Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/799

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782
RACQUETS


(a) if the ball in play touch the striker's opponent on or above the knee, and if in the marker's opinion it be thereby prevented from reaching the front wall above the board (the playline); or (b) if either player undesignedly prevent his opponent from returning the ball served in play.” If a player considers that he has been thus obstructed by his opponent he may “ claim a let, ” and the marker adjudicates his claim. The marker's decision is final; but “if in doubt which way to decide, the marker may direct that the ace be played over again.” It is the duty of the marker, who occupies a box in the gallery, to “ call the game.” As soon as the server serves the ball the marker calls "Play!” if the ball strikes the front wall above the service-line; and “Cutl” if it strikes below the service line; if the ball falls in front of the short-line the marker calls “Shortl”; if the wrong side of the fault-line he calls “Fault!”; but whether it be "cut, " “short, ” or “fault, ” the serve counts as a fault in its effect. To every good return, as to every good serve, the marker calls “Playl” If a return is made after the second bound of the ball (called a “ double”) the marker calls “Doublel” or “Notup1”; if the ball is hit into the gallery, or against its posts or cushions, or above the girders or cross-beams of the roof, he calls “ Out-of-court! ” At the end of every rally he calls the state of the game, always naming first, the score of hand-in:-“One-love” (love .being the term for zero) meaning that hand-in has scored one ace and hand-out nothing, “Two-love, ” "Five-all, ” “Five-ten, ” “ Fourteen-eleven, ” and so on, till one side has scored 1 5, when the marker calls “ Game! ” He then in similar fashion calls the state of the match-“Two games to one, ” or whatever it may be:-before the commencement of the next game. The server in possession at the end of the game continues to serve in the new game, subject as before to the rule limiting the first innings of the game to a single “ hand.” The usual number of games in matches is five for singles, and seven for doubles. In matches where there are umpires and a referee, there is an appeal to them from the marker's decision except as regards questions relating to the service, on which the marker's decision is final. Records.-Attempts have been made to trace racquets, like tennis, to an ancient origin; but although it is doubtless true that the striking of a ball with the hand or some primitive form of bat is one of the oldest forms of pastimes, and that racquets has been evolved from such an- origin, the game as now known can hardly be said to have existed before the 19th century. Joseph Strutt's work on The S ports and Pastimes of the People of England, published at the beginning of the 10th century, makes no mention of racquets; and the century was far advanced before the racquet court was promoted from being an adjunct of the pot-house and the gaol, in which connexion the court within the purlieus of the Fleet prison has been immortalized in the pages of Pickwick, to a position scarcely less dignified than that of the tennis-court with its royal and historical associations. It was at the public schools that racquets first obtained repute. The school courts were at first unroofed, and in some cases open also at the back and sides, or on one side. Among the most famous of the early racquets professionals, before the period of the modern closed court, were Robert Mackay (1820), the brothers Thomas and John Pittman, ]. Lamb, ]. C. Mitchell and Francis Erwood (1860). One of the most famous matches ever played at racquets was that in which Erwood was beaten by Sir William Hart-Dyke, who used the “drop ” stroke with telling effect, and who, after representing Oxford in the first four inter university matches, was the only amateur racquet player who ever defeated the open champion. A notable date in the history of racquets was the year 1853, when the court at the old Prince's Club in Hans Place, London, was built. Here the annual racquet matches between Oxford and Cambridge Universities, singles and doubles, were first played in 1858, and the Public Schools Championship (doubles only) ten years later. Modern racquets may perhaps be said to date from the time of the brothers Gray, who as professionals greatly raised the standard of skill in the game, and as teachers at the schools and' universities improved the play of amateurs. William Gray beat Foulkes, the champion of America, in 1867; Henry Gray and Joseph Gray were also great players. The latter was beaten in 1875 by H. B. Fairs (“ Punch ”) but held the championship from 1878 to 1887. Another member of the same family was Walter Gray, who was as distinguished for the power of his stroke as his brother William was for the accuracy of his “ drop ” and the ease and grace of his volley and half volley. Walter Gray was followed in the championship by Peter Latham, the first professional to combine the open Tennis Championship with the Racquets Championship; and in the opinion of Mr Eustace Miles “there has probably lived no player who could have beaten him at either game.” Latham was the first to use the heavily cut service at racquets, and he is also remarkable for the power of his wrist stroke. In the last twelve years or so of the 19th century Latham stood alone, and in the opinion of the best judges he was the greatest of all racquet players. When once he had won the championship he never lost it, and when at last he resigned his title he was succeeded by Gilbert Browne, a player of a decidedly inferior calibre, who in 1903 was challenged and beaten by an Indian marker called Iamsetji. For the next six years, during which lamsetji held the championship, comparatively little was heard of professional racquets; but in 1909 interest was revived by a handicap at Queen's Club for a prize of £IO0, in which Peter Latham himself took part, and which was won by Iennings of Aldershot. As a result of this contest a challenge was issued by W. Hawes, the marker at Wellington College, to play any other professional for £200 a side and the championship of England. The challenge was accepted by C. Williams, a young player of Prince's Club, who easily won the match, and with it the title of champion.

The institution of annual matches between Oxford and Cambridge Universities in 1858, and of the Public Schools Championship in 1868, gave an immense stimulus to the game among amateurs. Of the 51 inter-university (singles) matches from 1858 to 1908, Oxford won 26 and Cambridge 25; of the 52 contests in doubles Oxford won 25 and Cambridge 27. Among the public schools Harrow has been far the most successful, having won the championship challenge cup 19 times out of 42 contests. Moreover, under the condition permitting any school winning it in three consecutive years to retain the challenge cup permanently, Harrow became possessed of three cups, having won the championship 1871-1874 inclusive, 1879-1881 inclusive, and 1883-1887 inclusive. The next most successful school has been Eton, eight times champion; Charterhouse having won five times, and no other school more than three times. For the first twenty years of the contest, with a single exception when Rugby won in 18 0, no school except Eton or Harrow gained the championship; and7 it is not surprising therefore that the majority of famous amateurs learnt the game at one or other of these schools. Among Etonians were W. Hart-Dyke, C. ]. Ottaway, the Hon. Alfred Lyttelton, the Hon. Ivo Bligh (afterwards Lord Darnley), C. T. Studd and H. Philipson; Harrow has produced R. D. Walker, one of the best of the earliest amateur racquet players, C. F. Buller, T. S. Dury, A. I. Webbe, M. C. Kemp, E. M. Butler, the brothers Eustace Crawley and H. E. Crawley, C.~ D. Buxton, H. M. Leaf, Percy Ashworth and C. Browning. The famous Malvern family of Foster has been as conspicuous in the racquet court as on the cricket field, the eldest, H. K. Foster, being probably the finest amateur player of his generation. F. Dames Longworth, Major A. Cooper-Key, Colonel Spens, E.M.Baerlein and Eustace H. Miles have also been in the front rank of amateur players. The opening of the Queen's Club, West Kensington, was a notable event in the history of the game, especially as it was followed by the establishment of amateur championships in singles and doubles in 1888, of which the results have been as follows:-

AMATEUR CHAMP1oNs1~111><

I

I Sing es

1888 C. D. Buxton. ' 1900 H. K. Foster.

1889. E. M. Butler. 1901 F. Dames Longworth. 1890 P. Ashworth. 1902. E. H. Miles.

1891 H Philipson. 1903 E. M. Baerlein.

1892. F. Dames Longworth. 1904. H. K. Foster. 1893. F. Dames Longworth. 1905. E. M. Baerlein. 1894 H K. Foster. 1906. S. H. Sheppard.

1895 H K. Foster. 1907 E. B. Noel.

1896 H K. Foster. 1908. E. M. 'Baerlein.

1897 H. K. Foster. 1909 E. M. Baerlein.

1898. H. K. Foster. 1910."E. M. Baerlein.

81899. H. K. Foster.,