and 56 not out; and in the following year, 1865, he was actually chosen to assist the Gentlemen against the Players, both at Lord's and the Oval. From 1853 to 1865 the Gentlemen had not won a single match, but between 1866 and 1874 the Players only gained two victories, while after 1865 they never triumphed at the Oval until 1880. This faintly suggests the change brought about by the advent of "W. G.' In 1866 he commenced his long list of centuries in first-class matches by compiling 224 not out for England against Surrey, after going in at the fall of the fifth wicket. Although Gloucestershire played M.C.C at Lord's, and All England met Twenty of Clifton, in 1868, the county did not fulfil any programme of an ambitious character until 1870, when Gloucestershire had a brief but remarkably successful season. They played home and home matches with Surrey, and visited Lord's to meet the M.C.C. This was the real commencement of county cricket, the matches being arranged and managed by Dr H. M. Grace and his son "W. G." The first match was with Surrey, on Durdham Downs, June 2, 3, and 4, 1870, and there was such a gathering that it was difficult to keep the area for play. It is worthy of note that W. G., E. M., and G. F. Grace all played, as well as T. G. Matthews, Frank Townsend (the father of C. L. and F. H. Townsend, of the Gloucestershire eleven of to-day), J. A. Bush, the giant wicket-keeper, and R. F. Miles, the left-hand slow bowler. Surrey had a strong team, but Gloucester won by 51 runs, while in the return at the Oval the Westerners triumphed in a single innings, with 129 to spare.
"W. G." notched the first century for his county, 143, and, in association with R. F. Miles, captured every Surrey wicket. Indeed, so good was the attack in the second venture of Surrey that 196 balls were sent down for 40 runs from the bat. The same two gentlemen were mainly responsible for a victory over M.C.C. by an innings and 88 runs, "W. G." registering 172 against Alfred Shaw, Price, Farrands, and Wootton. Thus it will be seen that Gloucestershire began well, winning three matches in four innings.
The following year the county club was formally established, and the new fixture with Notts was an especial feature. At Trent Bridge in the return it is stated that 25,000 spectators watched the match during the three days. Notts won with a score of 364, for Gloucester could only reply with 147 and 217, "W. G.," however, scored 79 and 116. In the match against Surrey at Clifton Mr T. G. Matthews was credited with a wonderful innings of 201.