Cricket/Chapter 6

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Cricket  (1891)  by W. G. Grace
AUSTRALIAN ELEVENS AND FIRST-CLASS COUNTY CRICKET
Ghostwritten by W. Methven Brownlee

CHAPTER VI.


AUSTRALIAN ELEVENS AND FIRST-CLASS COUNTY CRICKET.


I T seems a good many years ago since, in 1878, the first Australian eleven visited England, and it is rather difficult to remember the exact feeling which prevailed about it at the time. I can just recollect we were very glad to see them, but not very much alarmed about being defeated by them. We had their victory against Lillywhite's team the previous year in Australia fresh in our memories, and inferred from it that the game had advanced rapidly in that country; but we never for a moment thought of classing them with an English representative team; although we thought that they might do fairly well against the best of our counties. Their first match was against Nottinghamshire; and A. Shaw and Morley being in their best form, they were defeated by an innings and fourteen runs. Their bowling, batting, and fielding did not impress us very favourably in that match; and good judges of the game very naturally shook their heads, and predicted a weary and trying time for them before the season was over.

Their match v. M.C.C. and Ground, on the 27th May, was a great surprise. It was all over in one day; the Australians winning by nine wickets, against one of the strongest batting and bowling teams in England, or anywhere else. M.C.C.—first innings, 33; second, 19. Australians—41 first innings; 12 for one wicket, second.

The wicket was as bad as it could be, and small scoring was expected; but no one dreamt for a moment that in the Australian eleven there were two bowlers possessing the powers which Messrs. Spofforth and Boyle displayed. For the rest of the season the Australian matches rivalled county matches in interest; and though the wickets were more or less moist all the year, exceptionally good cricket was shown. Results at the end of the trip showed that they were a match for the best of our counties, but not yet up to the form of a representative English team: that in bowling and fielding they could hold their own with us; but in batting were a good distance behind. Their proficiency in bowling was, undoubtedly, the strength of their play, and impressed us greatly. An amateur capable of holding his own against the best of our professional bowling had been a rare thing among us for many years, and the proportion had been about four professionals to one amateur. The Australian bowling was entirely in the hands of amateurs, and it did not suffer by comparison with English professional bowling.

Their batting was their weak point. C. Bannerman averaged, in eleven-a-side matches, 24.1 for 30 completed innings; the rest were under 20.

County cricket in England did not suffer much by the Australian invasion, and some very interesting and exciting matches were played. Middlesex, with a very strong batting team, took first place, and Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire were close up.

Mr. A. G. Steel's performance with the ball was equal, if not superior, to anything ever shown either by professional or amateur; and two professionals, Selby and Ulyett, handled the bat in a way worthy of Daft in his best days.

The Gentlemen won both matches against the Players; and, altogether, the year was one of great interest. Over 200 runs in an innings was scored by ten amateurs, and the century was scored about 350 times.

Before the first Australian eleven had completed its tour in England it was decided that a fifth eleven of English players should go out to Australia. On this occasion it was an invitation from the Melbourne Cricket Club to the amateurs of England; but a team made up of amateurs entirely was found impracticable, and two most popular professionals, Emmett and Ulyett—both belonging to Yorkshire,—had to be included. Ulyett was a good all-round player, but not a very successful bowler on good wickets; and it was not expected that the eleven would show such favourable results as those which had preceded it. And so it turned out; for, while the batting generally was quite up to the quality of anything the Colonials had yet seen, the weakness of the bowling caused the tour to turn out rather an uneventful one.

An English eleven, made up of professionals from Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire, which visited Canada and America at the end of the season, had a different tale to tell when it returned. Of twelve matches played, nine were won and three were drawn; and it was the bowling that did it!


The season of 1879 in England was a very wet one from beginning to end, and the bowling beat the batting; Alfred Shaw, Morley, and Peate, in particular, showing grand results.

County contests were more exciting than ever, and the struggle for supremacy was a close and keen one.

Amongst the amateur batsmen, Messrs. A. N. Hornby, Hon. A. Lyttelton, A. G. Steel, and A. P. Lucas did particularly well; and amongst the professionals, Flowers, Bates, Barnes, and Scotton showed excellent promise of things to come. I was still busy with my medical studies, and could not play so much as formerly, but in batting and bowling I did better than in the previous year.

A very gratifying feature of the year to me was the presentation of a national testimonial at Lord's, on the 22nd of July, by Lord Fitzhardinge, who had been one of the chief movers in getting it up. Two years previously the Duke of Beaufort, then President of the M.C.C., suggested the presentation, and the Committee of the old club taking it up heartily, a very liberal response came from every part of the kingdom. I need not say I was pleased. I had played the game from the time I could handle bat and ball, because I liked it; but I did not know until this year that in doing so I had given pleasure to so many and made so many friends. Lord Chas. J. F. Russell uttered words at the presentation which I shall never forget. Comrades and players, both amateurs and professionals, showered their heartiest wishes upon me; and I felt, more than I could express and feel it still, that everyone had been very kind to me, and that helping to speed the interests of the game so dear to us all was something to be proud of.


Very little surprise was expressed when another Australian XI. appeared on English grounds in 1880. Their first tour had been very successful, and it was only natural they should seek to strengthen the favourable impression they had made. We had been told to expect a great improvement in their batting, and wonderful performances with the ball by a bowler new to English players. Expectations were realised: for at least two of them, W. L. Murdoch and P. S. McDonnell, showed a conspicuous inprovement in their batting skill; and the new bowler, Palmer, was a great acquisition, and at times bowled with great success.
Man with moustache seated on chair holding cricket bat.

MR. WM. LLOYD MURDOCH.

Results showed that they were quite up to our best county form, but still unable to cope with a picked eleven. The memorable match against an Eleven of England, at the Oval on the 6th, 7th, and 8th September, in which Murdoch batted so grandly for 153 not out in the second innings and Spofforth was unable to play, may be advanced as an argument to the contrary; but I thought then, and I think still, that if three matches had been played between the same elevens, England would have won all three. The composition of the English team will be most interesting to students of the game, and will show how broadly county cricket was represented. There were three players selected from Nottinghamshire; three from Gloucestershire; two from Kent; one from Lancashire; one from Middlesex; and one from Yorkshire.

Two things were clearly revealed: that the Australians had in Spofforth and Murdoch a bowler and batsman of the very first class. Spofforth could show in eleven-a-side matches a bowling average equal to Alfred Shaw, who was undoubtedly the most successful English bowler that year; and in all matches, his 391 wickets for an average of 5.63 per wicket will tbear comparison with anything recorded in the history of the game. Murdoch's average of 25.8 for 19 completed innings, while not quite up to the standard of our first-class batsmen, was a great advance on his 1878 performances.

County cricket was in no way affected by the Australian visit; for, if anything, the interest displayed during the season was greater than in any previous year. Nottinghamshire deservedly came out first, for it was the only county that lowered the colours of the I the Australian eleven.

Gloucestershire had now played for eleven years, and had held its own against all comers. I had taken a particular pride in its success, as every lover oi the game does in the county he represents, and was pleased to know that my individual efforts with bat and ball had helped to give it a high position. But then I had been supported by a team of amateurs that many a captain might envy. To name them, and give their doings, would take more space than can be well afforded: but I cannot allow this year to pass without saying something about my brother Fred's share in the good work, for it was his last amongst us. He died before the season was over, and before he had completed his 3oth year. The blow to my family and Gloucestershire county was more than I can find words to express; indeed, no words can express it. But I know that not only Gloucestershire, but the cricketing world, sustained a heavy loss by his death. I think I may be allowed to say of him, with pardonable pride, that he was a brilliant field, a splendid batsman, and a fairly successful bowler in first-class company; and that his memory is cherished by every player who knew him. I give his batting performances for his county, and will let them speak for themselves. He played—

Completed
Innings.
Runs. Most in an
Innings.
Average.
1879 to 1874 34 1199 165* 35.26
1875 12 430 180* 35.83
1876 12 297 78  24.75
1877 15 441 98  29.40
1878 14 418 73* 29.85
1879 15 211 57  14.06
1880 13 320 83  24.61


The Gentlemen v. Players' matches resulted in a win to each. The first, at the Oval, the Players won by 37 runs, in a great degree owing to the fine bowling of Alfred Shaw and Morley, who bowled in great form, as they did the greater part of that year. The return, at Lord's, the Gentlemen won by five wickets, owing to consistently good batting of the eleven and the successful bowling of Mr. H. Rotherham.

Very few of the old names now remained in the batting averages, and another generation of bowlers was springing up. A reference to the bowling and batting averages at the end will show a remarkable improvement on previous years. The doings, in particular, of Alfred Shaw, Morley, and Peate will bear more than one perusal. For years the first two had stood head and shoulders above every other bowler in the quantity and quality of the work done; and Shaw, in particular, might be called the bowler of the century. Other bowlers have been as successful in one or two seasons; but for consistent brilliancy, for ten years at least, he has had no equal in England, or out of it.

Lord Harris, the Hon. Alfred Lyttelton, the Hon. Ivo Bligh, and Mr. A. J. Webbe were now batting in grand form; and the amateur batting of that year was of a very high quality. Professional batting came out favourably also; Barnes, Charlwood, and Ulyett showing excellent results.

Mr. Renny-Tailyour scored 331 in a single innings for the Royal Engineers. Over 200 was scored 18 times by other players, and a 100 close upon 500 times.


The year 1881 saw Lancashire at the top of the tree. That County played brilliantly in all its matches, and came out very far ahead of the others. To begin with, it possessed in its captain, Mr. A. N. Hornby, one of the ablest and most popular cricketers in England, who never spared himself, whether he were playing a winning or a losing game, and whose enthusiasm infected every member of the team. As a batsman, he had no superior that year; for not only did he perform grandly for his county, but he came out first in the averages in first-class cricket.

It was difficult to find a weak spot in the eleven. In batting and bowling they could compare favourably with any county; but it was very much owing to their brilliant fielding that such good results rewarded their efforts. It may be advanced against their success that five of the professionials were playing under residential qualifications; but it must not be forgotten that other counties would have been only too glad to have had them on similar conditions, and that it was owing to the Committee of the County Club and the excellent judgment of Mr. Hornby that they had been originally selected and their powers developed.

Surrey was trying hard to recover its old position, and the Committee invited colts from all parts of the county to practise at the Oval under the eyes of good and competent judges. The old arrangement of having a colts' match once or twice a year had not produced favourable results, many a promising colt failing to,do himself justice through nervousness or some other cause. Constant practice for a week or two was a better test, and showed whether they had the making of county players in them.

Nottinghamshire was in the unfortunate position of having good players and not being able to use them. Seven of the eleven after playing one match refused to play again unless they were all engaged for the rest of the season. It was a blow to the Committee, but one that had to be faced; for, if the malcontents had succeeded in their demand, county cricket would have suffered in Nottinghamshire and elsewhere. It said a great deal for the rising talent of the county that they could make a fair show against the other counties without the aid of the seven. Before the season was over, however, five of them admitted they had made a mistake, and were reinstated in the eleven, and afterwards the county showed something of its true form.

Yorkshire had a very good season, although during a part of it they were without the services of Hill and Ulyett; but they possessed a very successful and good bowler in Peate, whilst Bates and the evergreen Emmett did their share of the work.

Gloucestershire had a promising bowler in Woof that year. Middlesex was considerably strengthened by the bowling of Burton; and Mr. C. T. Studd's allround form, the brilliant wicket-keeping of the Hon. A. Lyttelton and Mr. Vernon's dashing batting all helped to give it a good place. Kent suffered by the absence of Lord Harris a part of the season; and Sussex showed little sign of improvement.

The Gentlemen won their matches against the Players at the Oval and Lord's; but the latter were without their best eleven, owing to the Nottinghamshire rupture. They were both won by small majorities, however, and few better contests were played during the year. A third match, played at Brighton for the benefit of James Lilly white, who had represented Sussex in every contest for twenty years, had a very exciting finish. The Gentlemen were left with 113 runs to make in the second innings, and after making 50 without the loss of a wicket every one naturally thought the match was a gift to them; but, on Alfred Shaw going on to bowl, a complete change occurred, and, amidst the greatest excitement, the Players pulled off an unexpected victory by one run. I was unable to play in this match, and was rather sorry for it; for I knew how serviceable Lillywhite had been to his county.

Jupp also had a benefit this year South v. North, at the Oval, but a county engagement kept me away, and I had to be content with sending all manner of good wishes for the success of one of the finest cricketers Surrey ever produced. Individual scoring was good during the months of May, June, and July while the weather was dry and the wickets hard; but heavy rains set in early in August, and continued for the remainder of the season, which caused the pace to slacken considerably. A record was established by Mr. W. N. Roe, on the 12th July, playing for Emmanuel L. V. C. against Caius L. V. C. at Cambridge, when he scored 415 not out, exceeding Mr. Tylecote's score at Clifton in 1868 by 11 runs. Medical work took up much of my time that year, and I played less than formerly.


In 1882 the visit of the third Australian team was of great interest. Only eleven-a-side matches were arranged, an indication that the visitors meant to test the full strength of English cricketers. Murdoch was again at the head of the eleven and said to be batting better than ever. His huge score of 321 for New South Wales v. Victoria, in the early part of the year, proved that, and led us to expect greater things of him than he had done in 1880. He brought with him the best of the first team, and the weak members had been replaced by such good names as G. Giffen, T. W. Garrett, H. H. Massie, and S. P. Jones.

Their first match against Oxford University was a revelation of their powers, and established the reputations of three of the new members—Massie, Giffen, and Garrett. Their second match, played against Sussex, just as clearly showed that the old members, Murdoch, Palmer, Spofforth, and Bannerman, had gone forward and not backward. How well they fought against the best of our county elevens is a matter of history; not meeting with a single defeat, and conclusively proving that they were worthy of being classed not far behind the best of our representative teams. The Gentlemen of England succumbed to them; but they were defeated by the Players, North of England and Cambridge University. Their great match against the combined strength of England at the Oval, on the 28th and 29th of August, will always be a pleasant memory to them.

 Australia —first innings, 63; second innings, 122.
 England " 101; " 77.

England only wanted 85 to win in its second innings, and actually scored 51 for one wicket, and yet lost by 7 runs. Spofforth has done many great performances with the ball; but the finish of that innings will always be a good one to recollect, for the wicket was in fair condition, and he was fighting an uphill game against half-a-dozen of the best batsmen in England. Never bowler fought more successfully or pluckily than he did that day; and, supported by Boyle, he landed a victory for his side that stirred the hearts of his opponents and every one present. The shouting and cheering that followed I shall remember to my dying day, as I shall remember the quick hearty recognition of English cricketers over the length and breadth of the land that the best of Australian cricket was worthy of the highest position in the game.

In all, 38 matches were played during the tour, of which the Australian team won 23, lost 4, and 11 were drawn.

That, to my mind, was the best eleven of the seven which have now visited us, having no equal for all-round form. Their fielding and bowling were quite up to the English standard; their batting, slightly under it; and Blackham's wicket-keeping perfection.

It will not do to say that county cricket was not affected by the excitement which prevailed over the engagements of the Australian eleven that year. Undoubtedly it was. Lancashire and Nottinghamshire were equal for first place, the latter playing in its old form, owing to the perfect harmony which now prevailed between the committee and all the members of the eleven. Alfred Shaw and Morley were as effectual as ever with the ball; but Shrewsbury was not in the best of health, and did not play up to the form expected of him. Peate, of Yorkshire, had now become the acknowledged best slow bowler of England, and Emmett was as good as ever. Crossland, for Lancashire, strongly illustrated the usefulness of a fast bowler on a side. So good had become the wickets everywhere, that slow bowling was losing its sting, and good judges were of the opinion that it was the pace of the Australians' bowling which produced such excellent results.

Gloucestershire, Middlesex, Surrey and Kent were much in want of bowling of all kinds, and Sussex and Derbyshire were still far behind the others.

The Players won the first match against the Gentlemen at the Oval by 87 runs; but magnificent batting on the part of Messrs. A. P. Lucas and C. T. Studd turned the tables on them in the return match at Lords, the Gentlemen winning by 8 wickets.

A record score was made by the Orleans Club v. Rickling Green Club, at Rickling Green on the 4th and 5th August, the total amounting to 920. The first wicket fell for 20 runs; then Mr. A. H. Trevor joined Mr. G. F. Vernon, and they raised the score before they were parted to 623.

Individual innings of over 300 were scored 4 times; of 200, 19 times; and of 100 close upon 700 times.


For some years previous to 1883 grumbling had been general against the Law which admitted of the wicket being rolled only between the innings. Very often winning the toss meant that one side had a good wicket to play on the greater part of the first day; while the other had, perhaps, but an hour left before the stumps were drawn. If rain fell during the night, the wicket became unplayable next morning, owing to the in-side not being allowed to roll the pitch before resuming its innings. That grievance was now redressed; for early in this year the M.C.C. passed an addition to the Law, which allowed the wicket to be rolled on the second and third mornings of a match, and a valuable addition it turned out to be.

A change was also made in the appointment of umpires. No one was now selected to umpire in a match in which his own county was engaged.

County cricket had a better chance in the absence of the Australian eleven, and it was very encouraging to notice the increase of spectators. Travelling elevens were rarely heard of now, and county matches were fulfilling the aim of their promoters. Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire were well ahead of the others, both being strongly represented in batting and bowling. Middlesex came next; and at last Surrey began to creep up again, owing to the magnificent batting of Mr. W. W. Read and the bowling of Jones. It was noticed that those counties which were lacking in good professional bowling were invariably low down on the list; Sussex, Kent, and Gloucestershire being in that unfortunate position. Midwinter's return to Australia weakened the Gloucestershire eleven, and there was no one springing up to take his place.

Professional batting was improving rapidly, and Shrewsbury and two or three others were in excellent form. If anything, they were playing over-carefully. The desire to show well in the averages was creating a school of slow scorers whose aim was to keep up their wicket and let the runs come. Twenty to thirty runs an hour was a good pace of scoring with them. It was sound enough cricket, but rather tedious to look at.

The power of fast bowling had another exponent in Harrison, of Yorkshire, who met with great success; and Crossland was quite as successful as in the previous year: but those were about the only two fast bowlers who had a first-class reputation, and curiously they both had doubtful actions.

The first match between the Gentlemen and Players, at the Oval, 28th, 29th, and 30th June, resulted in a tie—the only tie ever recorded in those matches. Owing to a professional engagement I was absent from the ranks of the former, for the first time since 1867. The return, at Lord's, was productive of heavy scoring, and the Gentlemen won it by seven wickets.


The fourth Australian team, which visited England in 1884, was considered the equal of its predecessors by many judges; but, weighing everything carefully, I still hold to the opinion that the third was the best we have yet had. The new men—Alexander, Cooper, and Scott—were not up to the form of those left behind—Garrett, Jones, Horan, and Massie; and results will bear me out. In all, 32 matches were played: 18 won, 7 lost, 7 drawn, which was not quite so good a show as the 1882 team made. Three matches were played against the full strength of England, two of which were drawn, and England won the third. It was an unsatisfactory ending; for everyone desired to have three matches fought out to the end.

Spofforth was as effective as ever with the ball; Murdoch, McDonnell, Gifien, and A. Bannerman had lost nothing of their skill with the bat; and Blackham gave the finest display of wicket-keeping the cricketing world had yet seen.
13 men dressed in cricket clothing posing for a group photograph. Three rows.

MR. P.S. McDONNELL.   MR G. ALEXANDER.   MR. G. GIFFIN.   MR. G.E. PALMER.
MR. F.R. SPOFFORTH.   MR. W.L. MURDOCH.   MR. W. MIDWINTER.   MR. H.F. BOYLE.   MR. J.McC. BLACKHAM.   MR. J. BONNER.   MR. A.C. BANNERMAN.
MR. W.H. COOPER.       MR. J.H. SCOTT.

THE AUSTRALIANS, 1884.

I must speak favourably of the Philadelphians, who visited England that year for the first time, considering that they defeated the Gentlemen of Gloucestershire under my leadership, and enabled Lord Harris to have the laugh at me. It was a little bit unfortunate that they came the same year as the Australians; for while they played quite up to the expectations formed of them, their doings were discounted by the brilliant performances of Murdoch's Eleven. They were certainly a good lot, and gave an excellent account of themselves against the amateur teams played; but they were not up to English county form. The most successful batsmen were, Messrs. Scott, R. S. Newhall, Thayer, and Stoever; the bowlers; Messrs. Lowry, MacNutt, and C. A. Newhall.

Nottinghamshire had a great year among the coimties, not losing a single match; but then it had in its team Shrewsbury, Barnes, Gunn, Flowers, Selby, Scotton, A. Shaw, Attewell, Wright, and Sherwin, players who have made great reputations in all departments of the game. Middlesex and Yorkshire were in good form also; and Surrey took a step upward. G. Lohmann played for the last named coimty, and gave evidence of good all-round form; his bowling impressing the critics very favourably. Sussex was not quite so low as formerly, due in some degree to the fine batting of Mr. W. Newham; and Lord Harris was the mainstay of Kent. Gloucestershire had to take a very humble position for want of bowlers; but could still hold its own in batting, being strengthened in that department by Messrs. Brain and Pullen, two promising young players.

The Gentlemen v. Players' matches resulted in a win to each. Ulyett batted brilliantly in both, scoring 292 runs for three completed innings.

Mr. A. G. Steel was in great form with the bat
11 men dressed in cricket clothing posing for a group photograph. Three rows.

PULLIN (UMPIRE).   PEATE.   MR. A.P. LUCAS.   HON. A. LYTTELTON.   SHREWSBURY.   FARRANDS (UMPIRE).
MR. A.G. STEEL.   LORD HARRIS.   MR. W.G. GRACE.   MR. W.W. READ.   ULYETT.
MR. S. CHRISTOPHERSON.   BARLOW.

ENGLAND (v. AUSTRALIANS) 1884.

and took first place in the averages. His best displays were against the Australians. He twice exceeded the century against them.

The wickets were hard the greater part of the season, and century-scoring was far in advance of anything yet recorded. Spofforth's bowling performances was the best of the year, and Emmett's results were very good, considering the number of years he had played.


The year 1885 was one of Mr. W. W. Read's best; his batting being consistently good throughout the season. His hitting was brilliant against all kinds of bowling when he got his eye in and was well set. Shrewsbury and Gunn showed great improvement also, and were at the head of professional batting that year, as indeed they are at the present time.

A glance at the averages will show the marked change that was creeping over professional batting. For the first time since Carpenter, Hayward, Daft, and one or two others were the most prominent batsmen, the professionals could show a larger number than the gentlemen in the list of the averages. For more than ten years the gentlemen could show a proportion of two to one; in 1885 it was the other way. Shrewsbury had much the best average of the year, though it will be seen that he did not play half the number of innings which Mr. W. W. Read played. His defence had become stronger than ever, and his wicket was about the most difficult one in England to capture. He did not go in for rapid scoring, but his hitting all round was clean and safe. Gunn's style was also admirable, but rather freer than Shrewsbury's.

Another professional who did great things that year was Briggs, of Lancashire. For years he had batted with success, and his fielding at cover-point had been most brilliant; but now he came out as a bowler, and by the end of the season proved that he had no superior as an all-round player. Lohmann, of Surrey, confirmed the good opinion formed of his bowling the previous year: and though his name did not appear high up in the batting list, he performed well enough to stamp him as a player of all round excellence. There were half-a-dozen other professional players, belonging chiefly to Surrey, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, and Yorkshire, who all displayed good form; so it will be gathered that the Gentlemen had now a hard nut to crack when they met the Players.

Three matches were played between them that year. The first, at the Oval, was drawn in favour of the Players: Gunn, Briggs, and Shrewsbury being very successful with the bat; while Mr. W. W. Read played a brilliant 159 for the Gentlemen. The second, at Lord's, was won by the Players by four wickets: Gunn, Shrewsbury, and Briggs being again the highest scorers; whilst Messrs. F. M. Lucas and A. G. Steel did well for the Gentlemen. The Players had not won a match at Lord's since 1874. The third was played at Scarborough late in the season, and resulted in a crushing defeat of the Players by an innings and 25 runs. Neither side was fully represented; but I happened to be in my best batting form, and scored 174 out of a total of 273, while Messrs. Christopherson and Evans were very successful with the ball. The Players scored 59 and 179—Gunn, 88 in the second innings.

Three matches were played between North and South, and all were benefit matches. The first was played at Lord's, on the 25th and 26th May, for the benefit of the widow and children of F. Morley, and was won by the South by nine wickets; the second was played at the Oval on the 25th, 26th, and 27th June, for the benefit of R. Humphrey, and was won by the North by eight wickets; the third was played at Manchester for the benefit of Watson, and was drawn very much in favour of the North, Shrewsbury scoring largely in both innings.

There was no abatement in the interest taken in county cricket. Nottinghamshire did not show up so well as in the previous year, but was again at the head of the poll.

Mr. J. S. Carrick created a new record by scoring 419 not out for the West of Scotland Club, at Priory Park, Chichester, on the 13th and 14th July, the total being 745 for four wickets; and Messrs. L. Wilson and G. Wyld, for Beckenham v. Bexley Park, at Beckenham on the ist August, scored 470 runs for no wicket. Barnes and Gunn distinguished themselves also, scoring 330 runs between the fall of the third and fourth wicket, for the M.C.C. and Ground v. Yorkshire, which was record in a first-class match. It was a great year of individual performances, 200 and over being scored 33 times, and the century about 800 times.


Very little need be said about the fifth Australian Eleven which came to us in 1886. A great deal was expected; but very little of importance was accomplished. The summary of the tour showed that 38 matches had been played: 9 won, 7 lost, 22 drawn. That was far below the standard of the previous teams, and the Australians were all more or less disappointed. Spofforth was not up to his old form, owing to an accident which caused him to play the part of a spectator for one month of the trip.

Giffen was the mainstay of the eleven, and without him the team would have fared very badly. Three representative matches were played, with the result that England asserted its undoubted superiority. Two of them were won by an innings, the other by four wickets. The opinion at the end of the tour was that they were up to County form, certainly not beyond it. The number of drawn matches was neither encouraging nor interesting. Giffen, Jones, and Scott had an average of 26, 24, and 21 respectively for the whole of the tour; but eight English players had an average of from 30 to 40 against them. Four of their team exceeded the century, while that figure was scored against them eight times by English players. I did it thrice, Maurice Read twice, and six other players did it once.

Giffen was also very successful with the ball, considering the amount of work he did; but his average was below both Emmett's and Lohmann's. Spofforth, Garrett, and Boyle did not show up so favourably as in former years, but Blackham at the wicket was finer than ever, and was, without doubt, far ahead of English wicket-keepers. The work he did was astonishing; and how his hands stood it was a mystery to everyone. He was as brilliant and safe in the last match as he was in the first.

An Eleven of Parsees also visited England that year; and though they only won one match, yet they gave evidence of becoming good players, and they were as heartily received as either of the Australian or Philadelphian teams. There was no desire to be critical, for every Englishman took it as a compliment that the noble game should have taken root in India. I played once against them at Lord's, and shall never forget their unbounded demonstrations of joy when they got me out. Any criticism of their play at that time would be out of place; they have made considerable progress since, and I may have occasion to speak more freely about them later on.

The season was a favourable one for scoring; but it could not be said that the batting was too good for the bowling. The professionals still held their own with the gentlemen in batting, and had almost a monopoly of the bowling in first-class matches. Brilliant things were done with the bat by nearly all the old players; and Mr. A. E. Stoddart caused more than common interest. His 485 for Hampstead v. Stoics, at Hampstead, on the 4th of August, exceeded every individual performance yet recorded; and though it was made against very second-rate bowling, it will stand out in the history of the game as a remarkable display of welltimed vigorous hitting. He hit sixty-three 4's; and when he left the total was 813 for 7 wickets, made in the very quick time of six hours and a quarter.

Individual scoring was higher that year than any year since the game began: over 200 being exceeded no less than thirty-six times, and 100 more than a thousand times.

Nottinghamshire and Surrey had a very close race for first place in county honours, and finished about equal. Both now possessed very strong teams, the Surrey committee in particular straining every nerve to obtain promising recruits.

The Players won their match against the Gentlemen at Lord's by five wickets; whilst that at the Oval was drawn, very much in their favour. The opinion was gaining ground about this time that unless the Gentlemen cultivated bowling more, the Players would shortly have much the best of the contests.


In 1887 the old saying that "It is a long lane that has no turning " was strikingly verified by Surrey. After a period of twenty-three years, the Committee of that County Club could breathe more freely, and realise that their efforts had been attended with success, for Surrey was again at the head of the Counties, and very fine results it showed. The eleven was a strong one, including such players as Messrs. J. Shuter, W. W. Read, Roller and Key, with Lohmann, M. Read, Abel, Beaumont, Bowley, Jones and Wood. The batting and bowling could compare favourably with that of any other county. Lohmann was worth playing for his batting and fielding alone; but his bowling undoubtedly was then, as it is now, the backbone of the team. I cannot remember any county which has been so fortunate with its wicket-keepers during the last twenty-five years as Surrey. Lockyer created a great reputation; Pooley was a worthy successor, and Wood has proved that he might be classed in the same company.

Lancashire was second on the list, and owed its position to its bowling. Watson, Briggs and Barlow had few equals as all-round players; and Mr. A. N. Hornby had lost none of his skill as a batsman, or enthusiasm and judgment as a leader.

Nottinghamshire was compelled to take third place a position lower than it had occupied for many years. Shrewsbury in batting had a fine average for it, having played 18 completed innings for 1,388 runs; average, 77.2: and he was well supported by Gunn and Barnes. His average, with the exception of my own in 1874 and 1876, when I played 7 and 11 completed innings for averages of 84 and 80, is, I believe, far in advance of any other player's average for his county since county cricket was played. Against Middlesex at Nottingham on the 15th and 16th August, he scored 267 in an innings, made without a chance, which occupied him ten hours and a quarter. Before the season was over, he scored over the century on six other occasions for his county; and that year, although he did not play in so many matches as he did in some years, was the most successful in which he had yet played. His display in first-class matches was a fine one indeed, and put in the shade all professional performances:

21 completed innings, 1,653 runs; average, 78.15. Individual batting performances were as brilliant as in any previous year, and we have to go far to find as good results as the following:

Over 200 in an innings, in first-class matches, was exceeded 6 times: twice by Mr. W. W. Read, and once each by Messrs. K. J. Key, A. J. Webbe, Shrewsbury, and Gunn. Over 100 in an innings, in first-class matches, was scored 123 times: six times by Shrewsbury, six times by myself (twice in one match), and more than once by two or three others. My two centuries in one match were made against Kent, at Clifton, on the 25th, 26th, 27th August, and it was the second time I had done it in first-class cricket.

The Players won both matches very easily against the Gentlemen: the first, at Lord's, by an innings and 123 runs; the return, at the Oval, by an innings and 16 runs. Shrewsbury, in the first match, batted excellently for in; but it was owing to the fine all-round play of the team that they did so well, and asserted their undoubted superiority. The successful bowlers were also successful with the bat, and their fielding was quite as brilliant as that of the Gentlemen. It was the strongest all-round team that had ever represented them. The bowling of the Gentlemen was their weak spot, and their eleven was over-matched in both contests.

Perhaps this would be the proper place in which to trace the steps which led to the formation of the County Cricket Council.

As long ago as 1868, when it was no unusual thing for a player to represent two or even three counties in the same season, Nottinghamshire, at a General Meeting, passed a resolution as an instruction to its Committee to this effect:

Under the impression that County Cricket, to be thoroughly appreciated by the public, a return ought to be made as near as may be to the manner in which those contests were formerly conducted, when no title but birth enabled any player, whether gentleman or professional, to take part therein; and that, consequently, it be an instruction to the Committee, in the selection of our future matches, to give preference to those counties who adopt that rule.

"Secondly, that so long as the title to play in county matches is by residence as well as birth, the same may be acquiesced in by the Committee, on the understanding that no such player shall play in any respect of each such qualification during the season. "Lastly, that it be a further instruction to the Committee that they endeavour to prevail upon all the counties who do not at present do so, to adopt the principle of the last resolution. It is believed that Kent, Sussex, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire, at the present time, play only those who are county-born; and it is thought other counties would follow in their wake if the subject were properly introduced to their notice, as tending to promote a real and appreciable contest between county and county."

Four years later the Surrey Committee raised the question also; and at a meeting of the representatives of the leading counties in December, 1872, a resolution was passed:

"That no player, either amateur or professional, play for more than one county during the season; but that he shall be free to choose at the beginning of the season whether he shall play under the birth or residential qualification."

A copy of the resolution was sent to the M.C.C., who weighed it carefully, and eventually the following rules were passed at a meeting of County representatives held in the Surrey County Pavilion at the Oval, on the 9th June, 1873, and confirmed at a meeting of the M.C.C. held in the Pavilion at Lord's on the 1st of July.

Rule 1.—"That no cricketer, whether amateur or professional shall play for more than one county during the same season.

2.—"Every cricketer born in one county and residing in another shall be free to choose at the beginning of each season for which of those counties he will play, and shall, during that season, play for that county only.

3.—"A cricketer shall be qualified to play for any county in which he is residing and has resided for the previous two years, or a cricketer may elect to play for the county in which his family home is, so long as it remains open to him as an occasional residence. 4.—"That should any question arise as to the residential qualification, the same shall be left to the decision of the Marylebone Club."

A further discussion of those rules arose at a meeting of County Secretaries held at Lord's in December, 1881, when Lord Harris moved, "That the Committee of the M.C.C. be requested to consider whether the two years' residential qualification might not be safely reduced to one year;" but the motion was rejected by. 14 votes to 3.

At a largely-attended meeting of County Delegates, held at Lord's on the 12th July, 1887, Lord Harris in the Chair, it was moved and carried:

1.—"That a County Cricket Council be formed.

2.—"That the Council consist of one representative each from the counties of Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Surrey, Kent, Lancashire, Sussex, Gloucestershire, Middlesex, Derbyshire, Essex, Warwickshire, Norfolk, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Somersetshire, Northamptonshire, Hampshire, Durham, Hertfordshire, and Cheshire.

3.—"That it shall be competent for the Council to alter or amend the rules of County Cricket Qualification.

4.—"That upon all questions raised under the rules of County Cricket Qualification the Committee of the M.C.C. shall adjudicate."

That was undoubtedly a step in the right direction; for the birth and residential qualifications had agitated the minds of County Club Committees for many years.

The air was full of rumours about the sixth Australian team which landed in England in 1888.

I have noticed that a really good bowler appears in the ranks of the professionals about once in half-a-dozen years, and amongst the amateurs about once in twelve. Australian cricketers have shown that the remark does not apply to them; for in the six teams which have visited us from 1878 down to 1888, at least half-a-dozen amateurs may be classed as great bowlers. There may be some difference of opinion respecting the positions which Allan, Palmer, Garrett, Giffen, Boyle, and Evans will occupy in cricket history; but there can be none about Spofforth, Turner, and Ferris. They will be emphatically classed amongst the great bowlers of the century.

Giffen, acknowledged to be the best all-round player who had yet represented Australia, was not with them on this occasion, and the number of players new to English soil was unusually large. By some the team was considered up to the standard of its predecessors, by others much below it; but nearly all were agreed that Turner and Ferris would uphold the reputation of Australian bowling. I question if any team started so favourably as that one did. Mr. Thornton's Eleven, Warwickshire, Surrey, Oxford University and Yorkshire went down before it in startling succession, the last four being defeated in a single innings, and quite a panic set in amongst certain cricketers. Turner and Ferris came off in bowling, and showed that they could bat also; and nearly all the other members of the team played up to their best form. Lancashire stayed the rot; then the Gentlemen of England scored heavily against them, and the Players defeated them by ten wickets, and the believers in English supremacy began to breathe more freely.

The play of the team was very much in-and-out afterwards, and before the season was over their form could be safely classed. Forty matches were played—of which they won 19, lost 14 and 7 were drawn. There is little need to analyse the matches; and the team may be put down, with one or two others, as being up to county form, but below English representative form. It is true that they met with a very sad stroke of bad-luck when Jones, their best bat, was stricken with illness; but they were, undoubtedly, taken as a whole, below the quality of either of Murdoch's teams, and by a good many thought weaker than Scott's.

The bowling of Turner and Ferris will be remembered, but everything else will be forgotten. How those two slaved and toiled from the beginning to the end of the tour, and with what remarkable effect, is still fresh in the memories of most of us. Rarely have two bowlers been called upon to do so much work in one season, or acquitted themselves so admirably; Turner bowled over 10,000 balls; Ferris close upon 9,000; and Turner's average will compare favourably with Spofforth's, or any bowler that ever lived. Without them the team would have been a failure. McDonnell, the captain, was blamed for working them too much; but he had a very difficult problem before him, and it is easy to be wise after the event. If we are to judge by the results of the others when they were called upon to bowl, we cannot blame him; for not one of them could be compared with the famous pair. Blackham was as good at the wicket as ever; McDonnell hit brilliantly now and then; and Bonnor, when he made up his mi-nd to hit, was still very effective.

There was quite as much interest displayed over county cricket as over the Australian contests; and Surrey came out far ahead of the others. Lohmann was in great form with the ball; and the batting of Messrs. W. W. Read, J. Shuter, M. P. Bowden, and Abel and M. Read, who averaged over 30 runs each against the first-class counties, was also a great source of strength. Mr. W. W. Read outshone himself in individual performances, scoring 338 in a single innings against Oxford University, which was the second highest ever obtained in a first-class match.

Kent and Yorkshire were next on the list, and Gloucestershire made a distinct step forward. For Gloucestershire against Yorkshire, in the return match at Clifton, I made 148 and 153, and it was the third time I scored the century twice in the same match. Nottinghamshire was lower down than it had been for years, and missed greatly the services of Shrewsbury, who was in Australia looking after the business arrangements of an English football team.

The two matches played by the Gentlemen and Players resulted in a win to each. The first, at Lord's, on the 9th and 10th of July, was finished in two days, the Gentlemen winning it in a most sensational way by 5 runs. The wicket was in favour of the bowlers, and low scoring was the rule on both sides. The Players were left with 78 to make to win. They scored 71 for six wickets, and then collapsed; Mr. S. M. J. Woods, who played for the first time, doing most execution with the ball. His ten wickets for 76 runs in the whole match was a fine performance, and clearly showed how well the Gentlemen could hold their own in these or any contests when their fine batting was backed up by good bowling. The return match, at the Oval, was won by the Players by an innings and 39 runs, and their luck in winning the toss had much to do with it. Heavy rains prevented a start until the second day; and after the Players batted the wicket played badly.

A second team of Parsees visited England that year, and displayed much better form than the first did in 1886. They played 31 matches; winning 8, losing 11, and 12
11 men dressed in cricket clothing posing for a group photograph. Three rows.

MR. J.A. DIXON   MR. M.P. BOWDEN.   MR. W. NEWHAM.   LORD GEORGE SCOTT.
MR. J. ECCLES.   MR. J. SHUTER.   MR. W.G. GRACE.   MR. A.G. STEEL.   MR. W.W. READ.
MR. S.M.L. WOODS.       MR. C.A. SMITH.

GENTLEMEN, 1889.

were drawn. That was a great improvement on their first visit when everything went against them. In one thing they showed excellent promise their consistent efforts in playing an uphill match. More than once, when disaster stared them in the face, and everything seemed to be going against them, they played most pluckily, and made a close match of it.

Second-class county cricket showed considerable development. In all ten counties were represented, and Leicestershire, Somersetshire, and Warwickshire were the most successful.

Two English teams visited Australia in 1887-8: one was under the leadership of Mr. G. F. Vernon, who went out at the invitation of the Melbourne C.C.; the other was under Shrewsbury. Both teams were very successful in their contests, but came to grief financially at which no one was surprised. On one occasion the best of the two teams played against a combined Eleven of Australia, and upheld the credit of the old country with marked success.

At the annual meeting of the County Cricket Council on December 10th, 1888, the following resolution was passed and added to the rules of County Cricket:

"That a man can play for his old county during the two years that he is qualifying for another."


In 1889 Shrewsbury's presence in the Nottinghamshire eleven made a great difference to that County. Gunn and Barnes were also in excellent form; and up to the end of July results pointed to their taking a very high position. But the wet wickets which prevailed the greater part of August upset more than one member of the team who had been doing exceptionally well, and their brilliant performances in the early part of the season were greatly discounted.

Surrey did not play up to its 1888 form, its batting being the weak point. Neither Mr. W. W. Read, Mr. J. Shuter, nor Abel did so well as he had done in the past; but, fortunately Lohmann was very effective with the ball, and he was well supported by Beaumont, Bowley, and a promising colt—Sharpe.

Lancashire came out better than it had done for a year or two. Two importations, Mold and A. Ward, had qualified by residence, and valuable additions to the eleven they proved to be; Mold as a fast bowler, and A. Ward as a batsman. Briggs was as successful as ever with both ball and bat; and Watson showed that, though he had played for nearly twenty years, his bowling had lost none of its sting.

Gloucestershire was not so successful as in the previous year; but at last it possessed a ground of its own, which was admitted to be one of the best in the world, and the Committee became hopeful of improvement at no distant date. It was still lacking in first-class bowling.

Yorkshire met with disaster after disaster, and the season was the worst the county had experienced since it was formed.

Sussex had a most disappointing year also.

An English eleven sailed from England to South Africa at the end of 1888, and played till the end of March, 1889. Australia and Canada had been visited repeatedly; but this was a new departure, and indicative of how the game spreads wherever Englishmen congregate. The arrangements were conducted by Major Warton; and the team was captained by Mr. C. A. Smith, of Sussex. The team was not a representative one, but it had in it such well-known players as Abel, Ulyett, Maurice Read, and Briggs, who gave the colonists a fine illustration of all-round cricket. Abel's doings with the bat were noteworthy—22 completed innings, 1,075 runs, average 48.19; while Briggs astonished everyone out there by his fine performance with the ball 1,220.3 overs, 628 maidens, 1,512 runs, 290 wickets, average 5.62. Two matches were played against a combined eleven of South Africa, which the English team won very easily.

The Gentlemen of Philadelphia visited us again in 1889, and gave a very fine batting display against second-class teams. Three of them had an average of over thirty runs per innings, and six more of over twenty. Like the majority of amateur elevens, their weak spot was bowling, and some very heavy scores were made against them. Mr. W. W. Read, in particular, did very well against them for the Gentlemen of Surrey, scoring 105 and 130, and so added the feat of two centuries in a match to his great performances. Twelve matches was the total number played; of which the Philadelphians won 4, lost 3, and 5 were drawn.

Three matches were played by the Gentlemen and Players in 1889: the first, at the Oval, on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of July; the second, at Lord's, on the 8th and 9th of July; the third, at Hastings, on the 16th, lyth, and 1 8th of September. The Oval match was productive of heavy scoring—the Gentlemen making 347 and 225, to the Players' 396 and 177 second for one wicket. Gunn, Barnes, and Quaife did great things in batting for the Players; and Messrs. O'Brien, Stoddart, Cranston, W. W. Read, Nepean and myself did best for the Gentlemen. The match at Lord's was another decisive victory for the Players, who won by ten wickets; Barnes batting in great form for 130 not out. At Hastings, the Gentlemen won by one wicket after a very sensational finish. It was too late in the season to expect heavy scoring throughout the match; and although the Gentlemen were only left with seventy-three runs to get to win, the state of the wicket rendered it rather difficult. Five wickets fell for twenty-five runs, Lohmann and Attewell doing what they liked with the ball; when the ninth man was out eight runs were still wanted, and the excitement all over the ground was intense. Mr. McCormick, of Sussex fame, was equal to the task, however; for, after playing carefully some time for seventeen runs, he finished up the match with two hits to the boundary.

The North v. South matches were again overdone, as many as five being played, the North having the best of it. The most interesting of all, though it was not finished, was that played at Scarborough on the 5th, 6th, and 7th of September. The North scored 360 in its first innings, the South 197. On the last day the South had to follow on against a majority of 163. The wicket was far from perfect, and the ball had to be watched carefully; but Abel and myself put on 226 for the first wicket, after three hours and three-quarters' play; and when the stumps were drawn the total was 278 for three wickets of which Abel had scored 105 by careful and scientific cricket, while my share was 154.

Gunn and Barnes came out at the top of the batting averages, and Maurice Read was a good third. The Gentlemen were again well to the front, Mr. T. C. O'Brien showing up splendidly. It will be a very long time before his magnificent display for Middlesex against Yorkshire in the second innings, at Lord's on the 22nd of June, will be forgotten. Middlesex was left to get 280 runs to win and 3 hours and 35 minutes in which to do it. At half-past 5 four wickets were down for 129. When Mr. O'Brien went in 151 runs were wanted to win, and no one dreamt for a moment that it could be done in the time. He hit as no man had hit for many a long day; but at 6.15, 83 runs were still wanted. With the help of Mr. Vernon, he kept up the pace, and accomplished one of the greatest feats of batting ever performed since the game began, winning the match for his side with ten minutes to spare. The brilliancy of his hitting from first to last, the excitement over it, and the burst of enthusiasm which it produced, were worth a day's travel to witness. It was truly a great performance, and stamped him as one of the most dashing batsmen of his or any time.

Mr. J. Cranston was another amateur who did exceptionally well. He had been well known for years as one of the most reliable bats in the Gloucestershire Eleven, but that year saw him classed as the best left-handed batsman in England.

Two hundred runs and over in an innings was scored by 27 players, and over one hundred about a thousand times. The months of May and August were wet, but June and July enabled the batsmen to score rapidly. One very remarkable match was played at Lord's on the 9th and 10th August, for M.C.C. and Ground v. Northumberland. Gunn and Mr. Brodrick-Cloete began the batting for M.C.C. Mr. Brodrick-Cloete's wicket fell with the score at 9, and then Attewell took his place. The score was 325 at the end of the first day, Gunn and Attewell still in. Next day the score was increased to 428, when Attewell was caught, having made exactly 200. The innings was declared at an end, Gunn's score being 219 not out. Northumberland made 141 first innings, and 117 second.

At the third annual meeting of the County Cricket Council, on Dec. 6th, resolutions to the following effect were passed:

"1. In the interests of County Cricket it is desirable that an official classification of counties should be made annually by this Council, and that a committee of the County Council, consisting of the President, with three representatives from first-class and three from second-class counties, be appointed
to recommend a scheme for this purpose; such scheme to include a scheme of promotion by merit, under which a county may rise from one class to another.
"2. That all three-day matches shall begin at twelve o'clock the first day, and not later than 11.30 following days."

Two or three important changes had been made in the laws at a meeting of the M.C.C., held in the month of May. They were as follow:

"1. That the over in future shall consist of five balls instead of four.
"2. That the bowler may change ends as often as he pleases, but may not bowl two overs in succession.
"3. That the Captain of the batting side may declare the innings at an end in a one-day match whenever he chooses to do so; but only on the last day of a match arranged for more than one day."

The alterations elicited a great number of opinions for and against; but by the end of the year it was generally admitted that they had worked satisfactorily. Declaring the innings at an end in one-day matches caused the greatest stir; and when one comes to think of it, it cannot be a very pleasing thing for the tail of an eleven to be told that there is no need for them to bat, and that they must be content with fielding for once in a way.


The seventh Australian team, which visited England in 1890, under the leadership of Murdoch, might be classed in strength with McDonnell's, although it did not show such good results. For the first time since these teams came to us in 1878, they lost more matches than they won; and I need not say the result was alike disappointing to Australian and English cricketers. We had been led to expect one of the strongest elevens that had ever left Australia; and for a match or two, in the early part of the tout, it looked as if the prediction would be verified: but afterwards they met with defeat after defeat, and finished up the tour with 38 matches played: 13 won, 16 lost, 9 drawn. Their best wins were against Lord Sheffield's Eleven, Lord Londesborough's Eleven and Surrey; but they were defeated twice by England, twice by the Players of England, twice by the South of England, twice by the M.C.C., twice by Nottinghamshire and twice by Yorkshire: so that their claim to be classed with a representative English Eleven was completely disposed of. A third match against England, at Manchester, had to be abandoned owing to heavy rains, not a ball being bowled in the three days.

Murdoch showed that he had lost little of his skill with the bat, and he was ably supported by a new player, Dr. J. E. Barrett; but with these exceptions, the batting was weak, which indeed was the case with all the previous teams. Murdoch has always been considered a hard-wicket bat, and it was rather unfortunate for him that the season should have turned out a wet one; but considering he had given up the game for years, his display was very good, and it caused general satisfaction when he came out at the head of the averages.

Barrett, who ran him a close race for first place, confirmed the great reputation which he had made in Australia, and did much better than was expected. Very rarely, if ever, has any young player done so well on a first appearance; indeed, it is held very generally by the Australians themselves that young players never play up to their form the first tour, and we have only to look at the performances of Charlton, Walters, and others to see the truth of it.

His style was not very taking, but he watched the ball very carefully, and was something more than a stone wall type of batsman. His patience was {{hwe|tiring|untiring, and when the bowling was good there was no tempting him to hit; but immediately the bowler began to tire and sent up a loose ball, Barrett cracked it to the boundary as well as most batsmen. His fine score of 170 for once out, in the concluding match at Manchester, will be remembered for many a long day. He was a fair bowler also, and with practice will be yet heard of in that department.

Of the others, in batting, very little need be said. Lyons gave us occasional displays of lofty hitting, but he was not the equal of Bonnor in that respect; and for brilliancy, dash, cleanness and placing, was far behind McDonnell in his best days. Trott maintained his 1888 reputation, and at times did exceptionally well, but he lacked in consistency. Turner, Ferris, and Blackham, batted as well as they ever did; but the others met with only moderate success.

It is almost impossible to praise Turner and Ferris too highly for their great bowling performances. Murdoch, like McDonnell, found that they were head and shoulders above everybody else, and he must have had many an anxious quarter of an hour speculating what the team would do in the case of either breaking down. Turner, now and then, was irresistible, and carried everything before him on sticky wickets; but Ferris did better on the hard, good wickets, pegging away in his persistent, plucky way, never minding being hit, and determined at all costs to get the batsmen out Rumours had reached us before the team appeared that Ferris had gone off, but he bowled better than ever; and it was a fitting finish to their grand displays that Turner and he should have ended the season with the same number of wickets, 215, to their credit.

Equally high praise may be bestowed on Blackham's wicket-keeping. It was finer than ever, and he did more work than ever; and he is still to-day, as he has been any time in the last twelve years, the finest wicket-keeper who ever donned gloves. Gregory, in the field, was conspicuous for quickness, certainty, and a wonderful return, and is worthy of a very high place amongst brilliant cover-points. Two or three batsmen who were ignorant of his powers had to pay the penalty of a run-out in attempting a short run.

First-class county cricket and representative matches suffered very little by the Australian visit. In the former, Surrey, as was expected, took a very decided lead in the early part of the season, and came out well ahead of the others. Ably led by Mr. J. Shuter, it scored victory after victory, and it was only at the end of the year that it suffered defeat. It had a very strong batting team, nearly every member of the eleven being good for runs; while in bowling, Lohmann and Sharpe were up to the form of any bowler in England. Lohmann's performance of taking over 200 wickets in first-class cricket for the third year in succession had never before been accomplished. Turner and Ferris reached that figure in 1888 and 1890, Southerton in 1870, Peate in 1882, and Spofforth in 1884; but these are the only names I can recall.

Lancashire did very well, and took second place; and both Kent and Yorkshire came out better than in the previous year. Greater things were expected of Nottinghamshire; but, with the exception of Shrewsbury and Gunn with the bat, and Attewell with the ball, hardly a member of the team played up to his 1889 form. Gloucestershire went through rather a peculiar experience: until the latter part of July it never won a match, but after it began its Northern tour it never suffered defeat. In batting, J. Cranston, my brother E.M., Painter, and myself were most successful; and Woof bowled very well on the slow wickets. Sussex had a very disastrous season, losing 11 of the 12 matches played.

Great improvement was displayed by one or two of the second-class counties: Somersetshire in particular played grandly, and went through the season without knowing defeat.

The Gentlemen were beaten by the Players at the Oval, but had the best of a drawn match at Lord's.

In the beginning of the season Shrewsbury and Gunn attracted great attention by their wonderful batting displays; but after the wet set in, the former fell off. Their grand stand for Nottinghamshire v. Sussex, in which they made 398 before being parted, was a new record for longest partnership in first-class cricket; and Gunn's 228 for the Players was the highest ever made against an Australian eleven in England. Messrs. A. N. Hornby, A. J. Webbe, and Hall and Ulyett, batted consistently the greater part of the season, and Abel finished up in fine form.

Mr. A. E. Stoddart played two very fine innings in the earlier part of the season: one for the South v. North, at Lord's, when he scored 115 out of 169 without a mistake on a difficult wicket; the other for the Gentlemen v. Players, at the Oval, when he hit a brilliant 85 on another difficult wicket; but later on he fell woefully off, and could hardly get a run.

Three young Cambridge University players came to the front, Messrs. G. McGregor, E. C. Streatfeild, and R. N. Douglas. McGregor's reputation as a wicket-keeper was made the year before, but 1890 saw him in improved form, and he was paid the very high compliment of being chosen to play for England v. Australia. All three played for the Gentlemen. Under the leadership of Mr. S. M. J. Woods, they helped very materially by their good form to give their University a high position. The four professionals,
Man with moustache in wicket-keeping position, crouching behind stumps.

MR. G McGREGOR.

Briggs, Lohmann, Peel, and Attewell, by their fine allround play, maintained their great reputations.

On the evening of the 11th of August, a special meeting of the County Cricket Council was held in the pavilion of the Surrey County Club. There were present delegates from Surrey, Kent, Gloucestershire, Yorkshire, Sussex, Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and Essex. Mr. J. Shuter presided, and it was decided:

I. That for the season 1891 the counties be divided into three classes, namely:
FIRST CLASS.
Notts Kent Yorkshire
Lancashire Middlesex Sussex
Surrey Gloucestershire

SECOND CLASS.
Warwickshire Somersetshire Staffordshire
Derbyshire Hampshire Cheshire
Leicestershire Essex

THIRD CLASS.
Hertfordshire Lincolnshire Glamorganshire
Northamptonshire Northumberland Devonshire
Norfolk Durham
II. (a) That every first-class county be required to play matches with at least six other first-class counties. These to include matches with the Champion county of the previous year.
(b) That every second-class county play two matches with at least three other second-class counties, these three to include the Champion county in the second-class for the previous year.
(c) That every third-class county play two matches with at least three other third-class counties.
III. That in each of the three classes an order of merit be drawn up from the results of the season's play in 1891 and
future years, and that this order be determined by the same method as that by which the Championship for the first-class counties is at present decided; viz., by subtracting wins from losses, and not counting drawn games.
IV. That in 1892 the lowest county in the first-class and the highest county in the second-class play each other homeand-home matches, these constituting a series which shall be termed the qualifying series. The same arrangement to apply to the lowest of the second-class and the highest of the thirdclass counties.
V. That if a county be, by these means, reduced in class, it shall, for the following season, be considered the highest in the class to which it has descended, and shall follow the course of procedure set forth in No. 4.
That, on the other hand, if a county, after playing in a qualifying series as the highest best of an inferior class, shall have to remain in the same class, it shall not be considered the highest for the next season unless it shall obtain such a position by virtue of its performances in that season.

The scheme of classification did not give general satisfaction, and a newspaper warfare was kept up for sometime afterwards. Later in the year delegates from the second-class counties Hampshire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Essex, Cheshire and Derbyshire met in the pavilion at Lord's, and passed a resolution to be submitted as an amendment by Warwickshire at the annual meeting of the County Cricket Council to be held in December.

The annual meeting was held in the pavilion at Lord's, on the 8th December, Mr. M. J. Ellison presiding. It was evident that special interest was taken in the points to be considered, for there was a large attendance of delegates from the first, second, and thirdclass counties. After the minutes of the previous general meeting and the special meeting in August were read, and a statement of accounts and balancesheet were passed, Mr. Ansell, of Warwickshire, moved, on behalf of the second-class counties, the following amendments to the classification scheme:

In Rule II. (6) to omit the clause: "These three to include the Champion County in the second-class for the previous year."
To strike out IV. and V., and substitute the following:
IV. That at the end of each season, in the month of August or September, the lowest county in the first-class shall play the highest of the second-class for right of place. One game only shall be played, and upon neutral ground, to a finish, the winner being placed in the superior class and the loser in the class below for the following year.
Note (a). In the event of two counties being equal at the top or bottom of either class, the question of their superiority shall first be decided on neutral ground, played to a finish, and followed immediately by the match for right of place in the superior class for the next year.
Note (b). In the event of three counties being equal, either at the bottom of the first or top of the second class, the matter shall remain in abeyance for that year.
V. Should the trial matches fail to define the positions ot competing counties, the Cricket Council itself shall undertake the classification for the following year.
Note (c). This scheme shall apply also to the lowest of the second and the highest of the third-class counties.

The first motion, to omit II. (b), was carried with one dissentient, Gloucestershire; but when Mr. Ansell brought forward his second motion, to strike out Rules IV. and V., and substitute fresh matter, it became perfectly evident that a great diversity of opinion existed. A very animated discussion arose, and, in unmistakable tones, the majority of the delegates declined to pledge themselves to any classification scheme that would compel them to play more matches than they wished to. Mr. Ansell's motion that Rules IV. and V. should be struck out, was agreed to; but the meeting rejected the proposals of Warwickshire by 1 1 votes to 4. Mr. J. B. Wostinholm then moved that the rules of the Council be suspended for further discussion of the subject; but Mr. A. J. Webbe jumped up and moved as an amendment that the Council be suspended sine die. The voting for the amendment was 7 for and 7 against; and the Chairman giving his casting vote in favour of it, the meeting came to an abrupt ending.


* * * * * * *


To get at a clear idea of the progress which the game has made during the last forty years, I would refer my readers to the batting and bowling averages in the last chapter of this book. At the end of 1864 a batting average of twenty-five runs per innings was very exceptional, and rarely accomplished by other than a professional player. It may be explained in this way—that amateur bowling was lamentably weak, whilst professional bowling was very strong, and a carefully prepared ground the exception.

The year 1865 saw a slight change. Two or three of the amateurs gave evidence of marked improvement with both bat and ball; and, for the first time since 1854, the Gentlemen beat the Players. The batting averages leaped up considerably in 1866; seven amateurs had an average of thirty runs and over per innings, while only one professional reached that figure; and there were fifteen amateurs with an average of over twenty, to four professionals. But the professionals had quite as great a monopoly of the bowling; thirteen to four was their proportion in that department. And so it went on for twenty years; the amateurs keeping a strong lead with the bat, the professionals with the ball.

The year 1885 brought further change. The professionals not only maintained their superiority with the ball, but challenged the supremacy of the amateurs with the bat. For twenty completed innings in first-class matches, thirteen professionals had an average of over twenty-three runs per innings; while the number of amateurs who had it was only six. Nor was it a mere flash in the pan; for the years 1886 and 1887 saw the professionals still challenging the amateurs for first place in batting honours, while still retaining their high position with the ball. The year 1888 brought the amateurs to the front with the bat again; but 1889 and 1890 show it was again a close race between them.

Never, in any year, have the amateurs had a look-in with the professionals in bowling, so far as numbers are concerned, and only once or twice have they headed the list. Mr. A. G. Steel did very well for them in 1878; while my performances in the years 1867, 1874, 1875, and 1877 might be classed with first-class professional bowling.

And so we may face the fact that the professional standard of all-round play is higher to-day than at any time since the game began. The professionals are now the equals of the amateurs in batting and fielding, and their superiors in bowling. And I am very much afraid it is likely to continue so for a considerable time. Amateur bowling is weaker to-day than it has been for many years, while the outlook for the future is not particularly bright. It used to be said, some twenty years ago, that it was always safe to back the Players against the Gentlemen. After 1864 prophets were more modest in their utterances. The last two years have shown that the Players are taking their old position.

A careful reader will have noticed how, bit by bit, travelling elevens lost their attraction, and were slowly, but surely, effaced by the growing and absorbing interest taken in county matches.

The history of county cricket is worthy of a book to itself, and cannot have justice done to it here. Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Middlesex, Hampshire and Nottinghamshire have been in existence for more than one hundred years; and all of them, at one time or another, were strong enough to play an Eleven of England. But county cricket pure and simple may be said to have reached its highest development in the last twenty years. Yorkshire was established in the early part of the present century, Lancashire in 1864, and Gloucestershire and Derbyshire in 1870. How those counties have fought against each other with varying success can be seen from the yearly results I have given. From 1870 to 1890 Nottinghamshire stands out preeminently amongst the first-class counties, having been at the head of the list seven times, while it will be seen Sussex has been at the bottom eight times.

I shall not trouble my readers by saying much about the future of the counties. Surrey and Nottinghamshire's prospects are as bright to-day as at any time in their history; but, then, the brightest prospects have often been shattered in cricket, and many a county that was expected to do well has done ill. It is never safe to prophesy when the unexpected happens so often. Counties in the South have greater difficulties to contend against in obtaining first-class bowlers than the counties in the North, but all of them are striving their utmost to meet the difficulty and keep their position in contests which are now looked upon as the most exciting of all: contests which have become the backbone of the game.


This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.