Cricket (Grace)/Chapter 4
CRICKET SCHISMS AND THE PROGRESS OF COUNTY CRICKET—1863 TO 1869.
County Cricket made satisfactory progress in the year 1863. A number of county clubs were then formed, which took root, and have flourished with more or less success since. They had to contend against the popularity of the All-England and United Elevens, who still received liberal encouragement wherever they appeared; but lovers of the game could see, even at that date, that a county club was more likely to establish the game on a firm footing than a travelling eleven which owed its existence entirely to gate-money. The success of the two Elevens was no doubt owing to the quality of the players representing them; but their jealousies and constant bickerings began to tire their supporters, and when the North and South took sides, matters for the moment looked serious. I suppose we shall never get to the bottom of the various schisms which created so much ill-feeling about that time, and which spoiled so many important matches; and I question if it be worth the trouble to try. A short recapitulation of them will be sufficient.
First, we had Clarke's management of the All-England Eleven called into question, which led to the formation of the United Eleven; second, there was jealousy on the part of the northern men about the selection of H. H. Stephenson for the captaincy of the first English Eleven which went to Australia; then we had the Nottinghamshire dispute with Surrey for first place in county honours, which caused them to steer clear of meeting each other for years; and, finally, we had the divisions of the different elevens into North and South.
It was not an uncommon thing for two or three members of an eleven to combine and object to another member playing. For some reason or other, G. Atkinson absented himself from the Yorkshire team against Nottinghamshire on the 9th, 10th, and 11th July, 1863. Seven days afterwards, eight of the most prominent Yorkshire players wrote to the Honorary Secretary:
"We, the undersigned, have made up our minds that we will not play in the forthcoming Yorkshire v. Surrey match if George Atkinson plays."
It was a most unhappy position for a Secretary to be placed in; but the eight gained their point, for Atkinson did not play in the Surrey match.
The North v. Surrey match at the Oval, 3rd, 4th, and 5th August the same year, was also spoiled, owing to Parr's "combination" objecting to play. Parr, Anderson, Daft, Hayward, Carpenter, Tarrant, and Jackson were all absent, and it was not a case of their being unable to play, but that they would not play against Surrey. When England played Surrey a fortnight later, they were in the same mood, and remained in it in the North v. Surrey match, at Manchester on 20th, 21st, and 22nd August. In the latter match the North, though playing a weak team, was strong enough to win, and a certain amount of satisfaction was felt that the team should have been able to do it without the dissentient players. A lively newspaper correspondence ensued, and it must have been unpleasant to the players who stood out to read:
"The Northern Managers have experienced great difficulty in getting together their strength, and whilst endeavouring to smooth down the feeling which exists between certain players and the Surrey authorities, they have shown that they are not wholly reliant upon a particular division to supply an eleven to represent the North."
In the early part of 1864 an agitation was set going in one of the leading sporting papers which had for its aim the formation of a "cricket parliament" to depose the Marylebone Club from its position as the authority on the game; but it met with little countenance, and the old club, which had now played on its present ground for fifty years, was allowed to carry on the work which it, and it alone, seemed to be able to do with firmness and impartiality. If evidence were wanting of the M.C.C.'s interest and consideration for the game at that period, we have only to look at the number and quality of matches played by it. During the year 1864 it played as many as 34 matches, including such clubs as Cambridge and Oxford Universities; Eton, Harrow and Rugby Schools; the Army Club, Royal Artillery, and some of the minor counties. Show us how we can do good to the game and we shall endeavour to do it, has always been the aim of the Committee of the M.C.C., and it would have been a thousand pities if the Club had been deprived of its powers at that critical period of cricket history.
June the 10th of the same year saw an important alteration in the laws. The Willsher episode of 1862 was still fresh in the memories of players, and after vainly trying to get umpires to "no-ball" a bowler when he raised his arm above the shoulder, it was finally decided that Law X. should read thus:
"The ball must be bowled; if thrown or jerked, the umpire shall call 'no-ball.'"
That settled for good the vexed question of the height of arm in delivering the ball, and bowlers and umpires breathed more freely afterwards. Surrey and Nottinghamshire met in July, and it was thought their differences were at an end; but when England met Surrey a month later, the crack Northern players would not come ; and they also absented themselves from the North v. South match, in September. In the last match the North was poorly represented, and the South won very easily. So indignant were the Southern players that at the end of the first day's play they met and drew up the following protest :
"We, the South of England, decline playing at Newmarket on the 6th, 7th, and 8th October, as they, the North of England, refused to play in London. (Signed) T. Lockyer, W. Mortlock, E. Pooley, James Lillywhite, jun., G. Bennett, T. Humphrey, H. Jupp, C. H. Ellis, T. Hearne, T. Sewell, jun., G. Griffith, John Lillywhite, and Julius Caesar."
That did not improve matters; in reality it widened the breach, and created a schism between North and South, which led to the formation of the United South Eleven, and the North of Thames v. South of Thames matches; and in after years the All-England and United Elevens were seen very little in the south.
It was a most unhappy state of affairs and, but for the firmness of the M.C.C. and the leading amateurs of the various counties and clubs, might have had serious consequences. Fortunately, a love for the game was springing up all over the United Kingdom, and good players were increasing in number rapidly. Very soon equally good players could be seen outside of the famous elevens, and the demands of the different players in some cases reasonable, in others unreasonable could either be granted or firmly refused. The M.C.C. was now playing the Colts of England, for the purpose of discovering rising talent; and county clubs were doing the same thing. Public schools, colleges, and other clubs were also adding to the number. The Na Shuler Club, holding pretty much the same position in Ireland as the I Zingari in England, was formed in 1863; and there was another and more powerful combination, named the Free Foresters, which had been in existence since 1856, and which for seven years could show a record of 102 matches played, 62 of them won. Then there was the Southgate Club, which, owing to the famous Walker family, had a great reputation in the neighbourhood of London and out of it. It was very busy about that time, playing almost a first-class eleven, and sixteen of it were strong enough to defeat the United England Eleven by an innings and 65 runs.
A very pleasing and encouraging feature at that time was the growth and interest taken in the game outside of England. Scotland and Ireland were developing rapidly, and began international matches with each other; and an English eleven, under the leadership of Parr, was causing great interest in Australia. England v. Twenty-two of Victoria, on the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th January, 1864, at Melbourne, brought out a great crowd, as many as 40,000 attending during the four days. For a parallel to it in England we have to go to the Eton and Harrow match at Lord's, in the height of the London season, when something approaching 20,000 were present in two days.
The All-England v. United England, and Gentlemen v. Players matches, though far ahead of the Eton and Harrow match in a cricketing sense, were not to be compared with it in attendance. The Players were still far ahead of the Gentlemen, and that year's defeat made the eighteenth in succession.
But, undoubtedly, the most encouraging feature of that season was the progress made by the counties. Surrey county had a very fine record: 14 matches played 8 won, 1 lost, 5 drawn.
|Middlesex ...||8||played||: 5 won, 2 lost, 1 drawn.|
|Sussex ...||8||"||: 5 won, 2 lost, 1 drawn.|
|Cambridgeshire ...||3||"||: 3 won (2 against Yorkshire, 1 against Notts).|
|Notts ...||7||"||: 3 won, 4 lost.|
|Yorkshire ...||7||"||: 2 won, 4 lost, 1 drawn.|
|Kent ...||9||"||: 9 lost.|
A very sad show for Kent, considering that 13 of that club played an Eleven of England twice that year.
Lancashire played 9: 3 won, 3 lost, 3 drawn; most of them against minor counties and local clubs. Hampshire played n matches of one kind and another, and Buckinghamshire played two against Middlesex. Amateur Elevens were quite as busy; the I Zingari playing 23 matches, the Incogniti 23, and the Free Foresters 14.
I began to take an active part in first-class cricket in 1865. I was only sixteen years of age, but I was over 6 feet in height and n stone in weight. Before the end of the season I had played for the Gentlemen of the South, the Gentlemen of England., England v. Surrey, and for the Gentlemen v. Players twice, with what success will be seen later on. Before touching upon the doings in 1865, it will be useful to revert for a little to the past.
The All-England and United All-England Elevens were still in full swing, playing as many as thirty matches during the season. Scotland and Ireland were now included in the list of their engagements; but rarely was either eleven seen in the South. They still possessed the cream of the professional talent; and when they played against each other, the display was still the finest of the season. Down to the year 1864 the two elevens had met fourteen times, and results showed six wins each, two drawn. And, so far, not a single member of either eleven had scored a hundred runs in an innings. Carpenter scored 97 in the 1859 match; but that was the nearest approach to it. The reason, no doubt, was owing principally to the quality of their bowling and the rough wickets which were played on then. It is told of Clarke's Eleven that on one occasion when it visited Cornwall a man fielding at long-on flushed a covey of partridges, and that a patch 40 yards by 10 was the only part of the ground that was ever cut or rolled. But it might, in a degree, be attributed to the fact that professional players did not cultivate batting as much as bowling, knowing that, however good they might be at the former, they must excel in the latter to secure an engagement with a club of any importance. The aim of every club was to engage a good bowler as soon as its finances permitted. The player who averaged a double figure at the end of the season was considered to have batted exceptionally well; and when a good bowler did it he was looked upon as an all-round first-class cricketer indeed, and could command a very high price for his services.
The averages of a number of the prominent batsmen of both elevens in the annual matches played against each other from their inauguration in 1857 will show the quality of the batting at that period. At the end of 1864:
|R. Carpenter||had played||19||innings,||average||25.6|
|H. H. Stephenson||"||24||"||"||16.2|
|R. C. Tinley||"||21||"||"||10.5|
Those were the most celebrated players of both elevens.
When we turn to the doings of the Gentlemen and Players there is a different story to tell. These matches were commenced in 1806. At the end of 1864 results showed that the Players had won 39, the Gentlemen 14, and 3 were drawn; and that the century had been exceeded 8 times; seven of them to the credit of the Players, one to the credit of the Gentlemen.
If we remember that in the majority of the matches won by the Gentlemen, they were either playing extra men, or had one or two players given them, it will be easily seen that the best of our amateur talent was very far behind the best of our professional. From 1854 to 1864 the Gentlemen were completely out of the running. Out of the 19 matches played between those years, the Players won 18, and 1 was drawn.
That was the state of affairs at the end of 1864; and when it was announced that 60 young players had applied and been recommended to play in the Nottinghamshire Colts' Match on Easter Monday, 1865, and that other counties were full of promising talent also, the prospects of professional players looked very rosy. University and public school cricket were in full swing also, and the number of first-class amateur batsmen was rapidly increasing.
At the end of 1865 County Cricket showed that Nottinghamshire and Surrey were at the head of the poll.
In purely county matches Surrey won 7, lost 3, and 2 were drawn; Nottinghamshire won 6, lost 1; Middlesex won 3, lost 1, and i was drawn; Kent won 2, lost 3, and 2 were drawn; Sussex won 1, lost 4, and 2 were drawn; Cambridgeshire won 1, lost 1, and 1 was drawn; Yorkshire won 0, lost 6, and 2 were drawn. Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, and Warwickshire played against each other with varying results.
Nottinghamshire's performance was a very fine one; four wins being ridiculously easy, especially that against Sussex at Trent Bridge, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd June, which was won by an innings and 86 runs. Parr and Daft batted consistently for their county all that season; the former doing specially good work with the bat, considering that he was now in his fortieth year, and had represented Nottinghamshire for 21 years. Then they had such good bowlers as Grundy, Wootton, Jackson, Alfred Shaw, and Tinley. Grundy was very successful on that occasion, the Sussex batsmen being perfectly helpless against him. In the second innings he bowled 100 balls, took 5 wickets, and only 6 runs were scored off him. The one match lost was the return against Surrey at the Oval on the 13th, 14th, and 1I5th July, and there was a tremendous amount ot excitement and feeling over it. Parr declined to play, which did not make matters pleasant to begin with; and rarely have two counties fought so keenly as those two did on that occasion. Surrey in the second innings had 14 runs to make to win when the ninth wicket went down. They obtained them; but the Nottinghamshire players and some spectators alleged that Sewell, the last batsman, had been run out, and spoke bitterly of the umpire's decision. Quite a crowd gathered in front of the pavilion at the finish, and neither of the elevens measured their language, nor forgot to rake up old sores. The relationship between the two counties had become so strained, that the committees of both clubs decided to abandon the match in 1866, and contests between them were not resumed for three years.
Yorkshire's performances were sadly disappointing to its supporters; but the committee had to contend against internal dissensions, and on more than one occasion were without their full strength. Five of the regular eleven refused to play against Surrey at Sheffield on the 19th, 20th, and 21st June; and afterwards the committee tried all in their power to do without them, with the result that every match was lost. The county had commenced the season with satisfactory hopes, too; and amongst their fixtures was a match against the All-England Eleven, which turned out to be the most humiliating defeat a good eleven had experienced for years, the county losing by an innings and 255 runs. Carpenter and Hayward scored over a hundred runs each for the All-England Eleven, and every member of the team made a double figure; and in the second innings Wootton took all ten wickets.On the 22nd June I played my first representative match. The Gentlemen of the South met the Players of the South at the Oval on that day, and it was my good fortune to be on the winning side, the Players being defeated by an innings and 58 runs. Mr. I. D. Walker was the successful batsman, scoring 91 out of a total of 233. I need not say I was anxious to do well, and was chagrined at being stumped without scoring.
THOMAS HAYWARD. ROBERT CARPENTER.
Ten days later I made my first appearance for the Gentlemen v. Players at the Oval, in response to the invitation of the committee of the Surrey Club. On that occasion I was placed eighth on the batting list, and scored 23 first innings, 12 not out second. Mr. R. D. Walker scored 92 the second innings; Mr. R. A. H. Mitchell, 53 first and 33 second: but we lost the match by 118 runs; and I realised that whilst there were as good batsmen in the Gentlemen's eleven as in the Players', the former were still much behind in bowling. It was the ninth time that this match had been played at the Oval, and on each occasion the Players had won rather easily. It was easy to understand that against such an array of talent as the Players then possessed, the Gentlemen had a formidable task before them to win one of the two matches that were now played annually between them. Our defeat was all the more annoying that the Players' eleven was not at all representative on that occasion; for the northern cracks Daft, Parr, Jackson, Hayward, Carpenter, Tarrant, and Anderson had all declined to come.
The return match, at Lord's, on the 10th and 11th July, was more encouraging to us; the Gentlemen winning it by eight wickets. It was their first win since the year 1854. Hayward, Carpenter, and Parr were amongst the Players, and this added considerably to our satisfaction in defeating so strong an eleven. I batted first, with my brother E. M., in both innings. Mr. B. B. Cooper made 70 for the Gentlemen, and Mr. R. A. H. Mitchell 44 not out; and G. Parr was highest for the Players, making 60 in their second innings.
I had another, and what I considered a very high, compliment paid to me on the 17th, 18th, and 19th July. The second of those dates was my eighteenth birthday, and I spent it playing for The Gentlemen of England v. The Gentlemen of Middlesex, on the Middlesex County Ground, at Islington. The result showed that both teams had plenty of batting strength, for 822 runs were scored for 36 wickets. My brother E. M. was most successful for England, scoring 12 and 111; and my share was 48 and 34. Mr. A. J. Wilkinson scored 28 and not out 84 for Middlesex; and Mr. C. F. Buller made 71 for the same side.
At the Oval, on the 2ist and 22nd August, I played for England v. Surrey, and going in first with E. M.,. raised the score to 80 before we were parted.
I have dealt more fully with my own doings in those matches than I had intended; but, as it was the first year in which I contended against the best of the amateur and professional talent, I believed it might be of interest and encouraging to beginners to have the results. It will be seen that, at times, I was fairly successful with both bat and ball; but that now and then I shared the common experience of doing very little with either. First-class professional bowling I found to be a widely different thing from the amateur bowling which I had played chiefly against in the last year or two against local clubs. My slight experience against the All-England Eleven had in a measure prepared me for it, and I took no liberties: but most of the bowlers were new to me, and their styles varied; and I learned that before I could do much against a man, I must know something about his bowling. It was trial enough to be compelled to play over after over of straight, good -length balls; but I had to watch tricky ones as well. Patience I found to be my greatest friend, and before the season was over I had gained something in confidence. But, of course, I was disappointed at not scoring a hundred runs at least once during the year, although I knew that was a feat rarely accomplished at that time against first-class bowling. My highest score was 85, for the South Wales Club v. I Zingari; but my most encouraging performance was in bowling for the Gentlemen of the South v. Players of the South, in the match I have already mentioned, and for which the Surrey Club presented me with a ball, with the following inscription on it:
"Presented to W. G. Grace, Esq., by the Surrey County Cricket Club, for his great performance in the match of Gentlemen of the South v. Players of the South at the Oval, June 22nd and 23rd, where he bowled 5 wickets first innings for 44 runs, and 8 second for 40."
I had plenty of cricket of one kind and another that year, playing in all 54 innings, and scoring 2169 runs; and one of the innings was for Suffolk County Club. It came about in this way. The M.C.C. was playing that county at Lord's, and I was in London at the time. I strolled on to the ground the second day; and Suffolk being two men short, very kindly asked me to play. I did not wait to be asked twice, and could have wished to have done better for them. We were sadly defeated, only scoring 58 and 62; while the M.C.C. scored 269 in a single innings. E. M. scored 82 for them, and knocked the Suffolk bowling all over the ground.
There were two or three good individual performances during the year; one of them being Jupp's 216 for the Players of the South v. Fourteen Gentlemen of the South, at Southampton in September. The Gentlemen were a very weak lot; but Jupp's score was made without a chance. Pooley scored in by hard hitting in the same match. Another fine effort was my brother E.M.'s against the United England Eleven, for Eighteen of the Lansdown Club, at Bath in the month of June. Out of a total of 299 he made 121; and he, my eldest brother Henry, and myself took all the wickets in both innings.
Over a hundred runs in an innings, in good matches, was scored by Messrs. C. G. Lyttelton, R. D. Walker, A. Lubbock, Spencer Leigh, S. A. Leigh; and among the Players, by W. Oscroft (twice), H. H. Stephenson, Bennett, T. Humphrey, Hayward, and Carpenter.
My brother E. M. came in for a hot reception at a match played at the Oval on the 28th, 29th, 30th September. Playing for Eighteen Gentlemen of the Surrey Club against the United South of England, he scored 64 and 56, and received his 75th presentation bat; it being the custom of the committee ot the Surrey Club at that time to give a bat for every score of 50 runs. Mr. I. D. Walker and he bowled unchanged in both innings; Mr. Walker's underhand lobs and E. M.'s fast round completely beating the United South batsmen. Jupp was most at home with them, and got set in the second innings. "The problem is to get Jupp out," said I. D. to E. M. "All right!" said E. M.; "I can do it with a lob." Very shortly after he gave him a lofty one, which fell right on to the top of the wickets, and a scene followed. Cries of "Shame!" and "Unfair bowling!" were shouted all over the ground; and a large number of the spectators advised Jupp not to go out. The match was stopped for the greater part of an hour, finally resuling in a win for the Eighteen by 155 runs.
The All-England Eleven played 30 matches that year: won 19, lost 5, drawn 6.
Carpenter was at the head of the averages with 31 innings, average 24.23; G. Parr, 28 innings, average 17.16. In bowling: J. Jackson captured 206 wickets, average 5.21 per innings; G. Tarrant, 250 wickets, average 5.40 per innings; and Tinley, 301 wickets, average 7.28 per innings.
The United All - England Eleven played 9 matches: won 3, lost 3, drawn 3.
Carpenter played 14 innings, and averaged 17.2; J. Thewlis played 14 innings, and averaged 16.5.
In bowling: G. Atkinson captured 61 wickets, average 5.1 per innings; J. Grundy, 48 wickets, average 5.3 per innings; G. Wootton, 35 wickets, average 4.3 per innings; Tarrant, 33 wickets, average 8.1 per innings.
The United South Eleven played 14 matches: won 4, lost 4, drawn 6.
Jupp and Humphrey were the most successful batsmen; Willsher and Jas. Lillywhite the most successful bowlers.
A marked improvement was witnessed in batting in the year 1866. Hardly a week passed without an individual innings of a hundred runs in an innings being recorded in some match or another; and before the season was at an end, 200 runs was exceeded four times. The averages reached a figure undreamt of a few years before, and the once-coveted double figure had become quite common. An aggregate of 1000 runs, which was at one time considered a very exceptional feat, was accomplished by eighteen batsmen, ten of them amateurs; many of the batsmen, however, played few or no first-class matches.
The All-England Eleven again showed excellent results: 30 matches played won, 15; lost, 6; tie, 1; drawn, 8. The United All-England played 22 won, 14; lost, 2; drawn, 6. The United South played 17 won, 4; lost, 7; drawn, 6.
In County Cricket, Surrey, Middlesex, Kent, Sussex, Cambridgeshire, and Lancashire were well represented: but Yorkshire was again a failure, only playing three matches, and losing two of them; the other was unfinished. Nottinghamshire only played six matches home and home with Cambridgeshire, Yorkshire, and Middlesex; winning 2, losing 1, whilst 3 were drawn.
The All-England Eleven v. United All-England Eleven match was played, as usual, at Lord's, for the benefit of the Cricketers' Fund, on 21st, 22nd, and 23rd May, and a large crowd witnessed the contest. The teams were composed entirely of northern players: both elevens were well represented, and a very good match took place, the United winning, and making the record of matches played between them 7 wins each, 2 drawn. But after that, representative matches North v. South, and Gentlemen v. Players were completely spoiled, owing to the northern players declining to play. No less than thirteen players in the North refused, and at last the committee of the Marylebone Club spoke out clearly and firmly. At a committee meeting of that club, held on May 21st, the following resolutions were passed:
"1. That as the committee must decline to enter into the disputes among the professionals, or take the part either of northern and southern players, another eleven be selected to play in the North v. South match.
"2. That the selection of players for the match Gentlemen v. Players having been considered in reference to the refusal of the northern players to meet the southern men, the players in all matches at Lord's be selected from those who are willing to play together in a friendly manner in the matches on that ground."
Of course, the resolutions were passed too late to have any effect that season; but they bore fruit two or three years later.
The match between the Gentlemen and Players at Lord's, on the 25th June, was not representative of the players; although it was strong enough to beat the Gentlemen by 38 runs, chiefly owing to the magnificent batting of Tom Hearne, who scored 122 not out in the second innings.
The return match at the Oval was no better, but the Gentlemen turned the tables, and won by 98 runs.
The South v. North, at Lord's, on the 2nd July, was a miserable failure. There were only a few players in the North team that could be called first-class, and the match was robbed of all interest. The North scored 95 and 65, to the South's single innings of 203, and the spectators who witnessed it did not hesitate to speak out about the conduct of the absent northern players.
I cannot say that I played a very important part with the bat in any of these three matches. In the first and second I scored 77 runs for four innings; in the third I made 19 in my single innings. But I met with fair success with the ball in both matches against the Players, obtaining six wickets in the first and nine in the second.
I have often been asked if I had much faith in myself before I commenced my big innings of 224 not out for England v. Surrey, at the Oval, on the 30th July of that year. My memory is a blank in that respect. I was a little over eighteen years of age at the time, and the years that followed were busy ones; and that particular match, and one or two others, have become dim memories. I know I travelled up to town the same morning, and felt slightly nervous the first over or two; everything afterwards I have forgotten, except the shouting which followed at the end of the innings, late in the afternoon of the second day. And I remember Mr. V. E. Walker, the captain of the England team, was kind enough to let me off the last day to compete in the 440 yards' hurdle-race of the National Olympian Association Meeting at the Crystal Palace, which I won in I minute 10 seconds over 20 hurdles.
(From an old Print.)
The year altogether was a busy one, and the game had now taken a greater hold than ever.
I have been repeatedly asked when I played first in the Midland and Northern counties, but was at a loss to answer. I stumbled across an old score the other day, which recalls the date and circumstances. It was on the 4th and 5th of June, 1866, at the old Hyde Park Ground, Sheffield, when I captained Eighteen Colts of Nottingham and Sheffield against the All-England Eleven. I have represented many a team in my life, but this seems to my mind the most curious, and I shall not readily forget the impression the match made on me. The ground was on the top of a hill which took some climbing to reach, and everything in connection with it was of the most primitive description. I am more used to Yorkshire ways and arrangements now; but at the time I felt as if I had got to the world's end, and a very black and sooty end it seemed! I was only a boy of 17, and had never before had the honour of leadership on my shoulders against an eleven of world-wide fame. My brother E. M. had been asked to undertake the responsibility, but could not go, and recommended me to take his place. The All-England Eleven beat us by an innings and 8 runs, and I was very much impressed with Parr's leg-hitting. The ground was not much to look at, but the wicket was a good one; and after scoring 9 and 36, I was complimented on having captained the team and with playing creditably.
Scorers of 1000 Runs in all Matches in 1866.
|Mr. W. G. Grace ...||2168||40||7||224*|
|Mr. C. F. Buller ...||1647||54||6||196|
|Mr. M. A. Troughton ...||1526||46||14||91|
|Mr. J. J. Sewell ...||1466||44||7||166|
|Mr. R. A. Fitzgerald...||1420||60||6||147|
|Mr. A. Lubbock ...||1383||34||9||220|
|Mr. E. B. Fane ...||1265||37||3||151*|
|Captain Taylor ...||1237||56||7||99|
|Mr. Ashley Walker ...||1213||47||1||126|
|Mr. C. F. Lucas ...||1081||36||3||135|
|H. Jupp ...||1605||68||8||165|
|Sergt. W. McCanlis ...||1580||45||8||172*|
|T. Hearne ...||1335||52||2||146|
|J. Smith ...||1163||62||2||80|
|H. Holmes ...||1118||42||10||105|
|R. Carpenter ...||1102||37||11||97*|
|J. W. Burnham ...||1060||42||7||115|
|T. A. Mantle ...||1010||44||9||93|
|* Not out.|
A month later, on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th May, the All-England and United All-England Elevens met at Manchester for the benefit of the Cricketers' Fund. The match had been played on Whit-Monday at Lord's since 1857; but as both elevens were now composed entirely of Northern men, and the schism which had raged for years between North and South was still active, very little surprise was felt when the fixture was announced to take place on the old Trafford Ground. The M.C.C. realising that the two elevens meant to travel their own way respecting that march, as they had done in the North v. South matches, met in the early part of the season and passed the following resolution:
"Taking into consideration the conduct of certain of the professionals of England during the season of 1866, it is no longer desirable to extend the patronage of the Marylebone Club to the Cricketers' Fund exclusively; but a fund has now been formed which shall be called 'The Marylebone Professional Fund,' which shall have for its object the support of the professional players who, during their career, shall have conducted themselves to the entire satisfaction of the Committee of the M.C.C."
The first match on its behalf was played at Lord's on the 10th and 11th of June, between an Eleven of England and Middlesex County, and was largely attended. I had the pleasure of playing for England, and helping to speed the good cause. It was the first time Middlesex had played against England, and the result was far from encouraging to the county; for it lost by an innings and 25 runs. Mr. A. Lubbock was top scorer with 129, and I supported him with 75; and while we were together runs came at a great pace. So far Mr. Lubbock had shown that he was likely to take a high place in batting honours at the end of the season, his hitting and defence in the matches he had already played being consistently good.
At Lord's on 17th and 18th of June, North of the Thames v. South of the Thames was substituted for the old North v. South Match, and the wrench between Northern and Southern players was, for a time, complete. The match was one of the curiosities of a remarkable scoring season. Batting generally had so much improved that a total score of 400 runs created as little surprise as a total of 200 had done a year or two previously. The season, so far, had been dry, and favourable for tall scoring, and before the match commenced the opinion prevailed that this match would prove no exception. But the weather has spoiled many a match, and it spoiled that one for three innings were completed on the first day for a total of 195 runs. The South batted first, and were all out in an hour and seventeen minutes for a paltry 32. Wootton and Grundy were the bowlers, the former capturing 7 wickets for 18 runs. The North did very little better; the first 4 wickets fell for 7 runs, and six of them were down for 16 in thirty-six minutes. They were all out in an hour and a-half; total 61: for this I was mainly responsible obtaining 6 wickets for 23 runs.
The second innings of the South realised 102 runs; Mortlock being the highest score with 22 not out. Alfred Shaw did the mischief this time bringing off three remarkably good catches, and capturing 3 wickets in 39 balls for 2 runs. The North began their second innings next morning with a balance of 73 against them, and were all out in an hour and three-quarters for 46. The highest score was 8, and there was not a "duck" in the innings. Not a single extra was scored; and the fielding was magnificent. My brother E.M. brought off four very fine catches at point, Pooley was brilliant behind the wickets, and James Lilly white took 4 wickets for 18 runs, and myself 6 for 28. It was a most exciting and sensational match from start to finish, and the keenness and closeness of it will be remembered for many a long day.
The match between the Gentlemen and Players, played at Lord's on the 8th and gth of July, was almost a repetition of the one I have just described. The Players batted first, and were all out in an hour and fifty minutes for 79; Mr. Appleby taking 6 wickets for 33 runs. The Gentlemen scored 87 in the first innings. Wootton was the most successful bowler capturing 6 wickets for 41 runs.
The second innings of the Players was more disastrous than the first, for they only scored 61; and three innings had been completed a little before seven o'clock on the first day. I was the successful bowler this time capturing 8 wickets for 25 runs. The Gentlemen were left with 54 to win. A little over an hour sufficed to finish the match next day, on a difficult wicket; the Gentlemen winning by 8 wickets.
There was no need to complain of the weather on that occasion. From beginning to end it was perfect; but, as Lillywhite said in his summary of the year, "the wickets were decidedly bad even for Lord's ground."
The return match between the Gentlemen and Players was spoiled by the weather, and could not be completed; but it will be memorable for the finely-played innings of 107 not out—in the second innings—by Mr. A. Lubbock, the hard-hit 71 of my brother E. M., and the wicket-keeping of Mr. J. Round. But I took no part in it, or in any match for over six weeks.
On the 14th of July I was laid up with scarlet fever, and was unable to play until the end of August, and I did not feel very fit then. It was a bitter disappointment to me; for while my bowling efforts had been quite up to my expectations, I had not scored so heavily as I had desired, and I was hoping for better things before the season ended. That was my most successful bowling year. I bowled faster than I do at present now and then putting in a slower one, which often deceived the batsman.
The year was a great one of individual performances with both bat and ball; 200 runs in an innings was scored by Messrs. E. B. Rowley, E. M. Grace, and H. Clement, though not in first-class matches; and 100 runs was scored 171 times, but only eleven of them against first-class professional bowling. Mr. W. Townshend scored 100 runs twice in a match for Rossall School. But, undoubtedly, the great batting performance of the year was Mr. Lubbock's, who scored over a hundred runs three times two of them in first-class matches and who had the very fine average at the end of the season of 72.4 for 5 innings.
Wootton and Southerton both captured over 100 wickets in first-class matches; but Grundy, Emmett, Freeman, and one or two others bowled with finer results. Emmett and Freeman proved invaluable to their county, and- it was owing entirely to their allround efforts that Yorkshire, after being at the bottom of the poll in 1866, was raised to the top in 1867 not losing a single match in the six played.
Neither Surrey, Kent, Cambridgeshire, nor Middlesex kept up its 1866 form; but Sussex and Lancashire showed improvement, and Nottinghamshire was still well to the front. Nottinghamshire played one match against the North of England, which practically meant the combined strength of Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cambridgeshire, but was beaten by 112 runs. Freeman and Tarrant bowled unchanged in both innings against them, dividing the wickets and clean-bowling nine of their opponents.
Batting generally advanced with rapid strides in the year 1868. Total scores and individual performances exceeded everything in the past, and the cry was that the batting had now become too strong for the bowling. Two innings of 689 and 630 runs were scored; Mr. Tylecote scored his memorable 404 not out at Clifton, and Mr. W. J. Batchelor scored 289 for the Long Vacation Club at Cambridge. Totals and individual scores were the highest yet recorded in the history of the game. Altogether over 200 runs in an innings were scored by six players, and the century was exceeded at least 200 times. It was very much owing to the lovely weather which prevailed the greater part of the season, making the wickets dry and fast.
An eleven of Aboriginal Players of Australia visited England, and played their first match at the Oval on 25th and 26th May. They played 47 matches during the season; winning 14, losing 14, and 19 were drawn. In strength they were about equal to third-class English teams; and the result of their visit was satisfactory and encouraging to them in every respect. I had not the pleasure of playing against them; but I believe it was generally admitted that two players, Mullagh and Cuzens, showed very good all-round form.
County Cricket still progressed; Yorkshire holding its own, but not shining so conspicuously over the others as it did the previous year. Nottinghamshire played Lancashire for the first time, and home-andhome matches were resumed with Surrey.
Gloucestershire made a start, playing the M.C.C. at Lord's on the 25th and 26th June, and winning by 134 runs; but it was two years later before the club was formed on a sound basis, and engaged in contests with other counties.
My brother Fred played on this occasion; but he had made his first appearance at Lord's on the 1st and 2nd of the same month, playing for England v. M.C.C. He was only 17 years of age at the time; but he had already earned a great reputation in local cricket, and had represented the South of the Thames v. North of the Thames in 1866. I was of the same age when I first played for England, and I believe we are the only two players who have represented England so young. Fred had played for the United South also, and was thought good enough to go in first with me; and we now continued to represent that Eleven most years.
Before the season was over I accomplished two or three good batting performances. On June the 1st and 2nd, for England v. M.C.C., at Lord's, played for the benefit of the Marylebone Cricketers' Fund, I scored out of 96 first innings, and 66 out of 179 second; and we defeated the old club by 92 runs. The M.C.C. had not played England since 1856, and did not again until 1877.
The North of the Thames v. South of the Thames was played, in place of the North v. South match, at Lord's, on the 8th of June, and was one of the curiosities of those contests. The North Eleven was not a particularly strong one, and the match was finished in one day, the South winning by nine wickets. A shower of rain in the early part of the day caused the ground to kick, and in five hours thirty-one wickets were disposed of for 260 runs. Mr. A. N. Hornby appeared in the North team on that occasion.
At Lord's on the 29th and 30th June the Gentlemen defeated the Players by eight wickets, and I scored 134 not out in a total of 201. It was my first hundred in those matches; and the wicket was very hard and fast, which suited me splendidly. I hit very hard, and rarely made a mistake; and I believe even to-day that it was one of the finest innings I have ever played. The wicket played queerly, and everything was run out at Lord's in those days, and not once in the innings did Willsher, Grundy, Lillywhite or Wootton cause me any trouble; and I very seldom allowed the ball to pass the bat. I captured six wickets for 50 runs first innings; four for 31 second.
The return match at the Oval on the 2nd and 3rd July saw Mr. I. D. Walker in magnificent batting form. He scored 165 out of a total of 379, and never played a better innings in his life. Every bowler was hit all over the ground by him, and Lillywhite and Willsher were on four times. In his score there were two 6's, three 5's, and seventeen 4's. The bowling of Mr. David Buchanan in the second innings was another feature of the match. He captured nine wickets for 82 runs a very fine performance, considering that he was now 38 years of age, and that it was his first appearance in those contests. The Gentlemen won by one innings and 87 runs, this being their second win at the Oval. Their first win on that ground was in 1866, and Mr. Burrup, the Secretary, was so elated over it, that he presented every member of the eleven with a bat. There was less excitement on this occasion, and at last the happy time had come when the Gentlemen could hold their own in these contests.
The return match between the North of the Thames and the South of the Thames, on the St. Lawrence Greund at Canterbury, August 3rd, 4th, and 5th, was a remarkable, and in one respect historical, match. For the North the Rev. J. McCormick scored 137 in the first innings in two and a half hours, and hit our bowling all over the field; in the second innings, Mr. R. A. H. Mitchell scored 90, and Mr. H. N. Tennant 45 not out. For the South, I scored 130 first innings; 102 not out second. Altogether, 1,018 runs were scored in the three days; and it was the first time I scored two centuries in a match. It should be remembered that the St. Lawrence Ground was always an easy scoring one; and on that occasion, being hard and dry, it was particularly so, and suited me exactly. Besides, there were boundary hits at that date there, and I did not have anything like the running I had for my 134 at Lord's.
The year 1869 showed no decline in high scoring; in reality it showed an increase in three-figure innings and averages. The century was made close upon 250 times: nine times by myself; five times each by my brother Fred and Jupp; four times by Mr. I. D. Walker; and three times each by Messrs. B. B. Cooper, E. L. Fellowes, A. N. Hornby, C.I. Thornton, F.W. Wright, B. Pauncefote, C. J. Ottaway, T. Wise, Lieut. Scott, Daft and Rowbotham. My brother Fred also scored 206, and Mr. L. C. Howell 201.
I had the honour of being elected a member of the M.C.C., and played my first match on the 13th of May, against Oxford University, at Cowley Marsh, and scored 117 out of a total of 229; and by the end of the season my results for that club were:
In batting 12 innings, 724 runs; average, 60.4.
In bowling 426 overs: 209 maidens; 570 runs; 44 wickets; average, 12.42.
And I scored over a hundred runs in an innings four times for it.
County Cricket was in favour of Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire that year, they running a dead heat for first honours. Surrey played as many as twelve county matches; but was defeated by both Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. Cambridgeshire had ceased to exist as a county; although a match under that title was played against Yorkshire at Leeds, on the loth and nth July, which resulted in a great defeat for Cambridgeshire. Tarrant was seized with illness in the early part of the season, and did not play again, and Cambridgeshire without him was far below the best county form. Lancashire, Sussex, and Kent did not improve on their 1868 form; and Middlesex having lost their ground at Islington,, only played two matches against Surrey one at Lord's, the other at the Oval.
The North v. South matches were resumed; but again Parr, Carpenter, and Hayward declined to play. With Freeman and Emmett at their best, however, the North could hold its own without them, and the contests ranked next in importance to those between the Gentlemen and Players. They met three times during the season, and the South won two out of the three. I batted six times, and scored altogether 258 runs. My best innings was in the second match played at Sheffield, when I scored 122 out of a total of 173, against Freeman, Emmett and Wootton. And I was fairly successful with the ball in the same match, capturing six wickets for 57 runs first innings. But Southerton's seven for 34 runs in the second innings put all other bowling performances in the shade; although in the whole match Freeman took 13 wickets for 86 runs.
The most remarkable match of that year was The Gentlemen of the South v. Players of the South, at the Oval on the 15th, 16th, and 17th July. It had been a scoring match most years; but 1869 outshone its predecessors, and at the end of the three days only 21 wickets had fallen for a total of 1,136 runs. The Players won the toss, and on a perfect wicket, and in favourable weather, batted all the first day and until 1.50 the next, for the large total of 475. Pooley and Jupp commenced the innings, and scored 142 before they were parted. Charlwood batted seventh man, and hit our bowling everywhere in his score of 155. Eight of us had a try at him; but it fell to the lot of my brother Fred to clean bowl him. My bowling average did not come out particularly well in that match. "At last," said the Players, "we have got the best of them!"
Mr. B. B. Cooper and I batted first for the Gentlemen, and the Players had close upon four hours of it before they parted us for a total of 283. Six of their regular bowlers nearly broke their hearts in trying to part us; but Mantle, the unexpected and about the last resource, caught and bowled both of us in six balls, Mr. Cooper having scored 101, while my share was 180. But that was not the end of it. Mr. I. D. Walker came afterwards, and smote them to the tune of 90; and it was five o'clock on the Saturday before the innings was at an end, for a total of 553. The 283 was a record for first wicket in a first-class match, and it is so to-day. The Players had an hour and forty minutes left to play, and in that time scored 108: Pooley, 50; Jupp, not out 43.
The All-England Eleven played 23 matches; 8 won, 6 lost, 9 drawn.
The United All-England Eleven played its last match that year. It was founded in 1852, and held its own against the All-England Eleven and odds; but somehow or other it had never been so popular as its formidable rival and predecessor.
The Gentlemen won both matches against the Players: the first at the Oval by 17 runs, the second at Lord's by three wickets. The brunt of the batting was borne by Messrs. I. D. Walker, A. Lubbock, and myself; the bowling by Messrs. Absolom, Buchanan, and Appleby.