Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/423

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ary, the club has been worked forward to a position of affluence. It is a matter of such dimensions now that it is more of a huge business, and when I say there are some 2800 members, whose number is continually increasing, to say nothing of some 650 ladies who take out subscription tickets, and the general management of the matches to take in hand, such an assertion will be readily understood. At Old Trafford I well remember when two professionals formed the ground staff, and to-day it is composed of 23. Inter-county fixtures have, too, increased to their highest point, and ten years ago, when Manchester, with twenty club-matches, thought it more than sufficient, there are on the list this season no fewer than seventy-nine. To accommodate thoroughly such a tremendous increase, in 1894 the new pavilion was erected, at a cost of £9100. Last season over 200,000 people passed the turnstiles, and to my mind the grounds at Old Trafford were never in better condition, or the whole club in a more healthy and flourishing position.

Perhaps I may be allowed now to say something about the men who have reared this great and lasting fabric, and whose talents lay in all directions. In its infancy what names are revered more than Mark Phillips, T. T. Bellhouse, and E. Whittaker? Then what a combination were the Rowleys, seven in number, whose cricketing abilities were of the most wonderful and varied type, and Sam Swire, Coward, Hickton, M'Intyre, and Reynolds. No finer bowler ever existed than Arthur Appleby, for with ease and grace and natural action no one could touch him. Of course there were many others a quarter of a century back whom one could dilate upon, but space forbids, and I will confine my remarks to more modern famous players. Taking them as they come first, what grand professionals Watson and Barlow were! The former for twenty-one years did wonderful service, and for length and ability to keep up there may be better, but I have not seen them. Barlow, too, was a great power, possessing all-round ability that for many years kept him in the forefront of professional cricketers. How many thousands, indeed, on both sides of the globe, witnessed poor Pilling's surprising skill! Ever on the alert, quiet, and confident, it was a sad blow to cricket generally when he was cut off in the height of a most brilliant career. Another very fine and altogether exceptional amateur was Allan Steel. Gifted all round at the wicket, or with the ball, he placed and got bowling away in a fashion peculiarly his own, and his deceptive power as a bowler troubled everybody. No better all-round man than Briggs, to