Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/457

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435
WARWICKSHIRE.

and the exertions of Mr Hugh Rotherham, of Horsley Grange, Coventry, the celebrated fast bowler, Mr Clements, and Mr Albut, as well as those of Mr Ansell, were most indefatigable at the initial stage of the association. There was a feeling prevalent that more publicity was necessary, and in the year 1884 a meeting was called at Leamington by Lord Willoughby de Broke for the purpose of deciding upon a permanent home for county cricket, as it was seen that the playing of matches in various parts of the county did not bring very satisfactory results. After considerable discussion, it was eventually agreed to secure a county ground at Birmingham, where gate-money might be obtained. The attention of Sir Thomas Martineau, who was then Mayor of Birmingham, was called to the great need of a county ground by the Australian match at Aston Lower Grounds in May, which finished in one day in consequence of the state of the wicket. Sir Thomas Martineau presided at the annual dinner of the Birmingham Cricket Association, and it was then that Mr Ansell urged the Mayor to lend his powerful aid in securing a county ground at Birmingham. The Mayor at once promised to do all he could to assist them, and the formation of the present enclosure in the Edgbaston Road was the ultimate result.

As representative of the Warwickshire County Club at Lord's, Mr Ansell made efforts to improve the status of second-class counties, and tried hard to obtain a proper system of promotion into the first-class rank. In November 1885 he called a meeting of the younger counties at the Pavilion at Lord's, and the following resolution was then passed: "That in the opinion of this meeting the older counties should encourage the growth of cricket of younger counties by playing home and home matches with at least one of them every year." This may be taken as the origin of the practice of the first-class counties giving minor counties a match or two during the season. It was all very well in its way, but it did not go far enough for Mr Ansell. He wanted to get a real system of promotion for second-class counties, and he did not relax his efforts. At a meeting of the County Cricket Council held in December 1889 at Lord's, a sub-committee was formed to classify counties and to provide means of promotion from one class to another. Mr Ansell was appointed one of the sub-committee representatives by Warwickshire, and he attended the subsequent meetings, where a scheme was drawn up which stipulated that the two weakest counties in the first class should play the two strongest in the second class