Page:Cricket, by WG Grace.djvu/209

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201
FIRST-CLASS CRICKET.

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