Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/345

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323
REFORMED CONSTITUTION OF THE CLUB.
successful in the conduct of the finances is sufficiently proved by the details submitted below; and the experience of present and former members of the University Eleven and others seems to be in tolerable accordance as to the fact that divided responsibility has not conduced to the efficient management of the cricket in the field. There is frequently an uncertainty as to whose business it is to collect the eleven: there are often two captains directing the field or changing the bowling; to say nothing of the more important fact that the choice of the eleven is not always satisfactory. There is also this further objection to the present system, that each of the three treasurers has a sort of ex officio right to play in the eleven, and thus there is always a possibility that the eleven may be weakened by the exclusion of one or even two better players.

In accordance with the recommendations contained in the sequel of the same report, the constitution of the club was reorganised in 1862. Instead of three coequal treasurers, three different officers were henceforth to be appointed—the captain as sole head of the eleven, the treasurer as solely responsible for the finances, and the secretary for the correspondence. The captain was to be chosen by the eleven of the previous year, and he was then to appoint a treasurer and a secretary. Under this reformed constitution the three officers of 1862 were H. S. Reade (captain), F. G. Inge (treasurer), and S. Linton (secretary). Ever afterwards the club maintained this constitution, with the exception that since 1879 the office of treasurer has become triennial, and is held by a Master of Arts. To have one responsible captain is the essential point. It was a much-needed reform when the Triumvirate of the three treasurers became the Cæsarism of the captain. As this will hardly be disputed, let us now return to the matches played under the new constitution.

I. From 1862 to 1865 Mr R. A. H. Mitchell marked the new era of the club by his masterly batting. He was probably the greatest university bat down to this moment, and before the appearance of Mr Grace the best gentleman bat in England. Though not quite so safe in dealing with slows, he was, on the whole, the greatest amateur master of the commanding style. He seemed never to play the ball without making a stroke. His strokes, too, went everywhere on the ground, and sometimes out of it. His forward-play, his drives, his cuts, and, above all, his leg-hits, were a study and a delight. At the university he played so well in his first year that he was made captain in the second, and for two more years: a captain in every sense he was. I may perhaps mention from my own experience two instances of his judgment. In 1864, in the second innings of Cambridge,