XIV. WELLINGTON COLLEGE.
For size and position and convenience of access, the Wellington ground yields place probably to none; and as it falls away slightly from the centre, big hits are many on the hard though sandy soil. A "first game" is played on half-holidays among the presumably best cricketers, when there is no foreign match, and the games of the next series are known as "Belows." Here some fifteen sides, representing as many houses or dormitories, play for a challenge cup on the county championship system once or twice a-week, and the captain of the eleven keeps his eyes open for rising talent and likely material. A second game, which has long been existing, is now being abolished by way of experiment, it being found that a series of scratch games gets very monotonous for those who are not actually playing for their colours. "Belows" are played whenever there is a "first game." For other boys games are arranged, known as "Second Belows." The selection of the elevens, of which there are three, is left to the captain, who promotes from time to time, publishing and posting a final list at the end of term. The "Cock-House" matches are played on the "bumping" system, as follows: the houses start in the order of the previous year, last year's cockhouse having a bye first week. No. 2 playing No. 3, No. 4 playing No. 5, and so on. Those who win go up a place. In the second week the bottom house does not play, but No. i plays No. 2, and so on, the rounds continuing, if possible, till every house has beaten the one above it, or has been beaten by it. Foreign matches are played every Saturday: there are no games that day, and every one is expected to look on.
For practice there are plenty of nets and three professionals for "first game," all members of which get plenty of training and coaching. The "Belows" nets are looked after by two or three masters, who coach and detect rising talent. Every house or dormitory—for house-matches the terms are synonymous—has also its special net assigned to it and reserved for it.
The schools played are Charterhouse and Haileybury. The Haileybury match was instituted in 1866, but on four occasions it has not taken place, owing to illness. The present state of the poll is—16 wins to Wellington, 4 to Haileybury, and 7 drawn