Cricket (Grace)/Chapter 2
THE ALL-ENGLAND AND OTHER ELEVENS.
HE All-England Eleven was formed in 1846. Before that time cricket in England was confined to certain districts. It had always fiourished in such counties as Kent, Hants, Surrey, Notts, and Sussex; but outside of them it had been limited to a few country clubs, which were more or less attached to some nobleman or gentleman's residence, and were in supported by them. Such for instance was the Kingscote club, in Gloucestershire, under the auspices of the good old cricketing family of that name. Lord Ducie had a club at Tortworth, and the Marquis of Lansdown at Bowood. True, there were important clubs in such large towns as Liverpool, Manchester, and one or two others; but the members were mostly in good positions, and were usually elected by ballot. At the weekly meetings of those clubs, the younger members came to play, the older ones to criticise, and sides were picked. A few matches were played during the season with clubs of the same strength who were within driving distance.
The dinners played no insignificant part at those gatherings, and many a good bottle of port was cracked before the evening was over. It is related that the Kingscote club nearly ruined itself by its hospitality to the Epsom club after a friendly match. Three haunches of venison were consumed, besides other delicacies, and the cellar ran dry. The chairman is said to have closed the innings of the claret with the remark: "Gentlemen, I am sorry to say there is only one bottle left, and as it would be ridiculous to divide that among so many, with your permission I'll drink it myself." That sort of social cricket existed, and very enjoyable cricket it was; but cricket amongst the people was scarcely known until the All-England, Eleven appeared.
Amateur efforts do not, as a rule, meet with success, for the reason that too often no one is responsible and the element of self-interest wanting. The I Zingari club has been a brilliant exception; but since it was formed a hundred clubs could be named which, conducted on somewhat similar lines, have died after a few years of struggling existence. The All-England Eleven was started by one man, and conducted on business principles; and while it lived it was exceedingly active, and helped to spread a knowledge of the game. William Clarke was the founder; the majority of the players who composed it were the best professionals in England in every branch of the game, and under his leadership were open for engagements anywhere, as long as they obtained their price. As the Eleven grew in strength and popularity, the desire to be considered, worthy of a place in it became the aim of evry young and rising cricketer, and on more, than one occasion some of the celebrated amateurs were to be found playing in its ranks for the honour alone. Of course the difficulty was to find clubs of any strength to compete against. Usually the number of their opponents was twenty-two; but very often that was found inadequate to make a fight against so strong a combination of talent, and recourse was had to players outside of the club. In many cases two or more professional bowlers were allowed, and by that means interesting contests were played, and the Eleven compelled to put its best foot forward.
Every player of the twenty-two was naturally anxious to do his best against such celebrated players, for well he knew that his success would be talked about over the length and breadth of the land. To keep up one's wicket for half-an-hour, even without scoring, against the best bowling in England, v/as to create a reputation locally; to score a double figure and be praised by one of those great men, was something to boast of for a lifetime. A good many of us can date our first experience of first-class play from witnessing the famous All-England Eleven, and hundreds will tell with glistening eyes of the good old times when they were considered worthy of a place against it.
The first match played was against twenty of Sheffield, on August 31st, September 1st and 2nd, 1846, Sheffield winning by five wickets. The All-England Eleven players were:
|Mr. A. Mynn,|| W. Martingell,|
|W. Clarke,|| T. Sewell,|
|J. Dean,|| G. Butler,|
|W. Dorrinton,|| V. C. Smith,|
|F. Pilch,|| W. Hillyer.|
That was a team that could hold its own against any eleven in England; but not to be compared with the team of 1847, or a year or two later, which had such good men in it as G. Parr, F. W. Lillywhite, and J. Wisden.Clarke was the central figure, and for years met with phenomenal success as a slow underhand bowler. As a leader he knew the value of a change of bowling, believing the greater the difference of style
Clarke's Eleven visited something like forty different districts the first three years of its existence, and many other fresh places were visited in later years. It is difficult to get at a trustworthy statement of the bowling averages, but in 1850 Clarke bowled in thirty matches and captured 303 wickets.
William Clarke was born at Nottingham, 24th December, 1798, so that he was in his 48th year when he started the All-England Eleven. His height was 5 ft. 9 in.; weight, about 14 stone. He appeared, for North v. South, at Lord's in 1836, when he was 37 years old; but he made little impression then. Twenty years previously his name appears in the Nottingham Eleven, showing that he must have played at a very early age; but the advent of the All- England Eleven was his opportunity, and he bowled with great success until the year of his death in 1856. Like Lillywhite, he was well advanced in years before he made his mark, and it was the occasion that created the man. The success which had attended such fast bowlers as Sir F. Bathurst and A. Mynn, fast roundarm, and Messrs. Fellows and Marcon, fast underhand, had created a rage for fast roundarm bowling, and slow underhand had been completely neglected. Clarke saw that, and his accurate length, precision of pitch, and curl from the leg to the off, completely baffled the batsmen. Most of them were in two minds about playing back or running out, and he generally managed to bowl them before they got out of their indecision. But like most bowlers who are also captains, he had the weakness of keeping himself on too long. Against Pilch, and one or two others who collared him at times, he would try just another over, which invariably did more harm than good. Success brought him the usual number of followers, who jumped to the conclusion that the secret of his bowling success lay in his pace, not in his length. Slow underhand bowling became the rage for a year or two, and clubs were just as diligent in practising slows without length, as they had been in cultivating pace without length.The appearance of the All-England Eleven at Bristol against twenty-two of West Gloucestershire, in June,
|1st Innings ...||38 overs,||30 maidens,||10 runs,||8 wickets.|
|2nd ...||13 "||12 "||2 "||5 "|
Clarke captured eleven wickets first innings, seven second. And how Parr and Caffyn hit our bowling all over the field! Clarke's figure stands out in my memory yet.
The year after they came again to the same field, and met the same club, but Clarke was not in the Eleven. He wrote to my father some time before the match, saying that, owing to ill-health and failing sight, he would be unable to play. He was present as an onlooker during the three days, and was so delighted with E. M.'s performance as longstop that he presented him with a bat. E. M. had owned many a bat before; but this one had a spliced handle with a strip of whalebone down the centre of it, and was very much prized. My father, uncle, brothers Henry, Alfred, and E. M., all played in this match, and the twenty-two got dreadfully beaten. Bickley was again the most successful bowler, and at one part of the match was unplayable. His analysis was:
|1st Innings ...||38 overs,||24 maidens,||24 runs,||16 wickets.|
|2nd ...||41 "||23 "||30 "||10 "|
14 overs, 0 runs, 4 wickets;
and the next five showed:
19 overs, 17 maidens, 2 runs, 6 wickets.
Three of the All-England Eleven played in top-hats.
At the conclusion of the match Clarke presented my mother with a copy of "Cricket Notes by W. Holland, with a letter containing Practical Hints by William Clarke." He had remembered my mother's enthusiasm the year before, and the group of boys who gathered round when he talked to her, and he knew the book would give her and them pleasure. I have the book in my possession now; it is before me as I write, and his handwriting stands out distinctly—
PRESENTED TO MRS. GRACE
BY WILLIAM CLARKE,
SECRETARY, ALL-ENGLAND ELEVEN.
You can imagine how that book was treasured and read by the younger members of the family.
Between the years 1850 and 1860 a large number ot first-class players appeared. The All-England Eleven created great interest everywhere, and it brought to light names which otherwise might never have been heard of. I have only to mention Lockyer, Julius Caesar, Caffyn, John Lillywhite, Wisden, Anderson, Willsher, Tinley, H. H. Stephenson, Jackson, Carpenter, Daft, T. Hayward, and Tarrant. All of them I have met at some time of my career, and I can say without hesitation they could have held their own against any combination of the present time.
Four other players might be mentioned who appeared in the decade I have been referring to—James Grundy, James Lillywhite, W. Slinn, and Isaac Hodgson. Grundy was much the best of the four, and a good all-round man. The other three did not play so prominent a part as those I have already named. They were frequently engaged by twenty-twos in their contests against the All-England Eleven, and did some good performances in bowling.
With such an array of talent as I have enumerated, and a large number of young promising players, it will be readily conceived that there was little difficulty in finding players enough to fill up the All-England Eleven. Indeed there were more than enough to fill up two elevens; and very soon a second was formed, under the title of the United England Eleven. There had been a good deal of grumbling in the early part of 1852 about Clarke's management of the All-England Eleven. One or two of the players were dissatisfied with his treatment of them, and did not hesitate to say so. Clarke had formed the Eleven, conducted it in his own way, and successfully; and, like most successful men, he was a little bit arbitrary, and disinclined to changes which did not agree with his mode of thinking, and which would affect his future management. A little consideration to the opinions of the grumblers might have kept the original team longer together, although the increasing number of good players every year would very likely have led to the same result in a year or two. Clarke did not see his way to making the changes desired, and so the United England Eleven was formed that year.
The United England Eleven played its first match against Twenty Gentlemen of Hampshire at Portsmouth, August 26th, 27th, 28th, 1852. The eleven representing it on that occasion was certainly not of the strength of the All-England Eleven; but there were three players in it who had done good work for Clarke's team, and whose places it would be difficult to fill. Wisden, Grundy, and John Lilly white were the three, and Wisden and Dean were appointed joint secretaries of the new eleven. Quite evidently the two teams were not on the best of terms, or rather I should say the members of the United were on terms of proclaimed hostility to Clarke; for at a meeting of the members of the United Eleven at Sheffield, 7th September, the following agreement was drawn up and signed:
"That neither of the members of the United Eleven shall at any time play in any match of cricket, for or against, wherein William Clarke may have the management or control (county matches excepted), in consequence of the treatment they have received from him at Newmarket and elsewhere."
The manifesto did not have any effect upon Clarke, or weaken the interest attached to the All-England Eleven matches, for both he and the club continued their successful career. Of course the two elevens were eager to stand well with the public, and the managers of both tried to enrol in their list of members the best players of the day. The All-England Eleven seems to have been the more attractive; for Willsher, after playing for the United in 1853, went over to the All-England in 1854. There was plenty of room for both, and the cricketing public had now greater opportunities of witnessing first-class play. Caffyn left the All-England for the United in 1854; but it was not until 1858, when Carpenter appeared, that the United was seen at its best.
After Clarke's death, Parr became manager of the All-England Eleven, and a better feeling prevailing, a match was arranged between the two elevens, at Lord's, on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd June, 1857, for the benefit of the Cricketers' Fund, which the All-England Eleven won by five wickets. The teams were made up entirely of professionals on that occasion. Messrs. F. P. Miller and F. Burbidge were down on the list of the United; but the All-England objected on the ground of their being amateurs.
The Cricketers' Fund was originated in 1857, and matches on its behalf were played annually at Lord's, between the All-England and United Elevens, down to 1867. In 1864 it was re-established on a sounder basis, and it has made satisfactory progress since; especially after 1884, when Lord Harris became president. I have taken the following from a print in my possession:—
THE CRICKETERS' FUND FRIENDLY SOCIETY.
President: LORD HARRIS.
PROVIDES FOR THE RELIEF OF CRICKETERS,
being Members of the Society, who, from
Old Age, Illness, Accident, or other Infirmity,
are incapable of following their profession; and the
temporary assistance of
WIDOWS AND CHILDREN
Of such Members, who have been left destitute.
Qualification for Membership:
Any person earning a livelihood from the game of Cricket can be
admitted on filling up the necessary forms.
The Society numbered nearly 120 Members on January 1st, 1891.
CLAIMS PAID TO THE SAME DATE: £3,000.
Donations will be thankfully received by the President and the undermentioned, who are Trustees of the Society:
V. E. WALKER, Esq., Arnos Grove, Southgate.
C. E. GREEN, Esq., 13 Fenchurch Avenue,
E.G. A. J. W. BIDDULPH, Esq, The Chalet, Burton Park, Petworth, Sussex.
J. MCLAREN, Esq., Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester.
THOS. HEARNE, Sec., M.C.C. House, Ealing Dean, W.
I cannot find words strong enough to express my appreciation of the good work the Society is doing, or the interest that is taken in it by all classes of cricketers; but it is to be hoped that still more professional cricketers than is now the case will become members. A deservedly high compliment was paid to it by the M.C.C. and Australian Elevens in 1890, when they played a match for its benefit at Lord's, from which the Society received close on £600.
The United Eleven had to go through a similar experience to the All-England before it disbanded in 1869, seventeen years after it was formed. Some of its prominent members seceded, and formed themselves into the United South of England Eleven.
The United South of England Eleven played its first match on the 11th, 12th, and 13th May, 1865, against Twenty-two of Ireland, and gave evidence that it was likely to prove a formidable rival to the other two elevens. I give the original team, from which it will be seen that it was made up entirely of Southern Players and comprised some of the best bowling and batting talent of the time:
|T. Humphrey,|| T. Lockyer,|
|H. Jupp,|| T. Hearne,|
|G. Griffith,|| T. Sewell, jun.,|
|W. Mortlock,|| John Lillywhite,|
|Julius Caesar,|| E. Willsher.|
Willsher was made secretary; John Lillywhite, treasurer.The split affected the All-England as well; in fact, it might almost be considered a split between the Players of the North and the Players of the South. In the year 1862, Northern and Southern Players were continually bickering, and county matches suffered
The All-England, the United, and the United South were the three principal elevens which travelled over the United Kingdom between 1846 and 1876. They had many imitators, the most important being:
The "United All-Ireland Eleven," which started in 1856, and broke up in a few years.
The "New All-England Eleven" in 1858, which lived two or three years only.
Another "New All-England Eleven" in 1862, which died the same year.
A "North of England Eleven" in 1863, which played one match only.
The "United North and South of England Eleven" in 1867, which played two matches.
The "New United South of England Eleven" in 1875.
Others sprang up from time to time; but they were of mushroom growth and existence, and need not be given.
It is impossible to state the number of wandering amateur elevens which existed at that period. They were nearly all conducted on similar principles to those of the I Zingari, without grounds of their own, and playing anywhere. Of course they were not of the strength of that famous club. As there is always a rage for extraordinary titles amongst young clubs, I have no doubt the few I give will be of interest. I would just remind hon. secs. that some of them are still in existence, and that the names may have been registered. I should be sorry if any rising and enterprising club were to be accused of appropriating the property of older and established ones:
The Knickerbockers, Accidentals, Inexpressibles, Dingle Wanderers, Anomalies, Gnats, Perfect Cures, Active Fleas, Perambulators, Et Ceteras, Limits, X.Y.Z., Owls, Rouge et Noir, Jolly Dogs, Odds and Ends, Caterpillars, I.O.U., Waifs and Strays, Butterflies, Desperadoes, Eccentrics, Hic et Ubique, Gryphons, Nonentities, Grasshoppers, Casuals, Harum Scarum, I Vagabondi, Idle Boys, Variegated Annuals, Rose of Denmark, Unmitigated Duffers, Fossils, Cock-a-doodle-doo, Pelicans, Don Quixotes, Cochin Chinas, Bohemians, The Fly by Nights, The Calves, Will-o'-the-Wisps, Lavender Kids, Spiders, Anythingarians, The Witches, The Wretches, Omnium Gatherums, Incapables, Rovers, and The Other Johnnies.
There can be very little doubt that for some years the All-England and United Elevens spread a knowledge of cricket, and in that way did good to the game; but by-and-by, when county and other important matches began to suffer, opinions rapidly changed, and travelling professional elevens, in the minds of the cricketing authorities, came in for a certain amount of condemnation. The jealousies of the two elevens had little sympathy at head-quarters or anywhere else when important matches were spoiled by them. Occasionally when a player was asked to play for his county he demurred, on the ground that he would be playing for one or other of the elevens on that day. It was not a very pleasant state of affairs, and rather a difficult one to solve. County cricket between 1846 and 1860 was not of sufficient interest to draw large crowds. A professional had to consider the gate: it was his means of living; and when that is remembered, it can be easily understood he would go where the greatest remuneration was to be had. It certainly was to be had in connection with the All-England Eleven, for its engagements lasted from May to September. Nor was the remuneration a question of weather, or in any way affected by the result of the match. A sum was guaranteed by the club played, and each player had his share, and could rely on a steady engagement as long as he kept up his form. It was not likely a player would throw up an engagement of that kind to play a county match, even though he were offered the same remuneration, unless he obtained permission from the manager of his eleven. Unfortunately, as I have already said, the managers of the two elevens were not too complaisant, and so county cricket suffered.
The cricketing authorities were alive to the difficulty; but could not see their way out of it, as there were not sufficient counties at that period for committees to work together and promise players even half the number of engagements a travelling eleven fulfilled.
The counties which played between the years I have mentioned were few in number. The Gentlemen v. Players was an annual match, and the M.C.C. was doing excellent work all over the country. Then, as now, the premier club sent its eleven all over England, and even across the Channel, keeping in view the sacred trust of fostering the game which had been placed in its hands. Oxford v. Cambridge had their yearly contests, and were now considered the most likely nurseries fof recruits to strengthen the amateurs.
But, undoubtedly, the contests of the year were the All-England Eleven v. The United Eleven, and the North v. South, at Lord's, especially the former. When the two famous elevens met reputation was at stake, and both strove to put their best teams in the field. There was no half-hearted play then. Thought was put into every ball bowled, and neither batsman nor fieldsman spared himself. It was the match of the year from a player's point of view, and crowds testified to it by turning out in thousands. It was not always so in the North v. South matches. More than once an eminent player cried off at the last moment, and occasionally the sides were poorly represented.
And now it began to be realised that the game had taken a hold outside of England. September, 1859, saw Parr's team batting against Twenty-two of Lower Canada: and two years afterwards, on the 20th October, 1861, the first English team, under the captaincy of H. H. Stephenson, sailed for Australia. Little thought we then that 17 years later Australia should have progressed sufficiently to be able to send a team to us which should hold its own against the strongest of our clubs!
On the 18th and 19th July, 1861, my brothers, Henry and E. M., made their first appearance at Lord's, playing for the South Wales Club v. M.C.C. Both gave a fine display of cricket, Henry scoring 63 not out, first innings; E. M., run out 14 first, and 41 not out, second. E. M. was still more successful with the ball, capturing eight wickets first innings (six of them clean bowled), and seven second. He was in his twentieth year, and bowled both roundarm and underhand. South Wales won by seven wickets.
Between 1846 and 1862 few changes were made in the laws. The M.C.C., while it has always been watchful in the interests of the game, has never been hasty in altering or amending laws which had worked smoothly, wisely preserving a position of neutrality to outside appeals, and only acting when it became absolutely necessary. There were grumblings about this or the other bowler infringing the law in raising his hand above the shoulder in delivering the ball; and some of the umpires were accused of favouritism, or want of firmness, in not speaking out. It was well enough known that most of the bowlers offended occasionally; but as long as they did not make a practice of it, the umpire was silent. Possibly he had been a bowler himself, and knew how difficult it was for a roundarm bowler to bowl over after over with a horizontal arm and keep a good length; and what a relief it was to raise the arm now and then a little bit above the prescribed position, and how much quicker it made the ball come off the pitch.
Grumbling was pretty general in the beginning of 1862, and no one was surprised that an explosion occurred before the end of it. England was playing Surrey at the Oval on the 25th, 26th, 27th August of that year; and a memorable match it turned out to be in more ways than one. England commenced batting on the Monday, and kept possession of the wicket until 5.30 the next day, compiling the exceptionally large total of 503. Hayward headed the list with 117; Grundy came next, with 95; Carpenter third, with 94; and Willsher fourth, with 54. There was only one "duck" in the score; and that, strangely, was to Daft's name, caught at the wicket. Right glad were Surrey when that innings was over. With them it was not now a question of winning the match, but a question of saving it. It was one of those charming evenings we are occasionally favoured with in the month of August not a breath of wind, the sun fast setting, and the shadows stealing over the ground; and one of the largest crowds ever present at the Oval. Mortlock and T. Humphrey appeared at the wickets about six o'clock. Mr. V. E. Walker and Willsher were the bowlers; and John Lillywhite and T. Sewell, the umpires. Only a few balls were bowled when Humphrey hit out at a curly one of Walker's, and the ball travelled at a great rate to Grundy, who was standing at deep short-leg. Grundy sprang into the air, and with his right arm fully extended brought off a magnificent catch. The cheering was immense. Willsher was bowling steadily, as usual, at the other end; and Mr. F. Burbidge, who had taken Humphrey's place at the wicket, and Mortlock had to play carefully. Willsher commenced his third over, and immediately the ball left his hand Lillywhite cried "No ball!" Willsher continued to bowl; but after being "no-balled" six times in succession, he threw down the ball, and walked away. With the exception of Messrs. V. E. Walker and C. G. Lyttelton, the remainder of the eleven representing England followed suit.
To say that the excitement was intense is to convey but a faint idea of the sensation amongst players and spectators. Nobody knew why Willsher had been "no-balled; "his delivery looked as fair the third over as it did the first, or at any time in his bowling career. Lillywhite thought otherwise: in his opinion his hand was above the shoulder when the ball left it, and it was his duty to call "No ball." Play was stopped for the day. There was no demonstration, but it was generally believed that a very big nail had been knocked in the coffin of the law bearing on the point, and that the law would have to be either stretched or altered. A night's reflection found Lillywhite in the same belief; and to enable the match to proceed, Street was put in his place. There is no need to say if the action was a wise one. Lillywhite was made the scapegoat; but he could console himself with the thought, a year or two afterwards, that by his firmness on that occasion he had caused the law-makers to act.A fortnight before that match my brother E. M. had caused a sensation of another kind at Canterbury. His score of 118 against Wootton and Grundy at Lord's,
In 1860 he played 44 innings, average 41; his principal scores being:
150 for West Gloucestershire v. Clifton.
114* " Lansdown v. Trowbridge.
183* " Lansdown v. Plummer's XI.
118* " Ashton School v. Ashton.
In 1861 he played 60 innings, average 34; his principal scores being:
102* for Lansdown v. Batheaston.
112 " Lansdown v. Frenchay.
100* " Berkeley v. Knole Park.
119* " Lansdown v. Clifton.
They were not first-class matches, but good enough to show that he possessed batting powers of a very high quality.
For years, during the cricket week, my father and mother had visited Canterbury, where they had many friends, and were cordially welcomed in cricket circles. The match, the first part of the week in 1862, was England v. Fourteen of Kent; the second part, M.C.C. v. Gentlemen of Kent. The Hon. Spencer Ponsonby Fane, who was managing the matches for the M.C.C., had experienced great difficulty in getting together a good team for England; and at the last moment Hayward was taken ill and could not come.
In the evening my father suggested E. M. to the Hon. Spencer Ponsonby, who promptly said: "Communicate with him at once, please; and I shall try to arrange with Mr. Baker, the Secretary of the Kent County Club, that he shall be allowed to play as an emergency for the M.C.C. in the second match." Mr. Baker acceded to the request very heartily, and E. M. turned up at Canterbury on Tuesday, and for England scored a "duck" first innings, 56 second. Willsher, Sewell, and Mr. Lipscomb were the bowlers, and his 56 included 9 fours and 6 twos.
There was a little friction over the second match. The Captain of the Gentlemen of Kent objected to E. M. playing for M.C.C., not being a member; but Mr. Baker very firmly said: "I have given my promise to the Hon. Spencer Ponsonby that Mr. Grace shall be allowed to play; and if you insist upon your objection being enforced, then I have no alternative but to resign the Secretaryship of the County Club." That put an end to the discussion, and E. M. carried everything before him.
Kent scored 141 first innings. E. M. went in first for the M.C.C. at one o'clock on Friday, and after seeing four wickets go down for 65 runs, he began to hit. He hit all that day, and was 105 not out at the end of it. A good deal of rain fell during the afternoon, and the wicket became heavy, but he made the ball travel at a great rate. Next morning he was in the same vein, and finished up with 192 not out; total, 344. His score was made up of 26 fours, 7 threes, 9 twos, and singles. He broke one bat in compiling it; but Lord Sefton, on behalf of the M.C.C., presented him with another.
The story of his being out first ball, and Fuller Pilch giving him "not out" on the ground that he "wanted to see the young gentleman bat," is a myth. In the early part of the innings the bowler appealed for a catch at the wicket, but Pilch unhesitatingly said "Not out." He was chaffed for his decision afterwards, but said he had no doubt about it. Then laughingly added, "Perhaps I should not have given him out if I had. I wanted to see Mr. Grace do a bit of hitting."
The second innings of the Kent Gentlemen lasted a little over three hours, E. M. capturing all ten wickets.
He bowled both roundarm and lobs, but was most successful with the latter.
The Hon. Spencer Ponsonby had the ball mounted with silver, and presented it to E. M. on behalf of the M.C.C.
I can remember E. M. in his twenty-first year. He is now in his fiftieth, with more than the average share of energy and activity left; at twenty-one he was as agile as a cat, and could field at point better than any player I have met. A very good judge said of him once:
"The only thing that man cannot do in the cricket field is keep wicket to his own bowling! "
The fame of E. M.'s doings spread everywhere, and his style of batting was freely criticised. The critics found fault with his cross hitting, and said he was not above hitting a straight, good-length ball; but all agreed that his hitting was something wonderful. It has always been a mystery to me how he timed the ball so accurately. Good-lengths, half-volleys, and long-hops were all the same to him. He got them on the right part of the bat, and neither bowler nor fieldsman could tell to which part of the field the ball was going. One hit they might expect. Give him a ball a little bit up, about a foot to the off, and they could depend upon it travelling to long-on. Many a fieldsman was placed there for a catch, but very rarely was the ground large enough for that particular hit, and a rough wicket made little difference to him. Do not imagine he could not play with a straight bat, or a defensive innings if he wanted. I have seen him defend his wicket as correctly and patiently as any one. From his twentieth to his thirtieth year his eyesight and quickness were exceptional, partly owing to his temperate and active habits.
In 1862, and for a good many years afterwards, his scores and averages were certainly remarkable; and when we compare them with the doings of the great players of the past and of his own time, we can understand the sensation he created between 1862 and 1865.
Mynn and Pilch were two of the best batsmen between 1830 and 1850. I give their doings in 1843 and 1844:—
Mynn in 1843 played 28 innings, scored 471 runs, average 16.23; most in an innings, 73.
In 1844 he played 36 innings, scored 439 runs, average 12.7; most in an innings, 48.
Pilch in 1843 played 22 innings, scored 525 runs, average 23.19; most in an innings, 89.
In 1844, 41 innings, 592 runs, average 14.18; most in an innings, 50.
In 1862 and 1863, Anderson, Hayward, Daft, Parr, and Carpenter were the crack batsmen:—
|R. Carpenter in||1862||averaged||31.20||for||38 innings.|
E. M. GRACE.
1862 .. 40 innings, 2190 runs; average, 40.30.
The year 1862 is hardly a fair comparison, for the majority of the matches in which E. M. played were not first-class. The year after, when he played for the All-England Eleven, South v. North, and Gentlemen v. Players, is a fairer test:—
1863.—First-class Matches only.
|R. Daft ...||9 innings,||313 runs,||average||34.7|
|G. Anderson ...||10 "||287 "||"||28.7|
|P. Hayward ...||16 "||392 "||"||24.8|
|R. Carpenter ...||22 "||447 "||"||20.7|
|G. Parr ...||16 "||204 "||"||12.12|
E. M. GRACE.
27 innings ... 964 runs ... average 35.19