Page:Jubilee Book of Cricket (Second edition, 1897).djvu/72

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put one of his ablest men in it. Much depends on having a good third-man. A slow, clumsy fielder is not the man for the place, however safe he may be. It is dash and activity that are most required.


There is a certain similarity between this position and the last-mentioned. A fielder who proves a good man in the one is probably well qualified to fill the other. For a really brilliant field there is no position which gives so much scope as cover. He has every kind of hit to stop, and almost every kind of catch to hold, during a season's cricket. A fine exhibition of fielding at cover is one of the best things the game has for the spectator. There have been many famous covers, but nearly all cricketers who saw him give the palm, during the last thirty years, to the Rev. Vernon Royle. From what one hears he must have been a magnificent fielder. Perhaps George Bean of Sussex and W. Sugg of Derbyshire are the best men in the position nowadays. Bean is wonderfully quick in starting and in picking up the ball, and has a very quick and accurate return. He always runs a lot of batsmen out every year, many of them by throwing the wicket down. One stump is enough for him to see. He rarely misses it by more than six inches, and frequently hits it. Peel is very good, and Briggs at his best was quite brilliant. Mr Gregory, the Australian, is an admirable cover.

The position of cover varies but slightly. He should be rather deeper when the bowling is fast than when it is slow, and should be nearer the wicket when the ground is slow than when it is fast. When there is no extra-cover, his position will be a yard or two farther in the direction of mid-off. It is very important for him to be always exactly in his right place. He has a considerable amount of ground to look after, and a couple of yards this way or that makes all the difference when it is a question of saving a run or running a man out.

Like third-man, cover must be ever on the alert to dash in any direction. One of his most arduous duties is continually to rush forward to prevent runs off gentle strokes in front of the wicket. He has to back-up point and extra-cover, and go after balls hit past the fielders towards the off-boundary. Most of the hits to him, whether catches or ground-balls, have a great deal of spin on them, because the face of the bat usually puts cut upon a ball struck in this direction. He has many nasty