Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/311

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289
ETON COLLEGE.

fortunately this is not always the case, and the lower games become rather "scratch" in their nature, till a certain number of would-be cricketers take to boating in despair. Certainly a loosely-managed game, on rough, unwatered wickets is not palatable, especially to boys who at their private schools have been accustomed to well-kept grounds and regular coaching. When a boy, however, has won his way to "Upper Club," he is in a kind of minor paradise. Most careful pains are taken with the promising colt; he is taught every department of the game, and he has one of the most beautiful and picturesque grounds in England to play on, its only drawback being the rather difficult light, due to the ring of trees which engirdles the ground. Football is, of course, absolutely tabooed on this sacred area. Four professionals are at hand to bowl and coach, under the direct supervision of that finest of batsmen, R. A. H. Mitchell. Hence, if the arrangements for the younger cricketers seem rather defective, those for the seniors are fairly perfect; and if anything could prove their perfection, it would be the number of good cricketers and good elevens that Eton has sent out from her oft-quoted "Playing-Fields."

Another great advantage, which Eton shares with Harrow, is its proximity to London, enabling the captains of visiting sides to secure a really first-class eleven to meet the school in its trial-matches. Nothing is so salutary for boys' cricket as to witness good cricket and watch good cricketers, especially as defeat is no dishonour, and victory doubly encouraging. Of course the match with Harrow is the great event of the year, and to take part in that match is the highest distinction which the Eton cricketer covets or can attain; but little less enthusiasm is shown over the Winchester match, which is played at Eton and Winchester alternately, and is attended, even when played away from home, by a large number of the school. The other chief fixtures are with I Zingari, the Quidnuncs, the Free Foresters, the Eton Ramblers, and the M.C.C.; and among the many great cricketers whom Eton has sent forth may be mentioned the names of R. A. H. Mitchell, F. M. Buckland, Hon. Ivo Bligh, J. E. K. Studd, G. B. Studd, C. T. Studd, Hon. E. Lyttelton, Hon. A Lyttelton (and many other Lytteltons), H. Philipson, A. W. Ridley, S. E. Butler, Lord Harris, Lord Hawke, G. H. Longman, A. S. Tabor, F. Marchant, C. J. Ottaway, C. I. Thornton, H. B. Chinnery, C. C. Pilkington, C. P. Foley, H. W. Bainbridge, F. H. E. Cunliffe, &c., &c.