Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/360

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338
OXFORD UNIVERSITY CRICKET.

Oxford and Cambridge up to the present moment, it is a matter of pride to an Oxford man to write it out in full:—

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Unfortunately, this imperfect sketch would be still more defective if all mention were omitted of two events in the matches of 1893 and 1896. In 1893 the bowling analysis of Cambridge contains the statement that "Mr Wells bowled 4 wides and 4 no-balls." Oxford in its first innings, when the last man came in, had to make 8 runs or follow on. The two Oxford batsmen, Mr Wilson and Mr Brain, were seen to converse, and Mr Wilson was supposed to be playing carelessly on purpose that Oxford might follow on. On this supposition the Cambridge bowler, Mr C. M. Wells, purposely bowled a no-ball, which went to the boundary, then a ball which would have been wide had not Mr Brain exerted himself to stop it, and finally a wide to the boundary which prevented Oxford following on. Again, in 1896 the bowling analysis of Cambridge contains the statement that "Mr Shine bowled 8 no-balls." Oxford in its first innings, when the last man came in, had 12 to make or follow on. Mr Shine bowled 2 no-balls to the boundary, and then a ball which went for 4 byes, and prevented Oxford following on.

The hypothesis of these exceptional devices in both cases was, that it was the interest of Oxford to follow on and the interest of Cambridge to prevent it. Opinions differed on this question of policy. But they differed still more on the question whether it was right to purposely play bad cricket as a means to such ends. There can be no doubt that it was within the laws of cricket. But the real doubt is whether it was within the ethics of cricket. Is it to the advantage of the game to play it in this way? It is a mistake to suppose that whatever is not forbidden in written laws may be done without self-condemnation. Nor does it follow that what is felt to be contrary to the advantage of cricket ought to be made matter of legislation. If good cricket consists in batting as well as you can, and bowling as well as you can, then, in the interests of the game, the Oxford men in 1893 had no business to bat badly in order to follow on, and