Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/346

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324
OXFORD UNIVERSITY CRICKET.

Mr Maitland was bowling his round-arm slows from the far end; I was long-on; and when Mr C. G. Lyttelton (now Viscount Cobham) came in, Mr Mitchell sent that good all-round cricketer, Mr Voules, into the country between long-on and square-leg. Immediately Mr Lyttelton hit a tremendous skier. I felt my heart beat, but to my great relief the ball fell into the safe hands of Mr Voules, placed in exactly the right spot by our captain. Similarly, in 1865, in the second innings of Cambridge, when Mr E. P. Ash, a hard hitter on the off-side, came in, Mr Mitchell sent Mr R. D. Walker between cover-point and mid-off where I was standing, to what was then a novel place in the field but is now the familiar extra-cover. The result soon followed: E. P. Ash, c R. D. Walker, b Maitland, 8. It was a hard hit, and a good catch by a field exactly placed by a real captain. With such a cricketer and captain as Mr Mitchell on the Oxford side, it was lucky for Cambridge that Mr R. D. Walker in 1865 was the last man who played five matches for his university, while Mr Mitchell only played four. Here are his batting performances:—

The Jubilee Book of Cricket 0345.jpg

His average therefore was, in 7 innings (1 not out) yielding 254 runs, 42·2, a long way the greatest achievement in the Oxford and Cambridge match up to his time. He was the forerunner, and to some extent the founder, of an improved school of university batting, at once safe and brilliant.

Also it must be noticed that he pulled Oxford out of the fire. For four years she had been beaten by Cambridge. In the last of these years Mr Mitchell played for the first time. Cambridge had a first-rate slow round-arm bowler in Mr Plowden, and a very fast bowler in Mr Lang, who was then at his best. On Lord's, as it then was, it was no trifle for Mr H. M. Marshall of Cambridge to back-stop, or for Mr R. A. H. Mitchell of Oxford to play, Mr Lang. But, while there was only 1 bye in the first and 4 in the second innings, Mr Mitchell in the first innings made 37 out of 64, and in the second 53 out of 158. This was a fine thing for a Freshman: he saved Oxford not from defeat, but from disgraceful defeat. But Mr Mitchell did even a finer thing as captain: he won Oxford the match. In my first year, 1864, when the ground was bad from wet, and