Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/210

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Wright and Dick McBride, and possibly two or three others, there wasn't a man in the whole American bunch who had ever played a game of cricket in his life, and most of them had never seen one. Meanwhile, the London sporting papers were promising a series of fine cricket matches—and we were certainly up against it. However, as we had eighteen men—and I urged that no one wanted to be left out of the cricket games—it was agreed that we should, in all cricket matches, play at the odds of eighteen to eleven in our favor, which, considering the fielding ability of the Americans, was greatly to our advantage.

I recall very distinctly an incident that occurred one morning preceding our first cricket match. We had gone out to practice on the Liverpool Cricket Grounds, and Mr. Allcock was present. We had hardly begun when he came to me and said:

"For Heaven's sake, Spalding, what are your men trying to do?"

I explained that they were just engaging in a little preliminary practice.

"But, man alive," he expostulated, "that isn't cricket. Why, you led me to suppose that your fellows were cricketers as well as ball players, and here have I been filling the London papers with assurances of close matches. Why, Spalding, your men don't know the rudiments of the game."

I confess that I was quite as worried as he; but this was no time to show my anxiety, and so I told him not to be uneasy. "You'll see," said I, "when the game comes