bothered us much, in spite
of the big total made against us. Richardson put in some of his best
work in obtaining seven wickets for 168, bowling as he did no fewer
than sixty-eight overs. Our batting in the first innings was as feeble
as that of our opponents had been excellent, for with the exception
of K. S. Ranjitsinhji and Lilley, who scored 62 and 65 respectively,
no one showed any form at all. The wickets were very equally divided
amongst our opponents, of whom possibly M’Kibbin, who was left out at
Lord’s, bowled best. Following on, the batting of the side again failed
most ignominiously, with one exception, and that was the wonderful
display of K. S. Ranjitsinhji, who scored no fewer than 154, and at
the finish was not out. His performance was without doubt the finest
in the match, playing as he was throughout his long stay at the wicket
a losing game—and every cricketer knows what that means. His cutting
and leg-glancing will never be forgotten by those who were lucky enough
to be there. The miserable failure of all others, excepting Stoddart,
was inexplicable, since the wicket remained true throughout the game.
M’Kibbin again came out with the best analysis, and had he played at
Lord’s, we might not have won so easily as we did. On the Australians
going in to get 125 to win, so well did Richardson bowl that the
runs were not hit off until seven wickets had fallen, and when No. 9
batsman, in the shape of J. Kelly, joined Trumble, 25 runs were still
required to win. One cannot speak too highly of the coolness exhibited
by both men, who came through the trying ordeal most creditably.
Richardson’s bowling performance in this innings will be remembered
by all who can appreciate fine bowling, for, working his utmost for
three solid hours, he took six wickets for 76 runs, on a wicket which
remained good up to the finish, and I have always thought that this was
one of the best things ever done by a bowler in a test match—all the
more the pity that the combined effort of K. S. Ranjitsinhji and the
Surrey express did not meet with its just reward of a win for the Old
Country. The decider at the Oval naturally aroused a lot of enthusiasm,
but unfortunately the weather was not propitious, a commencement not
being possible until five o’clock on the first day. Our winning of
the toss meant practically the winning of the game, for the pitch was
in such a state of wet that it was all in favour of the batsmen, and
when stumps were pulled up for the day 69 runs were on the board for
the loss of W. G. Grace. Next morning the wicket was unplayable, with
the result that Trumble carried all before him, taking six wickets
for 59, the majority of which were made on the previous evening, when
the wicket was all against bowling and fielding, and I consider our
opponents were justified in criticising the action of the umpires in
commencing on the first evening. So badly did our men bowl on the
treacherous wicket before lunch that 70 went up with Darling and
Iredale unseparated. Afterwards Jack Hearne went right through the
side, taking six wickets for 41, keeping an impossible length, and
making the ball do just enough without too much. Peel really was the
culprit before lunch, it being the only occasion on which I ever
remember him failing to do well when all was in favour of the bowler.
Darling played a fine game for his score of 47, and, thanks to his
and Iredale’s effort, the Australians finished off their innings but
26 behind us. In our second innings Trumble again did what he liked,
taking six wickets for 30, the whole side being out for 84. On the last
morning of the match, with our opponents left with 111 to get to win,
the pitch had dried considerably, but Hearne was always able to get
enough spin on the ball to beat the bat, and the quick break was too
much for the Australians. As Peel also bowled in his very best form,
the result was one of the most extraordinary processions to and from
the wicket by the batsmen, nine wickets being down with 17 only on the
board. M’Kibbin, the last man, hit up 16, so that the total realised
44—and yet we are told that wickets are not broad enough! This match
was the occasion of the professionals holding out for higher payment
than £10, and then withdrawing from their position. That they had right
on their side was proved by the increase of pay from that date in the
test encounters, and it is not generally known that their request for
higher payment was not sprung upon the Surrey committee at the very
last moment. Considering the strain of these big matches upon the
players, it cannot be said that they do not deserve the £20 now given
to the professionals.

[Illustration: _A CRICKET SONG._]

[Illustration: _A LYRIC OF THE CRICKET FIELD._]

The second team that A. E. Stoddart took to Australia consisted of
the following: A. E. Stoddart, K. S. Ranjitsinhji, J. R. Mason, N. F.
Druce, A. C. Maclaren, T. Hayward, T. Richardson, J. Briggs, W. Storer,
E. Wainwright, G. Hirst, J. H. Board, J. T. Hearne. On the eve of the
first test, at Sydney, our troubles commenced, the trustees taking it
upon themselves to postpone the match until Saturday, from Friday,
the original date of the fixture. This, of course, they had no right
whatsoever to do; in fact, the Melbourne Club telegraphed to the Sydney
trustees that the game must take place on the original date fixed.
Their sole reason for the postponement was to prevent disappointment
to the up-country people, since there had been a lot of rain. We
naturally were indignant at the decision, since it was made without
any one being consulted on our side, and the first we heard of the
postponement was during dinner on Thursday night, when one of us saw
an announcement outside a public-house, to the effect that the match
was put off. By putting the match off until Saturday, the trustees were
making it absolutely a game of chance, just what they said they were
trying to avoid, since the captain who won the toss on Saturday would
undoubtedly have put his opponents in first, and, with fine weather,
the wicket on Monday would have been perfect for batting, after the
Sunday intervening. As it happened, the pitch was quite fit to commence
at twelve o’clock on Friday, the umpires being of that opinion. There
is no doubt that the alteration was made solely for the purpose of the
gate, and with no intention of doing us a bad turn. Still, it would
have been better had those responsible for the blunder admitted their
mistake at once, instead of trying to make stupid excuses, and giving
ideas to the press which were scarcely complimentary to us. Owing to a
merciful providence, it rained all Saturday, and consequently got the
trustees out of a mess, the match being started on Monday on a perfect
batsman’s wicket. Unfortunately our captain had the sad misfortune to
receive a cable from home announcing the death of his mother on the
Friday morning, which kept him out of all the test games, and naturally
caused him to be unable to show anything approaching the brilliant form
of his previous tour. The first test was an extraordinary walk-over
for us, and yet we never looked like winning another game, so far
as the tests were concerned, afterwards, unless we except the last
game at Sydney. After Mason had been sent back cheaply, Hayward and
myself stayed some considerable time together, and our stand was
well followed up by Ranjitsinhji, 175, and Hirst, so much so that
we totalled 551. On getting our opponents in for the last one and a
half hours on the second day, Richardson and Hearne bowled so well
that, after the cheap dismissal of their best batsmen, they were never
able to recover their lost ground, although Trumble and M’Leod made a
magnificent effort at the finish of the first innings. Following on,
314 to the bad, the Australians did far better, Darling playing a grand
innings of 101, whilst Clem Hill put together 86 in his best style.
The remaining batsmen played very disappointingly, with the exception
of Kelly, the score reaching 408, leaving us 96 to win, which were hit
off for the loss of Mason’s wicket. Ranjitsinhji played a wonderful
innings, considering how ill he had been, only having got out of bed
on the Sunday morning, when he went for a drive. He was just able to
last out the hour’s batting he had on the Monday evening, and next
morning played, especially towards the close of his innings, when his
strength was leaving him, a regular forcing game. In the second test,
at Melbourne, owing to the game being played on a new piece of turf,
which the groundsman was most anxious to avoid, whatever chance we
might have had was taken from us. The wicket opened out to such an
extent that one could put one’s fingers into the cracks on the pitch,
which meant that the ball was always doing something which it had no
right to do, getting up or keeping low according to the angle at which
it struck the crack. The Australians were very fortunate, under the
circumstances, in winning the toss and batting on a perfect wicket on
the Saturday. They made such good use of their luck that 520 were
scored, of which number C. M’Leod made 112, whilst Hill, Gregory,
Iredale, and Trott all showed excellent form, scoring 58, 71, 89, and
79 respectively. Our bowling was thoroughly collared, and even had
the wicket remained good, I do not for a moment consider we were good
enough to win, after the excellent start of our opponents. Our score of
315 was very creditable. As previously explained, the heat of the sun
on Saturday and Sunday caused the ground to crack, the wicket previous
to the test match having been covered up from the sun’s rays for a
fortnight. Ranjitsinhji, Hirst, Storer, Druce, and Briggs all played
well for their runs, although the ball kept getting past their defence
occasionally, as was only natural. On our following on, with the wicket
getting worse, we were all dismissed for 150, a small score for which
we were prepared, Noble and Trumble only having to keep a length,
whilst the wicket did the rest for them.

At Adelaide, the strong light of which city our men dislike as much
as the Australians take exception to the bad light of Lord’s, we went
down before our opponents most decisively, they thoroughly outplaying
us. Joe Darling opened the ball with a clipping innings of 178, his
driving being very powerful throughout, and, as Hill scored 81 with
him, the Adelaide people were rightly delighted with the success of
their two men, the score eventually reaching 573, of which Iredale
again took 84 in his approved style. Hayward and Hirst alone of our
men played good cricket, the total being 278 when all were sent back,
Howell doing most of the damage on an excellent pitch. Following on,
we did no better, Ranjitsinhji and myself being the only two to bother
our opponents, who gained a meritorious win by an innings and 13 runs,
proving beyond all doubt that we beat them at Sydney before the eleven
had struck form, our first test in the Colonies generally being the
least difficult to win, for this reason. Noble and M’Leod divided the
wickets, and in the former our opponents had unearthed a bowler of the
first order. It was very evident that they were now on the top of their
form, and our chances of another win in the tests were not too rosy.
At Melbourne the fourth test resulted in a further easy win for our
opponents, after they had commenced their innings very inauspiciously,
losing six wickets for 57, when Hill and Trumble dug their side out of
a nasty hole, 165 being put on for the seventh wicket. Hill played his
finest innings of the season; the fact that the total reached only 323,
of which his contribution was 188, speaks for itself, and it is quite
possible that the South Australian was at his very best about this
time. Trumble once again came to the rescue, and I cannot bring to mind
any player who has so often come off at a pinch. Richardson and Hearne
divided the wickets practically, and our bowlers did all that could
have been expected of them. When it came to our turn to bat, every one
appeared to be out of form, the total reaching 174 only. Whoever was
put on to bowl, a wicket resulted, the batting being feeble in the
extreme. Following on, we did very little better, as those who appeared
to get going were sent back when we were commencing to hope for better
things, and our opponents had no difficulty in obtaining the required
number, 115, to win, losing two wickets in the process. In this match
we were completely outplayed, after we had obtained a flattering start,
and I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that this combination
was well in front of any other against which I had played in the past,
even as it was in front of the team that we met in 1901-2. Sydney
appeared more to our liking than did other places, if our cricket was
any criterion, for we certainly did better on this ground, which has
not quite the same fiery life possessed by other Colonial grounds.
In the last test our form was better, since, on winning the toss,
we put together 335, and then dismissed our opponents for 96 less,
Richardson putting up a capital performance by obtaining eight wickets
for 94 runs. We completely broke down in our second innings, being
all disposed of for 178, Trumble and Jones doing the mischief. As our
opponents had 276 to get to win, the match was by no means lost, so far
as we were concerned, and as we got M’Leod and Hill out at once, our
hopes were raised, but Darling soon put the issue beyond doubt, hitting
out most viciously from the commencement of his innings, although it
should be mentioned that, with his score at 40, our fast bowler, as
well as the wicket-keeper, was confident he was out l.b.w. But the
umpire thought otherwise. On the other hand, Ranjitsinhji was given
out l.b.w. for an appeal from point, when he was most confident he
played the ball—a misfortune which, coming as it did immediately after
my dismissal, had a great bearing on the result of the game. But I in
no manner wish to insinuate that the umpire made a mistake in either
case. At the finish our opponents won handsomely by six wickets, a very
meritorious victory, once more proving, if any proof was required,
that they could extricate themselves from any position, however
difficult; and only a really great side is able to do such a thing
with consistency. Their performances of this tour in Australia were so
full of merit that I, for one, began to doubt our ability to beat this
little lot in our own country, and was not slow to communicate my fears
to better men than myself on my return; so that the result of the next
Australian tour in England came as no surprise to most of us.

When Darling brought over the same team which defeated us in Australia,
a good time, so far as their cricket was concerned, was predicted by
all of us who had knowledge of their excellence in their own country;
and after the first test match, played at Birmingham, it was admitted
on all sides that we had not exaggerated their merits. On winning the
toss in the first game, it took them a whole day to compile 252, which
slow and over-careful play just cost them the match. Hill, Darling,
Noble, and Gregory all played well against a not very powerful bowling
combination, and more runs ought to have been made. Of our lot,
Ranjitsinhji and Fry alone played good cricket, and our opponents were
able to claim a lead of 55. On going to the wickets a second time,
they put together 230 for eight wickets, when they declared; and but
for Ranjitsinhji, who played a perfect innings in his own inimitable
style, the Australians would have won, the Sussex amateur carrying his
bat for 93. At Lord’s there were many changes—too many, I should say;
for Jessop, Townsend, Lilley, Mead, and myself took the places of W.
Gunn, Storer, Hirst, J. T. Hearne, and W. G. Grace, the latter having
telegraphed for me. On winning the toss on a fast wicket, we were all
out to Jones before we could turn round, with the exception of Jessop
and Jackson, who made 51 and 73 respectively, the total reaching 206,
a poor one on that fast wicket. Owing to Hill and Trumper, who fairly
collared our bowling, our opponents collected the big total of 421
against us, the two named scoring 135 each, Trumper being left to
carry his bat. Both played magnificent cricket, and with the exception
of Noble, 54, no one else did anything. In our second venture we did
little better, scoring 240, Hayward, Jackson, and myself alone doing
anything, the wickets being divided up amongst five bowlers, thus
showing the variety of attack at Darling’s disposal. The 28 required
to win were hit off without loss, and from this point onwards to the
end of the tour our opponents preferred to play not to be beaten
rather than to lay themselves out for a win, and under the existing
conditions one could scarcely blame them. At Leeds, on a wet wicket,
the Australians were disposed of for 172, Young bowling extremely
well, but with provoking bad luck, since he beat the bat times without
number without hitting the wickets. Worrall hit well for his 76, but
the boundary was far too short a one, some of his mis-hits going over
the heads of our out-fields. Briggs was seized with an attack after the
first day’s play which unfortunately kept him out of the field for more
than a season, and we were much handicapped in the second innings of
our opponents, when our first two bowlers required a rest. They were
unable to get it, however, and Trumble and Laver pulled the match out
of the fire; and if both were in difficulties at times, they played a
fine game for their side. Hearne bowled in magnificent form, as also
did Young. Owing to rain, there was no play on the last day, when we
required 158 to win, with all our wickets to go down. Hill was unable
to play any more cricket after this match, being in the hands of the
doctor. At Manchester—thanks to a wonderfully sound innings on the
part of Hayward, who scored 130 when things were not looking too rosy
for us, an effort that was well backed up by Jackson and Lilley—we
scored 372, and on our opponents going to the wickets, owing to
Bradley bowling with much fire, they were cheaply dismissed for 196.
Young, who was suffering from a bad knee, took four of the remaining
wickets. Following on, with our bowlers literally fagged out, it was
not surprising to find our opponents masters of the situation, scoring
346 for seven wickets, when they declared. Worrall, Darling, Trumper,
and Noble played in their best form, the latter in particular playing
a great game for his side, but a game which, owing to its slowness,
was not appreciated by the large crowd, disappointed with the turn the
match took. With an hour left for play, our batsmen went in to have a
hit, for the sake of giving the crowd a change, and it was surprising
to find so many people weighing up our chances on what took place in
that last hour’s play, which ought to have been ignored. This was
the third drawn game out of the four matches played, and those of us
who knew the manner in which that Oval wicket had been pampered with
patent stuffs, etc., thought it the last ground in the world to finish
a test match on in three days, with one side laying itself out not
to be beaten. We compiled the huge total of 576, and as the last six
men had instructions to be out in less than an hour, one might well
have wondered what the score would have been had all got as many runs
as possible. Hayward again played a fine innings of 137, and Jackson
was at his best for 118, 185 being put up for one wicket, a record by
15 for a first-wicket stand in a test match, W. G. Grace and Scotton
having held it up to that time. At the end of the day’s play 435
appeared on the board for the loss of but four batsmen. Next morning,
however, each player had to get out to give our bowlers a chance, if
we were to win the match. Our opponents did well in scoring 352, after
their somewhat trying experiences of the day previous. Gregory played
a masterly innings of 117, and with his captain, who made 71, saved
his side from a defeat, when nothing better than a drawn game awaited
them. Lockwood, who had been more or less a cripple throughout the
season, showed us all what we had missed by our inability to play him
by taking seven wickets for 71 on this perfect pitch, bowling no fewer
than fifty overs, a performance which caused his leg to give way again,
and which prevented him from letting himself go in the second innings,
when our opponents always appeared to have the game saved. But had
Worrall been caught early on, it is possible we might just have got
home. In the last half-hour the wicket commenced to go, but it was too
late for our chance, although Rhodes in that time bowled beautifully,
taking three wickets in very quick succession. At the drawing of stumps
our opponents had four wickets still to fall, and were 30 runs on.
So ended the tour, and out of five test matches no fewer than four
were left drawn. It is not astonishing to find so many who are to-day
playing for England wishing for fewer test games, and to have them
played out; and yet the same order of things continues, gate-money
alone, so far as can be gathered, standing in the way of a much-needed
alteration in the test games.

In the autumn of 1901 the Australians honoured me with an invitation to
collect a team, but owing to the action of the Yorkshire committee in
not allowing their professionals to accept my invitation, the bowling
question was made a most difficult one for me to tackle. Thanks to all
other county committees giving me all assistance possible, a side was
collected, and had one of our bowlers, in whom I had every confidence,
only remained sound, it is quite possible that we might have come back
victorious, for, after winning the first test at Sydney, we had the
match at Adelaide three parts won when Barnes broke down at a time when
the wicket had crumbled badly at one end, and when he was the only one
who could hit the spot. On that occasion the two left-handers, who made
all the runs, if we except a fine innings of Trumble, were the only two
who could have put us down, owing to this spot being, of course, on
the wrong side of the wicket for their batting, looking at it from a
bowler’s point of view. At Sydney we headed our opponents on the first
innings in the fourth test, and in the last match, at Melbourne, we
only went down by 32 runs, after having to bat on a wet wicket. That we
were unable to stay our games out, especially in the later stages of
the tour, was scarcely surprising, since we were practically without
two of our bowlers for more than half of the time, which meant that
those who were left had far more trundling than was conducive to their
strength. In the first of the tests, at Sydney, thanks to a good start
on our part, we ran up a total of 464, Hayward, Lilley, Braund, and
myself all getting going. On our opponents going to the wickets, so
well did Barnes bowl, as also Braund and Blythe, that only 168 runs
were on the board when the last man was sent back. Following on, our
opponents scored but 4 more than in the first innings, and we were left
easy winners, Braund and Blythe bowling as well as they ever did in
their lives. Before the match at Sydney commenced, Blythe unfortunately
sprained his hand, but it was not until that game was finished that he
really felt any pain. The leading surgeon in Australia advised rest
for some considerable time, but the Kent professional thought that the
hand would not suffer much, especially taking into consideration the
fact that the wicket was all against long scores, so he took his chance
in the second test at Melbourne. On winning the toss, I decided to put
our opponents in, and had Barnes been able to bowl in the mud only half
as well as he had previously done on the fast wickets, our opponents
would not have scored 100. As it was, they only put together 112, but
Blythe found that spinning the ball gave him all the pain which the
doctor had predicted he would suffer, and Barnes bowled very short
throughout, notwithstanding the fact that he took six wickets for 42,
which really was not a great performance on that unplayable wicket.
When our turn came to bat, our effort resulted in 61, of which Jessop
claimed 27. Before the day was finished we got rid of five of our
opponents in their second innings for 48, and had none the worst of the
match. Next morning, however, with some of the best batsmen still to
come in, Hill played on the top of his form on what was now a batsman’s
wicket, scoring 99 before Braund beat him, whilst Duff, who had batted
out and out the best in the first innings, went one better by scoring
104 in his first test match, both players being seen quite at their
top game. Had a chance been accepted, Armstrong, who helped Duff to
add 120 for the last wicket, would not have received a ball. After our
early wickets fell, rain made it impossible for the remaining batsmen
to make a fight of it, although Tyldesley played fine cricket for his
66. It is only fair to state that, rain or no rain, our opponents
always appeared to have the game safe after luncheon on the second
day. Noble in our first innings took seven wickets for 17, making the
ball do everything but talk, whilst his performance in the second
innings was very little inferior, when he captured six for 60. Trumble,
who bowled an excellent length, took the remaining wickets in both
innings. In the third test, at Adelaide, a lot of runs were obtained,
considering the wicket was by no means perfect; but the bowlers on
both sides were not seen at their best, from various causes. Noble was
suffering from a strain, and Trumble was far from himself, which had
a good deal to do with our total reaching 388, out of which number
Braund, who played a beautiful innings, scored 103, whilst Hayward was
also at his best in compiling 90, and Quaife chipped in with a very
useful 68. Our opponents replied with 321, Hill coming out best with
98, being well backed up by Trumper 65 and Gregory 55. Of our bowlers,
Barnes broke down, after bowling seven overs, at a time when he looked
very dangerous; but Gunn came along in great style, taking five for
76, and Braund also did well. After obtaining 200 for five wickets
in our second innings, a dust-storm, which did us no good, but which
brought enough rain to eventually do the wicket good, stopped play for
the day. Continuing, we added another 40, Barnes being unable to bat
and Trumble bowling in good form. Wanting 315 to win, our opponents,
thanks to the two left-handers, who made 166 between them, and a
fine effort on the part of Trumble, claimed a great victory by four
wickets; but we were very unlucky in losing the services of Barnes,
who on that wicket could not have helped bowling well. It should not
be overlooked that the left-handers were batting on a good wicket,
whereas right-handers had to face a crumbled spot outside the off
stump. At Sydney we again claimed a lead on the first innings, Hayward,
Tyldesley, Lilley, and myself all getting runs, whilst Saunders,
Trumble, and Noble divided the wickets. On the second day Jessop,
bowling at a great rate, succeeded in getting four good men caught in
the slips; but Noble and Armstrong mended matters next morning. In our
second innings, with a lead of 18, we went out one after the other in
most surprising fashion before the bowling of Saunders, who carried all
before him on a perfect pitch, our effort resulting in the paltry total
of 99. Our opponents had no difficulty in making 121 for the loss of
three wickets. In the last match, at Melbourne, on a difficult pitch,
we disposed of our opponents for 144, Hayward and Gunn meeting with
success. We replied with 189, thanks to Jessop, Braund, and Lilley,
but Trumble was too much for most of us. In their second innings
our opponents pulled themselves together, and with Hill and Gregory
in form the total reached 255; and as more rain fell on our going to
the wickets, our task was a difficult one. In the end we had to put
up with a defeat by 32 runs, our total of 178 being very creditable
under the circumstances, since we had much the worst of the wicket,
on which Noble was seen at his best. Thus ended a tour which was not
too successful from our point of view; but with the exception of one
match, all the test games were very close ones, and it was admitted on
all sides that no team ever fielded in more brilliant style than did
ours. Jessop did some marvellous bits of work in every match, whilst
Jones, Braund, Tyldesley, and Quaife all were at their best. Lilley did
his work well behind the wickets, but was unfortunate in this respect,
that if he made a mistake, which wicket-keepers are bound to do, it was
generally a costly one.

The team which Joe Darling brought over in 1902 was, in my opinion, not
quite so strong as some of us thought, although nothing like so weak
as some people in Australia tried to make us believe. Possibly they
had the best of the luck in regard to the weather in the big matches;
but there was no getting away from the fact that whatever the fates
gave them they made the very most of, never allowing a chance to slip
through their fingers in any of the games in which I played against
them. There was no fortune in losing the services of Trumble for the
first six weeks or so of the tour, in consequence of an accident at
the nets, which necessitated a free use of Noble in the bowling
department in the early matches. At Lord’s, too, during what little
took place, they were far from themselves, as far as their health was
concerned; but from that match to the finish of the tour they never
looked back, and it is quite possible that the reappearance of their
reliable bowler, Trumble, was a far better tonic than any of the
medicines they were taking for influenza. In regard to the bowling,
Darling may not have had too much, but the variety, together with
the consistent good form of those bowlers at his disposal on the wet
wickets, was quite sufficient to dispose of the best batsmen playing
against them in all the matches of the tour. Jones could scarcely be
expected to do well on the wet wickets, and naturally his figures are
nothing like so good as on previous occasions. Trumble always made it
as near a certainty as possible that few runs would be made against
him, provided the wicket gave him the slightest assistance, thanks to
his accuracy of length, together with his wonderful knowledge of each
batsman pitted against him, which he used to the full, and to me he
appeared to bowl almost better than ever. If Noble was not quite so
consistent as previously, he can excuse himself on the ground of the
extra effort required at the commencement of the tour in the absence of
Trumble; but when he was to be caught at his best, as in the test at
Sheffield, he carried all before him, and I still think he bowls a more
difficult ball than any other bowler to-day. That Saunders was included
was a very good thing for our opponents, since his great break from
leg on the wet wickets made it very difficult for the batsmen to
score off him, even if his length was indifferent, as was the case at
Manchester in the test game, when it was impossible to get him away
on the leg side of the wicket. In his case it was a triumph for the
selectors, since, with one exception, his performances in Australia
scarcely led one to believe that he would do so well as was the case.
Howell was far from well, added to which he was the recipient of most
painful news from his home, which was quite sufficient to prevent him
from showing any of his old brilliance. The fielding of the team was
of the greatest use to the bowlers, since mistakes were few and far
between. Hill, Hopkins, and Duff, in the out-field, were very safe,
whilst their return of the ball to the wicket was, as usual, most
accurate and far ahead of our style. Of the others, Noble at point was
very clever, and Gregory was as neat and clean in the picking up and
return of the ball as ever. Joe Darling handled his team admirably
throughout, whilst the entire absence of discord, together with the
many denials of pleasures which one and all underwent, proved how well
he was fitted for his post. Of the batsmen, Trumper stands right out
by himself, and I can pay him no higher compliment than saying he has
only done what I have always thought he was good enough to do. His
cutting of the ball, which was always placed to beat the fieldsman at
third man, was admirable, as was his hooking, chiefly by wrist work,
of the short ball. His driving, too, was not the least conspicuous
feature of his batting. The pace he always went at at the very start
of his innings frequently demoralised the bowler, and to his rapid
commencements, especially at Manchester and Sheffield, in the second
innings, do I ascribe the poorness of our attack in the majority of
the test games. Hill played many fine innings, but I thought he was
a great deal more aggressive, for which his defence had to suffer,
causing the bowlers less difficulty than used to be the case in
obtaining his wicket, although I do not wish to insinuate that he is
not now one of the world’s greatest batsmen. Darling lost a little of
his old form, although he gave us flashes of his former brilliance,
as in the test match at Manchester. May be the cares of captaincy
told on him slightly, at which I do not wonder. Noble was only just
beginning to enjoy himself with the bat when the tour was at an end,
although he made 284 against Sussex, the highest score of the season.
Of the new men, Duff proved himself to be a capital man to accompany
Trumper to the wickets, being possessed of excellent defence, with a
slicing sort of cut which brought him in many runs. Hopkins takes all
the risks of an Englishman, being specially fond of the hook stroke,
and it is safe to predict that he will continue to improve, although
he would be the first to admit that, if he is to bowl, it must not be
until several others have failed first. Armstrong did well all round,
adopting a somewhat defensive game, with an occasional straight drive,
very powerfully executed, and if he has a weak stroke it is the ball
between his legs and the leg stump that he does not care about. Kelly
was really excellent behind the stumps, and if occasion arose he was
generally good for some runs. A great feature of his wicket-keeping
was his absolute fairness of appeal; and this remark applies to the
whole team. In regard to the test games I do not intend to write much,
since they are all still fresh in our memory. The weather was very
unsatisfactory, the two first games being drawn, whilst in the three
finished games, at Sheffield, Manchester, and the Oval, rain was of no
use to our chances of a win, generally managing to come at the wrong
time for us; but this is all in the game. Had it remained fine, I feel
very confident that three days would not have been sufficient to finish
the matches; and in my opinion the addition of half an hour, which
necessitated the luncheon interval being taken at 1.30, handicapped the
bowler, since 4-1/4 hours were left for play afterwards—a very long
spell when no interval for refreshments was allowed. A rest, however,
was agreed upon later, with good results too, as the bowler generally
obtained his wicket after the interval. The first test, at Birmingham,
ended disappointingly, for after a very poor start on our part, which
Tyldesley and the Hon. F. S. Jackson set right, we scored 376 for nine
wickets, when we declared our innings closed. Tyldesley played a fine
forcing game for 138, and from the time when the Hon. F. S. Jackson and
he got together, everything went right for us, Hirst, Lockwood, and
Rhodes all playing excellent cricket. Owing to the rain which followed
our innings, our opponents had very little chance of drawing level,
but no one was prepared for the poor display of their batsmen, the
whole side being sent back for 36. Rhodes did what he liked with his
opponents, although the ball was not turning to any great extent, as
the wicket was quite on the wet side, and by no means unplayable. The
Australians adopted a hitting game, but the first attempt at a drive,
no matter whose it was, ended disastrously, without exception. Hirst
also did well, his three wickets costing 15. Rhodes had the excellent
analysis of seven wickets for 17, his bowling being very accurate,
whilst he suited his pace to the wicket admirably. Owing to more rain,
only half an hour more play took place, the Australians losing two
wickets for 46. There is no doubt in my mind that our opponents were
nowhere near their proper form at this time, and that the team without
Trumble was something like cod-fish without oyster sauce. At Lord’s
there was another disastrous start, which righted itself, when copious
rain put an end to further play. At Sheffield we had a great game. Our
opponents, winning the toss, did fairly well in compiling 194, Noble
making the highest score, 47, whilst Barnes, who came in for Lockwood,
bowled best of our men on a wicket possessed of considerable life. It
suited his style of bowling admirably, and he took six wickets for 49.
Braund did what little he had to do very well, commencing by clean
bowling Trumper for 1. It has been stated that a grave mistake was made
in leaving Lockwood out; with those of that opinion I do not agree—and
no one has a higher opinion of the Surrey bowler than myself. In the
week before the test match he secured but two wickets, and one of those
occasions was the match against Lancashire, whilst the other game was
that against Yorkshire. It was not Lockwood at all who bowled at Old
Trafford. At the end of the first day’s play we had scored 102 for
five wickets, but owing to a sharp shower in the night, the wicket was
soft on the top the next morning, and our last five men added but 43.
After the heavy roller had been over the pitch it played beautifully,
all devil having been taken out of it, which made the one man Barnes,
who had been so successful in the first innings, practically harmless,
since he has never been seen to advantage, in big cricket, with
the fire out of the wicket. Hill and Trumper went along at a great
pace, all our bowlers catching it, F. S. Jackson securing both their
wickets, but not until Trumper had made 62 and Hill 119. Well as both
men played, the bowling in this innings, as in the first innings at
Manchester, was, to say the least, very moderate. With the exception of
Hopkins, no one of the remaining players caused much trouble, Rhodes
finishing up by taking four wickets in 19 balls. But those of us near
the wickets knew why, for F. S. Jackson, who had kept an excellent
length for some time at that end, suddenly made two balls nip back very
quickly, and then the left-hander was immediately brought on. In fact,
the moment the wicket broke up at that end, Rhodes made full use of his
opportunity, as did the Australians when they got us at the wickets,
Noble on the last day, from the end which Rhodes had bowled, being
every bit as difficult, and taking six wickets for 52. It was only
due to Jessop’s hitting that we scored 195. As I had the luck to stay
there as long as any one, I know what I am writing about, and I have
no hesitation in saying that the wicket suddenly went all to pieces
from the moment that Jackson made the ball turn quickly. Noble also did
this to some purpose, making it kick up, too, very sharply, as on the
occasion when Jackson was bowled off his chest. In our second innings
I do not blame our batsmen in the least. Noble was seen at his best in
both innings, whilst Saunders did as well as he in the first innings.


[Illustration]



CHAPTER X

UNIVERSITY CRICKET

By HOME GORDON and H. D. G. LEVESON-GOWER


To thousands who have never been near the banks of the Cam or the
Isis, “the ‘Varsity match” forms one of the episodes of each recurring
year. It is a social festival; perhaps, also, it is the last great
manifestation of cricket as a game, and not as a money-making business,
which is to be found among first-class fixtures. But the University
match is more than this, for it is the Mecca of all who have gone
down from Oxford or Cambridge, the opportunity for the renewal of
former acquaintances, possibly the only occasion when you come across
those who were amongst your greatest friends in the day of _arcades
ambo_. It is good to meet old comrades, good to hear the ring of the
old jests, good to see how time is treating those who are your own
contemporaries—ay, and good to give one kindly thought to those who
have drifted to all the quarters of the Empire, and to remember those
who have been removed from us by Death.

The University match is, however, more than an excuse for reunion.
It is the battle of the “Blues,” the struggle between eleven picked
representatives of Oxford and the eleven contemporary delegates of
Cambridge. All old University men, and all the undergraduates of
to-day, with their families, relations, and friends, young and old,
unite in shouting for their own side. It is as cheery a display of
enthusiasm as one could care to show to that hypothetical individual,
“the intelligent foreigner”—the foreigner one really encounters being
“a chiel amang us takin’ notes” for hostile purposes. But little care
we for international complications when Blue meets Blue. It is a grim,
grand struggle for mastery, and some illustration of the evenness of
the fight can be gathered from the fact that after sixty-eight contests
Cambridge should only lead by four.

But the value of the University match exceeds all yet indicated, for
it is the supreme and unsullied manifestation of genuine amateurism.
When cricket is degenerating into a business, when too many eke out a
pseudo-amateurism in unsatisfactory ways, when individuals play for
their averages and sides play against the clock, we hail the University
match as the recurrent triumph of the true amateur, the keenest,
manliest, most entrancing, and most spirited match of the year—and
likewise the one haloed by the richest traditions. All these views are
apt to be forgotten when county committees are clamouring for valuable
Blues to neglect their University trial matches in order to help their
shires in championship fixtures. That is why this article is heralded
by a pæan of genuine enthusiasm, and it is this that we would say to
undergraduates in years to come—you may represent your county as long
as your purse and your skill permit, but no living man can participate
in thirty-six matches for Oxford or for Cambridge, nor more than four
times meet the opposing Blues. Therefore, take University cricket as
the happy fruit of early manhood, and believe that nothing in after
years is quite equal, quite identical with its delightful experiences.

With these preliminary observations concluded, let us first see where
the game is played. Of course the University struggle is at Lord’s, and
probably every one who reads the present volume, even if he has not
been himself to headquarters, has a pretty good idea of what the ground
is like. Even in the last twenty years it has undergone a number of
changes in order to bring it to the level of latter-day requirements.
Of course the original picturesqueness of the surroundings has been
impaired. The present pavilion has been ingloriously compared to a
railway station. The extension of the grand stand has rendered all the
north side unsightly, and the huge mound at the south-east corner looks
like part of the auditorium at Earl’s Court. Even the tennis-court has
been shifted. But all said and done, 15,000 people can get a decent
view of the game at Lord’s, and the turf itself has been improved
beyond measure. Time was when the pitch at Lord’s was proverbially
treacherous, and old scores bear eloquent testimony to this. To-day
a superb wicket can be provided for a big match, one equal to any in
England, despite the fact that comparatively few drawn games take place
at St. John’s Wood.

[Illustration:
  _From a Aquatint by_    _Francis Jukes._
_SALVADORE HOUSE, TOOTING, SURREY._
(_After a Drawing by John Walker, end 18th Century_).]

[Illustration:
  _From a Drawing_    _by Crowhurst._
_CRICKET GROUND, TODMORDEN._]

So much for the meeting-place. Now for the trial-grounds of the rival
Blues. In this respect, Oxford had far more difficulty than their
rivals. The earliest grounds used by the Dark Blues were those of the
Bullingdon Club and of the Magdalen College School. The Bullingdon
ground, on the site of the present barracks, was at a goodly distance
from the town, but possessed some of the finest turf in the kingdom.
The Magdalen ground was a part of Cowley Common, and this was the
first enclosure ever leased to the Oxford University Cricket Club.
With a few individual digressions, there the bulk of the home fixtures
were contested until, in 1881, the University settled down on its own
admirable ground in the University Parks. A hard, fast pitch could be
obtained, in a central situation, with an excellent practice-ground
always available, while a commodious pavilion, exactly behind the
wicket, affords those in authority, and the legion who love to give
gratuitous advice, an admirable position from which to watch the
trial matches. Though not as yet dealing with the fixtures, it may
be broadly stated—without fear of contradiction—that the Oxford
eleven has displayed far more cohesiveness since it has acquired a
permanent establishment. Of course the fact that no gate-money can be
taken militates against the quality of the professionals engaged on
the ground-staff. It is a rule that only one home fixture shall have
a charge for admission, and then the match is played on one of the
College grounds, generally Christ Church, which affords the greatest
accommodation. When the Australians come, their game is invariably the
one selected. In other seasons it is usually a county match.

Cambridge have been far more fortunate in the matter of a ground. The
University originally played on Parker’s Piece—a huge village green;
but in 1848, at the instigation of Lord Stamford and Lord Darnley,
who considered the ground too public, as well as the tradition that
the M.C.C. refused to appear again, because of the ill-mannered chaff
of the spectators, F. P. Fenner induced the University to move to his
spacious ground. The original pavilion, not built until 1856—and
then at the trifling cost of £300—was replaced in 1875 by a handsome
structure on which over £4000 has been expended. The University
eventually obtained Fenner’s on an admirable lease, and the ground can
be regarded as one of the finest in the country. Level and true, the
pitch does not take the heart out of a batsman, while a bowler obtains
all reasonable assistance. In estimating modern University cricket, it
may be fairly considered that all undergraduates have every opportunity
to train up to the best possible standard to which they can attain, and
that, so far as expenses and wickets are concerned, they have, in the
phrase of Mr. W. S. Gilbert, “nothing whatever to grumble at,” either
at Oxford or Cambridge.

In the view of the writers of the present section, there is no need
to dilate at great length on the earlier history of the cricket at
the two Universities. The old matches have been replayed by a score
of pens since the stumps were originally drawn. I am not saying they
were not as admirable as those of later years—indeed, I would at a
pinch rather argue on the other side. But I do believe that those who
will read the present volume take more interest in the cricket of the
last twenty-five years than they feel in that of previous generations.
Therefore it is not from want of appreciation that I deliberately incur
the charge of treating in a condensed form the early battles of the
Blues. Were a volume at my disposal, instead of a chapter, I would
gladly act in a very different fashion.

The University match was at first a friendly game rather than a serious
contest. Numbers of people would be surprised at being told that Oxford
had not always met Cambridge at Lord’s. But though the first match
took place at St. John’s Wood in 1827, no less than five have been
fought out at Oxford, either on the Magdalen, Bullingdon, or Cowley
Marsh grounds, four of which were won by the home side. To this may
be appended the following indications of the haphazard nature of the
game. In 1836, when there had been no University match for six years,
Cambridge lost by 121 runs, with two men absent; why, no contemporary
troubled to set forth. In 1838 began the regular succession of annual
encounters, but in a game won easily by Oxford there was one man absent
in three out of the four innings. Next year, when Cambridge won by
an innings and 125 runs—the top score in an aggregate of 287 being
70 by Mr. Extras, followed by 65 by Mr. C. G. Taylor—the losers not
only played one short throughout the match, but history does not even
give a reason, nor does tradition state who the eleventh man should
have been. Of the 46 wides sent down by Oxford, it was said, “the
bowlers evidently at times lost their temper at not being enabled to
disturb the wickets of their opponents.” But the greatest proportion of
extras had been in 1836, when these amounted to 63 in Oxford’s second
total of 200, and 55 in Cambridge’s first of 127, with 149 extras in
an aggregate of 479. Against this must be set only 24 extras in an
aggregate of 751, a creditable feature of the game of 1885.

Among the early giants for Oxford may be cited Mr. Charles Wordsworth,
subsequently Bishop of St. Andrews, who bowled fast left-hand lobs
twisting in from the off. To him appears to have been due much of
the organisation of the big match. The earliest cricketer from Oxford
chosen to play for the Gentlemen was Mr. H. E. Knatchbull. A good many
of the Dark Blue triumphs mid-way in the ‘forties were ascribed to the
very fast round-arm bowling of Mr. G. E. Yonge, who, in five matches
_v._ Cambridge, removed the bails thirty times, in all capturing
forty-three opponents. This is the parallel of the terrific devastation
wrought by that very fine bowler, Mr. A. H. Evans, who sent back
thirty-six Cantabs for 13 runs apiece, twenty-two being clean bowled.
Admit, too, the prowess of Mr. G. B. Lee, who in 1839 took nine of the
ten wickets and scored a fifth of the Oxford aggregate. He was for
many years Warden of Winchester College, and his death, which occurred
on 29th January last, was deeply lamented by a great host of friends.
The first of the cricket “families” who have made immortal names in
University cricket was the Riddings. When two of the brothers played
for Gentlemen _v._ Players in 1849, the elder long-stopping and the
younger wicket-keeping to such tremendous bowling as that of Mr. G.
E. Yonge and Mr. Harvey Fellowes, tradition says that nothing was
seen like it until Mr. Gregor MacGregor put on the gloves to take the
bowling of Mr. S. M. J. Woods. In 1849 the Gentlemen won by an innings
and 40 runs, the biggest victory until 1878, and one mainly due to the
Oxonian combination.

The next family was that of the Marshams, a triumvirate whose
achievements have been mentioned by every successive generation of
Oxonians, and to which Cambridge could offer no parallel until the era
of the Studds. Mr. A. Payne was a very fast bowler; so was Mr. Walter
Fellowes. Among batsmen come Messrs. Reginald Hankey and W. H. Bullock,
but towering above them stands Mr. C. G. Lane, whose name is enshrined
among the pristine heroes of the Oval. Nor prior to 1860 must the
prowess of Mr. Chandos Leigh, Mr. Arthur Cazenove, and Mr. W. F. Traill
be forgotten.

[Illustration: _CRICKET AT RUGBY IN 1837._]

[Illustration: _CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS PLAYING CRICKET IN
1842._]

The Light Blue giants up to this time had also been notable. The
earliest of great fame is Mr. C. G. Taylor, a batsman of great repute,
an old Etonian, who was an adept at nearly every sport. With him must
be associated Mr. J. H. Kirwan, a very fast amateur bowler, “with a
low delivery which approached a jerk, but was allowed.” No matter how
he was hit, he persisted in keeping his fieldsmen behind the wicket,
ready for catches. Mr. T. A. Anson appears to have been the earliest of
the famous Cambridge stumpers, but his renown pales before that of Mr.
E. S. Hartopp, “the only man who could stop the famous fast deliveries
of Mr. Harvey Fellowes with any degree of certainty.” What that meant
on the old-time bad wickets may be estimated by the fact that, when
there was some discussion about pace, it was the unanimous consensus of
those old enough to judge that Mr. Fellowes had never been equalled for
lightning speed. Eton provided the next Cambridge bowler of importance,
Mr. E. W. Blore, whose pace was slow, with an excellent length. More
famous, of course, is Mr. David Buchanan, who in his University days
was a fast left-handed bowler. By the way, he himself confessed that
he would not remain a fortnight “kicking his heels about” in order
to play in the University match of 1851. His marvellous prowess with
the ball was altogether apart from his undergraduate career, though
he captured six Oxonian wickets in 1850. Mr. Mat Kempson, who hailed
from Cheltenham, was a clever fast bowler, with so much spin on his
ball that he was the only cricketer George Parr could not hit to leg.
It is said that while he and Canon J. M’Cormick were together, they
never lost an eleven-a-side match at Cambridge. The feat of Mr. M.
Kempson and Sir Francis Bathurst, bowling unchanged for the Gentlemen
against the Players, has only been equalled by the two Cantabs, Messrs.
S. M. J. Woods and F. S. Jackson, in 1894, and by A. H. Evans and A.
G. Steel, who, in the Gentlemen _v._ Players match in 1879, dismissed
a strong side of players for 73 and 48, both being then in residence
at their Universities. Mr. E. T. Drake, with bat and lob bowling, was
esteemed by his contemporaries as only second to Mr. V. E. Walker.

The name with which Cambridge cricket will be historically associated
in the nineteenth century is that of Mr. Arthur Ward. He weighed 20
stones when he played for Cambridge, and was so much chaffed by the
crowd at Lord’s that in 1854 he managed the match from the pavilion.
But to him is due the acquisition of Fenner’s, where he reigned as an
autocrat, despotic but delightful. He has been even as much to his old
University as Mr. Thomas Case, wise, vigilant, and full of foresight,
has been to Oxford cricket. The twain will never be forgotten, and
unborn generations should breathe benedictions upon them.

Two successive secretaries of M.C.C. represented Cambridge in 1854. One
was that delightful personality and sturdy hitter, Mr. R. Fitzgerald.
The team he took to America in 1872 was the parent of many tours in
many climes, all enjoyable, if not of such public importance as the
great expeditions to Australia. He was succeeded at Lord’s by his
friend of many years’ standing, Mr. Henry Perkins, who is to-day cheery
in his honoured retirement after twenty-one years’ work, the full
value of which was not entirely appreciated by the younger generations
of M.C.C. until afterwards. In his day he must have been a keen good
cricketer, and, considering how little he watched the modern game, and
then always behind the pavilion windows, it is marvellous how he could
so skilfully diagnose the skill of players. His kindness to quite young
fellows fond of the game is one of those traits to which enough justice
was not done at his retirement, possibly because the tributes came from
older friends. It may be noted that Mr. T. W. Wills, who represented
Cambridge _v._ Oxford in 1856, was never in residence. The group of
cricketers who went up from Brighton College will always be memorable.
In 1860 for Cambridge appeared Messrs. G. E. Cotterill, Denzil Onslow,
A. E. Bateman, and E. B. Fawcett, as formidable a quartet as could
be desired. Mainly owing to the spinning slow bowling of Mr. H. M.
Plowden, the Cantabs won by three wickets on a soaking ground, with two
of the best Oxford men too unwell to play.

The next eighteen years can be regarded as the mid-Victorian section
of University cricket. Preeminent from 1862 to 1865 was Mr. R. A. H.
Mitchell, then absolutely the finest amateur bat in the country. He
averaged 42 in seven innings against Cambridge, though his highest
innings was only 57. He was a wonderful bat, timing the ball with
something of the judgment of “W. G.,” though, like the champion, he was
_never_ quite happy facing Alfred Shaw. Possibly no other amateur ever
hit so well to leg, and he has the distinction of being the earliest
of the great captains who developed the game according to our modern
ideas. It was he, too, who gave Oxford four successive victories after
four previous reverses. After he went down, Oxford had no star for some
seasons, except that Sir Robert Reid proved as nimble behind the sticks
as he has since been successful at the Bar and in Parliament.

Cambridge in the same period had more men of mark. At the outset
there were the erratic but devastating deliveries of Mr. T. Lang,
who captured in all fifteen Oxford wickets for 84 runs, and for his
University has the magnificent figures of forty-six wickets at a cost
of 5.54 apiece. Then too flourished Lord Cobham, of whom Mr. Clement
Booth—a veteran not given to rash assertions—states, “He was
absolutely the best all-round cricketer I ever played with.” Note that
Mr. Booth actually participated in first-class cricket—fine steady
bat that he was—until 1887, and still keeps up his interest in the
game. To collaborate with these three were Messrs. H. M. Marshall, A.
W. T. Daniel, H. M. Plowden, an excellent slow bowler, and W. Bury,
“who never missed a catch.” Truly was it said that the 1862 eleven was
not surpassed until that of 1878. It will be noted that Cambridge was
now enjoying the era of the Lytteltons, G. S., the second brother to
Lord Cobham, coming up in 1866, and showing wonderful nerve in a trying
finish in the following year. It was then the turn of the Light Blues
to win for four successive encounters. Much of this was due to the
great command of that eccentric free-lance Mr. C. A. Absalom over the
ball. He was outside all laws of cricket convention, among other ethics
of his being that a half-volley on the leg stump was the best delivery
with which to attack a fresh batsman. Altogether he took one hundred
wickets for 14 runs each as an undergraduate, and twenty-two wickets
for 247 runs in his three encounters with Oxford. Of course he was
utterly unorthodox as a bat too, but his hard hitting produced quite
a respectable figure in the average-sheet of the Light Blues. Of his
acrobatic agility in the field, it is safe to say that never will its
like be seen again.

Slightly senior to him was Mr. C. E. Green, the father of Essex
cricket, and hardly had he gone down than Cambridge possessed one
of the most remarkable groups of attractive players to be noted in
our annals. This was in 1869—known, by the way, as the University
wicket-keepers’ match, as the two stumpers, H. A. Richardson and W. A.
Stewart, between them annexed fourteen out of the forty wickets. In
that year Messrs. C. I. Thornton, W. Yardley, J. W. Dale, W. B. Money,
H. A. Richardson, and C. A. Absalom all played for the Gentlemen. Of
these, the repute of Mr. C. I. Thornton as a stupendous hitter has
not even been dimmed by that of Mr. G. L. Jessop himself. For about
thirty years “Buns” went in to slog, and undoubtedly succeeded. Some
day, perhaps, when feats of hard hitting are collected, an adequate
catalogue of his amazing feats may be presented. They will certainly
prove unparalleled, and if others have hit as hard, possibly no one
ever _drove_ with such mighty impetus. Nor, in even this brief allusion
to his connection with University cricket, must it be forgotten what
service he annually rendered in collecting strong scratch teams for his
visits. It should be put on record that his two fine scores of 50 and
36 were made against Oxford in 1869 by steady defensive cricket.

Of “Bill of the Play,” it is difficult for us, who never saw him
bat, to adequately write, when so many of our readers have been more
fortunate. A very eminent judge, however, supplies this note:—“Yardley
comes next to ‘W. G.’ among amateurs. Ranji may have produced new
strokes, notably that astounding ‘hook,’ but his physique never
gave him that impressive _command_ over the ball which was the
characteristic of the elder Cantab. Yardley possessed all the grace
of Palairet, with a strength equal to that of Ulyett. I should regard
him as the perfection of really beautiful batting accompanied with
remarkable power. He played all round the wicket, but he was stronger
on the leg side than modern bats.”

To Mr. Yardley belongs the unique distinction of having made two
centuries in the University match, 100 in 1870 and 130 in 1872, the
former being the first made in the game—oddly enough, at a time when
he was supposed to be out of form—and the latter the highest, until
Mr. K. J. Key passed it with his 143 in 1886. Mr. J. W. Dale was a
stylish, pretty bat, while Mr. W. B. Money, besides being a clever lob
bowler, was a good and often aggressive bat, though from nervousness
he failed to do himself justice against the rival Blues. To all
generations of cricketers, the Oxford and Cambridge match of 1870 will
be known as “Cobden’s game,” despite the first recorded century. It
was also true that the hat trick had also never been performed in the
match, and Mr. F. C. Cobden now achieved it under almost miraculous
conditions. Mr. Cobden bowled a good fast ball of the average type,
nothing marvellous, and it is this one feat which has immortalised him.
Oxford had a fine eleven, the match being a genuine battle with giants
on both sides. The Dark Blues, to begin with, possessed in Mr. C. J.
Ottaway one of the coolest and most skilled of defensive batsman. He
belonged to the race of University stonewallers (the apotheosis of
which was Mr. Eustace Crawley, who was an hour at the wicket without
scoring, and in his second innings was another hour before he “broke
his specs,” amid stentorian applause, only to be out with the very
next ball, though the year before he had scored a century). Mr. A.
T. Fortescue was an excellent, watchful bat, Messrs. Pauncefote and
Townshend were useful, Mr. Walter Hadow a dangerous run-getter, and Mr.
E. F. S. Tylecote a sound, clever batsman, and so fine a wicket-keeper
that he has put on the gloves creditably in test matches. Moreover,
that good bowler, Mr. C. K. Francis, was a bat that had to be reckoned
with. On fourth hands Oxford needed 179 to win, and with Messrs.
Fortescue and Ottaway scoring steadily, and Mr. Tylecote playing good
cricket, the match looked a very hollow affair, despite the excellent
bowling of Mr. E. E. Harrison-Ward.

Over the concluding incidents there is some conflict of evidence, but
it seems probable that the fact of an extension of the playing time
having been agreed to affected the finish, the light becoming bad.
When Mr. Ottaway was dismissed, Oxford needed 19 to win, with five
wickets to fall. Subsequently Messrs. Townshend and Francis were sent
back, but only 4 runs were required, with three wickets to fall. Then
came Mr. Cobden’s sensational and renowned over. Off the first ball,
Mr. F. H. Hill, who was well set, made a vigorous stroke which was so
well fielded by Mr. A. Bourne that only a single was scored. Off the
second ball Mr. S. E. Butler was sharply annexed by the same opponent.
Mr. T. H. Belcher was bowled by the next delivery, and it is even now
controversial whether clean or off his pads. Finally, in came Mr. W. A.
Stewart, who was, under the circumstances, naturally extremely nervous,
and the victorious bowler at once removed his bail, amid a scene of
frantic excitement.

Wonders now come in battalions, for in the very next University
encounter was performed another feat never again or before achieved
in this especial match. This was the capture of all ten wickets on
a side. Whether much of the success was due to the ground is beside
the question. The fact remains that Mr. S. E. Butler took all the ten
Cantab wickets at a cost of 38 runs, and then claimed five more for
57. He was a fast bowler, who on this occasion found a spot which made
the ball keep very low, and on a difficult pitch he was absolutely
unplayable. Oxford this season had the benefit of the fine batting
of Lord Harris, the man who, next to Lord Hawke, has probably done
more for cricket than any one else. He was a stylish, attractive bat,
with brilliant strokes and great driving power. Few batsmen have
performed better against fast bowling; but his prowess ripened by his
association with Kent rather than in his University days. Still, the
Cantabs possessed the bulk of the new cricketers. Mr. W. N. Powys, a
rather fast left-handed bowler, had the splendid figures of twenty-four
wickets for 153 runs, while the two Etonians, Messrs. George Longman
and A. S. Tabor, acquired high repute as batsmen. The former was
the more attractive, comparable in a later generation to Mr. Norman
Druce, while the latter, though more cramped, also might have been the
more difficult to dislodge. In 1872, both being freshmen, they were
the earliest who ever put up a century for the first wicket in the
University match.

The next triumph of Oxford came in 1875. This was due to Mr. A. W.
Ridley, whose lobs were preternaturally successful at the crisis.
Both sides carried men famed in the game. Mr. A. J. Webbe has in some
measure occupied a unique position. Apart from his high repute as a
batsman, he has devoted himself with assiduity to cricket at both
Oxford and Harrow, in many ways materially influencing cricket, apart
from his illustrious connection with Middlesex. Others to be noted were
Mr. Vernon Royle, possibly the grandest field who ever donned flannels,
Mr. W. H. Game, a big hitter, apt to prove disappointing, and Mr. T.
W. Lang, who, besides being an admirable bowler, had trained into a
very useful bat. Mr. Ridley as a bat, too, was a delightful exponent of
the best Etonian traditions. Cambridge, however, enjoyed the services
of some wonderful cricketers. In his quiet, patient, yet admirable
method, how few can have excelled Mr. A. P. Lucas! Seven-and-twenty
years after the match in question, a junior among the last Australian
team expressed his opinion that Mr. Lucas was among the first flight of
English batsmen of to-day. One critic has judiciously remarked that he
never attempts to place a ball, or he would have scored three times
as many runs, but for sheer accuracy who can ever have surpassed him?
A colleague was Mr. Edward Lyttelton, most famous but one of all the
family—a fine bat, remarkably free, a magnificent field anywhere, with
heart and soul in the game. Mr. F. F. J. Greenfield, unorthodox but
capable, was another useful man, and the bowling rested mainly on W. S.
Patterson.

The sensation of the match in which all these participated was in
the close finish. Cambridge, needing 174 to win, had reached 161 for
seven wickets, everything having gone in their favour until Mr. Webbe
caught out Mr. Lyttelton in the country, a catch which many judges
still watching the game think was the finest they ever witnessed. Mr.
W. H. Game persuaded his captain, Mr. A. W. Ridley, to go on with lobs
at this crisis. “It was much against my own judgment. My first ball
got rid of W. S. Patterson; then Macan came in and made a single off
the next. This brought Sims to my end, and he hit my third ball clean
over my head for four. Lang then bowled against Macan, who kicked a
leg-bye, and afterwards a no-ball made it seven to win. It was now that
Sims was caught, and Arthur Smith came in. He looked rather shaky,
and no wonder. He managed to keep his wicket intact for two balls,
but my third bowled him, amid terrific excitement.” Thus Mr. A. W.
Ridley himself, in reply to the request for his own reminiscence for an
article in the _Badminton Magazine_. His modest impression deserves to
be resurrected here. Mr. Edward Lyttelton has stated that the ball with
which the victorious lob bowler dismissed each of his victims was “a
straight low one on the leg stump which did not turn an inch.” Of the
match in 1876 it may be stated that Mr. W. S. Patterson was the first
“centurion” to be undefeated, and Mr. W. H. Game, the first Oxonian to
run into three figures against Cambridge, though in the following year
his example was followed by Mr. F. M. Buckland. It may be pointed out
that Oxford from 1871 to 1875 and Cambridge from 1876 to 1880 each won
four victories, interrupted by one defeat. In 1876 each University had
won an equal number of matches.[5]

1878 was the first year of modern cricket as generally accepted, but
it was hardly more notable for the first visit of the Australians
than for the unrivalled ability of the Cambridge eleven. They played
eight matches, and won them all, a result as much due to magnificent
fielding as to any other cause. Of course the phenomenal agency was the
marvellous skill of Mr. A. G. Steel, but this great exponent of every
department of the game was admirably backed up by the whole side. They
opened by defeating Mr. C. I. Thornton’s eleven, which included Dr. W.
G. Grace and his younger brother, as well as Mycroft and Midwinter, by
79 runs, though 90 runs behind on first hands. Single-innings victories
were gained over M.C.C. and the Gentlemen, while Yorkshire was disposed
of by a margin of ten wickets. Migrating to the Oval, Surrey fell to
the tune of an innings and 112, while M.C.C., strongly represented at
Lord’s, were left in a minority of 106. Although Messrs. A. J. Webbe
and A. H. Evans appeared for Oxford, the University match was felt to
be one-sided, and so it proved. Mr. A. D. Greene took four hours and
ten minutes to get 35 runs, while in the second effort Messrs. A. G.
Steel and P. H. Morton sent the whole side back for 32. Finally the
Cantabs, though deprived of the great services of Mr. A. P. Lucas, beat
the Australians before lunch on the second day by an innings and 72
runs. In emphasising this startling succession of victories, it ought
to be pointed out that only once did opponents exceed a total of 127,
and then the aggregate was only 193, while six sides were dismissed for
less than 70 runs apiece.

Now for the doughty team which Mr. Edward Lyttelton led so admirably.
Be it noted that he was the only Englishman who in 1878 scored a
century against the Australians. To him, and to Mr. A. P. Lucas,
allusion has already been made. To do adequate justice to the great
game always played by Mr. A. G. Steel is beyond our pens. Suffice
it to say that the true panegyric lies in his magnificent record.
In connection with Cambridge in 1878, he headed both tables, taking
seventy-five wickets for 7 runs apiece, and averaging 37 for an
aggregate of 339. At that time his bowling was incomparably difficult,
mainly because of the way he used to vary his “pitch and break.” Never
did any attack need such careful watching. His batting, of course,
reached its climax in that superb 148 _v._ Australians at Lord’s in
1884, and its most brilliant piece of fireworks when he went in ninth
at Scarborough, and scored a century while the others made 7. But it
was not even his skill which made Mr. A. G. Steel so great. It was his
masterly and inspiriting confidence, together with an unparalleled
grasp of the game, which made him the greatest amateur after “W. G.”
that we have looked on.

Following him must come Mr. Alfred Lyttelton, a great wicket-keeper,
who would have been greater still, had he not appeared in the
transition stage between long-stopping and standing up to the bowlers.
He was also a really free and attractive bat, who could force the
game well. Mr. P. H. Morton would nowadays be regarded as only a
medium-paced bowler, whose difficulty arose from the speed at which
his ball came off the pitch, whilst it was doing a great deal. His
career in cricket was practically bounded by his time at Cambridge, in
connection with which his bowling will always be worthily remembered.
Mr. Herbert Whitfeld proved somewhat of a stonewaller type, shaping
with admirable correctness, and in the field has known no superior.
Hon. Ivo Bligh (now Lord Darnley) only lacked good health. As a bat he
was an almost perfect exponent of Etonian traditions, so long as he
could play forward. We are of opinion that his cutting was at times
harder than that of any other amateur. Mr. D. Q. Steel had his days;
batsmen of his reckless temperament must have a heavy percentage of
failures. But for fine play all round the wicket, when he was in the
vein, he could be commended as a positive peril to any opponents.
Mr. A. F. J. Ford could hit “high, hard, and often,” bowl a useful
change, and catch opponents in the slips with the facility and length
of reach subsequently displayed by Tunnicliffe. Mr. L. K. Jarvis was
an attractive bat, but was a good deal more dangerous on a fast wicket
than a slow. Finally, Mr. F. W. Kingston, who could put on the gloves
with considerable credit, was a sound, careful bat, who used to play
the old “draw” stroke with notable ability. But after all, it was the
cohesion and the fielding which made 1878 _the_ Cambridge eleven _par
excellence_.

Not much noteworthy happened in 1879, a season that maintained its
unpleasant record for wetness and chilliness until 1902 relegated
all previous experiences into mere episodes. But 1880 saw the Studds
following the Steels and Lytteltons into the Cambridge eleven. There
was always an element of uncertainty about Mr. G. B. Studd, but he
was often a really brilliant bat and brilliant field at cover-point.
As for Mr. C. T. Studd, he is the greatest amateur between Mr. A. G.
Steel and Mr. S. M. J. Woods. Few men have ever played cricket with
such accuracy. Those who have seen J. T. Hearne pitch ball after ball
with mechanical precision at Lord’s can realise how Mr. C. T. Studd
used to bowl, only slower. His batting was never perhaps so sound as
that of Mr. C. B. Fry, but that is the nearest contemporary type; only
the style of Mr. Studd was one absolutely satisfactory to witness. The
game sustained a national loss when he left it to undertake missionary
labour in Asia. Mr. J. E. K. Studd, who came into the Cambridge
eleven a year later, thus establishing a record of three brothers
all simultaneously playing for their University, was never so good
as either of the others, but he was a hard-working cricketer, and a
difficult bat to dislodge, while his punishing powers were of no mean
order.

In 1881 both teams were powerful, the public opinion that Cambridge
were far the stronger being quite properly reversed. Three innings of
the match were moderate, principally because the Cantabs all drew away
from the fast bowling of Mr. A. H. Evans, who claimed thirteen wickets
for 10 runs apiece. But the grandest feature was the innings of 107
by Mr. W. H. Patterson, who carried his bat clean through the second
Oxford innings, although suffering from a badly-injured hand. It was
one of the greatest innings ever played at Lord’s, and foreshadowed
the fine service he subsequently rendered to Kent. That brilliant
disappointment, Mr. C. F. H. Leslie, whose phenomenal batting at Rugby
evoked anticipations never realised, played a splendid innings of 70,
his partnership with the old Harrovian arresting the succession of
Cantab victories, which were destined to be resumed for the next two
years. A conspicuous Oxonian recruit was Mr. M. C. Kemp, a capital
wicket-keeper, and a most lively, not to say venturesome, bat, and
a wonderful judge of a run. But it was his exciting personality and
wonderful enthusiasm which made him of such moral value to any side.
That attractive Wykehamist bat, Mr. A. H. Trevor, unfortunately elected
to watch rather than to play cricket after he went down from college.

[Illustration:
  _From a Water-Colour, attributed to_    _G. Cruickshank._
_THE CORINTHIANS AT LORDS IN 1822._]

1882 saw a striking contrast between the treatment meted out to
the two Universities by the greatest of all Australian teams. Mr.
Murdoch’s combination opened their campaign on the Christ Church
ground, and the Colonial who took first ball scored 202. This was that
magnificent batsman, Mr. H. H. Massie. Mr. E. D. Shaw alone of the
home side could offer much resistance, as was also the case in the
first innings against Cambridge. Although this match was on 15th May,
ten Oxford blues were on the home side, the eleventh man being that
energetic, if erratic, bowler, Mr. C. J. M. Godfrey. Cambridge gave
a vastly different exhibition. Mr. C. T. Studd signalised his first
appearance against an Australian eleven by scoring 118 and taking
eight wickets. The triumvirate of brothers were responsible for 297
out of 393 from the bat, and thus had a large share in the triumphant
victory by six wickets, the only defeat of the Colonials till 11th
August. The slow bowling of Mr. R. C. Ramsey, an old Harrovian, himself
a Queenslander, had also much to do with the success, for he claimed
twelve wickets for 179 runs. On 17th August, for the first time,
Cambridge Past and Present met the Australians, and, after one of the
most spirited contests, effected a victory by 20 runs. The bowling of
Mr. A. G. Steel and Mr. C. H. Alcock—who never obtained his blue—and
fine batting by Mr. Alfred Lyttelton against Messrs. Spofforth and
Boyle at their deadliest, were the main agencies. That phenomenal 66
of Mr. G. J. Bonnor, compiled in half an hour with four sixes and
six fours, was one of the most astounding things ever perpetrated
in cricket. The University match was a good one, including a really
artistic 120 from Mr. G. B. Studd, fine form in both departments from
his more illustrious brother, and an innings of great force from one
of the hardest hitters who ever played at Lord’s, Mr. Henery, a man
of iron strength though diminutive physique. Lord Hawke, then merely
an energetic and interesting bat, was not in his University days so
valuable a cricketer as afterwards. Indeed, his powers steadily ripen
with years, and in 1902, at the age of forty-two, he batted at the Oval
in grander style than ever before, although down at Taunton they say
his 126 against Somersetshire was the best innings of all. Long may he
continue to advance. The day of his retirement will prove a sad blow to
cricket throughout the country. On the Oxford side, Mr. J. G. Walker
was nothing like the fine bat to which he afterwards trained on, but at
point he has rarely been matched, save by Dr. E. M. Grace.

Though Cambridge won in 1883, the side was by no means phenomenal. Mr.
C. W. Wright, who was remarkably effective during his residence at
Trinity, was the “centurion,” and Messrs. C. T. Studd and C. A. Smith
were responsible for the attack. The latter was a vigorous, bustling
cricketer, whose curious method of approaching the wicket has rarely
been emulated. Of the Oxonians the most notable newcomer was Mr. H.
V. Page, a bat with fine nerve, and an equally fine “pull” stroke,
keen field, and by no means bad bowler, perfectly indifferent to
punishment. Considering that the phenomenally stubborn Mr. C. W. Rock
obtained his blue in 1884, most imperturbable of bats, and destined
a year or two later to be about the best contemporary amateur bowler
(of moderately medium pace, be it mentioned), and further, that two
notable county captains, Messrs. H. W. Bainbridge and F. Marchant, both
old Etonians, came into the eleven, it is hard to say why Cambridge
was so poor. But the fact remains, they were somewhat of a slack side,
and neither of the Etonians was then the masterly exponent of batting
which in diverging ways they subsequently became. Oxford had a big
repute, including the sensational presence of Mr. (now Sir) T. C.
O’Brien, who, having gone into residence solely to get his blue, had
the memorable misfortune to bag a brace. Mr. B. E. Nicholls, a senior
from Winchester, was perfectly extraordinary in the slips; against the
Australians, for example, he nipped no less than seven catches. But
the comparative falling off of the two Universities can be gathered
from the fact that no one from either team represented the Gentlemen
against the Colonials in either match, though three Oxonians were on
the victorious side against the Players at Lord’s.

The Cambridge victory of 1885 was due to some Oxonian half-heartedness
in shaping at Mr. C. Toppin at the outset, and to a partnership of 142
by Messrs. C. W. Wright and H. W. Bainbridge, who just ran into the
coveted three figures. Cricket was played to a different tune next
year, when two great Oxonians effected a stand of 243. The heroes of
this were Mr. K. J. Key and Mr. W. Rashleigh. The burly successor to
Mr. J. Shuter as Surrey skipper was in his third year, and at that
time was a singularly fine bat. It may be confidently asserted that no
other amateur of the present generation has so triumphantly exploited
the “pull,” and he played the game with cheery energy. Mr. Rashleigh,
who at Tonbridge had been as sensational as Mr. Leslie a few years
before at Rugby, did great things for Kent, but nothing better than
this fine display. Those who note with bewilderment that no one else
ran into double figures in the Oxonian total of 304 ought to be told
that the side purposely played themselves out. Finely as Mr. Bainbridge
again played (his scores were 44 and 79), his side was hopelessly
unsuccessful, but the absurdity of playing Mr. C. M. Knatchbull
Hugessen remains to all time the biggest blunder in University
selection, for there was already a deft stumper in Mr. L. Orford.
Both that match and a year later that genial sportsman and capable
cricketer, Mr. E. H. Buckland, bowled best for victorious Oxford.

The match of 1887 is known as “the last choice game.” The eleventh
place in each team was only filled at the latest possible moment. The
Light Blue final selection, Mr. Eustace Crawley, scored 33 and 103
not out, and the Dark Blue one, Lord George Scott, contributed 100
and 66. Oxford fielded superbly, and their new wicket-keeper, Mr. H.
Phillipson, was absolutely one of the finest who has ever donned the
gloves, and it is a great pity that his impetuosity and tremendous
punishing powers overpowered his otherwise remarkable capacity as
a bat, which at Eton caused him to be regarded as exceptionally
excellent. Deplorably weak bowling on both sides left the Light Blues
in the minority only because of their liberality in the matter of
dropped catches.

In 1888 Cambridge obtained the assistance of two amateurs whose
combined services will be remembered as long as the game is played.
These were of course Messrs. Gregor MacGregor and S. M. J. Woods.
Undoubtedly in his prime the Scotchman has never had a rival among
amateur wicket-keepers, except Mr. Blackham. The way he used to take
Mr. S. M. J. Woods, the way too in which he handled the deliveries
of Mr. C. J. Kortright for the Gentlemen, will never be forgotten by
those who witnessed them. He was also a stubborn bat, who came off when
things were at their worst, and he remains one of the distinguished
cricketers of his lengthy period. Even more emphatically can this
be remarked of Mr. S. M. J. Woods. The value of his bowling may be
gathered from his analysis in his seven University innings, when his
victims were 36, at a cost of under 9 runs apiece; moreover, for
Cambridge he annexed 190 opponents at a cost of 14 runs each. To say
that he was a terror is but to be truthful. His great break back, in
combination with great pace, with a magnificent slow ball, made him for
many years unrivalled as a fast bowler. A magnificent field, gathering
the ball as he rushed in to meet it, and a great hitter, in those days
somewhat less judicious than when so serviceable to Somersetshire, he
combined all the aptitudes of a redoubtable cricketer. As a combination
of bowler and wicket-keeper, in University cricket, Messrs. Woods
and MacGregor have no parallel. But as often happens, the two stars
gathered some notable men into their constellation.

Senior among these must be named Mr. F. G. J. Ford, youngest and
best cricketer in a family of sportsmen. Like all big hitters, more
especially perhaps left-handers, he was uncertain. During his four
years at Cambridge he was not, except at Brighton, the terrifically
punishing bat he subsequently became. But he was in those days a very
useful bowler, as well as a formidable run-getter. Mr. R. C. Gosling,
an excellent bat of the Eton type, actually was not dismissed by Oxford
until his third University match, a curious feat for a man going in
seventh. Another Etonian bat, but essentially fast wicket player, was
Mr. C. P. Foley, who fairly won the match of 1891 by his steadiness.
An even better bat was Mr. R. N. Douglas, whose play was freer than
subsequently for Middlesex, and who was always attractive. Mr. E.
C. Streatfield would have taken prominent rank, had he really cared
more for the game. Batting with a trace of the style which made him a
capital racquet-player, he could lay about him with perilous rapidity,
whilst his fine bowling claimed five for 14 when Oxford was dismissed
for 42, and his ball removed the bails each time. It would be idle
to suggest that at Cambridge Mr. D. L. A. Jephson showed much of the
great ability he subsequently developed. Indeed, he only once scored
50, and his over-arm bowling was far below the standard of his later
lobs. But his fielding was invariably excellent. Mr. A. J. L. Hill was
an excellent all-round cricketer. His placing was always excellent,
and his dash in meeting the ball, and when bowling his capacity for
suddenly sending in a ball which whipped back unexpectedly quick,
proved that he was of value in all departments. Finally comes Mr. F. S.
Jackson. Possessing a huge school reputation at Harrow, he did not at
first effect any sensational cricket. A steady fast bowler and sound
bat, was perhaps all that could be reported until his third year, when
he became captain, and signalised his skipperdom by heading both tables
of averages. In 1893 he improved materially on his batting figures, and
was by this time recognised as the great cricketer whose finest triumph
was his batting at the pinch in the test matches of 1902. A phenomenal
self-reliance has always characterised his play, but it is certain
that since Mr. S. M. J. Woods no such fine all-round amateur has come
into prolonged participation in good matches.

It may be noted, with reference to a contemporary cry of the difficulty
of freshmen in getting their blues, that in 1890 there were five
vacancies in the Cambridge eleven, and the five freshmen who appeared
in the first match, _v._ C. I. Thornton’s eleven, all obtained their
colours. These were Messrs. R. N. Douglas, E. C. Streatfield, D. L. A.
Jephson, F. S. Jackson, and A. J. L. Hill. In the second innings of the
game just mentioned, Mr. S. M. J. Woods took all ten wickets for under
7 runs apiece, after capturing five for only 19 runs in the first.
Going to Brighton that year, Cambridge scored 703 for nine wickets, the
chief scores being: Mr. F. G. J. Ford 191, Mr. G. MacGregor 131, Mr. C.
P. Foley 117, Mr. R. N. Douglas 84 and 62, and Mr. F. S. Jackson 60.
Next year the Light Blues against Sussex totalled 359 and 366, without
an individual century. In all probability no University ever had such
strenuous games with a county as Cambridge about this period played
with Surrey, then in the zenith of their fame.

Now occurs the opportunity to refer to two incidents which created an
enormous sensation, and eventually led to an alteration in the law
of following on. The facts can be briefly put. Oxford in 1893 needed
8 runs to save the follow-on, when the last men were at the wicket.
The Cambridge captain, Mr. F. S. Jackson, instructed Mr. C. M. Wells
to bowl a no-ball to the boundary, and after the batsman, Mr. W. H.
Brain, had covered a very wide ball, to send down one even more off
the wicket. In 1896 Oxford needed 12 runs to save the follow-on, when
Mr. R. P. Lewis, a notoriously bad bat, came in eleventh. Mr. F.
Mitchell then told Mr. E. B. Shine to bowl two no-balls, each of which
went to the boundary for four, and then a ball which scored four for
byes. The hostile demonstration from the pavilion was one of the most
demoralising ever heard on a cricket ground. In sober truth it must be
confessed that the captains were within their legal rights in ordering
unprecedented action to obviate the possibility of their opponents
purposely getting out. Yet all that is not forbidden by law cannot
be perpetrated without censure. Having written so much, we prefer
to pass on, glad to have briefly finished our allusion to the only
unpleasantness in the long series of University matches.

[Illustration: _A MATCH IN 1805._]

Oxford now demands some attention, for Cambridge has latterly held
the chief place in these pages. Mr. M. R. Jardine was not successful
until his fourth season, when he amassed a valuable 140, thus redeeming
long-deferred expectations. Yet at all times it was felt that the
runs he saved by his wonderful fielding were of more value than those
he made from the bat. Two cricketers who have been before the public
ever since, and who in different ways have proved notable exponents of
batting, are Messrs. E. Smith and L. C. H. Palairet. The latter must to
the present generation be the pre-eminent example of distinction and
graceful perfection. Mr. Ernest Smith has always been a redoubtable
and rapid run-getter, making his scores without apparent exertion, yet
contriving to entirely baffle the opposing captain by the pertinacious
skill with which he places his rapid hits. As a fast bowler he enjoyed
days of great success, and was always efficient in the field. A senior
from Winchester, only participating in one University match, was Mr.
V. T. Hill. Left-handed, and possessing much of the dash and vigour of
Mr. H. T. Hewett, he hit 114 in 1892 in a fashion which frankly earned
the epithet sensational. Possibly owing to the exceptional interest it
always arouses, the encounters of the Blues have produced a remarkable
number of notable innings, but none surpasses that of Mr. Hill in
vigour and “fireworks.” It was altogether a great game, that of 1892.
Oxford, having lost Mr. Palairet and Mr. R. T. Jones without a run on
the board, amassed 365. Cambridge, in a minority of 205, followed on,
and put their opponents in for 186, which were knocked off with five
wickets to spare.

New men coming into the teams about this time were not less excellent
than their predecessors. Cambridge in 1893, in his third year, tried
K. S. Ranjitsinhji, who was third in the averages, his chief scores
being 40, 55, 38, 58, and 40. Mr. J. Douglas, a capital bat, with
a delightful way of scoring neatly off all bowling alike, used in
those days to bowl slows which obtained a fair number of wickets.
Mr. A. O. Jones, carefully coached by Arthur Shrewsbury, of course
showed barely a glimpse of the great powers he subsequently displayed
for Notts. Mr. L. H. Gay was a wicket-keeper altogether above the
average, who had singular ill-luck in finding so many of his terms at
Cambridge tally with those of Mr. MacGregor. He was a lively hitter,
whose wicket was uncommonly hard to obtain. One graceful bat remains
to be mentioned, Mr. P. H. Latham, who, good as he was, ought to have
been still better, and would have been if he could have resisted the
temptation to lash out at an insidious slow. Treading on the heels of
these came another remarkable group of bats. The brilliancy of Mr. N.
F. Druce has hardly been excelled. His batting was once described as
“the champagne of cricket,” and certainly the epithet is deserved.
Practically his connection with the game ceased after his residence
at Trinity Hall, except for one tour in Australia; so it is the more
necessary to emphasise how very fine, as well as captivating, was his
method of run-getting. It may be added that he has the highest average
of any Cantab, namely, 52.47 for an aggregate of 2414, and _v._ Mr.
C. I. Thornton’s eleven amassed 227 not out, the highest score ever
made at Cambridge, the opposing bowlers including Mr. F. S. Jackson,
Hirst, Woodcock, and Hearne. Mr. W. G. Druce never attained the same
standard as his more famous brother, but he was a valuable run-getter
and also a most useful wicket-keeper. Mr. F. Mitchell, despite a
remarkable start, did not in his University cricket display the form
which culminated in his great batting of 1901. Mr. T. N. Perkins was
a notably punishing bat, but the great Cambridge weakness lay in
the miserable quality of the attack. Oxford in this respect was not
much stronger, though Mr. G. F. H. Berkeley in his day was above the
average. At this period, which coincides with that when one of the
present writers heartily enjoyed his own University career, there were
some distinguished bats to be added to those noticed above. Prominent,
of course, was Mr. C. B. Fry, in those days a much slower run-getter
than when he amassed those six consecutive centuries for Sussex. Mr.
R. C. N. Palairet was often a formidable scorer, and when he and his
brother went in first for Oxford _v._ Cambridge in 1893, it was for
the first time since 1878 that two brothers had done so for the senior
University; it had then been the two Webbes. Cambridge furnishes only
one such incident, the case of Messrs. G. B. and J. E. K. Studd in
1882. Mr. G. J. Mordaunt was a capital bat and an absolutely beautiful
field in the country, the amount of ground he covered and his rapidity
in returning the ball being quite extraordinary. To these must be added
that attractive bat, Mr. H. K. Foster, with his graceful strokes, some
of them learnt in the racquet-court. At least one prominent judge
maintains that his forlorn effort of 121 on fourth hands in 1895 was
the superb gem of the whole series of big University scores since
1878. His efforts for Worcestershire have shown how little of a lucky
accident was this brilliant achievement. Few sounder bats ever appeared
than Mr. P. F. Warner, and if more prolonged praise be not added, it
is only because the warm friendship and admiration of the two writers
regard it as superfluous. His scores have been made in many climes, but
the best of them all have been compiled at headquarters.

In 1901, one of the present scribes contributed to an article written
for the _Badminton Magazine_ by the other the following account of the
close finish of the University match of 1896, and it is felt that no
more sincere record could now be penned; hence its partial quotation is
perhaps pardonable:—

“The last choice, not made until the morning of the match, lay between
G. B. Raikes and G. O. Smith. Now as the attack was rather tender
(P. S. Waddy was the only real ‘change’ to F. H. E. Cunliffe and J.
C. Hartley), it was universally thought that the former as a bowler
should have the preference (he had played in the two previous years);
but he was bowling none too well at the time, and eventually the
decision was in favour of strengthening the batting. As events proved,
this selection settled the match. Cambridge batted first, Burnup and
Wilson making a long stand; Bray hit confidently at the finish. I
think, however, it speaks well for Oxonian fielding, that on a fast
true wicket, against only four bowlers (C. C. Pilkington also went
on), it took six hours to amass 319, Mordaunt’s work in the country
being especially fine. We did none too well in the first innings, and
owing to the no-ball incident we saved following on. This incident, to
my mind, was an error of judgment. The Cambridge eleven had not had a
long outing, the discrepancy of 120 is a lot in a ‘Varsity match, and
to follow on between five and seven is not to enjoy the best of the
day’s light at Lord’s. At the same time, the reception Cambridge had
at the hands of the members of M.C.C. was unpardonable, and certainly
prejudiced their play in the second attempt. Whilst saying so, I am
not detracting from Cunliffe’s performance, who, for the first hour,
bowled better than he ever had before. Norman Druce, the best bat on
either side, stemmed disaster. So with two wickets in hand Cambridge
on the second evening led by 217, and directly play ceased rain fell
heavily. However, that rain proved our godsend, for a light roller on
it, binding the wicket together, made it better than at any previous
time in the match, which was saying a good deal. Eventually Oxford
was left with 330 to win, and up to that time the highest total ever
recorded on fourth hands in the University contest was 176. A bad
start was made, for at luncheon three good wickets were down for 81,
Mordaunt, Foster, and Warner being disposed of, the latter having
the unique experience of being twice run out in a University match.
With Pilkington and G. O. Smith together, it dawned on the Oxonian
supporters that, after all, victory was not out of the question. From
this time, helped by a few errors in the field, we never looked back.
I had an enjoyable partnership with the hero of the game, and before
I was caught at the wicket, a possible victory was in sight, for the
sting had gone out, to a great extent, of the Cambridge attack (G. L.
Jessop, C. E. M. Wilson, E. B. Shine, and P. W. Cobbold). Bardswell
followed me, full of confidence, and hit with bland imperturbability,
scoring the winning stroke, being missed off it, by the way, by Burnup.
Of G. O. Smith’s innings of 132 it is impossible to speak too highly,
and he thoroughly deserved his memorable ovation, the whole pavilion
rising and cheering him. All said and done, looking back, apart from
unbounded admiration for his prowess, the great factor of Oxford’s
success was undoubtedly the fielding. We had precious little bowling,
and conventional fielding would have given us no chance. The game was
won by the work of the eleven in combination, and if only the fielding
in first-class matches were what it should be, drawn games would be
very rare. Reform the fielding, and then the laws of the game will need
but little reformation.”

By this time it will have been noticed that the Light Blues had been
reinforced by that prince of hard hitters, Mr. G. L. Jessop, who was a
tearaway bowler to boot, and that admirable batsman, Mr. C. J. Burnup,
the new Kent captain. The succession of clever Cambridge wicket-keepers
was kept up by Mr. E. H. Bray, than whom no one ever kept his hands
closer to the sticks. After this, for the next few years University
cricket undoubtedly fell a little flat. It was overshadowed to an
unfortunate extent by the more absorbing interest evinced in county
cricket. There were excellent cricketers on each side, but the teams
were not so cohesive as that of 1896, had not the same proportion
of really prominent amateurs as heretofore, and—here is the chief
point—the idea had become prevalent that the keenness of the game was
relaxed in the trial matches. So thoroughly was this re-established in
1902, so keen was the big match that year, and so bright the prospects
of the game in the immediate future at both Universities, that it is
permissible to frankly state so much, and to regard the years between
1896 and 1902 as ebb years, in comparison to the onward flow from 1889
to 1896.

But there was one gorgeous piece of cricket performed by the greatest
of recent undergraduates. Mr. R. E. Foster, the one batsman since Mr.
Norman Druce equally perfect to watch, played in 1900 a score of 171,
a new record in the match, the previous best contribution having been
Mr. Key’s 143 in 1886. An eye-witness wrote in that cricketer’s Bible,
_Wisden_: “The innings was not only a great one in a numerical sense,
but was in every way a magnificent display of batting. He only took
three hours and ten minutes to get his runs, and, so far as anyone
noticed, he did not give a single chance. Apart from the fact that he
once failed to bring off a more than usually daring pull, and that just
before he was out he made a dangerous stroke beyond mid-off, we did
not see any fault in his play. As a matter of record, it may be added
that he hit twenty-four fours, three threes, and thirteen twos. Hitting
more superb than his can scarcely have been seen since Yardley played
his great innings of 130 in 1872. He was equally strong all round the
wicket, driving magnificently on the off side, pulling with the utmost
certainty, and making any number of late cuts that were as safe as they
were effective.” It will be remembered that ten days later he followed
this up by scoring two separate hundreds for Gentlemen _v._ Players at
Lord’s, a feat never performed in this match by any other cricketer
appearing for either denomination. His average for Oxford was 77 for an
aggregate of 930, and he led his team through a victorious season, as
five matches were won, none lost, and four drawn.

Of other undergraduates, Mr. B. J. T. Bosanquet worked hard, getting
a good many wickets and scoring with reliable consistency. A superb
wicket-keeper was produced in Mr. H. Martyn, for with a style that was
a model of neatness, he was particularly strong on the leg side, as
well as a forcing bat. Not nearly enough credit was given to Mr. C. H.
B. Marsham for his exceptionally meritorious century on fourth hands,
and in disadvantageous circumstances, in the University match of 1901.
It was not until a year later that he came to be generally recognised
as a batsman of judicious temperament, possessing a very pretty knack
of placing the ball hard on the off side. On contemporary Oxford it
would be unfair to pass judgment, but it is at least permissible to
express the belief that Mr. W. H. B. Evans (nephew of the once-renowned
bowler) will fulfil our high expectation, and that Mr. W. Findlay is
one of the best custodians of the sticks to be found in current cricket.

Turning to Cambridge, the brothers Wilson have emulated the feat of the
brothers Foster at Oxford, and each scored a century in the University
match. The elder, Mr. C. E. M. Wilson, in his four University matches
scored 351, with an average of nearly 44, and took twelve wickets at
a cost of 21 runs apiece. The younger, Mr. E. R. Wilson, in a similar
series of fixtures, averaged 42, with an aggregate of 296, and captured
nineteen wickets for less than 22 runs each. These meritorious figures
were achieved by steady cricket, which never pandered to a gallery,
never took a risk, nor for one moment became really brilliant. For
comparison, it may be added that Mr. R. E. Foster averaged 48 for a
total of 342. Of the other Cantabs, Mr. T. L. Taylor, of course, has
been the soundest and greatest bat. Indeed, on a wet wicket he has
rarely had a superior. Mr. S. H. Day has proved himself to be amongst
the best of young cricketers, and Mr. E. M. Dowson with bat and ball
has done yeoman service. As a singularity, it may be mentioned that in
1902 Mr. E. F. Penn reappeared in the eleven, after being two years
absent at the war.

To mention the legion who have passed from their University eleven into
that of the Gentlemen would take up too much space, but it may be of
interest to give a list of those who have represented England in the
test matches at home:—

           OXFORD                         CAMBRIDGE

  Lord Harris (Eton).            A. P. Lucas (Uppingham).
  Sir T. C. O’Brien.             A. G. Steel (Marlborough).
  E. F. S. Tylecote (Clifton).   A. Lyttelton (Eton).
  C. B. Fry (Repton).            C. T. Studd (Eton).
  L. C. H. Palairet (Repton).    G. E. MacGregor (Uppingham).
                                 F. S. Jackson (Harrow).
                                 K. S. Ranjitsinhji.
                                 G. L. Jessop.
                                 A. O. Jones (Bedford).

  Batting—25 inn., 404 runs,       69 inn., 2316 runs, 33.39
        16.4 average.                         average.

  Bowling—18 runs, 0 wicket.       1265 runs, 36 wickets, 35.5
                                              average.

And further, one of the writers, who is in the habit of perpetrating
statistics, has made out that against Australians in this country, in
eleven-a-side matches, Oxonians (past and present) have scored 10,439
runs in 527 completed innings, averaging 19.426 per innings; and
Cantabs (past and present) have scored 17,834 runs in 924 completed
innings, averaging 19.276 per innings. The Oxford bowlers have claimed
270 Colonial wickets at a cost of 6202 runs, thus costing 22.282 runs
apiece; but the Cambridge bowlers, though they captured 392 wickets,
did so at an expense of 43.36 runs apiece, the aggregate being 16,892.

Passing from figures to matches, it may be as well to sketch the
programme of each University season. Directly term commences, usually
in April, when the weather is miserably cold and wet, and no one
has had any practice, comes the Seniors’ match. As the object of the
executive is to find new bowlers, it is obvious that the bowlers in
this game are none of the best, even judged by the low standard of
amateur attack. There is, as a rule, a large amount of heavy scoring,
but the fielding is slack, and the fixture is invested with little
real keenness. Far more enthusiasm is aroused by the Freshmen’s match.
Here is the pick of the public schools of the year before, with a
stray candidate from a colony or a private tutor’s. The cricket is
not co-operative, for each is trying to make a good impression “on
his own.” In the heat of modern competition, it is particularly
difficult for a batsman to obtain his blue as a freshman. With bowling
it is different, but the captain is prone to wait till the promising
undergraduate has acquired some experience in county cricket. Other
trial games are XII. _v._ Next XVI., the XI. _v._ XVI. Freshmen,
“Perambulators” _v._ “Etceteras.” The “Perambulators” are composed
of those who come from Eton, Winchester, Harrow, and Rugby, whilst
“Etceteras” are selected from those from other schools. Then come the
University fixtures. The opening is against a Gentlemen of England
team, of which one of the present writers has latterly had charge—a
very pleasant game for all concerned, and one provocative of no little
curiosity to see how the new men shape. As a rule a couple of counties,
M.C.C., and latterly Dr. Grace’s club, with the Australians, if on
tour, form the rest of the home fixtures. Thus far the University
captain has probably been varying his side a good deal, and has had one
or two extra places available for trials, because blues may be in the
schools. But by the time the out matches begin, if the eleven be not
pretty well together, matters cannot be altogether favourable. Good
cricket at the Oval and heavy scoring at Brighton are the preludes
to the final trial _v._ M.C.C. at Lord’s. Half the Oxford eleven now
never play in this latter engagement, and it must be said that there
is some reason for this, for whereas Cambridge get a clear three days’
rest before the ‘Varsity match at the Oval, Oxford sometimes only
get one day. The final place is often a matter of the most dubious
difficulty. There are often two men whose merits are almost equal, and
the decision, if wrong, may ultimately ruin the big match.

What a game it is, Oxford _v._ Cambridge, unrivalled for its sporting
keenness, and if it has proved a triumph to many, it has also been
a game of cruel disappointment in those who have been expected to
do best. The importance of the match to the funds of M.C.C. can be
gathered from the annual balance-sheet of the club, and considering
the difficulty of affording sufficient money for professionals and
other expenses at the Universities, it may be open to the consideration
of the committee if it would not be judicious were the premier club
to increase the amount of the annual donation to the rival centres
of education, whose delegates provide such an immense share of the
club revenue. If the University match were to be removed from
Lord’s—_absit omen_—it is obvious that the club in St. John’s Wood
would suffer far more than either Oxford or Cambridge. Such an exodus
is not probable, but the old order changes, and it would be wise as
well as generous if the committee could give more lavishly where it
receives so bountifully.

A survey of all the University matches seems to authorise two
deductions: Firstly, that, all else being equal, it is better to
choose for places in University teams men who have already played
before a crowd, because nervousness is so apt to overtake the novice
when participating in this fixture. Secondly, that the presence of a
formidable fast bowler is the best agency for victory. Matches, as a
rule, have gone to the team which backed up a destructive attack with
competent fielding, and there seems no reason why in this respect
history should not repeat itself. We may be permitted to conclude with
an expression of the sincere hope that University cricket may maintain
its high position, and that the big match will remain something in
which all the Empire shall continue to take legitimate pride and
interest, because it is the contest between the best of England’s youth
fought in true sporting fashion.


[Illustration]



CHAPTER XI

COUNTRY-HOUSE CRICKET

By H. D. G. LEVESON-GOWER


I have not the least idea where my genial editor is going to put the
present chapter in this book, but I am willing to wager that it will
prove the lightest and most frivolous in his team. In the literary
menu I sincerely hope some one will find it the savoury of the meal,
because personally I like savouries best, and naturally I prefer my
own chapter to any other—parenthetically, I have not seen any of the
rest, except the one which I had a share in writing. No one has perhaps
played more country-house cricket than I have, and certainly no one has
derived more enjoyment from the matches. So I can write with agreeable
memories. But as the games are the least formal in the whole range of
cricket, therefore I feel this chapter needs no apology for being a
trifle desultory. We are now taking our ease after dinner, and chatting
in quite a happy-go-lucky way.

“What good times I have had in country-house cricket, to be sure,”
ought to be the observation of any one who has had much to do with such
games. If not, there has been something wrong with the individual. So
he is not you, gentle reader, and, if that is the test, most certainly
he is not me.

All the same, I have not enjoyed the prime of country-house cricket.
That must be a tradition among my seniors. Don’t you know the type of
jolly old buffer, aged anything between fifty-five and seventy, with a
big voice, bigger presence, and cheery disposition, when the gout does
not give him a twinge, who lights a cigar, pulls down his shirt-cuffs,
and has a twinkle in his eye at the very mention of country-house
cricket?

Men of this type made country-house cricket a thing of gorgeous
merriment. Possibly at college they had paid more attention to May Week
than to Plato, and to Eights Week than to Smalls. But they played for
their runs in life as keenly as they tried to make them at cricket,
and if they are not on the roll of fame, their names are in letters
of gold on the list of English gentlemen. And mark you, it’s no light
thing to be a real English gentleman. A goodly number of those who call
themselves such don’t behave as such, perhaps have no conception of the
true decencies of that most honourable walk in life. But that’s another
story, and my theme is cricket.

Moreover, I am not an old buffer, and I am going to have my say in this
chapter. So having patted the elder generation admiringly on the back,
I shall confine myself to my own.

Therefore I am compelled to repeat that, as far as I can judge, the
palmy days of country-house cricket were before my time. I have had a
rattling good experience myself, but each year I see some perceptible
shortening in of the amount of this class of cricket. Not that there
is not enough for anybody, in all conscience, so long as he is in the
swim. But it is more difficult to get just the right men to play, and
just the right places to play at. No one who ever met me would bring up
any charge of pessimism. I am merely stating a fact for the benefit,
say, of school-boys of to-day, who may not be able to get quite such a
golden time in just the same way as I and scores of my contemporaries.

[Illustration:
  _From a Picture by_    _John Collet._
_MISS WICKET AND MISS TRIGGER._
  “Miss Trigger you see is an excellent shot.
  And Forty-five Notches Miss Wicket’s just got.”
]

The multiplication of clubs has not only spoilt to some extent the
fixtures of the elder clubs, but also prevents the younger ones
from getting exactly the matches they want. The next detrimental is
the multiplicity of first-class fixtures. In 1881 there were about
eighty such matches. Last year 154 matches were played in the county
competition, and there were quite seventy others which had claims
upon the compilers of statistics. The ratio of time available for a
genuine amateur good enough to play in matches of this standard to
snatch for the relaxation of an off-day country match therefore differs
perceptibly. Moreover, there is an even worse obstacle, and it is that,
nowadays, gentlemen take up professions much earlier. Men who are
going to practice at the Bar can no longer afford to be idle during
several summers after they have come down from the University. If they
are going into business, into the City or on the Stock Exchange, it
is, to-day, at the earliest possible date, not at the latest. Truly
the old order changes, for formerly where a young man might laugh and
disport himself in the days of his youth, now he must work to earn a
living wage in the struggle for life. Fourthly, there is the insidious
beguiling of golf, which attracts many a man from Saturday cricket. All
these changes are marked on the sheet which records the difficulties of
country-house cricket.

Going one step further, look at the Herculean task of collecting a
team. You must offer good enough matches to get the aid of really good
cricketers; and even then the bulk are off on tours. A mere village
match, be it ever so cheery and enjoyable, will not induce a man to
travel a long distance, to come to a strange place, where he knows no
one but his skipper. It is not human nature in the twentieth century,
and nowhere does human nature come out more plainly than at cricket.
Show me the spirit in which a man plays a cricket week, and I will tell
you his character; it is often easier to gauge than his true form,
which may be affected by ill-health or adverse weather, or even genuine
bad luck. A great deal too much is heard about luck in cricket. I do
not say it does not exist. For example, I would say Haigh had shocking
luck in not being chosen in a test match in 1902, and that Mr. J. H.
Brain had a real spell of bad luck when he scored 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 2 in
Oxford _v._ Cambridge and the two Gentlemen _v._ Players matches of
1885, when at the very top of his form. But for the most part “luck” is
made the excuse for other things at cricket.

Let me sketch an ideal week of country-house cricket, such as I have
myself experienced several times. People are asked to stay in the house
who are all previously acquainted with one another, thereby removing
any stiffness and undue formality. There have been cases where, from
almost undue kindness, host and hostess have had a house full of
cricketers, many of whom they do not personally know, and the guests
themselves, however much they enjoy themselves, must be conscious of
the feeling that they are practically staying in a hotel, so little do
they really come in touch with their hospitable entertainers. I do like
a hostess to act as mother to the team, and for the old sportsman who
entertains us to stand umpire. A bevy of nice girls are needed to keep
us all civilised, and the merriment is then tremendous. Perhaps if a
match is over early there is a ladies’ cricket match. Anyhow, there is
a dance one night. On the others, songs, games, practical jokes, any
amount of happy, innocent nonsense, as well as perchance a flirtation
as hot as it is hopeless. Boy and girl alike know they may never meet
again, but they won’t waste time meanwhile. Another of the charms of
country-house weeks, if you are invited to the same one regularly,
is that year by year you meet a group of very nice people you never
perhaps see at any other time, but who inspire you with sincere regard.
“Don’t you remember?” and “How’s so-and-so?” enable you in five minutes
to pick up the old threads.

These form the background. The cricket itself ought to be of sufficient
importance to interest everybody, but not be allowed to degenerate into
an infatuation, and therefore a nuisance to the fair sex. The ground
ought not to be too good, for a perfect pitch takes the heart out of
the bowling, and long scoring can be over-indulged in. All the four
totals over 100 and under 200 was A. G. Steel’s ideal game, and it is
about the best. The games should have local interest, and should if
possible bring over one or two cricketers known to the house party.
As for the cricket lunches, most delightful of all Benedick meals, on
no account let hospitality spoil them. Champagne lunches are being
horribly overdone. Men do not play good cricket on Perrier Jouet,
followed by _creme de menthe_, with two big cigars topping a rich
and succulent menu. No, give us some big pies, cold chickens, a fine
sirloin of English beef, and a round of brawn, washed down by good ale
and luscious shandygaff. That is all that cricketers want, and kings
only fare worse. If the county folk drive over in the afternoon the
host is afforded an opportunity of providing an enjoyable diversion
for his neighbours. It is quite true that lots of men, unless they
know that they will be extremely well done, infinitely prefer to be
put up at a hotel in the nearest town. But that is partially because
of their bachelor shyness, and partially because they fear they will
be too hampered both in the matter of taking their ease and also about
tobacco. Formerly it was the exception to smoke, now the exception is
not to. I remember when Smokers _v._ Non-Smokers was played at Lord’s.
The former eleven all took the field with cigarettes in their mouths,
and freely declared that some of their opponents had not been lifelong
total abstainers in the matter of tobacco. It was a rattling good game,
all the same. Those big amateur matches at Lord’s had something of the
charm of country-house cricket on a large scale, thanks to a slight
relaxation of formality and a good deal of cheery hitting. The best
of these functions was the I Zingari jubilee match, when the famous
wanderers opposed the Gentlemen of England in 1895.

In connection with the immortal gipsy club, it is interesting to quote
its motto, “Keep your promise—keep your temper—keep your wicket up.”
Founded in 1835 under the title of the Beverley Club, it was renamed
by Sir Spencer Ponsonby Fane, who with the late Mr. Lorraine Baldwin
and my own uncle, Mr. Chandos Leigh, will be for ever associated with
its welfare. The rules are unique, and a trifle whimsical; for example:
“Entrance be nothing, and the annual subscription do not exceed the
entrance.” At the election of a new member, it was enjoined that the
candidate should take his stand at the wicket with or without a bat,
as the committee may decide. Being a vagrant body, the I Zingari have
never boasted a ground of their own, and it is a pity that more serious
cricket should have lessened the importance of their chief matches.

Now, having announced that I am going to be desultory, I propose to
reel off a batch of anecdotes. The bulk will be anonymous, which is a
pity, because individuality always gives point to a tale, but I have no
wish to hurt any one’s feelings.

Some years ago, at the period known as “when we were boys together,”
the late Lord Leconfield one summer holidays had a boys’ cricket week
at Petworth, having teams of Sussex, Surrey, and Hampshire youngsters
to play. He daily entertained all the teams at dinner, which, by the
way, was served on silver plates. Suddenly, in one of those silences
which sometimes fall on assembled eaters, a big lad shouted, loud
enough to be heard even by the late Lord Leconfield himself, “I do
hate eating off these beastly tin plates; in a decent house like this
they might give us china ones.” This lad never proved good enough
for first-class cricket, so please do not father the tale on to any
prominent run-getter.

A certain amateur of a team staying in a country house, who was a
bit of a wag, by the way, much annoyed the rather pompous host by
addressing the family butler as “waiter.” The skipper of the team
remonstrated, but with no result. At breakfast the cricketer in
question never seemed able to get the right dish; if he meant eggs, he
received kidneys, and so forth. This was because, the menu being in
French, he used to point at random to some item, not wishing to betray
his ignorance of the language. On the last morning of the week, when
the usual bill of fare was brought to him, he retorted in stentorian
accents, “Rats to you, waiter; I’ll fetch it for myself.”

I have had so many happy years of comradeship with “Plum” Warner that
he must forgive me if I spin a yarn or two about him. I was in the
habit of taking an eleven each year against Mr. Charles Goschen’s team,
an ideal country-house cricket match. To my dismay, for I was always
anxious to win, we were once decidedly weak in bowling, and we knew
Warner was playing for Mr. Charles Goschen’s eleven. So after grave
consultation we decided that, as we were never likely to bowl him out
by fair means, we would do it by foul. We pressed on him to accept an
invitation to stay overnight before the match. Now, my old friend is
most abstemious, but on this occasion the far-famed claret of our
host, dexterously administered by the opposing team, had considerable
effect. He was earnestly solicited to give his opinion on every vintage
we could find, and the spoon might have stood up in the whiskey dashed
with soda which was mixed for his nightcap. On the morrow, when he was
out before he ran into double figures, we decided that Bacchus was the
best bowler on our side.

The next story is not a country-house cricket story at all, but as it
is new in print, it may be allowed to slip in. It happened when I was
captain of Oxford, and I think the match was against the Australians.
Those who merely study cricket scores may not be aware that Warner has
a high opinion of his own persuasiveness as a change bowler. His actual
figures for life up to 1902, in first-class cricket, drawn from Mr.
Home Gordon’s _Cricket Form at a Glance_, are only three wickets for
196 runs, which only shows how bad is the judgment of modern captains.
If he had been permitted the persistency of K. S. Ranjitsinhji, he
would probably have captured more wickets. Last season, when he was
captain, he failed to disturb the bails to the tune of 51 runs, which
proves his modesty. I have known captains go on to bowl first and stay
on through the whole innings, but of such certainly is not my old
friend. However, in the match in question, when our opponents wanted
about six runs to win, and I don’t know how many wickets to fall,
I chucked the ball to “Plum.” “Ridley and Cobden won’t be in it,”
observed one of the fieldsmen, and in memorial was written this rhyme:—

  Little Plum Warner stood in a corner,
  Thinking he’d like to bowl.
      The captain said, “Hum,
      I _will_ put on Plum,
  He may get me out of this hole.”

But sad to relate, he did not.

Captain Trevor, the popular “Dux,” used to tell a cheery story about
the demoralising effect of first-class cricket. Mr. A. S. Archer had
been a big scorer for the Incogs; then he went with Lord Hawke’s team
to the Cape, and on his return had changed his style, and could score
no more. Captain Trevor plucked up courage enough to suggest he should
forget that he had ever “figured in averages,” and should play in the
old way.

“You want the golf shot?”

“If you please.”

“And the tennis scoop towards third man?”

“Certainly.”

“And a pull?”

“Three in each over.”

“Right.”

He went to the wicket and made ninety without a chance that was
accepted.

[Illustration: _A COUNTRY HOUSE CRICKET MATCH._]

Any one who has much to do with getting up matches can tell eloquent
tales about being chucked. Perhaps nobody quite appreciates the force
of the parable in which they all with one accord began to make excuse,
until he is running a cricket week. This telegram was positively sent
by the man on whom everything depended, “Can’t come; am summoned on a
jury.” The wretched captain retorted, “Rot, you are not a householder,”
but he had to fill the vacancy. Not long ago Mr. A. D. Whatman, wrote
begging forgiveness, but the fact was, he was off fishing. As for the
accident which keeps a man who is passing through town “laid up and
unable to come on,” it is nearly as ancient and as annoying to the
manager as that hoary chestnut, “prevented by an illness in my family.”
However, these things will occur in the best-arranged teams.

There is a comfort and ease about country-house and minor cricket,
which you do not get in the charmed circle of first-class matches. The
good-humoured chaff is most healthy, and certainly tends to prevent
mannerisms, into which many engaged in prominent cricket find they are
apt to drop. Also the search-light of publicity is conspicuous by its
absence.

Next, I would like to quote a story which my old friend Mr. C. W.
Alcock relates, and which, I fancy, he personally overheard on a
tram: “No, Bill didn’t get much out of his day’s cricket. He had to
pay eight bob for his railway fare, and lost ‘is day’s screw, and was
fined a shilling for being late next morning, and ‘e didn’t get no
wickets, and ‘e missed four ketches, and ‘e got a couple of beautiful
blobs. He did feel sold, he did.” If anybody observes that is what
can be euphemistically described as a chestnut, my retort is, that
it will be new to a great many people. Certainly we all thought the
story of Mr. “Buns” Thornton making a mighty slog, and Mr. Bonnor
subsequently observing that he had a sister who could hit as hard,
was a hoary veteran. You will remember Mr. Thornton’s reply: “Why not
bring her over and marry her to Louis Hall? You could then combine the
two styles.” That was said at Scarborough, but this very story in the
cricket week of 1901 in that very town was hailed as a diverting and
fresh anecdote. Wherefore I take courage to proceed in my own garrulous
fashion.

Among the pleasantest of all country matches are the military weeks.
The play is brisk, hard hitting, keen fielding, usually a Tommy who
sends down expresses which it is a treat to cut to the boundary, and,
of course, the most unbounded hospitality and good-fellowship. Then
there is always the regimental band in the afternoon, and one can do
a little dance step to beguile the tedium of fielding, or should you
be dismissed for one of those conspicuous oval blobs, it is at least
consoling to retire to a tune from the last musical comedy. And of
course, at soldier fixtures, all the ladies of the garrison muster in
their brightest frocks, and I can truthfully say that a match where
none of the fair sex are spectators loses one ray of sunshine for me.
The follies of girls who do not understand the game may sound funny
set down in printer’s ink, but spoken by merry lips, they only provoke
laughter, while, as a matter of fact, lots of ladies understand cricket
quite as well as most of men do; moreover, they are singularly quick
at noticing idiosyncrasies in the players.

School tours are splendid things at the beginning of the holidays.
Eton Ramblers, Harrow Wanderers, Marlborough Blues, Old Malvernians,
Uppingham Rovers, Old Cliftonians, and last, but chief in my eyes,
Old Wykehamists—the very names cause a glow at our hearts. There you
get boys leaving school playing side by side with a schoolmaster or
two as comrades, and no longer _in statu pupillari_. The former gain
confidence, the latter rub off the corners which may have become rather
sharp during the half, and both are leavened by a further batch of old
boys who have names still respected at the school. The cricket is keen,
and the talk over the pipes after dinner is clean, healthy, and tends
to put them all on good terms with one another.

I purposed to have written quite a valuable treatise on clubs, but
when I dipped into the books, I either found that the serious matters
would be dry-as-dust at this stage of my article, or else that it
was difficult to collect information. So I shall merely emphasise
the cordiality of the sides which do battle each summer. I Zingari
come first to my thoughts, for not only have I the honour to wear
the red, yellow, and black, but my uncle, Mr. Chandos Leigh, is one
of the presiding potentates—more power to him. No longer do these
wanderers figure on the card of the Canterbury Week, but it is still
their festival. Theirs is the big tent, theirs the admirable theatrical
performances, and theirs the true traditions of the historic Week.
It is the most delightful function in county cricket to-day, just as
it was formerly the greatest boon in old-time cricket. I feel that
some of the graceful irresponsible matches which were contested at
Prince’s in the ‘seventies still cast a pleasant reflection on the Week
at the old minster town. Also, I heartily wish I Zingari could revive
that one-time match _v._ Gentlemen of England at Scarborough, but the
difficulty of collecting competent sides seems insurmountable. But
let no one think I Zingari do not keep up their pristine value. Have
they ever had a finer record than in 1902? It reads: matches played,
29; matches lost, 1, Silwood Park winning a one-day game by 46 runs.
So I think the spirit of I Zingari can look very beaming when she is
pleasantly embodied for the epilogue of the Kent festival.

It is impossible to run over the list of clubs. Free Foresters, of
course, recurs to memory—cheery, bright, with a military leaven, under
the admirable guardianship of Mr. E. Rutter. Their annual volume yields
an admirable statement of bustling, hard-fought cricket on many welcome
swards where reporters do not scribble nor the public give heed.
Amateur cricket owes a great debt to them, and also to the Incogniti,
in which the present governor of Jamaica has taken such keen interest.
With varying sides, but unvarying good-fellowship, these pilgrims of
cricket show how many withstand the attractions of golf, and prefer to
drive the leather rather than the Haskell.

Each University has one club noteworthy to the community at large.
Cambridge boasts the Quidnuncs, the cap of which is so familiar in
county matches, because hardly any old blue seems to wear his ‘Varsity
colours. Against Yorkshire at Lord’s in August 1902, four of the
Middlesex side wore those colours of dark blue with the narrow blue
stripe, these being Messrs. Cyril Foley, C. M. Wells, R. N. and J.
Douglas. Though it is limited to fifteen members in residence at
Cambridge, practically everybody who is tried for the eleven appears to
outsiders to be entitled to wear the caps, though no undergraduate in
his first year is eligible.

Of the Harlequins I must write more briefly than I should like. They
are very dear to me, and I had the honour in 1902 of being elected
Vice-President in succession to Mr. A. J. Webbe, who became President
in consequence of the death of Mr. C. J. B. Marsham, who had occupied
the position since the foundation of the club in 1845. One annual
meeting is held each year on the first day of the match with the
Gentlemen of England, when the elections take place. Only seventeen
members may be in residence, and no one can be put up as a candidate
until his fourth term. There is always one pleasant function, the
dinner given by that keenest supporter, Mr. T. B. Case. If the
Harlequins do not play so many matches as of yore, it must not be
ascribed to lack of enthusiasm, but to the more lengthy programme
of the Authentics, who possess a wider range of selection. The
Harlequin cap, in its bold contrast, has been seen on every ground,
and at Lord’s, to the end of their keen careers in the field, it was
invariably worn by two very fine Oxonian cricketers who never obtained
their colours, Messrs. T. S. Pearson and J. Robertson-Walker. Of yore,
half the Oxford eleven used to be seen arrayed in the coloured shirt of
the Harlequins, which was gaudy when new and looked shabby when it had
been for a short period the sport of the elements. I am not speaking by
book, but my impression is that Mr. “Punch” Phillipson and Mr. J. H.
Brain would be the two last who have donned the garment in first-class
cricket. Long life and unabating good fellowship to Harlequins, present
and future! There is every sign that the wish is destined to be
fulfilled.

The Authentics Cricket Club was founded by Everard Britten-Holmes, in
November 1883, who, from its birth in Brazenose College, Oxford, has
acted as its Hon. Secretary to the present day (1903), G. R. Askwith of
B.N.C. being its first Hon. Treasurer, then followed by H. Acland-Hood
of Balliol (1884-89). During the summer of 1884, arrangements were made
to tour during the summer vacation, and what was at first but a week’s
cricket, has become one of several months, and a membership then of 19
has become one of nearly 800.

During the winter of 1885, it was decided to place the club upon a more
solid and active basis, and a large gathering of prominent ‘Varsity
players and others was held at Oxford, a question at that time coming
up, as a suggestion, to include Cambridge ‘Varsity players and others,
when it was unanimously resolved and carried, that the club be called
“The Oxford University Authentics,” and confined to members of Oxford
University only. Special rules were drawn up for membership, etc.,
and many matters of detail arranged. More important matches were
played during the summer vacation, with a view of unearthing latent
cricket talent, and giving members an opportunity of being brought
more prominently before the cricket authorities at Oxford, and their
respective counties—an opportunity they could not otherwise then have
had. Above all, it had in view the keeping of old ‘Varsity cricketers
of the past in touch with the present, and the present in touch with
the future. Professor Case of Corpus Christi College—the well-known
old Oxford cricket blue of 1864, 1865, and 1867—readily consented to
become the President, and took much interest in the club, and to him we
owe its motto: “By Jove’s authentic fire.” It may be mentioned that the
name “Authentics” was given to the club by the founder, who, being a
musical enthusiast, coined the word “Authentics,” as from an authentic
cadence in music, and as derived from the Greek [Greek: authenteô], “to
rule”; and from Professor Case’s happy thought the colours of the club
were suggested—“Blue” for the sky, “Blood Red” for Jove’s arm, and
“Old Gold” for the lightning.

Reverting to country-house cricket—aye, and the observation does for
all club matches—the great aim is to induce those participating in
first-class cricket to don flannels in the minor game. There is one
great inducement, and let all managers take note of it. Tempt the
crack amateur by offering him plenty of opportunity to bowl. In county
cricket the amateur, with not a dozen exceptions in 1902—all I recall
are Messrs. F. S. Jackson, D. L. A. Jephson, E. M. Dowson, E. E. Steel,
J. R. Mason, W. M. Bradley, G. H. Simpson Hayward, W. W. Odell, C. M.
Wells, H. Hesketh Pritchard and B. J. T. Bosanquet—field out while the
professionals conduct the attack. To most amateurs bowling is a joy
all the sweeter for its rarity. The amateur will not resist the bait,
and will come if he possibly can. There is no cricketer so easy to get
on with, or who makes a house match go better, than a distinguished
amateur. The bulk are absolutely without “side,” and having learnt the
sterner discipline of first-class cricket, absolutely revel in their
sporting holiday, while the effect of their presence on the rest of the
side is electrical.

With that I conclude. I could write more, if I ventured to trespass
further on your attention. Should I have had the good fortune to divert
and not to bore, I shall consider myself the luckiest in this band of
writers, and after all, I have had the best of all topics. So, hurrah!
and long life to country-house cricket!

[Illustration: _From a Painting by Louis Belanger, belonging to H.M.
the King._
_A VILLAGE MATCH IN 1768._]


[Illustration]



CHAPTER XII

VILLAGE CRICKET

By C. F. WOOD


Constant readers of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ will not have missed a
most amusing article on “Yokels at Cricket,” which appeared over the
initials “R. E. M.” during the summer of this year of grace 1902. With
a felicity of exaggeration which would do credit to Mark Twain, the
writer describes his experiences on a pitch where the blocks were too
large to begin with, and too numerous; where all that could be said
of the fielding was that the men in the lost-ball region did their
ferreting well; and where the fast ball shot, rose five feet, and shot
again. Sometimes, he pathetically adds, the five-feet rise came last.

Something of this kind possibly still exists in the remoter parts of
our sportive country, but as it is my intention in the present paper
to set down nothing about village cricket that has not come within the
scope of my own experience, I must forego at the outset the attractions
of these humorous irrelevancies, and speak the truth as far as I know
it, even at the risk of making my contribution to this historic work
unnecessarily serious.

For the same reason I must deny myself the pleasure of dishing up once
more the innumerable funny stories about village cricket that appear
periodically in books of this kind; and I have further registered a
solemn vow to leave the top-hat period severely alone, and make no
reference to Fuller Pilch, Caffyn, Mynn, or any other belted heroes
of prehistoric days. So what it comes to is this: I am going to put
down here my own experiences and opinions of village cricket as it is
played to-day by my own village eleven, of which I have the honour to
be captain, and if the result turns out unsatisfactory and of little
interest, kindly believe that the fault lies in my incapacity of
expression, not in any lack of excitement in the cricket. _That_ at
least is beyond reproach.

Please don’t think from the above that, unlike the heroines of most
of our modern stuffy plays, our club has no past! On the contrary,
I have before me now the accounts of our village club right back to
29th July 1865, when we expended the sum of £1: 7s. in the following
irreproachable manner:—

  Umpire                              £0  10  6
  Dinner for ditto and scorer          0   8  0
  Six _Bell’s Life_ papers             0   1  0
  Stamps                               0   1  0
  Ball                                 0   6  6
                                      —————————
                                      £1   7  0

Four shillings apiece for the umpire’s and scorer’s “dinner” may seem
expensive in these modern half-crown days, but judging from the next
entry, we can only consider it an exceptionally moderate occasion. On
21st September of the same year, when, if we may judge by 1902, the
summer was just beginning, the same entry reads:—

  Dinner for ditto, scorer, and beer  £0  11  0

Whether the extra 3s. represents the amount of liquid refreshment
required by the umpire and scorer alone, or in conjunction with those
acting in similar capacities on the other side, whose integrity they
thus thought to drown, does not transpire from the account.

All these and many other like interesting matters are at the disposal
of the gentleman who may still do for Kent cricket what Lord Alverstone
and C. W. Alcock have done for Surrey in their _Surrey Cricket_, just
published; but I must not break through my self-imposed rule and
enlarge any further on these exploits of bygone days. Good old Kent!
Where is the historian that shall do justice to your past glories? Or
is it that the part is after all greater than the whole, and that when
Philip Norman finished _West Kent Cricket_, there was nothing left
unsaid?

Now of all the various sorts of cricket that are played in and out of
this country, I am prepared to maintain against all the writers in this
or any other book that village cricket is at once the most amusing
to watch, the most exciting to play, and of the greatest educational
value to the English race. Notice, I do not call it the most scientific
form of the game, though there is a special sort of science required
to finish a match between 3 and 7 P.M. every Saturday afternoon! Let
us first compare it, from a spectator’s point of view, with county
cricket; and it will help to emphasise my point if I quote one or two
reports of county matches culled at random from the daily press in
August this year:—

Notts _v._ Kent, at Nottingham. “Kent, holding a lead of 91 runs on
their first innings, did not hurry themselves unduly in their second
venture. Dillon took forty minutes to register a couple of singles”!

Leicester _v._ Sussex, at Brighton. “On Saturday, Dr. Macdonald was
in three hours and three-quarters for 48 runs, having in the previous
innings made 33 in about two hours. In other words, he was batting five
hours and forty-five minutes for 81 runs”! And the poor reporter adds
drowsily, “It was a terribly monotonous performance.”

Is not this a veritable caricature of cricket? Why, rather than watch
such a game drag its dreary trail over three summer days, I would vow
never to go near a ground again, and take to German skittles. Compare
this “terribly monotonous performance” with the compressed interest
of a whole match completed in four hours on a village green, with the
supporters of each eleven shouting each other down, as the sun sinks
all too rapidly in the western sky, and both runs and wickets are
freely given away as the excitement rises to fever pitch. Which would
you rather do, candid reader, if you had the choice? Stand on your hind
legs in the field all one day, sit and smoke your tongue sore in the
pavilion all the next, with a chance of getting a knock on the third,
or join our village eleven on Saturday afternoon, and have four certain
hours of unadulterated joy? Well, most of us would choose the county
eleven, I suppose, though we should find it weary work.

But here it strikes me I am poaching on other people’s preserves, and
before I commit the indiscretion of mentioning country-house cricket,
which is a subject my friend Mr. H. D. G. Leveson-Gower is treating in
his usual masterly way, let me hasten back to my own little corner,
from which I was an ass to stray.

And yet, having gone so far, I ought perhaps to explain why I consider
village cricket to be of so great an educational value to our race.
And by education I do not mean the mechanical stuffing of an unwilling
agent with knowledge for which he can never have any possible use,
but rather the formation of all those characteristics which help to
build up what we call a man—pluck, temper, self-restraint, respect
for others, abnegation of self, _et hoc genus omne_. Now the people
who play first-class cricket are divided into two categories—those
with means and leisure who play for love of it and because they are
good at it, and those who play because they are good at it and can
make a living out of it; and though most of the above virtues can be
cultivated to a certain extent in a team made up of these two classes,
yet it is certain that the same spirit does not animate an eleven of
amateurs and professionals as will work wonders in a village team made
up of every rank in life, the parson, the cobbler, the squire’s son,
and the blacksmith, all playing on an absolute equality, all playing
for their side and not for themselves, all playing for glory and none
for averages or talent-money.

And now I really must tell you a little about our own village club. In
the old days we always used to play on the Common, where the turf was
excellent and the boundaries out of sight; but as London got nearer and
nearer, and every train belched forth a volume of trippers right across
the ground, we had to shift our quarters, and for £10 a year we now
have a large but not exclusive interest in a ten-acre field. A large
square, capable of providing about a dozen good wickets during the
summer, is enclosed with posts and chains, and the patient labour of
our groundman and umpire (who in his leisure hours is also a shoemaker
and a lamplighter) is year by year producing better results. For
although it is unwise to have a perfect pitch for half-day cricket,
yet, on the other hand, it must not be dangerous, and with the limited
means at the disposal of a village club, the happy medium is not easy
to attain. As the seasons roll on, patches are repaired with turf
“sneaked” from the Common, weeds are removed (some of them), manure
and fine soil is bush-harrowed in, seed is sown, and every summer we
congratulate ourselves that, if not yet quite like the Oval (which we
do not want it to be!), at all events our ground is the envy of our
neighbours. I should add that this year (1902) we had a whip-up and
laid the water on, but only used it twice!

Perhaps, in connection with our wicket, I may be allowed to recount a
little reminiscence, still fresh in my memory, of the days when the
pitch was not what it is now. A short-tempered and fiery member of an
opposing team was batting, as he always did, in spectacles, when a
rising ball from our local Lockwood hit him right in the face. Seeing
what I supposed was his eye drop out on the pitch, I dashed forward
to field and return it, only to discover one glass of the spectacles
unbroken on the turf. Beyond a cut on the bridge of his nose, the man
had suffered no hurt, but it was long before he paid us another visit,
or the scorched grass recovered from his language.

It is not necessary, but it is useful, to have some sort of a pavilion,
even for Saturday afternoon matches, and we were lucky to get, some
five or six years ago, for the cost of removal, an old Norwegian
house, built of wood, with a corrugated iron roof, which suited
our purpose admirably. It originally consisted of three rooms, two
bed-rooms and a sitting-room between, and, by putting all the windows
in the side facing the ground, altering the doors, and fitting up the
interior with lockers, washing-places, store-room for the groundman,
bat-racks, etc., we have quite sufficient accommodation for our
purpose. We are also the proud possessors of a tea-tent, where every
Saturday throughout the season, when there is a home match, our kind
lady friends provide our opponents and ourselves with an excellent tea.
This smacks perhaps of luxury, and wastes a little time, but you must
remember that our matches are nearly always over before the time for
drawing stumps arrives, and it is a great attraction for those of us
who do not always get such a good tea for nothing! But more than this,
it makes our weekly matches a cheery social gathering, it provides an
enthusiastic gallery of lady friends and admirers, and thus adds a
charm to the natural beauty of our ground which we should be extremely
sorry to lose. In fact, I attribute much of the prosperity of our club
to the kind interest of the ladies in the village, who do so much for
us, and I should like to see their excellent example more generally
followed elsewhere.

Well, now we have got our ground, our pavilion, and our tea-tent, what
about our officials and our members, and the all-important question of
“subscription”? We have a president, captain, vice-captain, secretary,
treasurer, and a committee of six members, all being elected fresh
every season at the annual meeting. However, so far as my five years’
experience goes, no change has been made except to fill up vacancies
caused by death or removal, and the meeting is a merely formal affair
where we re-elect each other _en bloc!_ The president in our case has
always been the _persona_, or parson, of the parish, and where there is
a curate, he is the best man, in my opinion, for the secretaryship. The
advantages of this arrangement are obvious, for he is probably the only
gentleman in the place who is there all day; he knows where all the
villagers live, and it is easier for him than any one else to go round
and get up the teams. For however much you print on your match-cards
that “members wishing to play in any match should send in their names
to the captain before Thursday evening,” or words to that effect, the
fact remains that no villager has ever yet been known to _offer_ to
play; and though a man may be thirsting for a place in a certain match,
and would be seriously hurt if he were not asked, yet the only reply
he will make to your pressing invitation is a half-hearted, “Well, I
don’t mind if I do”! _But_, if the curate is not a good player, he
should content himself with his secretarial duties, and not appear in
the field. However excellent he may be in other ways, if he cannot
hold a catch or keep his bat decently straight, he ought not to give
the enemy occasion to blaspheme. As Dean Hole says in answer to his
own question, “Is it right for a clergyman to hunt?” “On one immutable
condition—_that you ride straight to hounds_.” We limit our committee
to six members, chosen from every walk in life—a merchant, a farmer,
a solicitor, a gardener, and so on—and in the diversity of opinions
there is sometimes much wisdom. As a matter of fact, I have never found
gardeners, as a class, of very much use in connection with cricket.
They may know a little about turf, but, barring a few exceptions, they
do not make good players. The reasons are not far to seek. From the
very nature of their work, they have fewer opportunities than others
of taking part either in practice or matches: in summer, there is
always a lot of mowing, watering, and so on to do, and when a man has
been working with his back, arms, and legs all day, he feels little
inclined for more violent exertion. This too is probably why they are
slower in their movements and clumsier with their hands and feet than
most other people. But at least they take their waistcoats off, which
a stableman never does. Now, why is that? It is almost a rule without
an exception that a man who works in the stable in trousers, belt, and
shirt, adds a waistcoat to his outfit before he goes in to bat. Still,
waistcoat or no waistcoat, he is generally bright and quick, and with
practice makes a smart field. Perhaps the best village cricketers,
taking them all round, are recruited from the ranks of carpenters,
footmen, blacksmiths, and schoolmasters, rather than from the stables
and the gardens, but in any case it’s more than half the battle to get
them young. There must be disappointments, of course. Some of the most
promising boys lose their interest in the game when they think they are
men, and become loafers; some go out to work in other places, and the
team knows them no more; but you are amply repaid if two or three of
one generation at last find their strength, and after a year or more of
painstaking duck-eggs suddenly blossom out into consistent scorers, to
the no small astonishment of their friends and their own huge delight.
Don’t think from this that we set too much store by good batting. On
the contrary, all our matches (and other people’s too!) are won or lost
by fielding, and I can never tell my men too often that it does not
do to give your opponent two, or even three, lives, when he has made
up his mind to take yours at the very first opportunity. Only, as at
golf the good drive gives one the greatest pleasure, though the high
approach may be the prettiest shot, and the deadly put wins the hole,
so at cricket the greatest pleasure of the greatest number is to make
lots of runs, though they may not be wanted, when a good catch in the
deep field or a smart return may win the match.

[Illustration:
  _From a Sketch by_    _Robert Seymour._
“_OUT, SO DON’T FATIGUE YOURSELF, I BEG, SIR!_”]

[Illustration:
  _From a Water-Colour by_    _J. Hayllar._
_A CRICKETER._]

I mentioned just now the ominous word “subscription.” The question of
finance is one which must enter to a large extent into the prosperity
of a village, or any other, club, and happy those who have enough cloth
to cut to ensure their coats fitting! In our own case we generally
seem to have succeeded in making both ends meet, though, as will be
seen from the following typical years’ figures, times were not always
prosperous:—

  1867.  Receipts £34  4  0    Expenses £34  0  6
  1877.     ”      18  1  0       ”      17  0  2
  1887.     ”      14  1 11       ”      12  7  6
  1897.     ”      31  5  2       ”      34 19  6
  1902.     ”      47  8  6       ”      38 11  5

I ought to add that these amounts represent only annual subscriptions
and current expenses, and do not include special collections made for
special purposes, such as enclosing the pitch in posts and chains,
laying on the water, and so on. If a “round robin” is not sufficient
to cover these extras, I generally find a good village concert in
the winter is sufficient to wipe off any deficit. We have a minimum
subscription for the villagers of 2s. 6d. a year, which is readily paid
when they find it is a _sine qua non_; but the rule must be rigidly
enforced, even to the exclusion of your best bowler, if he prove
refractory! The amount collected in this way is of course trifling, yet
without it I believe the club would very soon stop for want of members;
for it is the experience of all who have many dealings with their
village neighbours, that they do not value or take any interest in the
thing which costs them nothing. Free education has been a sufficient
curse to our villages without giving them free cricket too! The rest
of our income is collected by the lamplighting, shoemaking, groundman
and umpire, who goes round with a book to all the houses in the parish
at what he considers the psychological moment, generally after dinner
in the evening; for which extra labour he is accorded a commission
of 1s. in the pound collected. The details of expenditure require
no elucidation; they are the same in all cricket clubs; only the
healthy countryman, with plenty of muscle, but no skill to apply it,
will require at least twice as many bats every season as an ordinary
cricketer. And mind you, they don’t go at the edges; they come right in
half. Is it the stiff wrist? But when all is said and done, what fun it
is! I have played most sorts of cricket—country-house cricket, club
cricket, touring with my old school eleven, and so on, and once I even
appeared for the county second eleven, when I was run out by a local
tradesman before I had a ball; but none of them ever touched village
cricket for pure, unadulterated amusement. My earliest recollection
takes me back to a pretty little ground not far from Croydon, where
a local schoolmaster enjoyed a great reputation as a demon underhand
bowler. It was not so much the pace or the pitch that proved so
disastrous to the batsmen, as the man himself. He _looked_ destructive
from the moment he began his run, and as soon as the ball was delivered
he used to ejaculate fiercely, “That’s got yer!” Whether such a remark
at such a critical moment was entirely in accordance with the customs
of the game, it never entered our heads to inquire; we only knew it
generally had the desired effect.

It was on this same ground, I remember, that Edward Norman, one of a
distinguished family of Kent sportsmen, coming in last when his side
wanted six runs to win, hit the first ball he received, a straight one
well up, clean out of the ground to square leg, over the boundary road
and a high wall into the kitchen garden of the local squire.

Here too the head gardener of the same squire annually disports himself
in spotless white, to his own huge gratification and the vast amusement
of his numerous underlings. Not that they would dare to smile while
the august eye is on them, for he is an autocrat in his way, and can
both look and say unutterable things. Once, I remember, when he was
taking part in a Married _v._ Single match, one of the under-gardeners
had the misfortune to clean bowl him for a duck. He looked first at
his shattered wicket, then at the spot where the ball had pitched, and
proceeded to march solemnly towards the trembling and penitent bowler.
We held our breath, fully expecting that some fearful tragedy was to
be enacted, and that, having first brained the poor man with his bat,
he would follow it up by giving him the sack on the spot. But when he
had reached the middle of the pitch, he pulled himself together in the
most dignified way, merely remarked, “Well bowled!” and stalked off to
the pavilion. So even in his moment of defeat he was superior to most
of us, for I have noticed it is generally considered etiquette in this
class of cricket to _run_ to shelter as fast as you can, if you have
taken no exercise between the wickets.

[Illustration: _VILLAGE CRICKET IN 1832._]

[Illustration:
  _From the Painting by_    _R. Wilson, R.A._
_CRICKET AT HAMPTON WICK._]

It would be in the highest degree imprudent for any one in my position
to say a word against country umpires. And, to give them their due, I
have almost always found them, in what some would call these degenerate
modern days, to be as accurate and as honest as their brethren in more
exalted spheres; but there are brilliant exceptions! “To play eleven
men and an umpire” is, I am told, a chestnut in Gloucestershire, and
one story I can vouch for certainly bears out the theory. It was a
match between two old-standing village rivals, and contrary to custom,
the visiting team turned up with twelve men, owing to the unexpected
arrival of a fairly good player. Another member of the team, conscious
of his own weakness, but with perhaps more cunning than good-nature,
promptly offered to stand down, “for,” said he, with a sly wink to his
captain, “I can be of more use to the side if I umpire!” That comes
from Gloucestershire, but it is easily beaten by the remark of the real
umpire in a village match in Oxfordshire last August. “How’s that?”
shouted the wicket-keeper proudly, as he captured the ball straight off
the edge of the bat. “Not out,” said the umpire, “_but it was a damned
fine catch if he hit it_.” I do not wish for a moment to insinuate
that our friends in the north are not always the good sportsmen we
believe them to be, so we will put the following tale under the head of
“exceptions.” The match, a two-day one, was being played at Whitehaven,
in Cumberland; things had gone badly with the home team, and all the
morning of the second day the local umpire had been engineering
his opponents out in the most courageous way. But to everybody’s
astonishment, when a confident appeal was made against the last man on
the side, he gave him “Not out.” Struck by this sudden conversion, a
friend asked him what the meaning of it was. “Well,” he said, “if I’d
a given ‘im out, they wouldn’t ‘a stayed to loonch, and my father does
the caterin’”!

In one of the keenest matches I ever took part in (it was on the 16th
of August 1902, and we won by four runs), two men of the opposite side
were batting, one a very fair bat, and dangerous when set, the other
a dubious quantity at all times. The bowler sent down a fast one to
leg which the wicket-keeper failed to stop, and both men started for a
bye. Meanwhile, short slip, backing up, had stopped the ball, and threw
the near wicket down, while both men were apparently in the middle of
the pitch. The good batsman refused to go, and the indifferent one
apparently held no views on the subject, but stayed where he was, while
the two umpires (I blush to record it) gave, almost unasked, an opinion
favourable to their respective sides. Party feeling was running high,
but I never allow any discussion in the field, and it was properly left
to the umpire at the end where the wicket had been broken to give a
decision. Unfortunately, it was their umpire, and the weak batsman had
to go! And it was a fair decision. There was obviously a doubt, and he
gave his own side the benefit of it. Who could do more? But we had our
revenge on the gentleman who refused to go. He hit a lovely half-volley
to square leg, which did not quite reach the boundary. My man was
after it like a hare, and while they were trying to get the fourth
run, he threw the wicket down full pitch from where he picked up the
ball, at least 90 yards off, and with only one stump visible. A fluke,
of course, but when I complimented him afterwards on his brilliant
performance, which practically won us the match, he simply said, “Oh!
that’s nothing, sir; I was always a bit of a slinger”!

Our great annual event is, of course, the Married _v._ Single match,
which takes place on the last Saturday of the season. In the old days,
when we played on the Common, this was the occasion of what one might
almost describe as a village orgie. Men turned up from everywhere, who
never honoured the club with their patronage at other times, some even
dressed, most appropriately, as clowns, and the cricket was distinctly
of the “Dan Leno at the Oval” variety. Well, well, _Tempora mutantur
et nos mutamur in illis_. It was doubtless very amusing, but there
were objections, latterly even objectors (whether of the conscientious
variety or not doesn’t matter), and the present tea-tent is in every
way preferable to its rival “down the road.” So we play on our own
field now, and get a very fair amount of amusement out of it, even
without the clowns. I have tried for years to get up some sort of a
representative married team before the day of the match, but it’s
no use. They are all too old, or too stiff, or too busy. Yet when
the eventful afternoon arrives, there are generally some fourteen or
fifteen Benedicts ready to do battle for the honour of their wives and
families, against a meagre dozen or so of the less fortunate Bachelors.
Public enthusiasm, at all times keen in village cricket, reaches its
high-water mark on this great day, and the ladies especially assemble
in large numbers to do honour to the brave. Sympathy is invariably and
entirely with the married men—I suppose because part of the audience
are the wives of the team now stripping for the fray, and the other
part hope that by next summer at latest they will be in the same proud
position. On paper there can be no question that the Bachelors have
the strongest side, but against their youth, their practice, and their
skill we place our experience and our considerable numerical advantage,
so there is not much in it. Then again, they look rather contemptuously
at our weather-beaten ranks; say we have no bowling, can’t run (two
of us are over seventy, certainly!), and are altogether as sorry
a collection of prehistoric peeps as ever took the field. _Nous
verrons!_ The Bachelors win the toss and start batting. An old man of
sixty-seven, who has recently contracted a second matrimonial alliance
to make sure of his place in the team, asks to keep wicket, and after
buckling on a pair of lovely old faded yellow pads, he goes to say
“Good-bye” to his new “missus,” and get her to pull his waistcoat down
and stuff it inside the back of his trousers (this I saw myself). Then
I arrange the rest of my veterans in a sort of inner and outer circle
round the wickets, in places where they are least likely to be hurt,
and the game begins. It is true we have no bowling, in the modern sense
of the term, but it’s quite good enough for the Bachelors. At one end I
put on our village umpire, who bowls fast straight underhand, literally
“daisy-cutters,” and at the other a newly-married groom, just come into
the parish, whose methods are precisely the same. Scoring is out of the
question. You may stop the ball as long as your patience lasts, but you
can’t get it away, and wicket after wicket falls, as the pick of my
village eleven try in vain to turn fast sneaks into slow half-volleys.
I feel quite sorry for them when the end comes, and twelve promising
young cricketers, with “Mr. Extras,” have all been dismissed for 76.
Then our turn comes, and the umpire and I make a good start by putting
on 30 for the first wicket. But it’s not all over yet! Six wickets fall
for an additional 9 runs, and the audience begins to hold its breath.
We have still eight or nine batsmen, but can they possibly make 5 runs
apiece? We are soon put out of suspense. The groom goes in for hitting,
knocks up 15 in a few minutes, which demoralises the field, the best
bowler is taken off at the critical moment, and the rest is easy. We
have had a most thrilling afternoon’s cricket, and no one is any the
worse except the old wicket-keeper, who is so stiff he cannot come
downstairs for two days.

I feel I ought to apologise for appearing in such august company as
this book affords, but it is our cheery editor’s doing, not mine. My
enthusiasm for the subject is the only excuse I can offer, and that he
has kindly accepted, so I need say no more. Only I shall always regret
that no more capable pen than mine was found to do justice to such an
inspiring theme as “Village Cricket.”

[Illustration: _AN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY CARICATURE._]


[Illustration]



CHAPTER XIII

FOREIGN CRICKET

By P. F. WARNER


In this and the following chapters I shall endeavour to give some
account of the many cricket tours in which I have been fortunate enough
to take part, in the West Indies, the United States, Canada, Portugal,
South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.

The days have long gone by since England was the only country in which
the game flourished; for cricket is played, and played well, too, in
the most remote corners of the British Empire.

It has been my good luck to play cricket from Trinidad to Auckland,
and from Buluwayo to Vancouver, so I hope there may be some interest
in a record of the game under conditions widely different from those
of Lord’s or Old Trafford—upon grounds that are within easy distances
of volcanoes, and in towns that have since undergone siege and
bombardment. In the course of my wanderings with bat and ball, I have
covered nearly 80,000 miles by land and sea, and I have enjoyed every
mile of my long journeyings, for the memories that one carries away
from such tours as these are innumerable. May not one hope, too, that
these touring teams are not altogether without value from the political
side, for they must assuredly lead to a closer understanding and better
appreciation of our kinsmen in Greater Britain.

One hears nowadays so many remarks—as a rule far from
complimentary—as to the status of amateur cricketers, that I take
this opportunity of enlightening those whom it may concern as to the
arrangements made with regard to the financial part of the six tours
which are dealt with in this chapter.

On the first tour to the West Indies we paid our own steamship tickets,
and our wine and washing bills, cabs, etc., throughout the tour; all
other expenses were paid by the clubs in the various islands. The
trip to Oporto was a purely private affair, into which no question of
expenses entered one way or the other. On my two visits to America, and
the South African and New Zealand tours, all our expenses, excepting
again our wine, washing, cabs, etc., were paid for us. Not one penny
passes through the hands of either the captain or any other member of
the team, and we have no interest whatever in the gate—that is the
affair of the club which has invited the team out. The expenses of the
tour are paid out of these gates, and the profits—and there is nearly
always a profit—go to the body which has undertaken the risk of the
tour. We are, in fact, the guests of the various places we visit.

As captain of two teams in America, no money whatsoever passed through
my hands. Our tickets were invariably taken for us, and we just stepped
on to boat or railway, as the case might be. The hotel bills, with the
exception of our bill for wine, washing, and smaller items, were sent
in to the Associated Clubs of Philadelphia.

Lord Hawke’s South African and New Zealand teams contained
professionals, who, over and above their ordinary expenses of
travelling and hotel bills, were guaranteed a lump sum of money, which
was paid them by instalments. The amateur receives his expenses only;
the professional his expenses _plus a lump sum_. There has been so much
misunderstanding on this subject, that I shall, I hope, be excused for
having dwelt upon it at some length.


THE WEST INDIES

Before the visit of R. S. Lucas’s team in the early part of 1895, the
West Indies were quite unknown to the majority of English cricketers.
That tour, however, showed that there was plenty of cricket scattered
over the islands, which only needed encouragement to develop into a
good class; and such delightful accounts did Lucas and his team bring
back of the West Indies, that Lord Hawke had little difficulty in
getting together an amateur side to go out a couple of years later.

We sailed from Southampton in January 1897, and after a pleasant
fortnight’s voyage arrived at Port of Spain, Trinidad. Here we opened
with a big score against the Queen’s Park Cricket Club, but came to
grief when opposing the island team, chiefly owing to some excellent
bowling by two black men, Woods and Cumberbatch, on not a very easy
wicket of the kind where one ball bumped and the next shot. But
admitting that they received considerable assistance from the wicket,
Woods and Cumberbatch bowled excellently, and took thirty-nine out of
the forty wickets that fell in the two matches. As it happened, these
two defeats were the only ones we experienced in the fourteen matches
which we played, and though I do not by any means wish to make excuses,
Trinidad certainly caught us at a disadvantage, as we had not become
acclimatised to the great heat, and, moreover, had not had sufficient
opportunities to get into form. But the Trinidad side were a good one,
their strength lying in their bowling. The batting was, with one or two
exceptions, rather rough, but the fielding was excellent, and this,
coupled with the bowling of Woods and Cumberbatch, proved too much for
us.

Cricket is, or was at the time I was there, established on a firmer
basis in Trinidad than in any other of the West Indian islands, and the
game was well supported by all classes.

From Trinidad we went to Grenada and St. Vincent, where our opponents
were no match for us, though the St. Vincent eleven ran us close for a
couple of days. The match was played on a matting wicket, which played
fast and true, though every now and again the ball turned very quickly.

At Barbados we had two splendid games, one of which we won after a
most exciting finish, and the other ending in an even draw. Barbados
and Trinidad were certainly the strongest teams in the West Indies
five years ago, and there was little to choose between the two sides,
Trinidad having perhaps the stronger bowling, and Barbados the better
batting.

Antigua, St. Kitts, and St. Lucia were weak, but Demerara were a very
fair side, though they did not show their true form against us. In the
smaller islands, such as Grenada, St. Vincent, Antigua, St. Kitts,
and St. Lucia, we invariably met black men in the opposing teams,
but in estimating the respective merits of Trinidad, Barbados, and
Demerara, it must not be forgotten that Trinidad played their black
professional bowlers against us, while Demerara and Barbados did not.
In the Intercolonial Cup, which is played for every other year between
the above-mentioned colonies, the custom was to exclude the black
professionals, but I am glad to say that this has been altered since I
was in the West Indies, and they are now allowed to take part in the
Cup competition. The admittance of black professionals into the best
games cannot but do good, as they add considerably to the strength of a
side, and their inclusion must instil a universal enthusiasm for the
game amongst all colours and classes of the population.

Jamaica we did not visit, but I was told by more than one of the team
which went out to the West Indies in the early months of 1901 that the
cricket there does not attain to any high excellence.

The wickets are not as a rule good, but there are exceptions, and the
grounds at Barbados, Demerara, and Antigua provide excellent wickets
in fine weather. It is hard enough to make runs on a sticky wicket in
England, but it is easy in comparison with a West Indian wicket after
rain, for under the influence of a powerful tropical sun, the ball
not only takes any amount of break, but gets up perfectly straight as
well. The Trinidad ground is the largest, and has the best pavilion and
seating accommodation, while of the many grounds I have seen in various
parts of the world, none surpasses it from a picturesque point of view;
but the wicket is a very bad one, and I really think the authorities
would be wise to lay down matting.

The West Indian team which came to England in the summer of 1900 played
seventeen games, won five, drew four, and lost eight, and when one
considers that the team had never played together before, that they
were quite unaccustomed to our climate, and to the strain of three
days’ cricket, and that they lost the toss twelve times out of the
seventeen matches the tour comprised, I do not think their record was
at all bad. At the start the side were quite at sea, but they improved
immensely as time went on, and towards the end of the tour showed some
uncommonly good cricket. The result, too, of the visit of the last
English team—by far the strongest of the three sides that have visited
the West Indies—gave evidence that the cricket had improved in the
islands, for out of the three test matches played, the West Indians won
two, while Demerara twice defeated the Englishmen, and Barbados once.

[Illustration: _A PARLIAMENTARY MATCH._
_The Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, Lord John Russell, and
others._]

At the same time, it was generally felt that West Indian cricket had
not altogether made the progress expected. There are several good
bowlers, notably Burton, the best bowler in the West Indies, and Woods
of Demerara, Lane of Barbados, and Smith of Trinidad; but though the
fielding is excellent, the batting is weak, and of real knowledge of
the game, especially in the art of placing the field, there is little,
while the idea is far too prevalent that they have nothing more to
learn about cricket. This comes, I fancy, from their having on three
or four occasions beaten the English elevens which have played in the
West Indies, quite forgetting that these sides are never more than
fairly strong amateur combinations, with no pretensions to being called
first-class.

From every point of view, there can be nothing more enjoyable than
a cricket tour in the West Indies. The climate is, at the time of
year we were in the West Indies, quite delightful, and although the
sun is undoubtedly very hot, it is by no means harmful, if ordinary
precautions are taken. Abler pens than mine have painted the exquisite
charm and beauty of the islands, and the hospitality of the people
is beyond measure, the visit of an English team being an event which
is eagerly looked forward to. The black portion of the population is
especially enthusiastic. They climb the trees round the ground, and
keep up a running comment on the game, and it is somewhat disconcerting
to hear a huge shout of “Bowl him out, Clif,” go up as the bowler runs
up; but this was what happened in Barbados when I was batting, “Clif”
being Clifford Goodman, the great Barbados bowler. Lord Hawke was a
source of joy to the native mind. On going out to bat he was generally
greeted with shouts of “Welcome, my lord,” followed by an exhortation
to the bowler to “give the lord a duck.” Once, indeed, at St. Vincent
the bowler did not disappoint the crowd, for Lord Hawke retired first
ball, whereupon the scene which followed was, I venture to think,
unique. First of all the bowler turned a somersault on the pitch, a
way of evincing delight at the dismissal of an opponent one does not
usually see at Lord’s or the Oval; but after he had gone through his
acrobatic performances, it was even more interesting to watch the
crowd, who threw their hats in the air, danced about in front of the
ring, shook hands with one another, chattering and shouting the while.
It was the most extraordinary scene I have ever witnessed on a cricket
ground; but the West Indian negro goes quite mad about cricket, and
when A. E. Stoddart was in Barbados, hundreds of them used to gather
round his hotel on a chance of getting a glimpse of the great man.
With more coaching from English professionals, and with a readier
desire to assimilate the lessons taught, there is no reason whatever
why cricket in the West Indies should not attain a high standard, for
the West Indian seems to take quite naturally to the game, and the
climate is admirably suited to the bringing of cricket to perfection.

One or two of the grounds, notably that of Georgetown, Demerara, are
well cared for, but, speaking generally, there is much ignorance
displayed in the preparation of wickets, and it would be almost worth
while to have some man out from England to put the various grounds in
order, and impart instruction to the native groundsmen. The Trinidad
ground is infested with mole crickets, and the wicket is so impossible
that, unless matting is put down, cricket will languish, for no young
cricketer can be taught to bat really well on such a wicket, and a
bowler may be in danger of thinking himself a good one, when in fact he
is only just beginning to bowl.

My second tour was to America in the autumn of 1897, when I captained a
fairly strong team, which included, amongst others, G. L. Jessop and F.
G. Bull, the latter about that time the best slow bowler in England.

In discussing the strength of American cricket, it is as well to bear
in mind that American cricket means Philadelphian cricket, for nowhere
else in the United States does the game really flourish, though a few
enthusiastic supporters do their utmost to keep it going in New York
and Baltimore.

In Philadelphia, base-ball is quite a secondary consideration, and
there is a genuine enthusiasm for our great national game. The grounds
themselves are superb, but the wickets are not good, though English
cricketers are scarcely, perhaps, in a position to pass judgment on
them, seeing that teams from this country never play in Philadelphia
before the middle or end of September, when, owing to the abundance
of what is termed “fall grass,” it is no easy matter to obtain a good
wicket.

The Philadelphian eleven, as I saw them on the occasion of my first
visit, were a distinctly good side. They had quite a lot of batting, a
brilliant wicket-keeper in Scattergood, and, in J. B. King and P. H.
Clark, two bowlers distinctly above the average of amateur cricketers.
King, indeed, on his day is a remarkably good bowler, while Clark has
been almost invariably successful against English elevens. My eleven
played two matches against the Gentlemen of Philadelphia. The first we
lost by four wickets, and the second we won by seven wickets, though it
is only right to say that in this game the Philadelphians were without
J. A. Lester, the best batsman in the States.

On the second tour to America, in September and October 1898, I had
not, perhaps, quite such a strong team as in the previous year, but
as the side included F. Mitchell, C. O. H. Sewell, C. J. Burnup, V.
T. Hill, B. J. T. Bosanquet, and J. L. Answorth, it was not weak. On
this, my last visit to America, the cricket in Philadelphia seemed to
have fallen off. J. B. King and P. H. Clark were as good as ever,
Scattergood was the same brilliant wicket-keeper, and the fielding
was absolutely A1, but the batting had gone off deplorably. Our first
match was fought out on a sticky, difficult pitch, when we won very
easily by eight wickets, hardly any of our opponents having any idea
of playing on such a wicket. The return match was played on a good
wicket, certainly by far the best I have seen in America, and again we
won, but this time only after a desperate battle. When the sixth wicket
went down, we wanted 30 runs to win, and as the side possessed a most
distinct tail, the result was decidedly open to doubt. However, some
fine hitting by Hill enabled us to pull through by four wickets.

K. S. Ranjitsinhji and B. J. T. Bosanquet have both taken teams to
Philadelphia since I was last there, but Ranjitsinhji’s eleven was
absurdly strong, and won anyhow, though the Philadelphians had the
worst of the luck in having to bat on slow wickets, on which they do
not shine. B. J. T. Bosanquet’s eleven won one and lost one match with
the Philadelphians, the Americans being seen to great advantage in the
game they won, and quite outplaying the Englishmen, who lost by no less
than 229 runs. Bosanquet had, too, a very fair team, including E. M.
Dowson, E. R. Wilson, R. E. More, F. Mitchell, and V. F. S. Crawford,
but the Englishmen admittedly played very much below their true form.

There seems to be more good cricket played in and around Philadelphia
to-day than was the case some two or three years ago, and, generally
speaking, the game seems on the up-grade, so that I shall be surprised
if the team which is to visit England this summer does not prove to be
the best that the Philadelphians have ever sent us.

I have already mentioned that Philadelphia is the only place in America
where the game has taken a firm hold, but New York has in M. R. Cobb a
distinctly good cricketer. He is a very fair bat, and an excellent slow
to medium right-hand bowler, of the type that one would wish to see
more of in America, American bowlers being as a rule of the tearaway,
erratic type. Cobb’s record against English teams is a very good one,
and he was, next to J. B. King, the best cricketer I saw in the States
in 1897 and 1898.

On my first American tour, except for a visit to Niagara, we did not go
to Canada at all, but matches were arranged at Montreal and Toronto for
the second trip.

At Montreal we played against XIV. of Eastern Canada, and won by 88
runs; but the ground, which is used as a skating-rink for six months
in the year, is appalling. There was a certain amount of keenness for
the game, but to enable cricket to flourish, a cricket ground must be
obtained.

The ground at Toronto is a very fair one, and the Canadian eleven
was certainly the best side we met, next to the Philadelphians, but
little enthusiasm was shown, and cricket is not, I fear, in a very
satisfactory condition.

[Illustration: _A MATCH AT IGLOOLIE, BETWEEN H.M. SHIPS “FURY” AND
“HECLA”._]

Outside Philadelphia there is, as I have pointed out, little or no
cricket in America, but in Philadelphia itself the game flourishes, and
our matches were followed with the greatest enthusiasm. The ordinary
writer on cricket in America knows little about the game, but his
headlines and comments are exceedingly amusing. We were invariably
referred to as “British Lions,” and we were assured that the American
girl had “just a little liking for sure-enough Englishmen.” Again, when
the Philadelphians defeated us, one of the Philadelphia papers came out
with a long leading article entitled, “Waterloo for Englishmen,” in
which the fact that we had been beaten at our own game was duly rubbed
into us.

Cricket has many difficulties to contend with throughout the United
States. In the first place, the Americans are a busy nation, and have
no leisure to devote themselves as energetically as we do to cricket,
while, except in Philadelphia, base-ball always has been, and always
will be, the national game. But in Philadelphia the future of cricket
is assured, for I have met there some of the keenest and most ardent
followers of the noble game.

A great many people would, I imagine, scarcely believe that cricket is
played in Portugal; but wherever two or three Englishmen are gathered
together, there will wickets be pitched and creases marked out, and
as the English colony in Oporto numbers a few thousands, it is not
surprising to find the game in full swing in the beautiful town on the
banks of the Douro.

It was as a member of T. Westray’s eleven that I had the pleasure of
playing cricket in Oporto in the spring of 1898. Our captain, a former
leader of the Uppingham team, had got together a very fair side, which,
with L. C. U. Bathurst and H. R. Bromley Davenport to bowl, and R. N.
Douglas and S. A. P. Kitcat as the principal batsmen, proved far too
good for our opponents. We won the first match against an Oporto eleven
by an innings and 103 runs, Douglas making 106, and our two crack
bowlers, with the assistance of A. C. Taylor, dismissing Oporto for 33
and 118. Our total was 254, but had the Oporto eleven possessed even
a moderately good fast or medium-paced bowler, we should not have got
100, for the wicket was almost dangerous. I have a vivid recollection
of being hit on the forehead by a slow half-volley which jumped
straight up. The Oporto fielding was good, but the bowling very poor
indeed, half-volleys on the leg stump and long hops being frequent.

Our next opponents were Portugal, three Englishmen coming over from
Lisbon to take part in the match; but here again we won almost as
easily by an innings and 75 runs, though the cricket of our rivals
showed some improvement, the bowling being of a better length, and
the fielding decidedly surer. But cricket in Oporto is confined to
twenty or thirty enthusiasts, so that the game cannot be taken at all
seriously. Something will have to be done to the wicket, which at
present is deplorable, for the soil itself is very sandy, and plantains
seem to take root again as fast as they are cut out. The best plan
would be to lay down cocoanut matting, but the cricketers in the _leal
e invicta citade_ (the loyal and unconquered city) are rather proud of
the fact that theirs is the only ground in Spain or Portugal in which a
grass wicket is obtainable.

None of the Portuguese took even the slightest interest in our visit,
beyond a paragraph in the local paper stating that the “afamados
loquedores de cricket” had arrived, and that the enthusiasm for cricket
in England was even greater than that shown for bull-fighting in Spain,
and that the names of Grace, Abel, Ranjitsinhji, and Maclaren were in
England as well known as the names of Guerita, Marrantini, Perate, and
Carajello, the famous bull-fighters, were in Spain.


[Illustration]



CHAPTER XIV

CRICKET IN SOUTH AFRICA

By P. F. WARNER


On 3rd December 1898 I left England on my fifth tour abroad as a member
of Lord Hawke’s South African team. The side was a powerful one,
including such men as F. Mitchell, C. E. M. Wilson, the late F. W.
Milligan, Trott, Tyldesley, Cuttell, Haigh, and Board.

After a delightful voyage in the _Scot_, we arrived at Cape Town, and
during the next four months played cricket from Table Mountain almost
to the Zambesi and back again, visiting Johannesburg, Pretoria,
Kimberley, Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, King William’s Town, Graaf
Reinet, and Buluwayo.

Lord Hawke’s was the fourth English team to go to South Africa, Major
Wharton, W. W. Read, and Lord Hawke himself having in previous years
taken out sides.

In any review of South African cricket, the first thing to be
remembered is that, from one end of the great continent to the other,
you never by any possible chance see a grass wicket, matting being used
everywhere. On the Newlands ground, Cape Town, and at Port Elizabeth,
the matting is stretched over grass, and this makes a wicket which
enables the bowler to get considerable work on, though the ball does
not come off the pitch very quickly. It is not an easy wicket, for
a half-volley does not seem the same thing as on grass, and forcing
strokes generally are at a discount. This kind of wicket affords most
excellent practice, for it teaches one above everything else to watch
the ball.

Tyldesley did make a very fine 112 at Cape Town, and Sinclair, the
South African cricketer, an equally fine 106, but the ball nearly
always beat the bat, and Haigh in particular brought off some great
bowling triumphs. The work he used to get on the ball was prodigious;
he thought nothing of pitching six inches outside the off stump,
and then hitting the leg stump. Trott, too, did one or two fine
performances, while Rowe, Middleton, and Sinclair were at times almost
equally successful.

At Port Elizabeth the out-field is of grass, but the wicket seemed to
me even more difficult than at Cape Town, for the ball, besides taking
a lot of break, turned very quickly. Perhaps, however, I am unduly
influenced by the fact that I made “spectacles” at Port Elizabeth—a
favourite ground, by the way, for Englishmen to fail on, for more than
one well-known cricketer has “bagged a brace” there.

Cape Town and Port Elizabeth are the only two cricket grounds in South
Africa which can boast of a grass out-field; all the other grounds
are absolutely innocent of a blade of grass, being nothing, indeed,
but a brown-reddish sand—somewhat like the colour of the sand on the
seashore—rolled into a flat and hard surface. The matting is stretched
on this sand, and makes a hard, true, and very fast wicket, while the
ball, once past a fielder, simply flies to the boundary.

The Wanderers’ ground, Johannesburg, is by far the best ground in South
Africa, for the wicket is exceptionally fast, and the out-field level
and true. At Kimberley there is a good wicket, but the out-field is
rather rough, which may be said with truth of nearly all South African
grounds, except the Wanderers’. Natal we did not visit, but I am told
that the Maritzburg Oval is in almost every respect the equal of the
Wanderers’ ground.

[Illustration: _A STATE MATCH._
_The Duke of Wellington bowling out Lord Brougham._]

It will be seen from what I have said that matting wickets differ
according as to whether they are laid on grass or otherwise. Matting
stretched on grass gives the bowler more than a two-to-one chance, but
matting on the bare grassless ground favours the batsman, though I am
inclined to think that a really good bowler ought always to be able to
make the ball “nip” a bit. Haigh certainly made the ball turn every now
and again on the Wanderers’ ground, and both he and Albert Trott have
told me that they would infinitely prefer to bowl on the best matting
wicket in the world rather than on a really hard, true turf pitch.

But the matting at Johannesburg is good enough for the most fastidious
batsman, for it plays very fast, and though the pace of the wicket is
apt to put a batsman off on first going in, once a man has got his eye
in, he can make any amount of forcing strokes on both sides of the
wicket, for the ball does not often hang on the pitch. Drives between
cover and extra cover, and push strokes between the bowler and mid-on
and past mid-on, can be made with great frequency, while the ball
travels to the boundary at a great pace.

Bowlers of the type of Haigh, Tate, or Howell (the Australian) are
the most successful on matting wickets, but slow bowlers are not, as
a rule, effective, and fast bowlers, unless really great ones, are
usually heavily punished.

The ordinary spikes one uses in England are quite useless on the
matting, and have to be replaced by a sort of flat nail.

The length of the matting varies in different places, and this, I
venture to think, causes great inconvenience. At present the matting
may be any length up to 22 yards, and often I found myself standing
at one wicket with both feet off the matting, at another time with
both feet on, and at another with one foot off and the other on the
matting, while at Cape Town the pins which keep the matting down were
placed just where the ordinary batsman puts his right leg. The South
African Cricket Association might very easily pass a law making the
matting uniform throughout the country, and in my opinion the matting
should stop about a foot in front of the popping-crease. This is the
length at Johannesburg. A captain may if he desires have the matting
stretched tight at the commencement of each innings. In that case the
pins are removed from the end and side of the matting, which is then
well stretched by scores of Kaffirs, and afterwards firmly pinned into
the ground. As a rule, however, merely the end pins are removed for
a minute or two, the matting is given a pull, the pins replaced, and
the matting swept, for pieces of grit and sand are very apt to collect
on the mat, and a batsman has to look out for this while he is at the
wickets.

The great difficulty which frequently besets a captain on turf wickets,
as to which roller he will put on at the commencement of his side’s
innings, or at the beginning of the day’s play, is removed, for no
rolling of the matting is necessary. Towards the end of an innings the
matting is apt to get a trifle loose, and batting is no fun then, for
should the ball pitch on one of the creases in the matting, it will
probably break very quickly; and in this case the last few batsmen have
the worst of the wicket. Winning or losing the toss, of course, makes
no difference whatever, and rain, too, has little or no effect on the
state of the pitch. One great advantage of these sandy grounds is that
play is nearly always possible within a few minutes after the heaviest
shower. I have seen the Johannesburg ground absolutely under water and
resembling a lake, and yet play in progress within three-quarters of an
hour after the rain had ceased.

Cricket on matting is not half such a good game as cricket on turf, but
as there is no turf worthy the name in South Africa, South Africans
have no other alternative but to play on matting. There is at first, to
one accustomed to grass wickets, an air of unreality about the whole
thing, and the game does not seem to be quite the same cricket we
learnt in England. For the first few weeks I hated the “mat,” but after
a while one becomes more at home on it, and at the end of the tour I
was quite fond of a matting wicket—though I never could agree with
those who said that they preferred it to grass. One thing is certain,
and that is, that playing for three or four months on matting wickets
does improve one’s batting, and makes one a more resourceful player.
At Johannesburg, Kimberley, and the grassless grounds, forward play
and hard forcing strokes score tremendously, but at Cape Town and Port
Elizabeth forcing forward strokes are at a discount; the man who can
play back well will make the most runs.

Lord Hawke’s team played seventeen matches, won fifteen, and drew two.
Five eleven-a-side matches were played, viz. two games _v._ All South
Africa, two against Cape Colony, and one against the Transvaal.

At Cape Town we played a couple of games with XIII. of the Western
Province, the remaining fixtures being chiefly against XV’s.

At Cape Town we just won our first match by 25 runs against a Western
Province XIII., chiefly owing to some grand bowling by Trott, Cuttell,
and Haigh, the Yorkshireman taking five wickets for 14 runs at the
crisis of the game. The highest total in the match was 149, and the
highest individual score 45 by H. H. Francis. Murray Bisset, who
captained the South African XI. in England, batted well in both
innings, and Rowe and Middleton took seventeen of our wickets between
them.

The return game saw us victorious by 106 runs, for we were all in
better form by this time, and more accustomed to the eccentricities
of the mat. Rowe and Middleton did even better than before, taking
nineteen wickets between them, while Trott and Haigh bowled splendidly
for us.

From Cape Town we went in turn to Graaf Reinet, Port Elizabeth,
Grahamstown, and King William’s Town, victory awaiting us at each
place. At King William’s Town we drew lots for the order of going in,
and F. Mitchell and Tyldesley put on over 100 runs for the last wicket;
but the most interesting thing about this match was a splendidly-hit
innings of 66 by Giddy, who scored his runs in three-quarters of an
hour. He twice hit Milligan out of the ground, and scored 16 off one
over of Haigh’s (there were five balls to the over at that time).

[Illustration:
  _Engraved by R. Dunkarton._    _After W. Redmore Bigg, R.A._
_THE SOLDIER’S WIDOW OR SCHOOL BOY’S COLLECTION._]

We had a long railway journey from King William’s Town to Johannesburg,
but after forty-five hours in the train arrived at the “Golden City,”
where a warm welcome awaited us, the station platform being crammed
with cricket enthusiasts.

We stayed about three weeks in Johannesburg, and in that time played
three matches—the first against a Johannesburg XV., which ended in a
somewhat uninteresting draw; the second against a Transvaal XI., whom
we defeated by an innings and 201 runs; and the third against All South
Africa, which we also won, though only after a desperate struggle.

Sinclair batted and bowled well for the Johannesburg XV., and Halliwell
kept wicket superbly, while Frank Milligan did a very good bit of
bowling, for in the Johannesburgers’ first innings he sent back ten men
for but 64 runs, keeping up a good pace all the time, and making the
ball do a bit every now and again.

In the match against the Transvaal, Tyldesley played splendidly for
114, Mitchell made an equally fine 162, and Trott knocked up 101 in
a short time, our total of 539 for six wickets being, I believe, the
highest total ever made in South Africa.

We won the game against South Africa by 33 runs, Lord Hawke’s XI.
making 145 and 237, and South Africa 251 and 99. It was a splendid
fight, and at one time we looked hopelessly “in the cart”; but Trott,
Haigh, and Cuttell bowled magnificently when our opponents went in to
get the runs, while the fielding was extremely smart, and in our second
innings I was lucky enough to get 132 not out. But fortune was on my
side, as I was missed at point when I had made 94, and I rather fancy I
was stumped when I had got about 70.

For South Africa, Sinclair played a fine free innings of 86, and was
unlucky in being run out, and Llewellyn got 38 in the first innings,
and Bisset 35 and 21 not out. Llewellyn, Middleton, and Rowe, all
left-handers, took the great majority of our wickets, and we ought
really to have lost the match, but one or two of the South Africans
played rather recklessly in their second innings, and the dismissal of
Sinclair in the second over—caught at mid-off from a tremendous skyer,
by Cuttell off Haigh—seemed to destroy the confidence of the side,
though Bisset played some bowling of the highest class with great skill.

The loss of this match was a tremendous blow to supporters of cricket
in South Africa, and the disappointment in Johannesburg was keen. The
game was followed with the closest attention, and on the second day
about 8000 people were present, the takings at the gate, irrespective
of stand money, amounting to £470. At Lord’s or the Oval one can see
the best cricket in the world for the modest sixpence, but half-a-crown
was the lowest sum one could get into the Wanderers’ ground for during
Lord Hawke’s visit to Johannesburg. As a proof of the interest taken
in the match, the scores were posted up at various centres in the town
and along the reef at intervals of an hour.

Just before meeting the combined South African team we had played a
two-day match against a local XV. at Pretoria, whom we defeated by nine
wickets. Braund, the Somerset professional, was at that time acting as
coach to the Pretoria Club, and his all-round cricket was splendid, for
he made 41 runs, took six wickets, and brought off three fine catches.

From Johannesburg we went to Kimberley, and there defeated a
Griqualand West XV. by an innings and 25 runs. Most of us made runs,
for the bowling was weak, and lent itself to free hitting. Shalders
of Kimberley made 76 by very good cricket, late cutting and hooking
particularly well, playing our professional bowlers with great
confidence. The heat all through this game was almost unbearable, and
we were glad to get away to the cooler climate of Buluwayo, where we
played and won two matches, defeating a Buluwayo XVIII. and XV. of
Rhodesia. Our bowling was altogether too good for our opponents, three
or four of whom, however, showed good form. At this period of the tour
Haigh was bowling superbly, and it took a really good batsman to make
any runs against him.

An expedition to the Matoppos was not the least interesting part of a
delightful ten days in Rhodesia, and the visit of the first English
team to Rhodesia was, I think I may safely say, a great success.
Certainly Lord Hawke’s team enjoyed every moment of it.

On the way down from Buluwayo we played another match at Kimberley,
which was spoilt by heavy rain, and then, after spending two or three
days at Matjesfontein with Mr. J. D. Logan, we returned to Cape Town
for the last two matches. We beat Cape Colony by an innings and 29
runs, Haigh performing the hat trick, and Cuttell and Wilson making
98 and 69 respectively, and on Easter Tuesday wound up the tour with
a victory over South Africa; but, as at Johannesburg, our opponents
headed us in the first innings, Sinclair, six wickets for 26 runs,
being chiefly responsible for a miserable total of 92, a score which
the South Africans headed by 85 runs. Sinclair played a really great
innings. He made 106 out of 147 while he was at the wicket by splendid
cricket, driving with great power, and repeatedly bringing off a
powerful back stroke.

Tyldesley (112) played in his best form in our second innings, and as
nine men made double figures, we ran up a total of 330, which left
South Africa 246 runs to win. The general feeling was that we should
win by 50 or 60 runs, but after Shalders and Powell had scored 11 for
the first wicket, Haigh and Trott got on the war-path, and in an hour
South Africa were all out for 35! Haigh took six wickets for 11 runs,
and Trott four wickets for 19 runs. Sinclair only made 4 this time,
magnificently caught in the long field by Milligan.

A few days later we left Cape Town on the _Norman_, leaving Milligan
behind, of whom, alas! it had been written in the Book of Destiny that
he should never return to England, for fifteen months later he gave his
life for his country while fighting gallantly outside Mafeking, and his
bright and fascinating personality was taken from the cricket field. He
is buried at Ramathlabama, but, though he lies so far away, to those
who knew him well, as I am glad to think I did, his memory is ever dear.

The first English team to visit South Africa was Major Wharton’s,
in the winter of 1888-89. In those days the railway had not, I
fancy, reached even Bloemfontein—certainly there was no railway to
Johannesburg, and much of the travelling was done by ox waggon. Major
Wharton’s eleven played only two eleven-a-side matches—both against
South Africa—and won both, the second by an innings and 202 runs.

W. W. Read’s eleven beat South Africa in the only match played by an
innings and 189 runs, and Lord Hawke’s first team won their three test
matches quite easily, but his second team, of which I was a member,
only just beat South Africa at Johannesburg, and in the return at Cape
Town our opponents more than held us for two days. We did not lose a
match on the tour, but three or four times we had to fight hard to win.

The South African eleven which toured in England in 1901 did very
fairly, showing plenty of sound cricket, and giving evidence that in
a few years South Africa might hope to play the very best counties
with every chance of success, while the good form shown against the
Australians last autumn has gone far to strengthen the opinion which I
had already formed that cricket has a great future before it in South
Africa.


[Illustration]



CHAPTER XV

CRICKET IN NEW ZEALAND

By P. F. WARNER


It was on 12th November 1902 that I started from Liverpool as captain
of a team for New Zealand. This was my sixth cricket tour abroad, and
Lord Hawke was originally to have captained the side; but the sudden
illness of his mother prevented his starting, and he did me the honour
of inviting me to lead the side in his absence. Those, like myself, who
have had the good luck to go on tour with Lord Hawke know full well
what his absence meant, for his unrivalled powers of management, his
tact, influence, and close attention to detail are important factors
in the successful conduct of a cricket tour. Though the Yorkshire
captain, to the regret of every one on the side, and of no one more
than myself, was unable to accompany us, the team was everywhere known
as “Lord Hawke’s team,” and we wore his colours—dark blue, light blue,
and yellow—so well known on cricket grounds all over the world. The
side Lord Hawke had got together was a good average English county
team—that is to say, if it entered for the county championship it
would at the end of a season probably be found halfway up the list, and
possibly higher—and consisted of P. F. Warner, C. J. Burnup, F. L.
Fane, T. L. Taylor, E. M. Dowson, B. J. T. Bosanquet, J. Stanning, P.
R. Johnson, A. E. Leatham, A. D. Whatman, Hargreave, and Thompson.

The _Majestic_ of the White Star Line made a quick passage to New York,
whence we were whirled across the American continent to San Francisco,
learning on the way that railway speed in America does not necessarily
imply safety, for we had a couple of accidents, one of which ended
fatally to a fireman, which delayed our arrival at San Francisco. Here
we spent a couple of delightful days, on one of which we played and
defeated XVIII. of California. Leaving San Francisco on 27th November,
we stopped on our long voyage across the Pacific at Honolulu and Pago
Pago, eventually arriving at Auckland on 16th December. A few days
later we began the first match of the tour, and from then until 6th
March we were kept pretty hard at work, travelling about the country
and playing cricket. We played in all eighteen matches—eleven against
odds—and won them all, not a single game being lost or drawn. This
was in itself a wonderfully good record; but cricket in New Zealand
is at the present moment up to no very high standard, and the results
of three-quarters of the matches were a foregone conclusion before a
ball had been bowled. We had a close game with a West Coast XXII. on
a matting wicket, only winning by five wickets (on this occasion we
had a long tail, for Bosanquet and Dowson were away fishing), and the
Canterbury XI. and the New Zealand team in the first test match gave us
a fair game; but we were almost always winning comfortably, most of our
victories being gained in a single innings.

The New Zealand XI. were a very fair side, but they were in no way
equal to us, for we won both matches easily, the first by seven wickets
and the second by an innings and 22 runs. In both of these games we
lost the toss, though in the first match it was probably an advantage
to do so.

There were but seven eleven-a-side matches—against Auckland,
Wellington, Canterbury, Otago, South Island, and the two New Zealand
games. Auckland, South Island, Otago, and the second test match were
won in an innings, Wellington were beaten by ten wickets, Canterbury by
133 runs, after declaring our innings closed, and the New Zealand XI.
in the first test match by seven wickets.

The two best batsmen in New Zealand are D. Reese of Canterbury and K.
Tucker of Wellington; and it is remarkable that they should stand so
clearly out from the rest. Of the two, Reese is, perhaps, the better.
He scored two hundreds out of the eight innings he played against
us—111 for Canterbury and 148 for New Zealand in the second test match
at Wellington. He is undoubtedly a fine left-handed batsman—very
similar in style and method to H. G. Garnett of Lancashire—with all
those brilliant off-side strokes so characteristic of nearly all
left-handed batsmen, and particularly good on the leg side. His weak
point is in the slips, where he is apt to give a chance on first going
in. Besides his batting, Reese is by no means a bad left-handed slow
bowler, and a beautiful field at extra cover—in a word, a thorough
cricketer. Tucker is a sound batsman who watches the ball well, has
a good off drive and cut just behind point, and a very clever stroke
between mid-on and short leg, which he uses to great advantage. He
nearly always got runs against us, scoring 84, 50, 67, and 21 in four
out of six knocks. On a rather difficult wicket at Christchurch,
when our bowlers were turning the ball, he played very good and safe
cricket—not so brilliant, perhaps, as Reese, but sounder, and a cool
player. Leaving Reese and Tucker out of the question, there is no one
in New Zealand who can be classed as a first-class bat. There are many
very fair batsmen, who, with coaching, and with more practice and
experience, would probably become first-class, but judged merely by
what I saw, Reese and Tucker are the only two men whose batting attains
to anything like first-class form.

The bowling is infinitely stronger than the batting, and is really
quite good, Callaway—whom Mr. Stoddart will remember as bowling well
against his 1894-95 Australian team—Frankish, Downes, Fisher, M’Arthy,
and Upham being quite useful. Frankish and Fisher are left-handed
medium pace, Upham is a fast right-hander, Downes slow right, and
M’Arthy medium right.

Frankish, in my opinion, is the best bowler in New Zealand, for he
keeps a good length, being especially difficult to drive or force
forward, and with a nice high action makes the ball swing a good deal
with his arm. On all wickets I should consider him distinctly the best
bowler we played against.

Downes, even on a hard, true wicket, gets a great deal of work from
the off on the ball, but his action is distinctly doubtful, and in
the first test match he was twice no-balled by Charles Bannerman for
throwing. He had bad luck against us in more than one innings, several
catches being missed off his bowling. Downes is a splendid trier and a
plucky, hard-working cricketer who can bowl all day quite cheerfully.
On a sticky wicket he is bound to be very difficult, and it was on a
pitch of this sort that he and Fisher dismissed the Australian XI. of
1896 for less than a hundred runs.

Callaway keeps a very accurate length, and generally makes the ball go
across with his arm, though, when the wicket helps him, he can bring
the ball back pretty quickly. Upham and M’Arthy can both make the ball
break, but they bowl too much at the leg stump, and not enough at the
off and outside the off stump. Fisher has a good action, but does not
like being hit, and is, perhaps, rather past his best.

The wicket-keeping all over New Zealand is good—even in the smallest
places we met a respectable “stumper”—and Boxshall and Williams are
above the average, both of them being particularly smart on the leg
side.

In the odds matches our opponents let an unwonted number of catches
slip through their fingers; but the fielding of the New Zealand XI. was
decidedly smart in both matches.

The visit of the team undoubtedly did good, and cricket may be expected
to go ahead rapidly in the next few years. More professional coaches
from England or Australia are wanted, and greater efforts should be
made to induce the Australians to send over teams. Lack of funds has in
the past militated against the spread of cricket; but the New Zealand
Cricket Council, who engineered the tour, and nearly all the local
centres, made money out of the gate receipts, and as a keen enthusiasm
has been aroused, improvement in the future should be rapid.

There were too many matches against odds, and too much travelling and
rushing about; but we saw New Zealand from end to end, and everywhere
we were received with the greatest hospitality.

One word more. The loyalty and devotion of my companions made the
oft-times difficult task of captaincy a joy and a pleasure, and any
success which may have attended the tour—and I think I may safely say
it was a success—was due entirely to the support and confidence they
at all times gave me.

[Illustration:
  _From a Painting attributed to_    _J. J. Chalon, R.A._
_OLD CHARLTON CHURCH AND MANOR HOUSE._]


[Illustration]



CHAPTER XVI

CRICKET GROUNDS

By Messrs. SUTTON AND SONS, The King’s Seedsmen, Reading


Without wishing to detract from the skill of the many famous batsmen of
to-day, or venturing to compare them with players of a generation ago,
it is probable that the former owe some of their success to the perfect
wickets on which most first-class matches are now played. No apology is
needed, therefore, for embodying in this work practical notes on the
formation and maintenance of really good turf.

The soils on which a satisfactory cricket pitch cannot be formed are
sand and an impervious clay. On the former it is difficult to establish
a plant of grass, and under rain the latter becomes sticky. But loam
which has been cultivated, especially when it is slightly tenacious,
possesses all the qualities which favour the maintenance of fine
perennial grasses, and at the same time enables the groundsman to
prepare a firm and true surface.

On sandy soil the grass obtains such a feeble hold that even after rain
the pitch, as it rapidly dries, crumbles and becomes unreliable. No
amount of rolling will bind a soil of this quality into a firm surface,
capable of withstanding the severe wear of a cricket match. Should
there be no alternative site, it is imperative that sandy soil be
covered with several inches of stiff loam, inclining to the character
of clay. When filled with grass roots, such a soil can be rolled down
into a fast, true, and enduring wicket, and the porous subsoil will
ensure effectual drainage. The club purse must determine the extent of
ground to be treated in the manner we recommend, but while the work is
in progress, it is worth while to strain a point to make the playing
square sufficiently large—say, at the very least, 40 yards in the line
of the wickets, by 30 yards in width.

A different course must be adopted with adhesive land which has to be
rendered porous. Possibly an effectual system of drainage, carried out
by an expert, may be absolutely necessary; but this is a task which
should not be undertaken with a light heart. It is a costly business,
and the trenches take a long time to settle down. After a field has
been levelled and sown, it is exasperating to see broad lines of soil
gradually sinking below the general level, to the ruin of the ground
for one or more seasons. As a rule, a good playing square can be
established on clay by taking out the soil to about 1 foot in depth
and replacing it with 6 or 8 inches of mixed chalk and sandy loam. On
the top, return enough of the original soil, broken very fine, and
carefully beaten down, to ensure a perfect level,—the surface to be
finished with the rake and roller. Making up the ground should commence
in October, and work ought to be completed before the end of November.
In the absence of frost, February is the month in which the best
results can be obtained from the heavy roller.

A slope is objectionable in many respects. It restricts the choice
of a wicket, favours the hitting in one direction, and handicaps the
bowlers. For these and other reasons, a level is justly regarded as
one of the conditions from which stern necessity alone can warrant
departure.

Whether the entire area, or only the playing square, shall be
efficiently prepared and sown generally resolves itself into a
question of funds. Where the limitation is unavoidable we need not
waste arguments. But it must not be forgotten that, however excellent
the playing square may be, unless the ball can travel evenly to
the boundary, first-class cricket is impossible. This fact is now
recognised by comparatively small clubs, whose grounds are laid and
kept with a precision that would have excited the admiration of
county teams in years gone by. And the club which is content with a
well-made centre and an indifferent margin deprives itself of matches
such as every ardent lover of the game desires to witness. It costs
comparatively little more to prepare the whole area perfectly, and
whatever saving may be effected by limiting the outlay for labour or
for seed to the playing square is almost certain to be repented of.

Apart from the ground, two reserve plots should be sown and kept in
the same condition as a fine lawn. From these plots turf can be cut to
mend holes made by bowlers or batsmen. When one plot has been used,
the surface must be made up with 3 or 4 inches of rich sifted soil,
entirely free from stones; seed can then be sown and the sward be
brought into condition while the other plot is cut away. Two or three
years are necessary to mature the roots into a firm compact mat that
may be cut, rolled, and relaid on the cricket ground.

Cricket grounds are made either by laying turf or sowing seed. In
favour of the former method it may be claimed that the ground is at
once clothed with verdure, and under favourable circumstances the
ground is sometimes ready for use in rather less time than when seed is
sown. But the difference is scarcely worth consideration.

Objections to the use of turf are so numerous and important that
advocates of the practice decrease in number every year.

As a rule, purchased turf abounds in coarse grasses and pernicious
weeds, which are difficult to eradicate, especially the coarse grasses.

When turf is laid in spring, the sections separate under a hot sun or
drying wind, and the whole surface is disfigured by ugly seams. The
gaping fissures have then to be filled with sifted soil and sown with
seed.

The objection most frequently urged against turf is its almost
prohibitive cost. When cut to the usual size—3 feet long by 1 foot
wide—nearly fifteen thousand pieces are required to lay an acre. The
expense, including cutting, carting, and laying, generally falls but
little short of £100. For the same area, seed of the highest quality
can be obtained for about £5, unless for some urgent reason an unusual
quantity is sown; even then, an increased outlay of 50s. will suffice.

The labour involved in levelling the land and preparing a suitable
surface is substantially the same for both methods.

A sward produced from a mixture of suitable seeds is incomparably
superior in quality to the best turf generally obtainable. Seeds
of fine and other useful grasses are now saved with all the care
necessary to ensure the perfect purity of each variety. The presence of
extraneous substances of any kind, and of false seeds in particular,
can be instantly detected. The percentage of vitality is also
determined with exactness by severe and reliable tests. The several
varieties of grasses can therefore be mixed in suitable proportions for
any soil or purpose with the precision of a physician’s prescription.


DRAINAGE

Should draining be necessary, this operation takes precedence of all
other work in preparing the land. If rain pass freely through the soil,
leaving no stagnant pools even in wet winters, the sufficiency of the
natural drainage may be inferred. But it should be clearly understood
that a fine turf cannot be established on a bog. Sour land soddened
with moisture, or an impervious clay, must have pipes properly laid
before good turf is possible, and as the trenches cannot be filled
so firmly as to prevent the ground from sinking afterwards, draining
must be completed at least six months before seed is sown. The size
of the pipes must be determined by the rainfall of the district, the
distance between the rows by the nature of the soil. The depth need
not be great, as the roots of grass do not penetrate far into the
earth. Fifteen feet between the rows, and the pipes three feet below
the surface, are common measurements. No single drain should be very
long, and the smaller should enter the larger pipes at an acute angle,
to avoid arresting the flow of water. Near trees or hedges the sockets
must be set in cement, or the roots may force admission and choke the
drain, and the outflow ends should be examined periodically to ensure
efficient working. In laying the pipes, it is necessary to employ a
practical man who understands the business, and will consider the
peculiar requirements of the case.


PREPARATORY WORK

When no important alteration of the ground is necessary, deep
cultivation should be avoided. Spudding to the depth of 6 to 9 inches
will suffice, and this affords the opportunity of incorporating such
manure as may be required. It frequently happens, however, that the
surface does not present the desired conformation, and that a level
plot can only be obtained by the removal or addition of a considerable
mass of earth. Possibly the level may have to be raised by soil
brought from a distance. In such a case it is usual to shoot the loads
where needed as they arrive, tread the earth firmly down, and make
the surface even as the work proceeds. This is the proper method if
the whole bulk of soil come from one source, is uniform in quality,
and suitable for the seed-bed. But in the event of there being much
difference in the mould, it will be necessary to spread a layer of each
kind over the entire plot, putting the retentive soil at the bottom,
and reserving the finer and more friable portion for the top. To make
up one part of the ground entirely with loamy clay, and another part
with light loam, will inevitably result in a patchy appearance, because
each soil fosters those grasses which possess affinities for it.

In order to ensure a perfectly level surface, pegs must be driven
into the soil at the extreme points, and intermediate pegs at regular
distances between. On these a long piece of wood having a straight
edge can be adjusted by a spirit-level, and by shifting the wooden
straight-edge from peg to peg, the level of the whole area can be
efficiently tested.


WEED SEEDS IN SOILS

A serious danger to which strange soil is liable is the presence of
seeds of troublesome weeds. We have seen a lawn which had been made
level with sifted soil taken from a neighbouring field. Upon every spot
thus treated a strong colony of _Holcus lanatus_ had grown, and as the
pale green patches defied all efforts to extirpate them, the extreme
course of cutting out and replacing with good turf had to be adopted.

The only certain way of ridding soil of weed seeds is to burn it.
This operation is well understood by agriculturists, and we should
like to insist upon it as not only essential when adding strange
soil upon which a cricket ground is to be made, but highly desirable
whenever the land is a stiff clay, in which case burning is often worth
undertaking, for the beneficial effect it has on the growth of grass.
The disintegration of the clay, which is one of the good effects of
burning, may to some extent be obtained by simply digging up the ground
in autumn and leaving it rough for the frost to break down and sweeten.

Should the proximity of dwellings render burning impracticable, the
only alternative as regards the weeds is to allow their seeds plenty of
time to germinate, and to destroy successive crops by light hoeings
in dry weather. Of course, waiting for weeds to appear is vexatious
when the land is prepared and the season is passing away. Still, it
will prove a real saving both of time and labour to ensure a clean
seed-bed. After grasses are sown the soil must not be disturbed, and
atmospheric conditions may follow which retard the germination of
the grasses, and too often doom the sowing to failure. Those who are
practically acquainted with gardening know that land which has been
regularly cultivated for years, and is supposed to be fairly clean,
always produces a plentiful crop of weeds, although no seed whatever be
sown, yet many a faultless lot of grass seed has been condemned, when
the weeds have had their origin entirely in the soil. Delay in sowing
offers the further advantage that the soil will become thoroughly
consolidated—a condition which is highly favourable to grasses, and
very difficult of attainment under hurried preparation.


ENRICHING THE SOIL

In preparing the seed-bed, the condition of the soil is too often
disregarded, although it is a matter of considerable importance, for
grass is quite as easily starved as any other crop. After the sward
is established, the enrichment of the soil has to be effected under
disadvantages to which other crops are not subject. Vegetables in a
well-ordered garden are changed from plot to plot, so as to tax the
soil for different constituents, and the ground is frequently manured,
broken up, and exposed to atmospheric influences, which increase its
fertility. Grass is a fixed crop, chiefly deriving its nourishment
from a few inches near the surface, and the only way of refreshing it
is by raking or harrowing and top-dressing. Hence there are obvious
reasons for putting the land into good heart before sowing. Well-rotted
stable manure is always beneficial, but fresh manure should be avoided,
because of its tendency to make the soil hollow. From twenty to thirty
cartloads of manure per acre will probably suffice.

Where artificials are more convenient, 2 cwt. of superphosphate
of lime, 1 cwt. of Peruvian guano, and 2 cwt. of bone dust, mixed
together, make an excellent dressing. The quantities named are usually
sufficient for an acre, and the mixture can be evenly spread and worked
into the soil while the preparation of the seed-bed is in progress.
Sutton’s lawn manure also contains all the constituents essential to
the luxuriant growth of fine grasses and clovers. This is a highly
concentrated artificial, and as a rule not more than 3 cwt. per acre
will be necessary. After the application of the manure, not less than
ten days should elapse before sowing the grasses, or some of the
seed-germs may be destroyed.


SURFACE PREPARATION

A fine friable surface is necessary to ensure favourable conditions
for the seed, and in levelling the ground there must be a diligent
use of the rake and roller. It is not sufficient to go over the ground
once with each implement. Repeated raking assists in clearing the land
of stones, unless they are very numerous, in which case it may be
necessary to spread 2 or 3 inches of fine rich earth over the surface.
After every raking the roller should follow, each time in a different
direction. These operations reveal inequalities, pulverise the soil,
and impart to it the firmness which favours germination. Grasses,
particularly the finer varieties, are too fragile to force their way
through clods, and many seeds will be lost altogether if buried to a
greater depth than a quarter of an inch.


SELECTION OF SEEDS

The selection of grasses and clovers which are to form a fine dense
sward should be regarded as in the highest degree important. They
must be permanent in character, adapted to the soil, and free from
coarse-growing varieties. On land which is liable to burn, clovers
maintain their verdure under a hot sun after grasses have become brown.
There is, however, this objection to clovers, that they show signs of
wear earlier than grasses, and hold moisture longer after a shower.
It is therefore often advisable to sow grasses only, unless the grass
is peculiarly liable to scorch in summer. Then it is an open question
whether an admixture of clovers may be regarded as the lesser of two
evils.

The following grasses and clovers are specially suited for
establishing a fine close turf, and the characteristics of the several
varieties indicate the soil and purpose for which each kind is
naturally adapted:—

_Cynosurus cristatus_ (Crested Dogstail).—The foliage of this grass
is dwarf, compact in growth, and possesses the great advantage of
remaining green for an unusual time in the absence of rain. The roots
are capable of penetrating the hardest soil, and the plant is well
adapted for sowing on dry loams, especially such as rest upon a chalky
subsoil, for which it manifests a marked partiality. Still, it will
thrive almost anywhere, and should form a prominent constituent of
most prescriptions for cricket grounds. Crested Dogstail is strictly
perennial, and will increase in strength and vigour for quite two years
after it is sown.

_Festuca duriuscula_ (Hard Fescue).—This grass grows freely on sheep
downs, and when mingled in due proportion with other varieties it
largely contributes to the formation of a fine close turf. The plant
commences growing early in spring, and seed should be sown on all soils
that are not very wet.

_Festuca ovina tenuifolia_ (Fine-leaved Sheep’s Fescue).—The foliage
of Fine-leaved Sheep’s Fescue maintains its dark green colour for
some time in hot dry weather, and is so slender as to render the
term “blades of grass” almost a misnomer. Although most useful in
mixture with other grasses, a homogeneous turf cannot be obtained from
Fine-leaved Sheep’s Fescue alone. The plants grow in dense tufts,
and exhibit a decided antipathy to each other. The roots descend
to a considerable depth in search of moisture. As a consequence,
this grass will thrive on sandy or rocky soils that are incapable of
supporting any other variety. In the early stage of growth it is easily
overpowered by weeds, and for this reason autumn is preferable to
spring sowing, because weeds are then less prevalent. But for cricket
grounds this grass cannot be dispensed with, at whatever time of year a
sowing may be made. After the plants are established they easily hold
their position.

_Festuca rubra_ (Red Fescue) possesses many desirable qualities, which
give it a peculiar value. The foliage is very fine, close-growing,
endures hard wear, and the plant is not exacting as to habitat. It
thrives on the driest and poorest soils as well as on the best loams.
The true variety is quite distinct from either of the other fine-leaved
Fescues, and pure seed is difficult to obtain.

_Lolium perenne Suttoni_ (Sutton’s Dwarf Perennial Rye Grass).—Most
of the perennial rye grasses are too coarse for a cricket ground, but
this variety is eminently suitable for the purpose, alike for the
fineness of its foliage and the dwarf branching habit of growth. It
tillers out close to the ground, forms a compact sward, and retains its
verdure throughout the year, unless burnt by excessive drought, from
which it speedily recovers. The quick maturity of this grass is another
advantage, as it occupies the ground while slower-growing varieties are
developing.

_Poa pratensis_ (Smooth-stalked Meadow Grass).—Although somewhat
shallow-rooted, this grass endures drought remarkably well. Light land,
rich in humus, is its favourite resort, and it will also grow, but not
with the same freedom, on heavy soil. The plant does not develop its
full proportions in the first season.

_Poa trivialis_ (Rough-stalked Meadow Grass) is somewhat similar in
appearance to _Poa pratensis_, but instead of being adapted to dry,
light soils, it flourishes in strong, moist situations, and unless
the land contains abundance of potash and phosphoric acid, the plant
speedily disappears.

_Poa nemoralis_ (Wood Meadow Grass).—From the perpetual greenness and
dwarf close-growing habit of this grass, it is admirably suited for
cricket grounds. The growth commences very early in spring, and it is
one of the best grasses for enduring drought.

_Trifolium repens perenne_ (Perennial White Clover) is indigenous all
over the country, and may be seen growing freely by roadsides; indeed,
it grows better in poor than in rich land. The seed will lie dormant at
some depth in the soil, and yet germinate freely when brought to the
surface. Perennial White is one of the clovers most frequently sown on
lawns and cricket grounds; when constantly mown and rolled, it produces
a dense mass of herbage.

_Trifolium minus_ (Yellow Suckling Clover).—This is a quick-growing
plant, showing abundantly in summer, just when the grasses are thin and
the dense foliage of clover is most welcome.


QUANTITY OF SEED

We need scarcely allude to the necessity of sowing new and pure seed,
strong in germinating power. Seeds of the grasses and clovers suitable
for producing a fine turf are nearly all expensive, some of them very
expensive. But as fine grasses do not tiller out to the same extent
as the larger pasture varieties, a liberal seeding is imperative. We
recommend a sowing of four bushels per acre, and should the ground be
wanted in the shortest possible time, the quantity may with advantage
be increased to five or six bushels per acre. The additional outlay
will be well repaid by the rapid clothing of the ground; and in favour
of thick seeding it may be urged that the more closely the plants are
crowded the finer will be the herbage.


SOWING

Grass seeds may be sown at any time between the middle of March and
the end of September. But from the latter half of May on to about the
second week in August, hot, dry weather often proves destructive to
the young plants. They cannot acquire sufficient stamina to endure
continued drought or fierce heat, unless constant watering is possible,
and it is not conducive to sweetness of temper to see a good plant
wither away. From the middle of March to the first week of May is the
best period for spring sowing, the earlier the better; and from about
10th August to the middle of September for summer or autumn sowing.
The clovers from an autumn sowing are liable to destruction by a severe
winter, even if slugs spare them. Should there be failure from any
cause, seed must be sown in the following spring.

The seeds can be more evenly distributed by two sowings than by one,
however skilled and practised the sower may be; and the second sowing
should cross the first at right angles. The finer grass seeds, being
small and light, are readily blown to a distance by a high wind; a
quiet time should therefore be chosen, and the workman must keep his
hand low. On large plots the seed-barrow can be used with advantage,
but even here we recommend two sowings, instead of entrusting all the
seed to a single operation. Where the work of preparing the ground has
been continuous, seed may be sown immediately the bed is ready. The
whole plot must then be lightly raked once more, with the object of
covering as many seeds as possible. Those which are deeply buried will
not germinate, and those which are exposed may be scorched by the sun,
or consumed by birds. As a finish put the roller over twice, first
north and south, then east and west, and it must be done carefully, for
on every spot missed by the roller the grasses will fail. Good work
will leave the surface almost as smooth and true as a billiard table.

It frequently happens that the preparation of the seed-bed is completed
in advance of the proper time for sowing, and the plot is allowed to
lie fallow. In such cases, through the fall of rain, or some other
cause, the surface becomes set, and it is necessary to break the top
crust into a fine friable condition before the seed can be sown with a
fair prospect of success.


WORM-CASTS

In a very short time a thick sprinkling of worm-casts will be observed.
We have no desire to call in question the general service rendered by
these lowly creatures, but their movements in ground newly sown for a
lawn or cricket ground are unquestionably mischievous, and the injury
they cause will be greater in proportion to the looseness of the soil.
A well-made, firm seed-bed is less liable to injury than one that has
not been properly consolidated by the roller. Upon old turf the cast is
thrown up from a well-defined orifice seldom exceeding a quarter of an
inch in diameter. Worms loosen the soil of a newly-made seed-bed for a
considerable distance round each burrow, and on this broken earth not a
seed will germinate. It would be comparatively unimportant if the casts
were few and far between, but generally hundreds of them may be seen on
a pole of ground.

When and how the casts should be dealt with is sometimes a source of
perplexity. A few days after sowing, a light roller will gather them
up, if moist, and the implement must be scraped at the end of every
run. When the casts are dry, the roller will crush them and remain
clean. This light rolling may be repeated once or twice, if necessary,
always taking care not to break the surface either with the foot or
the roller. After the first fine spears of grass begin to show, it is
generally unwise to touch the bed until the scythe or mower comes into
use.

Those who care to rid the soil of worms, either before sowing or
after the grass is established, may do so by means of water strongly
impregnated with newly-burned lime. Fill a barrel with water, add
as much lime as the water will absorb, stir briskly, and then allow
the lime to settle. The clear fluid, freely used from an ordinary
water-can, will bring the worms from their burrows in hundreds, and
at the same time benefit the grass. The worms should be collected and
destroyed in salt water.


WATER AND SHADE

When severe and prolonged drought succeeds the sowing, there is a
possibility that the seeds may be “malted.” In spring the soil is
generally moist enough to start seed-germs, but during continued dry
weather growth is arrested, and the fragile seedlings wither away.
As a rule, the watering of newly-sown land is to be avoided, but it
may become a necessity if the grass is to be saved. A small plot can
easily be watered by hose, or even by the water-can fitted with a fine
rose. A large area presents difficulties, especially in the absence of
hose, or if water has to be carried a considerable distance. In any
case there must be no rude trampling on the soil. Flat boards laid at
intervals, and ordinary care, will prevent injury from the traffic. The
water must be delivered in a fine spray, and for a sufficient time to
prevent the necessity of a second application. Still, watering is an
evil at best, and one means of avoiding it altogether is to cover the
entire surface, immediately after sowing, with a thin layer of cocoanut
fibre, which will screen the soil from burning sunshine, check rapid
evaporation, and foster the slender blades of grass as they rise. There
is no occasion to remove this slight protection, for it will prove an
advantage long after the grass has grown through it. To some extent the
fibre is also a defence against the depredations of birds.

[Illustration: _CRICKET’S PEACEFUL WEAPONS._]

[Illustration: _THE END OF THE INNINGS._
(_WILLIAM BELDHAM, b. 1766, d. 1862_)]


BIRD SCARES

Sparrows and several of the finches are particularly partial to grass
seeds, and they do mischief in other ways. The birds break up the
surface, eat until surfeited, and then take a dust-bath. There are many
methods of scaring them, and some plan must be adopted to preserve the
seed from these marauders.

Small plots can be protected by nets, but on a large scale this mode
of defence is, of course, out of the question. One cheap scare is to
connect lengths of twine to tall stakes, and at intervals hang strips
of glittering tin, slightly twisted, in order that they may be freely
turned by the wind. Another remedy is to make an example of some of
the pirates, and hang them up as a warning. When the sown area is
extensive, it should be watched by a lad until the plant appears. He
must be an early riser, and if it will not prove a nuisance, he may be
entrusted with a gun and a few blank cartridges.


MOWING

While the plant is quite young, it should be topped with a sharp
scythe. This will encourage the grasses to tiller out and their
roots to fill the soil. At brief intervals the cutting should be
repeated, and for this early work on the tender grass the scythe is
unquestionably preferable to the mowing machine. Indeed, the risk of
injury from the mower is so great that many practical men condemn its
employment until the plant is fairly established. But the condition of
the machine must be taken into account. We have successfully used a
mower for the very first cutting, having previously ascertained by a
trial on old grass that the cutters were in perfect order.

In the judicious use of the mower lies one secret of a close sward.
During severe winter weather the implement may not be wanted for
several weeks, but as spring advances the ragged plant should have
attention, and the necessity for more frequent cutting will be evident,
until in warm, moist weather, twice a week, and possibly, for a brief
period, every other day, may not be too often. No rigid law can be laid
down on this point. The grass should never wear a neglected appearance,
nor should the work on any account be postponed to a more convenient
season. Setting the mower requires the exercise of judgment. It
should never be so low as to graze the surface, and in summer, during
scorching sunshine, it will be advisable to raise the cutter a trifle
higher than for strong spring growth.


ROLLING

Next in importance to mowing comes the use of the roller, without which
it is impossible to establish a fine close turf, or to maintain it in
high condition. After the first cutting of the young grass, the whole
plot must be gently compressed with a rather light roller, and the
work needs care, because the bed is easily broken by a clumsy foot.
Subsequent cuttings to be followed by the roller until the plant is
capable of bearing a heavier implement, which should not always be used
in the same direction.

When the soil becomes hard through dry weather, rolling can do no good,
and during frost it will be injurious; but in spring and autumn the
frequent use of a rather heavy roller will have a visibly beneficial
effect on the grass.

The best rollers are constructed with two cylinders, having the outer
edges rounded. The division of the cylinder facilitates turning, and
the rounded edges prevent unsightly marks.


DESTRUCTION OF WEEDS

After the most careful preparation of the land, annual weeds are
certain to appear, and every weed, if left alone, will choke a number
of the surrounding grasses. Frequent mowing checks these weeds, but
plantains, thistles, and dandelions must be taken up, each one singly,
about an inch below the surface. A pinch of salt dropped upon the cut
root will effectually prevent new growth. The lad who does this work
should understand what he is about, for a plantain merely cut off below
the collar will send out half-a-dozen shoots, in the same manner as sea
kale, and prove a greater nuisance than the original crown; and the
careless use of salt will kill a lot of grass plants. Daisies should be
lifted separately, each plant with its root entire, and although new
growth will here and there appear for a second or even a third time,
the daisies will be weaker, and a little perseverance will speedily
rid a large grass plot of every one of them. Another efficient mode of
eradicating weeds is to dip a wood skewer into sulphuric acid, strong
carbolic acid, or one of the liquid weed destroyers, and then plunge
the skewer perpendicularly into the heart of the plant. The result
is deadly and instantaneous; but the use of these destructive fluids
needs great care to avoid personal injury or the burning of holes in
clothing. The bottle containing the liquid must be kept in a place of
security.

In extirpating weeds there is nothing like system. Instead of aimlessly
wandering hither and thither, it is more economical in time and labour
to mark off with a garden line a strip six feet wide, and clear the
weeds from the enclosure. Follow with successive strips until the whole
surface has been dealt with, and it is surprising how quickly a large
area may be divested of weeds.

After sowing grass seeds, how soon will the ground be fit for use?
is a question frequently asked. No definite answer can be given. The
time depends on the period of the year, the weather which follows
the sowing, and the attention bestowed on the rising plant. To these
influences must be added the nature of the soil, aspect, and district.
In August or early September, sowing should produce, under favourable
circumstances, and with generous treatment, a good turf during
the following summer. Spring sowings are specially subject to the
vicissitudes of the season. When the atmosphere is genial and the plot
receives due attention, the plant rapidly fills the soil, and a thick
sward results towards the end of July or the beginning of August. But
it is desirable not to subject it to hard use until the following year.

Except the final mowing and light rolling on the morning of the match,
wickets should be prepared three days in advance. It is often fatal to
good cricket to employ the heavy roller on the day the match commences.
Should the grass be so dense as to make the wicket slow, a broom deftly
used, followed by a hand mower, run several times between the wickets
and across the ground also, will affect a marked improvement in the
pace. The preparation can be finished with the small roller.

Plantains should never be tolerated on a cricket ground. When the ball
happens to fall on the centre of one of these plants, it may travel in
the most erratic manner.

Many cricket grounds are grazed with sheep, and if the animals are
at the same time fed with cake, this is one of the simplest and most
effectual means of maintaining the sward in a luxuriant condition. But
we have seen sheep do immense mischief on light sandy ground, where
their quick snatching mode of feeding readily uproots the plants. Of
course the work of mowing is greatly reduced when sheep can with safety
be allowed to graze. It must, however, be distinctly understood that
without cake the sheep add nothing to the fertility of the soil.


IMPROVING CRICKET GROUNDS

As a rule, every cricket ground should be liberally manured in spring,
with the artificials as recommended above; and before or at the close
of each season—certainly not later than the middle of September—fine
grass seeds should be sown over the worn parts of the turf. If the
sowing can be made early in September, the grasses will have several
months in which to become established, and for this reason sowing in
autumn on a cricket ground is generally preferable to sowing in spring.

As a preliminary, the surface must be raked or harrowed to provide
a seed-bed. Then sow renovating seeds at the rate of not less than
one bushel per acre, making two operations of the work to ensure
regular distribution. Rake or harrow in the seeds to cover as many as
possible, and finish with a careful rolling.

Newly-made cricket grounds sometimes show depressions after the grass
is up. Where these are shallow, an occasional sifting of fine loam may
follow the mowing, and with patient attention a true surface can be
restored; but a quantity of soil, roughly thrown down, will smother
the rising plant. Should the hollows be deep, a different procedure
becomes necessary. Young grass cannot be cut and rolled in the manner
usual with an established sward, and if holes are filled with a thick
covering of earth, it is necessary to re-sow and follow with the mower
and roller, as already advised. But if the plant is fairly thick, it
may perhaps be possible to cut the young turf in small square sections,
and lift each one separately by means of a thin flat board or piece of
zinc. After making good the level, the pieces of turf can, with care,
be restored without much injury. As a finish, lightly touch the surface
with the flat beater, and spray over it two or three cans of water.

Inequalities in old turf can be remedied by a simpler mode of
treatment. Across the hollow spot, cut strips 10 or 12 inches wide,
and roll back the sward from the centre. Make the bed perfectly level,
leaving the soil with a firm but crumbled surface; then restore the
turf, which will be found rather too long for the space, and tenderly
compress it into the original position; beat carefully down, give a
soaking of water, and in due time mow and roll. In a few days no trace
of the operation will be visible, but the grass ought not to be roughly
used until it is thoroughly re-established.

Fairy rings are sometimes troublesome. They are caused by several kinds
of fungus. When these decay, the soil becomes charged with nitrogenous
matter, and a dark green spot of grass is the result. The mycelium
exhausts the soil of the constituents which are essential to the
existence of the fungi, and as new supplies of food can only be found
on fresh ground, the spot becomes a circle, which annually increases in
circumference, until it either breaks up or the fungi are exhausted.
No direct remedy is known, but it has been observed that lawns which
are liberally dressed every spring with stimulating manure produce
dark green herbage, closely resembling the fairy rings in colour. As
a consequence the circles are less conspicuous, and they also show a
tendency to disappear under the effects of the manure.

Moss is generally a sign of poorness of soil, and sometimes indicates
the need of drainage. But before laying in drain-pipes remedial
measures should be tried, especially as the work of draining sadly cuts
the place about. There may also be a difficulty as to the disposal of
the outflow. To improve the grass, either put the rake heavily over the
sward, or employ a toothed harrow to drag out as much moss as possible.
Then spread over the turf a compost, previously prepared, of lime mixed
with rich soil free from weeds, in the proportion of one load of lime
to four loads of soil; the addition of Sutton’s lawn manure, at the
rate of 2 cwt. per acre, will stimulate the grass. Eight cartloads of
the compost should be applied per acre. About a fortnight after the
dressing has been spread, a sowing of seed will quickly fill the ground
with young healthy plants, and assist in preventing a reappearance of
the moss. The early part of September should be chosen for this work,
to give the turf time to recover before the next season.



                                 INDEX


  Abel, 215, 245, 246, 268, 395

  Absalom, Mr. C. A., 308, 309

  Acland-Hood, H., 358

  Adelaide, 235, 252, 253, 261, 286

  Alcock, Mr. C. H., 321

  —— Mr. C. W., 353, 363

  Alexander, 236

  All England Eleven, the, 158

  Allan, 222

  Alverstone, Lord, 363

  Amateurs and professionals, 147;
    definition of the term, 193;
    distinction in cricket almost disappeared, 194;
    a comparison made, 196;
    the amateur forty years ago, 196;
    the amateur to-day, 198, 201;
    the professional of old, 198;
    the modern professional, 199;
    the life of a professional, 200;
    second-rate professionals, 200;
    “leagues,” 200;
    providing livelihoods for amateurs, 202;
    complimentary matches and benefits, 203, 207;
    amateurs’ expenses, 203;
    the question in Australia, 204;
    the Australian system, 206;
    gate money, 207;
    professional and amateur play, 208;
    bowling, 208, 209;
    batting, 212;
    fielding, 213;
    the professional wicket-keeper, 213;
    managing a side, 215, 366, 382, 383;
    black professionals, 385

  America, cricket in, 389;
    Philadelphia, 390, 393;
    the Philadelphian eleven, 390;
    P. F. Warner’s first tour in, 390;
    his second tour, 390;
    visit of K. S. Ranjitsinhji’s eleven, 391;
    visit of Mr. B. J. T. Bosanquet’s eleven, 391;
    New York, 392;
    Canada, 392

  Anson, Mr. T. A., 175, 304

  Answorth, J. L., 390

  Appleby, Mr., 209, 212

  Archer, Mr. A. S., 352

  Armstrong, the Australian, 64, 286, 287

  Askwith, Mr. G. R., 358

  Attewell, 105, 239, 243, 245

  Auckland, 381, 410, 411

  Australian cricket. _See_ Cricket

  Authentics Cricket Club, the, 357, 358

  Aylward, 8, 15, 32


  _Badminton Magazine_, the, 314

  Bails, 35

  Bainbridge, Mr. H. W., 322, 323

  Baldwin, Mr. Lorraine, 349

  Balls, cricket, 10

  Baltimore, 389

  Bannerman, A., 195, 204, 220, 224, 231, 234, 245, 247

  —— Charles, 195, 204, 224, 413

  Barbados, 385, 386, 387, 388

  Bardswell, 334

  Barlow, 230, 234, 238

  Barnes, 89, 112, 212, 213, 238, 239, 284, 285, 286

  Barrett, 244

  Base-ball, 390

  Bateman, A. E., 307

  Bates, 213, 230, 232, 234, 239

  Bathurst, Sir Francis, 305

  —— L. C. U., 394

  Bats, first form of, 4, 5;
    fashion changed, 5, 6, 36;
    limitation of width, 10, 33;
    instruments of defence, 37;
    suitable to young cricketers, 50

  Batting, 30;
    necessity of early practice and good coaching, 48;
    a good wicket the first essential, 49;
    hints to beginners, 49;
    a suitable bat, 50;
    position at the wicket, 50;
    where the weight should fall, 51;
    forward play, 53-58;
    the secret of forward play, 53, 54;
    how to play a good length ball, 53, 54;
    the off drive, 54, 55, 57;
    the “half-cock” stroke, 56;
    the forcing forward stroke, 57;
    offensive forward play, 57;
    back play, 58-63;
    moving the right leg, 58, 59;
    the golden rule for back play, 60;
    a good rule on a sticky wicket, 61;
    the hook stroke, 62;
    the back glance, 63;
    the forward glance, 63, 64;
    the leg hit, 64;
    the square leg hit, 64;
    the pull, 65;
    the straight half volley, 66;
    how to drive, 66;
    the on-drive, 67;
    the three classes of cut, 67;
    the forward cut, 67;
    the square cut, 68;
    the late cut, 68;
    the “chop,” 69;
    when to play forward, 69;
    how to play to fast and slow bowling, 70;
    jumping out to hit, 70;
    playing lobs, 70;
    the “hitting or long-handle game,” 71;
    playing on a sticky wicket, 72;
    running, 73-76;
    want of confidence, 75;
    superstitions, 75, 76;
    enthusiasm in cricket, 77

  Beauclerk, Lord Frederick, 19, 22, 28

  Beginners, hints to, 49, 50, 52, 53, 55, 84

  Belcher, Mr. T. H., 312

  Beldham, 13, 19, 22, 28, 40, 172;
    quoted, 14, 15, 21, 22, 30, 38, 39, 40, 44

  Bentley, 14, 16, 22

  Berkeley, Mr. G. F. H., 331

  Betting on cricket, influence of, 11, 13;
    single-wicket matches, 21;
    “leg-work,” 22;
    selling matches, 23;
    Beldham on betting, 24, 25, 153

  Beverley Club, 349

  Bignall, 214

  Birmingham, 279

  Bisset, Mr. Murray, 402, 404

  Blackham, 220, 223, 231, 234, 257

  Bland, James, 21, 23

  Bligh, the Hon. Ivo, 317

  Block-hole, the, 31, 32

  Blore, Mr. E. W., 304

  Blythe, 69, 284, 285

  Board, J. H., 127, 173, 273, 396

  Bonnor, G. J., 228, 231, 234, 321, 354

  Booth, Mr. Clement, 307, 308

  Bosanquet, Mr. B. J. T., 336, 360, 390, 391, 410

  Bourne, Mr. A., 311

  Bowling, 30;
    advantages of, 80, 81;
    lob bowlers, 84;
    slow bowlers, 85, 86;
    Nepean, 87;
    C. M. Wells, 88;
    his fast ball, 89;
    delivery, 90;
    holding the ball, 90-91;
    C. L. Townsend, 92;
    Johnny Briggs, 93;
    Peel, 95, 96;
    Rhodes, 96;
    Wainwright, 98;
    Trott, 99;
    Tyler, 100;
    leg-break bowlers, 101;
    medium bowlers, 101, 102;
    George Lohmann, 102;
    description of Lohmann’s bowling by C. B. Fry, 103;
    Jack Hearne, 105;
    Attewell and Mead, 105;
    Hallam, 106;
    Alfred Shaw, 106;
    George Davidson, 107;
    Tate, 107;
    F. S. Jackson, 108;
    R. F. Mason, 108;
    fast bowlers—Tom Richardson, 109, 110;
      Lockwood, 110;
      exhibition of fast bowling at the Oval, 111;
      Arthur Mold, 112;
      George Hirst, 113;
      Sam Woods, 113, 114;
      W. M. Bradley, 115;
    “lobsters,” 115, 116;
    great difference between professional and amateur, 208, 209

  Bowls, the game of, 33

  Boxshall, 414

  Boyle, 222, 224 231, 234, 238

  Bradley, W. M., 57, 115, 176, 209, 281, 360

  Brain, Mr. J. H., 346, 358

  —— W. H., 328

  Braund, 64, 101, 214, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 405

  —— Mr., 27

  Bray, Mr. E. H., 332, 334

  Briggs, Johnny, 93, 94, 106, 178, 240, 242, 243, 245, 251, 253, 255,
      256, 257, 258, 259, 263, 273, 276, 281

  Britton-Holmes, Everard, 358

  Broadhalfpenny, 20

  Brockwell, W., 251, 256, 257, 258, 260, 264

  Brown, J. T., 251, 253, 256, 258, 264, 265, 269

  Brown, 20, 22

  Bruce, W., 240, 245, 260

  Buchanan, David, 210, 211, 212, 305

  Buckland, E. H., 324

  —— Mr. F. M., 315

  Budd, Mr., 22, 27, 39

  Bull, F. G., 389

  Bullingdon Club, the, 299, 302

  Bullock, W. H., 304

  Buluwayo, 381, 397, 405

  Burnup, C. J., 73, 176, 332, 334, 390, 410

  Burton, 387

  Bury, W., 308

  Bush, J. A., 172

  Butler, Mr. S. E., 312


  Caffyn, W., 218, 362

  Callaway, 412, 413

  Cam, the, 296

  Cambridge, 232, 296, 298, 302, 305, 307, 319, 325, 327, 333, 357, 359

  Cambridgeshire, 160

  Canada, cricket in, 381, 392

  Canterbury Week, 355

  Cape Colony, 402

  Cape Town, 396, 398, 401, 402, 407

  Carpenter, 160, 199

  Case, Professor, 306, 359

  Case, T. B., 357

  Cazenove, Mr. Arthur, 304

  Charlton, 244

  Chatterton, 170

  Clarke, P. H., 390, 391

  Clarke, 22

  Cliftonians, Old, 355

  Climate, influence of, on cricket, 221, 222, 387

  Cobb, M. R., 392

  Cobbold, P. W., 334

  Cobden, Mr. F. C., 310, 311

  Cobham, Lord, 307

  Coningham, 259

  Cooper, W. H., 236

  Coronation Match, 21

  Cotterill, G. E., 307

  Cowley Common, 299

  —— Marsh, 302

  Cranfield of Somerset, 69

  Crawford, Frank, 81

  Crawford, Mr., 203 note

  Crawford, Mr. V. F. S., 391

  Crawley, Mr. Eustace, 311, 324

  Crawte, 15


  Cricket, the beginning of, 1;
    origin of name, 1, 2;
    first form of play, 2, 3, 31;
    underhand bowling, 3;
    the first bat, 4, 5;
    choosing the wicket, 4;
    “length” bowling, 4, 5, 32;
    laws in 1774, 5;
    match between Kent County and All England in 1847, 5, 6;
    change of fashion in bat, 6;
    match between Hambledon Club and All England in 1775, 6;
    number of stumps increased, 7, 8;
    height of stumps and narrowing of wicket, 7, 8;
    distance between the wickets, 8, 9;
    regarding the width of the bat and size of ball, 10;
    invention of gauge, 10;
    laws first committed to writing, 11;
    influence of betting, 11, 13;
    a new moral epoch in 1833, 13;
    the Hambledon Club, 13, 14;
    a fire at the M.C.C. Pavilion, 14;
    Farnham the cradle of, 14, 15;
    county “boundaries,” 15;
    famous battlefields, 16;
    early matches, 17;
    cricket in the north, 17;
    appearance of Essex and Herts, 18;
    the first Gents _v._ Players match in 1798, 19;
    more strict division of counties, 20;
    betting, 21-28;
    single-wicket matches, 27, 28

  Cricket, country-house, 342;
    the prime of, 343;
    perceptible decrease in the amount of this class of cricket, 344;
    obstacles in the way of, 345;
    the task of collecting a team, 345, 346;
    an ideal week of, 346;
    the ladies’ cricket match, 347;
    lunches, 347;
    Smokers _v._ Non-Smokers, 348;
    the I Zingari Club, 348, 349;
    a batch of anecdotes, 349-354;
    “military weeks,” 354;
    school tours, 355;
    clubs, 355-359;
    aims of, 360

  —— county, 20;
    progress of, 139;
    organisation into a formal competition, 141;
    growth and systematisation, 142;
    gate money, 142, 143;
    increase of cricket, due to the growth of county cricket, 144;
    formation of a county Eleven, 144, 145;
    grounds, 146;
    professional players, 147;
    amateurs, 147;
    relations between professionals and amateurs, 149;
    question of residential qualification, 149-152;
    _bona-fide_ residence, 150;
    early county cricket, 152;
    betting, 153;
    some early matches, 154;
    in the north, 155;
    notes on the early half of the century, 156, 157;
    a trio of matches between Sussex and England, 156;
    wides and no-balls, 156;
    arrangement of matches, 157;
    establishment and formation of county clubs, 158, 159;
    the All England and United All England Elevens, 158-160;
    classification of counties, 160, 161, 167, 168;
    arrangement of meetings, 161;
    rivalry of clubs, 161, 162;
    the Challenge Cup offered by the M.C.C., 162;
    list of the champion counties, 163;
    system of reckoning the order, 164;
    connection between the Marylebone Club and the counties, 165, 166;
    history of the various first-class counties, 169-192

  Cricket, earlier Australian, the first English teams to visit
        Australia, 217, 218;
    first Australian team to visit England, 218;
    match against Marylebone, 219;
    the 1878 Eleven, 219;
    Spofforth, 220;
    his early methods, 221;
    wicket-keepers and fielders, 222;
    visit of Lord Harris’s Eleven in 1870, 224;
    the second Australian Eleven, 225;
    Palmer, 225, 226;
    Macdonnell, 226, 227;
    match against picked England Eleven, 229;
    visit of Alfred Shaw’s Eleven in 1881, 230;
    the Australian Eleven of 1882, 230;
    decline of form from 1884-1894, 231;
    visit of Earl Darnley’s team to Australia in 1882, 232-234;
    difficulties of touring, 235;
    the cricket grounds, 235;
    the Australian Eleven of 1884, 236, 237;
    Australian cricket at its highest point, 238;
    an English Eleven under Alfred Shaw visits Australia, 239;
    the Australian Eleven of 1886, 239;
    signs of deterioration visible, 240-241;
    visit of professionals to Australia under Shaw and Shrewsbury, 242;
    teams under G. F. Vernon and Shrewsbury visit Australia in 1887-88,
        242;
    the Australian Eleven of 1890, 243, 244;
    visit of Lord Sheffield’s Eleven to Australia, 1891-92, 245;
    Australian Eleven of 1893, 246;
    the English representatives, 247;
    influence of the interchange of visits on English cricket, 249

  Cricket, English and Australian from 1894-1902, 251;
    visit of Mr. Stoddart’s team to Australia, 1894, 251;
    match at Adelaide, 252;
    at Melbourne, 254;
    match with New South Wales, 255;
    with Queensland, 256;
    the first test at Sydney, 256-259;
    second test match at Melbourne, 259;
    third test match at Adelaide, 261;
    fourth test match at Sydney, 261;
    the final test game at Melbourne, 263;
    visit of the Australians to England in 1896, 265;
    H. Trott as captain, 266;
    the first test match at Lord’s, 268;
    the second test match at Manchester, 269;
    the deciding match at the Oval, 271;
    increased pay for professionals, 273;
    visit of A. E. Stoddart’s second team to Australia, 273;
    postponement of the first test at Sydney, 273;
    the second test match at Melbourne, 275;
    the third test match at Adelaide, 276;
    the fourth test match at Melbourne, 277;
    the last test, 278;
    visit of Darling’s team to England, 279;
    the first test at Birmingham, 279;
    the second test at Lord’s, 280;
    the third test at Leeds, 281;
    the fourth test at Manchester, 281;
    the fifth test at the Oval, 282;
    visit of Maclaren’s team to Australia, 284;
    the first test at Sydney, 284;
    the second test at Melbourne, 285;
    the third test at Adelaide, 286;
    the fourth test at Sydney, 287;
    the last match at Melbourne, 287;
    visit of Joe Darling’s team in 1902, 288;
    the test matches, 292;
    the test at Birmingham, 292;
    the test match at Lord’s, 293;
    test match at Manchester, 294

  —— foreign, 381;
    tours abroad, 381;
    the financial question, 382;
    the West Indies, 383-389;
    America, 389-393;
    Portugal, 393;
    South Africa, 396-408;
    New Zealand, 409-414

  Cricket, University, 296;
    the University match, 297-298;
    trial grounds, 299;
    Oxford, 299;
    Cambridge, 300;
    early history of, 301;
    cricket “families,” 303;
    the Dark Blues, 302-304;
    the Light Blues, 304, 305;
    the mid-Victorian section of, 307;
    a remarkable group of Cambridge players, 308;
    “Bill of the Play,” 309;
    the match of 1870, 310;
    triumph of Oxford in 1875, 313;
    a close finish, 314;
    the ability of the Cambridge Eleven of 1878, 315;
    Mr. Edward Lyttelton’s team, 316;
    the teams in 1881, 319;
    treatment by the great Australian team of 1882, 320;
    Cambridge Past and Present _v._ Australia, 321;
    the ‘Varsity match in 1883, 322;
    comparative falling off of the Universities, 322;
    the Cambridge victory of 1885, 323;
    “the last choice game,” 324;
    the difficulty of getting a “blue,” 327;
    Cambridge _v._ Sussex, 327;
    incidents leading to an alteration in the law of following on, 327;
    new players, 329;
    the ‘Varsity match of 1896, 332;
    ebb years between 1896-1902, 335;
    a gorgeous piece of cricket, 335;
    undergraduates, 336;
    contemporary Oxford, 336;
    Cambridge, 337;
    list of those who have represented England in the test matches at
        home, 338;
    programme of each season, 339;
    importance of the University match to the funds of the M.C.C., 340

  —— village, “Yokels at Cricket,” 361;
    village cricket _v._ county cricket, 364;
    a village match, 365;
    educational value of, 365, 366;
    our Club, 366;
    the ground, 367;
    the pitch, 367;
    the pavilion, 367;
    the tea tent, 368;
    officials, members, and subscription, 368, 369;
    the committee, 370;
    the best village cricketers, 370;
    the question of finance, 371, 372;
    details of expenditure, 373;
    country umpires, 375, 376;
    the great annual event, 377, 378, 379

  Cricketing, early developments in the art of, 29;
    effect of bowling and batting on each other, 30;
    excellence of the Australian game, 30;
    advance in batting due to advance in bowling, 30, 31;
    “bias” bowling, 33, 34;
    change in the height of wickets, 35;
    length bowling introduced, 35;
    alteration of the form of bat, 36;
    real beginning of cricket, 36;
    aggressive tactics of early cricketers, 37, 38;
    “slogging,” 38;
    style of batting before 1780, 39;
    a new era in the art of batting, 39;
    Tom Walker, 40, 41;
    “throwing-bowling,” 41;
    Harris’s bowling, 41, 42;
    mode of delivering the ball, 42, 43;
    rising tendency of his balls, 43;
    effect of his bowling on the batting, 44;
    hitting out, 45;
    development of forward defensive play, 47

  Cricket Council, the, 167, 168

  Crockford, 23

  Cumberbatch, 384

  Cunliffe, Mr. F. H. E., 332, 333

  Cuttell, 106, 396, 402, 404, 406


  Daft, Richard, 206, 211, 215

  Dale, J. W., 309, 310

  Daniel, A. W. T., 308

  Darling, J., 253, 257, 263, 264, 266, 268, 272, 275, 276, 278, 279,
      282

  Darnley, Lord, 300, 317

  Davenport, H. R. Bromley, 394

  Davidson, George, 107, 170

  Day, Mr. S. H., 337

  Demerara, 385, 386, 387

  Denton, 73

  Derbyshire, 158, 168, 169, 201

  Dillon, 364

  Douglas, Mr. R. N., 326, 327, 357, 394

  —— J., 329, 357

  Downes, 412, 413

  Dowson, Mr. E. M., 69, 337, 360, 391, 410

  Drake, Mr. E. T., 305

  Druce, Mr. N. F., 273, 313, 330, 333, 335

  —— Mr. W. G., 330

  —— Mr. W. E., 76

  Duff, 285, 286

  Durham, 160


  Emmett, Tom, 54, 215, 224, 230

  Essex, 18, 158, 168, 171, 308

  Eton, 304

  —— Ramblers, 355

  Evans, Mr. A. H., 224, 233, 239, 303, 305, 316, 319

  —— Mr. W. H. B., 337

  Evershed, S. H., 170


  Fane, F. L., 410

  Fane, Sir Spencer Ponsonby, 349

  Farnham, 20

  Fawcett, E. B., 307

  Fellowes, Mr. Walter, 304

  —— Mr. Harvey, 303, 304

  Fenner, F. P., 300

  Fennex, 44

  Ferris, 109, 242, 244, 245

  Fielding, 39, 117;
    deterioration of, lately, 118;
    importance of, 119;
    how to obtain practice, 119;
    throwing at the wicket, 120;
    ground fielding, 120;
    returning the ball, 120;
    pursuing the ball, 121;
    speed and accuracy in returning the ball, 122;
    running men out, 122;
    anticipating the batsman’s stroke, 123;
    backing up the wicket-keeper and bowler, 123, 124;
    position of hands for catch, 124;
    improvement of wicket-keeping, 125;
    duties of a good keeper, 125, 126;
    position of hands, 127;
    the “give,” 127;
    taking balls on the leg side, 128;
    point, 128;
    “cover point,” 129;
    position, 129;
    judging catches, 130;
    Gregory at “cover,” 130;
    duties of “third” man, 131;
    the “slips,” 132;
    “mid-off,” 133;
    “mid-on,” 133;
    position of short-leg, 135;
    throwing in, 135, 213

  Findlay, Mr. W., 337

  Fisher, 412

  Fitzgerald, Mr. R., 306

  Flint, 170

  Flowers, 239

  Foley, Mr. C. P., 325, 327, 357

  Ford, F. G. J., 253, 256, 258, 325, 327

  —— A. F. J., 318

  Fortescue, Mr. A. T., 311

  Foster, Mr. H. K., 67, 331, 333, 337

  —— Mr. R. E., 51, 69, 335, 337

  Francis, Mr. C. K., 311

  Francis, Mr. H. H., 402

  Frankish, 412, 413

  Free Foresters Club, the, 197, 208, 356

  Freshmen’s Match, the, 339

  Fry, C. B., 51, 60, 72, 102, 103, 280, 331, 338

  Fuller Pilch, 157, 175


  Galloway, 261

  Game, Mr. W. H., 313, 314, 315

  Garnett, H. G., 412

  Garrett, 220, 222, 224, 229, 231, 236, 241

  Gate money, 142, 206, 207, 283, 300, 382, 404

  Gay, L. H., 251, 252, 253, 257, 330

  Gentlemen of England team, 339

  Gentlemen _v._ Players, 19, 303, 305, 346

  Georgetown, Demerara, ground at, 389

  Giddy, Mr., 402

  Giffen, 109, 231, 238, 240, 242, 246, 257, 258, 260, 262, 263, 264,
      266, 267, 268

  Gloucestershire, 158, 163, 165, 172, 375

  Godalming, 20

  Godfrey, Mr. C. J. M., 320

  Goodman, Clifford, of Barbados, 388

  Goschen, Mr. Charles, 350

  Gosling, Mr. R. C., 325

  Graaf Reinet, 397, 402

  Grace, E. M., 172, 321

  —— G. F., 172

  —— W. G., 51, 57, 85, 86, 110, 159, 172, 210, 211, 212, 214, 218,
      219, 229, 240, 245, 246, 247, 268, 271, 282, 307, 309, 315, 339,
      395

  Graham, 247, 262

  Grahamstown, 397, 402

  Green, C. E., 171, 308

  Greene, Mr. A. D., 316

  Greenfield, Mr. F. F. J., 314

  Greenwood, Luke, 214

  Gregory, S. E., 169, 204 note, 244, 256, 257, 263, 266, 268, 269, 276,
      279, 282, 286, 288

  Greig, J. E., 174

  Grounds, cricket, 415;
    soils on which a pitch cannot be made, 415;
    sandy soil, 416;
    adhesive land, 416;
    drainage, 416, 420;
    a slope, 417;
    preparation of the entire area, or only the cricket square, 417;
    reserve plots, 418;
    laying turf or sowing seed, 418;
    cost of turf, 419;
    a sward produced from seeds, 419;
    preparatory work, 421;
    weed seeds in soils, 422;
    enriching the soil, 423;
    surface preparation, 424;
    selection of seeds, 425-428;
    quantity of seed, 429;
    sowing, 429, 430;
    worm casts, 431;
    water and shade, 432;
    bird scares, 433;
    mowing, 434;
    rolling, 435;
    destruction of weeds, 435-436;
    improving cricket grounds, 438, 441

  Grundy, Jemmy, 199

  Gully, 23

  Gunn, W., 67, 212, 213, 214, 247, 286, 287


  Hadow, Mr. Walter, 311

  Haigh, 71, 81, 97, 346, 396, 397, 399, 402, 404, 405, 406

  Hall, Harry, of Farnham, 17, 40

  Hallam, 106

  Halliwell, 128, 403

  Hambledon Club, the, 4, 6, 8, 13, 14, 20, 154, 155

  Hammond, 20

  Hampshire, 20, 155, 158, 168, 174

  Hankey, Mr. Reginald, 304

  Hargreave, 410

  Harlequins, the, 197, 357

  Harris, David, 4, 13, 31, 39, 40, 42, 46

  —— Lord, 150, 167, 224, 312, 338

  Harrison-Ward, Mr. E. E., 311

  Harrow, 313, 326

  —— Wanderers, 355

  Hartley, J. C., 332

  —— Row, 20

  Hartopp, Mr. E. S., 304

  Hawke, Lord, 75, 312, 321, 352, 383, 384, 388, 396, 397, 409

  Hay, 170

  Hayward, Tom, 97, 115, 160, 199, 212, 213, 269, 273, 274, 276, 280,
      281, 282, 284, 286, 287

  Hearne, J. T., 81, 105, 210, 264, 272, 273, 275, 277, 281, 319, 330

  Henery, Mr., 321

  Herts, 18

  Hewett, Mr. H. T., 329

  Hickton, 170

  Hill, Mr. A. J. L., 326, 327

  —— Clem, 253, 266, 268, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 285, 286,
      288

  —— Mr. F. H., 311

  —— Mr. V. T., 329, 390, 391

  Hirst, 214, 273, 274, 276, 330

  Hole, Dean, 370

  Homerton Club, the, 20

  Horan, 220, 231, 236

  Hornby, A. N., 177, 215, 219

  Howell, 256, 277, 399

  Howitt, 166

  Hugessen, Mr. C. M. Knatchbull, 323

  Hume, 170

  Humphreys, 251, 253, 254, 256


  Iddeson, Roger, 214

  Incogniti Club, the, 352, 356

  Intercolonial Cup, the, 385

  Iredale, 255, 257, 261, 266, 268, 270, 272, 276

  Isis, the, 296


  Jackson, F. S., 57, 60, 67, 72, 108, 210, 212, 213, 247, 280, 282,
      305, 326, 327, 328, 330, 338, 360

  Jardine, Mr. M. R., 328

  Jarvis, Mr. L. K., 239, 318

  Jephson, Mr. D. L. A., 71, 326, 327, 360

  Jessop, G. L., 52, 76, 81, 173, 208, 229, 254, 280, 285, 287, 288,
      309, 334, 338, 389

  Johannesburg, 396, 399, 400, 401, 403

  Johnson, P. R., 410

  Jones, A. O., 67, 330, 338

  —— E., 248

  —— R. T., 329

  —— S., 236, 241

  —— 109, 267, 268, 278, 280, 288


  Kaffirs, 400

  Kelly, J., 266, 271, 275

  Kemp, Mr. M. C., 320

  Kempson, Mr. Mat, 305

  Kent, 5, 16, 18, 155, 158, 164, 175

  —— _v._ England, 19

  —— Festival, 356

  Key, Mr. K. J., 69, 310, 323, 335

  Kimberley, 397, 398, 401, 405

  King, J. B., 390, 391, 392

  Kingston, Mr. F. W., 318

  King William’s Town, 397, 402

  Kirwan, Mr. J. H., 304

  Kitcat, S. A. P., 394

  Knatchbull, Mr. H. E., 303

  Kortright, C. J., 171, 208, 324


  Lambert, Mr., 28

  Lancashire, 158, 163, 164, 165, 176

  Lane, C. G., 304

  —— of Barbados, 387

  Lang, Mr. Andrew, 2

  —— Mr. T. W., 307, 313, 314

  Latham, Mr. P. H., 330

  Laver, 281

  Lawrence, C., 218

  Leatham, A. E., 410

  Leconfield, the late Lord, 349

  Lee, Mr. G. B., 303

  Leeds, 281

  “Legs,” 21, 22

  Leicester, 17, 168, 178, 364

  Leigh, Mr. Chandos, 304, 349, 355

  Leslie, Mr. C. F. H., 319, 323

  Lester, J. A., 390

  Leveson-Gower, H. D. G., 365

  Lewis, Mr. R. P., 328

  Lilley, 270, 280, 281, 284, 287, 288

  Lillywhite, J., 218

  Lincolnshire, 160

  Liverpool, 177

  Llewellyn, 404

  Lockwood, 64, 110, 111, 208, 211, 247, 251, 253, 283

  Lockyer, 213

  Logan, Mr. J. D., 406

  Lohmann, George, 81, 91, 240, 242, 243, 245, 268

  Longman, Mr. George, 312

  Lord’s, 16, 19, 64, 105, 140, 162, 198, 237, 248, 268, 280, 298, 299,
      301, 305, 316, 319, 321, 333, 336, 340, 348, 357, 358, 382, 388,
      404

  Lucas, Mr. A. P., 171, 313, 316, 338

  —— R. S., 383

  Lyons, 228, 242, 245, 257

  Lyttelton, Mr. Alfred, 237, 238, 317, 338

  —— Mr. E., 314, 315, 316

  —— Mr. G. S., 308


  Macan, Mr., 314

  M’Arthy, R. F., 412, 413

  M’Cormick, Canon J., 305

  Macdonald, Dr., 364

  Macdonnell, 224, 226, 228, 229, 231, 237

  MacGregor, Gregor, 303, 324, 325, 327, 330, 338

  M’Ilwraith, 240

  M’Kibbin, 267, 270, 271, 272

  Maclaren, A. C., 51, 60, 62, 72, 177, 212, 213, 215, 251, 273, 395

  M’Leod, C., 255, 276, 277, 278

  —— R., 255

  Magdalen College School, 299, 302

  Malvernians, the Old, 355

  Manchester, 177, 237, 269, 281

  Marchant, F., 322

  Maritzburg Oval, the, 398

  Marlborough Blues, the, 355

  Married _v._ Single, 374, 377

  Marshall, H. M., 308

  Marsham, C. H. B., 336

  —— C. J. B., 357

  Martyn, Mr. H., 336

  Mason, J. R., 273, 274, 360

  Massie, 224, 228, 231, 236, 320

  Matting used for wickets, 397, 398, 399, 411

  May Week, 343

  M.C.C., 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 98, 162, 165, 166, 169, 197, 203, 300,
      306, 316, 333, 339, 340

  Mead, 91, 105, 280

  Melbourne, 254, 259, 263, 277, 284

  Middlesex, 158, 164, 179, 326

  Middleton, 397, 402, 404

  Mid-off, 50, 133

  Mid-on, 133

  Midwinter, 195, 204, 220, 230, 233, 236, 316

  Milligan, the late F. W., 396, 402, 403, 406, 407

  Mitchell, Mr. R. A. H., 307

  —— Mr. F., 328, 331, 390, 391, 396, 402, 403

  Mold, 64, 106, 247

  Money, W. B., 309, 310

  Montreal, 392

  Mordaunt, Mr. G. J., 76, 331, 332, 333

  More, R. E., 391

  Morley, 219, 232

  Morton, Mr. P. H., 316, 317

  Moses, 246

  Murdoch, W. L., 67, 220, 222, 223, 224, 227, 229, 231, 237, 238, 241,
      243, 320

  Mycroft, W., 170, 316

  Mynn, 362


  Negro, the West Indian, 385, 388

  Nepean, E. A., 180

  Net practice, 77

  Newlands Ground, the, Cape Town, 397

  New South Wales, 242, 255

  New South Wales and Victorian Cricket Association, 251

  New York, 389

  New Zealand, cricket in, 381, 382;
    visit of Lord Hawke’s team to, 409;
    arrival in Auckland, 410;
    match against West Coast XXII., 411;
    the first test match, 411;
    the New Zealand Eleven, 411;
    batting, 411, 412;
    bowling, 412

  New Zealand Cricket Council, 414

  Nicholls, Mr. B. E., 322

  No-balls, 156

  Noble, 104, 276, 277, 279, 280, 282, 286, 287, 288

  Norfolk, 19, 160

  Norman, Edward, 374

  —— Philip, 364

  Northamptonshire, 160

  Northumberland, 160

  Nottinghamshire, 17, 22, 147, 158, 163, 164, 165, 181, 201, 219, 330,
      364

  Notts _v._ Kent, 364

  Nyren, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 13, 23, 31, 34, 35, 41, 43


  O’Brien, Sir T. C., 322, 338

  Odell, W. W., 360

  Old Trafford Ground, 82, 169, 177, 382

  Onslow, Denzil, 307

  Oporto, 394

  Orford, Mr. L., 323

  Osbaldeston, Squire, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28

  Oscroft, 210, 211

  Ottoway, Mr. C. J., 310, 311

  Oval, the, 77, 96, 106, 107, 111, 141, 167, 248, 271, 282, 316, 321,
      340, 388, 404

  Oxford, 296, 298, 302, 303, 307, 309, 310, 313, 322, 326, 327, 328,
      333, 336, 340, 358, 375

  Oxford University Authentics, the, 359

  Oxford University Cricket Club, the, 299


  Page, Mr. H. V., 322

  Palairet, Mr. L. C. H., 51, 52, 212, 310, 329, 338

  —— R. C. N., 331

  Palmer, 109, 224, 225, 231, 234, 238, 241

  Parker’s Piece, 300

  Parr, G., 215, 217, 305

  Patterson, Mr. W. S., 314, 315, 319

  Pauncefote, Mr., 311

  Payne, Mr. A., 304

  Pearson, Mr. T. S., 358

  Peate, 87, 210, 230, 237, 238

  Peel, 81, 87, 95, 96, 239, 243, 245, 248, 251, 253, 255, 256, 257,
      259, 260, 263, 265, 272

  Penn, Mr. E. F., 337

  Perambulators _v._ Etceteras, 339

  Perkins, Mr. Henry, 306

  —— T. N., 331

  Perrin, P., 171

  Philadelphia, 389, 390, 391

  Philipson, H., 251, 252, 324, 358

  Pilkington, C. C., 332, 333

  Pilling, 178

  Pinder, 213

  Platts, 170

  Plowden, H. M., 307, 308

  Plumb, 213

  Pooley, 213

  Poore, R. M., 174

  Popping crease, the, 31, 35, 50, 56

  Port Elizabeth, 397, 398, 401, 402

  Porter, 170

  Portugal, cricket in, 381, 394;
    tour of Mr. T. Westray’s Eleven, 394;
    matches against Oporto and Portugal, 394;
    the wickets, 395

  Powell, 406

  Powys, Mr. W. N., 312

  Pretoria, 397, 405

  Pritchard, H. Hesketh, 360

  Professionals. _See_ Amateurs and Professionals

  Pycroft, Mr., quoted 2, 7, 8, 9, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 33, 34,
      38, 39, 44


  Quaife, 286, 288

  Queensland, 235, 256

  Quidnuncs, the, 197, 208, 357


  Raikes, G. B., 332

  Ramsay, Mr. R. C., 320

  Ranjitsinhji, K. S., 51, 60, 63, 65, 69, 72, 81, 110, 111, 212, 213,
      270, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 279, 280, 309, 329, 338, 351,
      391, 395

  Rashleigh, Mr. W., 323

  Read, Maurice, 214

  —— W. W., 65, 232, 234, 237, 238, 240, 247, 397, 407

  Reese, D., New Zealand, 411, 412

  Reid, Sir Robert, 307

  Rhodes, 69, 71, 81, 87, 96, 113, 210, 283

  Richardson, H. A., 309

  —— Tom, 64, 80, 97, 109, 111, 208, 247, 251, 253, 255, 256, 257,
      258, 259, 260, 263, 264, 268, 270, 271, 273, 275, 277, 278

  Riddings, 303

  Ridley, A. W., 219, 313, 314, 351

  Robertson-Walker, Mr. J., 358

  Rock, Mr. C. W., 322

  Rowbotham, 214

  Rowe, 397, 402, 404

  Royle, Mr. Vernon, 313

  Rugby, 319

  Rutter, Mr. E., 356


  Sackville, Lord John, 5

  St. John’s Wood, 299, 301, 341

  St. Vincent, 388

  San Francisco, 410

  Saunders, 287

  Scattergood, 390, 391

  Scott, 236, 237, 241

  Scotton, 230, 282

  Selby, 230

  Seniors’ Match, 339

  Sewell, Mr. C. O. H., 390

  Shacklock, 89

  Shalders, of Kimberley, 405, 406

  Shaw, Alfred, 105, 106, 210, 215, 219, 230, 239, 307

  Shaw, Jemmy, 199

  —— Mr. E. D., 320

  Shine, Mr. E. B., 328, 334

  Shrewsbury, Arthur, 87, 200, 212, 213, 230, 239, 240, 242, 243, 247,
      330

  Shuter, 215, 323

  Silwood Park, 356

  Simpson, 23

  Simpson Hayward, J. H., 360

  Sims, Mr., 314

  Sinclair, 397, 403, 404, 406

  Skeat, Mr., 1

  “Slips,” 132, 133

  Small, 6, 11, 38, 46, 155

  Smith, Arthur, 314

  —— Mr. C. A., 322

  —— E., 94, 329

  —— G. O., 76, 332, 333, 334

  —— of Trinidad, 387

  Smokers _v._ Non-Smokers, 348

  Somerset, 158, 161, 168, 182, 321, 325

  South Africa, cricket in, 396;
    visit of Lord Hawke’s team, 396;
    matting wickets, 397;
    ground, 398;
    length of matting, 399;
    no rolling necessary, 400;
    cricket on matting, 401;
    match at Cape Town, 402;
    at King William’s Town, 402;
    matches at Johannesburg, 403;
    match against the Transvaal, 403;
    game against South Africa, 403;
    disappointment at Johannesburg, 404;
    two days’ match against Pretoria, 405;
    at Kimberley, 405;
    Buluwayo, 405;
    ten days in Rhodesia, 405;
    the last matches at Cape Town, 406;
    the first English team to visit South Africa, 407;
    the team in England, 407, 408;
    wicket-keeping, 414;
    fielding, 414

  South African Cricket Association, 400

  Spofforth, 84, 91, 109, 110, 220, 224, 225, 229, 231, 232, 234, 238,
      240, 321

  Square leg, running away to, 49

  Stamford, Lord, 300

  Stanning, J., 410

  Steel, A. G., 87, 177, 212, 234, 237, 238, 240, 305, 315, 316, 317,
      318, 321, 338, 347

  Steel, D. Q., 318

  —— E. E., 360

  Stephenson, H. H., 217

  Stevens, Edward, “Lumpy,” 6, 8, 11, 39, 46, 155

  Stewart, W. A., 309, 312

  Stoddart, A. E., 48, 57, 62, 212, 213, 224, 240, 245, 246, 247, 251,
      253, 255, 256, 258, 260, 262, 263, 265, 269, 273, 388

  Stool Ball, 31

  Storer, W., 170, 273, 276

  Streatfield, Mr. E. C., 326, 327

  Strutt, Mr., 2

  Studd, Mr. C. T., 318, 319, 320, 322, 338

  —— G. B., 318, 321, 331

  —— J. E. K., 319, 331

  Suffolk, 160

  Surrey, 18, 20, 97, 111, 155, 163, 164, 165, 183, 196, 197, 216, 316,
      327, 363

  Sussex, 15, 156, 164, 165, 185, 327

  Sydney, 233, 235, 256, 261, 273, 284, 287


  Tabor, Mr. A. S., 313

  Tarrant, 160

  Tate, 72, 107, 399

  Taylor, A. C., 394

  —— C., 45

  —— C. G., 302, 304

  —— T. L., 72, 337

  Tebbut, C. M., 171

  Thompson, 410

  Thornton, C. I., 228, 309, 315, 327, 330, 354

  Toll, 23

  Tonbridge, 323

  Toppin, Mr. C., 323

  Toronto, 392

  Townsend, Mr. Ch., 87, 177, 280

  Townshend, Mr., 311

  Traill, Mr. W. F., 304

  Transvaal, the, 402

  Trevor, Captain, 352

  Trinidad, 381, 384, 386, 387, 389

  Trott, A. E., 72, 91, 99, 180, 243, 255, 257, 261, 262, 396, 397, 402,
      403, 404, 406

  —— H., 255, 258, 261, 263, 264, 265, 266, 269, 270, 276

  Trumble, J., 71, 240

  Trumble, H., 243, 244, 247, 259, 267, 271, 272, 275, 276, 277, 278,
      281, 284, 286

  Trumper, Victor, 60, 66, 69, 72, 280, 282, 286

  Tucker, K., of New Zealand, 411, 412

  Tufton, Hon. H., 19

  —— Hon. J., 19

  Turner, 91, 109, 242, 244, 246, 256, 259, 262, 263, 264

  Tyldesley, 60, 68, 72, 73, 178, 212, 213, 214, 286, 287, 288, 396,
      397, 402, 403, 406

  Tylecote, Mr. E. F. S., 232, 311, 338

  Tyler, 100


  Ulyett, 213, 224, 230, 237, 239, 310

  Umpires, Country, 375, 379

  United States, cricket in, 381

  University cricket. _See_ Cricket

  —— matches, 296, 297, 305, 310, 312, 313, 315, 331, 332, 336

  —— Parks, 299

  Upham, 412, 413

  Uppingham Rovers, the, 355


  Vancouver, 381

  Vernon, G. F., 242

  Village cricket. _See_ Cricket

  Vine, 64, 72, 101


  Waddy, P. S., 332

  Wainwright, 98, 214, 273

  Walker, Harry, 41

  —— Mr. G. G., 170

  —— Mr. J. G., 321

  —— Tom, 19, 28, 40, 43

  —— V. E., 215, 305

  Walters, 244

  Wanderers’ Ground, Johannesburg, 398, 399, 404

  Ward, Mr., quoted, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 20, 33, 34

  —— Mr. Arthur, 247, 251, 253, 256, 258, 264, 265

  Warner, Mr. P. F., 332, 333, 350, 351, 381, 410

  Warwickshire, 158, 168, 187, 208

  Wass, 112

  Webbe, A. J., 219, 313, 314, 316, 331, 357

  Wellington, New Zealand, 411

  Wells, Mr. C. M., 69, 87, 88, 89, 90, 328, 357, 360

  West Indies, cricket in, 381, 382;
    visit of R. S. Lucas’s team, 383;
    visit of Lord Hawke’s team, 384;
    match against Queen’s Park Cricket Club at Trinidad, 384;
    the Intercolonial Cup, 385;
    wickets, 386;
    visit of West Indian team to England, 386;
    visit of last English team, 387;
    general progress of cricket in, 387;
    climate, 387;
    grounds, 389

  Westray, T., 394

  Wharton, Major, 397, 407

  Whatman, A. D., 410

  White of Ryegate, 10, 11

  Whitfield, Mr. Herbert, 317

  Whittom, Dick, 23

  Wickets, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 19, 82, 221, 252, 397

  Wicket-keeping, 125

  Wides, 156

  Wild, 214

  Wills, Mr. T. W., 306

  Wilson, C. E. M., 334, 337, 396

  —— E. R., 337, 391, 406

  Windmill Down, 20

  Wisden, quoted, 115, 335

  Woodcock, 330

  Woods of Demerara, 384, 387

  —— Mr. S. M. J., 303, 305, 318, 324, 325, 327

  Woof, 173

  Worcestershire, 158, 161, 168, 188, 208, 332

  Wordsworth, Mr. Charles, Bishop of St. Andrews, 302

  Works referred to, W. G. Grace’s _Cricket_, 163;
    Home Gordon’s _Cricket Form at a Glance_, 351;
    Norman’s _West Kent Cricket_, 364;
    Ranjitsinhji’s _Jubilee Book of Cricket_, 61, 169;
    _Surrey Cricket_, 363;
    Waghorn’s _Cricket Scores_, 152

  Wright, Mr. C. W., 322, 323

  —— Mr. L. G., 170

  Wykehamists, Old, 355

  Wynyard, E. G., 174


  Yardley, W., 309, 310, 336

  Yonge, Mr. G. E., 303

  Yorkshire, 96, 111, 146, 152, 158, 161, 163, 165, 189-191, 201, 316

  Young, 171


  Zingari, I, Club, 197, 348, 349, 355


THE END


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.



                              FOOTNOTES:

[1] [_Note._—It is perhaps only the writer’s personal modesty that
precludes him from giving the Australian an English companion in this
special class.—ED.]

[2] Since these words were written Bainbridge has resigned and J. F.
Byrne has filled his place.

[3] This was done by Leicestershire a few months back when Mr. Crawford
was made Secretary.

[4] The examination in bankruptcy of Mr. Gregory, the Australian
cricketer, in Australia last April, proves that this is an accurate
statement.

[5] Allusion may here be made to the match with the cumbrous title,
“Gentlemen of England who had not been educated at the Universities
_v._ Gentlemen of England who had been educated at the Universities
(Past and Present),” which was played at the Oval, 15th and 16th
June 1874. The Gentlemen “who had not” won by an innings and 76
runs, Messrs. W. G. Grace and Appleby bowling unchanged in the first
University innings, which only amounted to 58. The game was never
repeated.



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:

—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

—Superscripts are rendered as a^s.





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