Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/302

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ing ability he can, by sheer superiority of strength, make hay of their bowling, spoil their game, and knock all the heart out of them. The favourite system of arrangement by houses has something to be said for it: the same boys are perpetually playing together, and there is nothing like "house-feeling" to excite boys' keenness, and to get the last ounce out of them. Unfortunately, in such elevens the gradient from the top to the bottom is very steep, and the "tail," house-feeling apart, does not get very much fun out of the cricket per se. That is reserved for later years, when they have themselves become "swells."

In perusing the accounts of the systems and methods of the different schools, the reader who is interested in the subject—and what cricketer is not?—will be struck by the enormous amount of time and pains that is bestowed on the game. There are some spoil-sports who may grumble at the prominence given to athletics, forgetting the fact that organisation is the only power that can keep games going, and that compulsory games are the best, if not the only, antidote to the poison of "loafing" and its consequences. It is this fact that has induced the modern head-master to give wise and ample encouragement to athletics in their different forms, experience proving that only in isolated cases does work suffer. One cannot help being struck, however,' with the little system that, apparently, is applied to the teaching of bowling. Batting and fielding are well and thoroughly attended to, but the bowling, as far as the present writer can gather, is left to look after itself; and after all, bowling at a net, unless systematised, is sure to be very desultory work. It is easy for the coach to say, "Pitch them up more," "Keep them on the off-side," &c., &c.; but these things, in the case of boys, are more easily said than done, and in any case such advice does not convey much. The bowler of the long-hop or the leg-ball knows perfectly well that he has done what he ought not to have done, and will try to be a better bowler in future. The hints he requires as a lad he may find out for himself in later days, but his school will not reap the benefit of them. Hence, to the writer's way of thinking, there is a great future for the cricket of the school that will engage a purely bowling coach—a coach that will teach the bowlers, at the same time that he is giving the batsmen some real practice. Alfred Shaw would be ideal for such a post: his varieties of length, curve, pace, and especially break, would form an unequalled object-lesson for the young bowler, and for many an old bowler as