The Jubilee Book of Cricket/Chapter 9

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By W. J. Ford.

There is no more entrancing sport than cricket, and nowhere does cricket present itself in a more entrancing form than at Cambridge, The best of grounds, the snuggest of pavilions, and the most charming sociality are to be found everywhere; and there is cricket of every kind, whether for the crack 'Varsity bat or bowler, whose county is sighing for the Long Vac, or for the fifth-rate cricketer, who never achieved any greater distinction than getting his "house" cap at school: every class and kind is amply catered for. There are clubs innumerable, outside the college and 'Varsity clubs, with magnificent colours, and no subscriptions. Indeed Cambridge cricket is a remarkably cheap sport; and as the grounds are all within a short distance, or at least a reasonable walking distance, from the colleges, even the expense of a cab does not occur. And then the festive lunches, and yet more festive suppers which follow a match! The thought of them makes the writer sigh for perpetual youth and a reintroduction to their pleasures, even though the "blue," actual or possible, was generally hustled good-humouredly away by eleven o'clock, that his eye might not be dim or uncertain when he stood up at the wicket on "Fenner's" next morning.

Fenner's was, is, and probably ever will be, a prince among cricket-grounds. Still, though five Inter-University matches were played in early years on different Oxford grounds, no such match is recorded to have taken place at Cambridge; yet Fenner had opened his ground in 1846, while in that year, in 1848, and in 1850 the Light Blues paid a visit to Oxford. Since the ground
Ranji 1897 page 341 N. F. Druce playing to leg-glance.jpg


From photo hy Messrs Stearn, Cambridge.

was first laid out, many changes have taken place: the old orchard, where practice took place on match-days, has been handed over to the builders, and part of an adjacent field has been secured in its stead; the gaol, a notable mark for a square-leg hit, has given way to a row of trim villas; the old shanty—it really was little better—which was the only shelter for 'Varsity cricketers and athletes, has been replaced by a charming and commodious pavilion. But in one point there is no change—i.e., in that close, smooth turf, and that beautifully level sheet of ground on which, as has been rightly said, the wickets might be pitched anywhere without previous notice to the groundman, and a three-day match played without the pitch wearing or a batsman being hurt. It is no small debt that Cambridge cricketers and their visitors owe to F. P. Fenner, and to Walter Watts, who for thirty-six years has had the management of the ground and running-track, and seems as full of vigour as he was a quarter of a century ago. It was not till 1875 that the Cambridge Cricket and Athletic Clubs obtained a long lease of the ground from Caius College, and felt justified in erecting a proper pavilion, the whole business being managed by the Rev. A. R. Ward, the father and devoted friend of Cambridge cricket, of whom more will be said hereafter. This pavilion was paid for by the subscriptions of numerous friends and patrons of cricket, including the Prince of Wales. In 1892 a still more important step was taken, and the freehold of the ground purchased from Caius College, which foundation behaved most generously and handsomely in matters financial. Hence what was once "Fenner's" is now "The Cambridge University Cricket-Ground," though for two terms in the year it is handed over, with its superb running-track, to the Athletic Club, which worked shoulder to shoulder with its cricketing brethren to secure its acquisition, and uses it for its own and for college sports!

Before the days of "Fenner's," the famous green known as "Parker's Piece" was the playground of the University and colleges. The fact that this was the only available ground in early days may supply the reason that no Inter-University match has been played at Cambridge: an open public space, intersected with many paths, was scarcely suitable. Yet excellent wickets were to be obtained on this great and level area, where everything was run out, and hits for 8 and 9 were not uncommon. Five-and-twenty years ago few colleges had grounds of their own—Trinity, St John's, Jesus, and Caius being the lucky ones, though the "Amalgamation" ground was opened by three or four colleges jointly, but at first for practice only. Hence two or three college matches were generally being played on "The Piece" every afternoon; and it may be added that even the University played its Rugby football there: "Association" was hardly known in those days. There also haunted "The Piece" a class, which has perhaps died out, of rather seedy-looking professionals, provided with bat, ball, and stumps—no net—ready and anxious to bowl to any passer-by for a casual shilling; and often was he who journeyed up to Fenner's for athletics invited to stop and "'Ave a few balls," if a specially bright and warm day accidentally appeared during the rigours of a Cambridge March.

Of the grounds belonging to the various colleges only a few words need be said. They are grouped at the rear of "The Backs," and a very pleasant afternoon may be spent in strolling from ground to ground, watching the play and chatting with one's friends. The Trinity and St John's grounds are good enough for any county match, with ample room, good wickets, and comfortable pavilions. Jesus has a pretty little ground, overlooked by one of the courts of the college, and hence the most convenient ground, from a Jesus man's point of view, in Cambridge. Of the other college grounds it need only be said that they are all well kept, that each has its own professional or professionals, and that two or more of the smaller colleges often combine to support a ground which would be too large or too expensive for them individually. At Fenner's—the name still sticks to the ground—are engaged some dozen professionals, many of them the pick of the bowling talent of England; and on a fine day the long row of nets is fully occupied, while the "fags" in the out-field have their hands full indeed. In regard to Cambridge cricket, it used to be considered that the excellence of Fenner's was really a disadvantage when the time came to meet Oxford at Lord's; for of Lord's it was said that "a man who can get runs at Lord's can get them anywhere." Certainly both "rib-roasters" and shooters were frequent at headquarters, and many a lion on the Cambridge lawn (we have to thank the Hon. R. H. Lyttelton for the phrase) has proved a veritable lamb when placed on a fiery Lord's wicket. Oxford were supposed to be more (less?) favoured, with a view to the great match, in having a wicket less like a billiard-table; but this may have only been a Cambridge canard. One thing is certain, that many men who scored freely and frequently at Cambridge failed to "come off" in the 'Varsity match. Now things are somewhat changed, and if a man fails to score at Lord's under ordinary conditions of weather, it is not the fault of that classic ground.

Thanks to the abundant supply of cricket literature generally, the young cricketer who has made his mark at school, whether a big school or a little school, will find that his fame has preceded him, and that not only will his chances of a "blue" be freely discussed, but he will be given reasonable opportunities of showing what he is good for. Still, it need hardly be premised that a good start early in the season is all-important, as this is the surest way of catching the authorities' eye. He will, of course, join his college club, and will perhaps soon hear that he has been elected to some of the many wandering clubs with which Cambridge abounds, and which go about playing different colleges, having no grounds of their own, but probably a very gaudy ribbon or blazer by way of compensation. He will also join Fenner's for an entrance fee and subscription of a guinea, or can compound and become a life member for £5, 5s.—not a very ruinous extravagance. It is wise to go up to Cambridge as soon as term begins, so as to get as much practice as possible before the Freshmen's match, as a good début is most important, and it is only good school credentials or most persistent scoring in college matches which will cover the multitude of sins implied by a failure in the "Freshers'" match. For practice there is no time like the morning, though somehow deans, tutors, lecturers, and "coaches" look askance, and something more than askance, on the habit: but the facts remain, that the bowlers are fresh, that there is no distraction such as a long line of batsmen necessarily causes, and that a few quiet hints from the bowler are more readily given and more easily conveyed when the scene is comparatively private. A little hitting practice at college nets, where the professional is not likely to be very first-class, often passes away a stray hour; but the first introduction to Cambridge cricket, unless a casual college match has occurred, will probably be in the Freshmen's match, when the sides are captained by the 'Varsity captain and secretary respectively, and are, as far as is possible, chosen so as to be equally balanced. Success here will probably be followed by another trial, perhaps in such a match as the Eleven v. the Next Sixteen, or in a foreign match. But it is not enough to get runs or bowl wickets: the runs must be got in good style—bad style often excludes a man—and the lynx-eyed captain will soon see whether the capture of wickets is a fluke, or whether it is due to genuine skill, such as may foster the hope that other and doughtier batsmen than the opposing Freshmen may fall victims. It is the rule, by the way, in Freshmen's matches, for the captain to go in last, as being likely to stay while some hitherto unknown and unsuspected batsman piles up runs.

The fixtures of the season at Cambridge are generally started with teams captained by the old hard-hitting Cantab,. C. I. Thornton, and by A. J. Webbe, of Oxford and Middlesex renown. The M.C.C. pays an annual visit, as do several of the first-class counties, so that ample opportunities occur for trial at Cambridge, to say nothing of the matches played at other places when the vacation has commenced, terminating with the M.C.C. match at Lord's precisely one week before the 'Varsity match itself If the Freshman—or senior, for that matter—has been properly tried and has come well through the ordeal, he may fairly hope that a week or two before term is over the captain will say to him, "You may order your 'blue,' old fellow," and a large cloud of anxiety will be dispelled. It is only in exceptional cases that the award is made early in term, and some captains like to leave the promotions to the very last moment, under the idea that as long as any uncertainty exists, so long will the candidate get the last ounce out of himself in the hope of reaping his reward. Other captains hold that anxiety and suspense are a bad thing for a candidate's cricket, and that it is better to put him out of his misery and give him his place in the eleven as soon as it is practically assured. Needless to say, if a real loss of form occurs before the great match, such promotion is held to be null and void, and the "blue" is resigned. Even in the case of an old "blue," the resignation is always placed in the captain's hands by the man who feels that he is not up to the mark: it would be a grievous breach of etiquette on his, not the captain's part, had he to be asked to stand out of the team.

The supreme joy is still left, the joy of a triumph at Lord's. No man who has not been through the burning fiery furnace of a '"Varsity match can understand the anxiety, often more physical than mental, of a young man's début in that game. One "fourer"—and all the anxiety is over; a big score—and a sensation supervenes, as one walks from the wickets, which only those who have succeeded in the presence of thousands can understand. There are also the infinite possibilities of the future,—the prospect of playing for one's county or for the Gentlemen, to say nothing of what is even more precious nowadays, an early admission into the M.C.C. "as a cricketer."

It will be seen from what has preceded that the "blue," or prospective "blue," is so much occupied with University cricket — he may perhaps even do some "reading" as well—that he has but little time to devote to club and college cricket. If he does happen to read, as is sometimes the case, his spare time for such cricket will be very short, and it is, or was, the rule in most colleges that no "blue" can be captain of the College Club: he is the servant of the University for the time being, and the slave of the captain. "Blues," of course, play in some of the more important matches, especially when the stronger colleges—Trinity, Jesus, St John's, Caius, &c.—meet; but, as a rule, they are absent. Yet these college matches are very useful for unearthing fresh talent, or for showing if well-known men are in good form. Many a man has earned first a trial, and then his cap, by a series of notable successes in minor cricket. On the other hand, there have been men who could not fail in college matches, and could not score in 'Varsity matches, partly from nervousness, partly from the fact that they were not quite up to first-class form, though at the very top of the second rank. However, it is clearly the duty of the 'Varsity captain to keep his ears open, and when rumour of a good bat or a good bowler reaches him, to endeavour to get ocular demonstration of his merits. It is rarely, indeed, that a good, even a passable, performer does not get some form of trial, and it may be said generally that the 'Varsity Eleven represents as nearly as possible the best strength of Cambridge, especially as twelve, or even thirteen, men are often invited to be at Lord's, ready to play in case the wicket be fast or slow, and so be specially suited to some particular style. To these men, even if they do not play, the right of wearing light blue is sometimes accorded. In any case, the captain's task is no sinecure: he has advisers and would-be advisers by the score; yet in the multitude of counsellors is not always safety. How often, too, has it been the last choice who has won or saved the game! It has been practically a toss-up to whom the last place should be assigned; yet what would have happened to Oxford in 1896 if G. O. Smith had not received his colours? and what would have been the result of the match of 1887 had Lord George Scott (Oxford) and E. Crawley (Cambridge) been omitted? Both were "last choices," yet the former scored 100 and 66, the latter 35 and 103 not out! The truth is, there is always a plethora of batting at the Universities, and there are generally some half-dozen men to whom the last place as a batsman might be given, if only the captain could know whose day it would be when the 'Varsity match comes off. Unfortunately he cannot know: he must make his choice to the best of his ability, and after that the matter rests on the knees of the gods. With bowlers and wicket-keepers the question is seldom so knotty: their form is naturally more consistent, and they cannot in their own department be—so to speak—"bowled out first ball." Hence the captain has only to use his judgment on the eventful day—judgment founded on the state of the wicket—whether he will play Noakes for his slow bowling or Stokes for his "expresses."

Of college cricket pure and simple there is not a great deal to be written. It is full of amusement and interest to the participators—what game of cricket is not?—but there is an absolute dearth of any element corresponding to "house feeling" at schools. Nor is there any form of competition on the League system or any other system: colleges are too many, and term is too short. To the outsider a match between two colleges has no possible interest save that of watching cricket, and this he can do as well, or better, at Fenner's, if his standard of cricket from a spectacular point of view is high. Occasionally, if it happens to be known that two colleges of high repute are to meet, and that their "blues" are playing, the outside world is moved to come and inspect; but in most cases even members of the contesting colleges themselves have their own amusements to attend to—rowing, lawn-tennis, polo, or what not—and very meagre is the fringe of spectators, as a rule. Still, for the contestants there is plenty of fun; grounds are charmingly good, bowling delightfully bad, hospitality unlimited, and cricket rather free-and-easy. Most of the matches last for a day only, so that the "closure" rule was a boon and a blessing. Better fun and more excitement are caused when an Oxford college comes over to play a sister-college at Cambridge. Then real interest is aroused, war to the knife is declared, and the game is fought out with plenty of spirit. No doubt this lack of enthusiasm is partly caused by the unequal size and varying popularity of different colleges. Trinity is so huge, and attracts so many cricketing men, that she can practically swamp any other college; while other colleges which have a name for being sporting attract so many cricketers, that less fortunate rivals are very weak. Still, as in schoolhouses, so in colleges—the strength varies considerably from year to year. It should also be added that it is an understood principle that a strong college does not put its whole strength into the field to oppose one which is known to be weak, and that second elevens either oppose each other or play the full strength of a less powerful foundation. When to this the various club matches are added, and it is remembered that nets are going all day and every day, it will be seen that there is at least no dearth of opportunity for the Cambridge undergraduate.

Among the Cambridge clubs, first and foremost stands the Quidnuncs, with their colours of dark blue v/ith a very narrow gold stripe. It is essentially a University club, limited to fifteen members in residence, and those the cream of Cambridge cricket. All "blues" practically belong to it, while the rest of the club is composed of men who have either been tried for the University or who have nearly attained that honour. The subscription is nil; there is no club-house or club-room, and no matches are played at Cambridge, as no side could be found to offer any reasonable opposition; but numerous teams of Quidnuncs, in residence and out of residence, play against the different public schools and various garrisons and regiments. Needless to say, the opposing side is wise to provide itself with plenty of batting and bowling. The "Perambulators" is also a University club, and its numbers used to be limited to twenty-five members in residence, who pay no subscription. The colours are dark blue and dark green, with a narrow intermediate stripe of white. It is recruited solely from the older public schools—Eton, Harrow, Westminster, Winchester, Charterhouse, and Rugby—and plays matches against various colleges. A match, once very popular, and partaking of the nature of a trial-match, used to be played with the "Etceteras," a club once limited in numbers like the "Perambulators," and recruited from the other big schools, but this match has now fallen out of the list. The raison d'etre of the "Etceteras" is identical with that of the "Perambulators," and the colours are sufficiently smart—broad stripes of magenta and black, separated by a narrow stripe of white. The "Crusaders" is a similar club, though not confined to any schools. They too wander from college to college, seeking whom they may defeat, and can generally secure a strong side. The numbers are limited to 75, and the colours are bright blue and black in broad stripes, separated by a narrow line of white. The "Magpies," with an appropriate uniform of black and white, originated in Trinity Hall, whose colours the club has adopted, with slight modifications of arrrangement; but outsiders are also elected to it, as is the case with the "K.T.L." Club, generally known as the "Kettles," which had its origin in Trinity. Perhaps the most popular club nowadays is the "Hawks"—the colours are a bright shade of brown with a narrow stripe of yellow; but, unlike the clubs enumerated before, it is also a social club in a quiet way, with its club-rooms, where members can write, read, smoke, refresh, and discuss the topics of the day. The "Hawks" was the first of a number of clubs, run upon more or less similar lines, such as the "Pilgrims,"

"Jackdaws," "Chaffinches," &c., partly social and partly cricketical. To all or any of these, except to the Quidnuncs, a man can be elected in his first year, so that if he is not engaged in University matches, but is, for all that, a good and useful cricketer, he will have plenty of opportunities of keeping his hand and eye in.

This sketch, necessarily brief, will give some idea of a cricketer's life at Cambridge and its possibilities. Every one has his chance of distinguishing himself in his own particular sphere: if that sphere be the highest, if he "attains Sparta and adorns her," he is marked for life in the cricketing world as a batsman or bowler who has won his spurs in the most exciting yet most. "gentle and joyous passage of arms" known to the cricketer. If a lucky fate allows him the leisure, there are no heights to which he may not soar, provided that his right hand does not forget its cunning, and that custom does not stale his infinite variety.

No record of Cambridge cricket would be complete in the eyes of a Cambridge man without a more than passing allusion to the late Rev. A. R. Ward. Himself an old Light-blue and captain of the eleven—though illness prevented him from appearing at Lord's in that capacity—he took a keen and deep interest in Cambridge cricket and its welfare which none can appreciate who did not know him personally. He was president of the C.U.C.C. for many years, and the one great desire of his life was to see the club the possessor of its own ground and of a proper and adequate pavilion. The latter wish, thanks to his own personal and untiring exertions,—he wrote 1500 letters, as he told the writer, with his own hand,—was fulfilled in 1876, the club having then secured a long lease of the ground which is now its own, though he was not spared to see his other wish fulfilled. The charming paviHon of the club, however, is a standing memorial of his exertions, with its oak panels, inscribed with the names of the various elevens in the order in which they batted in the first innings against Oxford. Of these he was most careful, and it was to prevent any injury to the precious lists that he insisted on a law forbidding the introduction of walking-sticks into the pavilion. He was immensely proud of his position as president of the C.U.C.C, and the writer well remembers a little incident, when, seeing the Master of Marlborough College, to whom he was personally unknown, at the Rugby v. Marlborough match, he said to him, "I am going in to lunch with your boys, sir, and will see that they don't eat too many tarts." "To whom have I the pleasure of speaking?" "Sir," drawing his massive figure up, and in the deepest of deep tones, "I am the President of the Cambridge University Cricket Club!" He was always present at this match, anxious to discover promising talent for the University, and invariably occupied the same seat, in a corner of the roof of the old pavilion: on the occasion of the Inter-University match he used to hold a kind of levée here, at which all old "blues" were expected to present themselves. At Cambridge no stranger could enter the pavilion except on Mr Ward's personal invitation, which was always backed by a glass of sherry. One httle hobby of his was to pronounce "bowled" as if it rhymed with "howled," in the old-fashioned style; and he invariably corrected any one who pronounced the word in modern fashion. Nor would he permit any one to speak of the ground, after the University had acquired it, as "Fenner's." "This, sir," he would say, "is the Cambridge University Cricket-ground." Cambridge cricket and Cambridge cricketers lost a staunch and hearty friend when Arthur Ward was taken away; and visiting elevens, who were always treated by him with the most sumptuous hospitality, missed him just as much.

The Inter-University match was first played in 1827, and was renewed fitfully and sometimes at long intervals, so that in 1839, when the fifth struggle took place, Cambridge scored her first victory, Oxford having thus far won three matches and the first having been drawn, or not played out, the Dark-blues having by far the best of things. It is curious that in the whole series of sixty-two matches only three should have been unfinished, and that one of those three should be the very first played. Cambridge, then, scored her first win in 1839, and by the handsome majority of an innings and 125 runs. In the light-blue ranks were C. G. Taylor, one of the first amateur batsmen of the day, and J. H. Kirwan, the fast bowler. Of Taylor it is recorded that he was one of the last amateurs to play in a tall hat, and that he lost his wicket in a Gentlemen v. Players match because his hat fell on his wicket, thus terminating a long and fine innings. In this match the Oxford captain, G. B. Lee, took 9 out of the 10 Cambridge wickets, and nearly a quarter of the whole score was provided by "extras," "wides" contributing 46 and "byes" 24 to the Cambridge total of 287. C. G. Taylor scored 65. Another win fell to Cambridge next year, this time by 63 runs—a handsome victory in a match where the aggregate
Ranji 1897 page 351 N. F. Druce off-driving.jpg


From photo by Messrs Stearn, Cambridge.

for 40 wickets was only 322. The three highest scores from the bat were 29 and 27 for Cambridge, and 25 for Oxford; yet the Dark-blues presented their rivals with 32 extras in the first innings and 29 in the second, as opposed to an aggregate of 21 from Cambridge. "Extras" may be said to have decided the match.

Another win followed next year, but by a narrow majority of 8 runs, the Universities tieing in the first innings with 103 apiece. Again "extras" decided the battle, Oxford giving away 56 to the 31 of Cambridge; but in the latter eleven was E. S. Hartopp, a long-stop of great renown, who only let 10 byes in all. The number of wides in these early days, when the arm had to be kept below the shoulder, is really surprising. The year 1842 saw Cambridge victorious by 162 runs, her surplus in "extras" being 53; indeed extras made tlft top-score (42 and 39) in either innings of Cambridge, second score (12) in Oxford's first innings, and top-score (16) in her second. T. A. Anson (41 and 24) made the highest score from the bat in each of Cambridge's innings. In 1843, though Cambridge gave away 65 extras towards a grand total of 181, she won by 54 runs, the highest score being 44 (not out) by W B Trevelyan. A draw was the result of the 1844 match, Oxford having a trifle the best of the deal; but Cambridge won again in 1845, notwithstanding the fact that Oxford had a superb bowler in G. E. Yonge.

The next year, 1846, saw Oxford victorious, but Cambridge had a very easy win, practically by an innings, in 1847; and in 1849 she won again, but only by 3 wickets, thanks mainly to R. T. King, who scored 43 and 49 not out, the largest aggregate made in a 'Varsity match up to this time—indeed only four scores of over 50 had ever as yet been made by an individual batsman. Cambridge scored again in 1851, largely aided by extras, her total score of 266 exceeding those of Oxford's two innings by 4 runs.

Several successes now fell to Oxford's lot, and at the end of the first twenty matches either University had won nine, and in 1856 they were once more level, Cambridge winning in that year by only 3 wickets in a small-scoring match. J. Makinson (Cambridge) was the hero of the game, as he not only bowled exceedingly well, but by scoring 31 and 64 made the highest recorded aggregate for the match.

The next Light-blue victory came in 1859, the majority in a match of fairly high scores being only 28. The win of next year was equally close—3 wickets: but this time 76 was the highest aggregate, and 16 the highest individual innings. This was C. G. Lane's last appearance for Oxford, and R, Lang's first appearance for Cambridge: the latter was a bowler of terrific pace, and, when straight, was practically unplayable. Cambridge, it may be noted, had to score only 41 to win, yet lost 7 wickets in the attempt, but the wicket was little better than a swamp. The year 1861 found Cambridge with a very fine side, including T. E. Bagge, H. M. Marshall, H. M, Plowden, D. R, Onslow, C. G. Lyttelton, A. W. T Daniel, and R. Lang, and her win by 133 runs was quite decisive, yet she was headed in the first innings, and owed her success to the fine bowling of Salter and Lyttelton. It was mainly Lang's bowling—5 for 4 and 4 for 31—that gave Cambridge a win next year; but the Oxford batting was weak, save that of R. A. H. Mitchell, probably the most successful batsman in Inter-University matches that has ever worn a "blue," when the conditions of things are considered. Anyhow, he opened his career by scoring, 37 and 53 out of totals of 64 and 158. Cambridge, however, had a very fine side, and her victory by 8 wickets was no fluke. At the end of 1864 thirty matches had been played, and the score stood at "fourteen all."

It was not till 1867 that Cambridge won another match, this time by 5 wickets; but it was no walk-over, for Cambridge, with no to win, lost 5 good wickets for 56 runs, 3 of them caught at the wicket by R. T. Reid, now Sir R. T. Reid, the late Solicitor-General, who was an amateur stumper second to no one of any period. W. S. O. Warner and the Hon. S. G. Lyttelton, however, settled down, and hit off the necessary runs without further loss; but excellent bowling by C, J. Brune in the first innings, and by the Hon. F. G. Pelham in the second, had done much to prepare the road to victory. Cambridge won handsomely in 1868 by 168 runs. C. E. Green, the retiring captain, played splendidly on wickets affected by rain, and hit up 44 and 59, while the bowling of C. J. Brune, C. A. Absolom, and W. B. Money (lobs) got out Oxford twice for less than 100 runs an innings; yet there were fine bats in the Dark-blue ranks, notably B. Pauncefote of Rugby fame, who now made his début in the 'Varsity match. This match again left the scores equal, at sixteen all, two drawn games.

Dreadful weather attended the thirty-fifth match in 1869, and so low was the scoring that only 452 runs were scored for the loss of 40 wickets, and Cambridge's majority of 58 may be regarded as very decisive: no doubt it was largely due to the advantage of batting first on a wet wicket, when the hitters, C. T. Thornton (50) and C. A. Absolom (30) contributed nearly half the Cambridge total of 164. The other three innings show 91 to Cambridge, 99 and 98 to Oxford: yet both sides were really strong. B. Pauncefote was the most successful Oxford batsman, and W. B. Money's lobs again did great havoc, 11 wickets in all for but 59 runs.

A fourth successive win fell to Cambridge in 1870, yet the majority was as low as 2 runs, and the match is justly famous for its ups and downs, as well as for the closeness and sensational nature of the finish. The two sides were exceedingly strong in all departments, Oxford presumably a little the stronger; but it was a battle of giants, out of which the vanquished came as creditably as their conquerors. At the end of an innings each, Oxford had a lead of 28, with 175 to 147, A. T. Scott (Cambridge) 45, and A. T. Fortescue (Oxford) 35: these were the two highest scores thus far; but more was to come. The first Cambridge wicket fell for 6 runs, 3 were down for 19, and 5 for 40, only 12 runs to the good; but here W. Yardley and J. W. Dale put on no less than 116 runs, completely altering the whole look of the game. Yardley covered himself with fame by being the first man to score three figures in this match, his score being 100 exactly. Dale's total was 67, and it was a truly marvellous catch by Ottaway, leaning back over the ropes with one hand, that broke up the partnership. So good, however, in both innings was the bowling of C. K. Francis and T. H. Belcher, who had 9 wickets apiece, that 206 was all Cambridge could muster. Oxford now required 179 to win, and began so badly that W. H. Hadow had to leave before a run had been scored. Fortescue (44) and Ottaway (69) put on 72 together, Pauncefote failed, and E. F. S. Tylecote (29) lent Ottaway such good help that with 5 wickets to fall only 19 runs were required—a small task, indeed, for the next two batsmen, W. Townshend and F. H. Hill. The former got out, however, as did C. K. Francis; but Hill was batting with skill and confidence, and though the next three men were not great batsmen, yet the number of runs wanted was but 4: a single good hit would have won the match. From the first ball of F. C. Cobden's famous over that hit came, but A. A. Bourne, though he saved the four, allowed one run to be got, thereby bringing Hill to the bowler's end, whence he watched, first S. E. Butler retire, brilliantly caught by Bourne, then T. H. Belcher, clean bowled, and finally A. W. Stewart, clean bowled. The Cambridge men present—many had left the ground, not caring to see the coup de grâce administered—went mad. Hats, sticks, and umbrellas flew about, and no one cared what became of them. One excited Cantab, is said to have tried to throw a form from the pavilion roof. Lord's was, for the time being, a pandemonium of raving enthusiasts, shouting and cheering for the heroes of the game. Having paid all tribute to Yardley, Dale, and Cobden, a word must be said of another Cantab, who had done equally brilliant though less sensational service: this was E. E. Ward, who in this final innings had taken 6 of the 7 wickets that fell first, and those, with the exception of W. H. Hadow, the cream of the Oxford batsmen. Indeed he was only put on late, when Fortescue and Ottaway were well set, so that his performance, 6 wickets for 29 runs, was even more valuable, if less electrical, than Cobden's. Hill deserves a word of sympathy: if he had not made that single, he would in all probability have won the match for Oxford; and in a letter on the subject he has said that he has never regretted anything so much as the running of that run. Francis, by the way, though expensive, had 12 wickets in that match, and Cobden had 4 in each innings for about 9 runs apiece. Oxford, however, was to have a somewhat similar revenge in 1875.

The Cambridge success in 1872 was again largely due to Yardley, who made yet another century (even now, 1897, this feat stands as a record); but A. S. Tabor and G. H. Longman, two Eton Freshmen, had prepared the ground for him and taken some of the sting out of the Oxford bowlers,—S. E. Butler, C. K. Francis, and A. J. Ridley (lobs). Indeed 104 had been scored before the first wicket. Tabor's, fell, 50 of these going to his credit. Longman made 80 in all before being run out by his partner; and a fine performance it was, though at one time he scored but two runs while Yardley was making 42, so fierce was the latter's hitting. F. E. R. Fryer, of Harrow, a beautiful bat, but unlucky at Lord's, contributed 46; but Oxford did not see the back of Yardley till he had made 130, which remained the record score till K. J. Key passed it in 1886. The Cambridge total was 388, an aggregate which has never been passed, though the Light-blues equalled it in 1892. The tremendous pace of the Cambridge left-handed bowler, W. N. Powys, was quite too much for all the Oxford men except W. Townshend (20 and 41), and E. F. S. Tylecote (6 and 40). Totals of 72 and 150 were all the runs the Oxonians could raise, and they suffered a dreadful defeat! followed, however, by three consecutive wins, till in 1876 Cambridge came out top once more, and won by 9 wickets. The match was never in doubt, as Oxford were dismissed for a meagre 112 by the two old Uppingham boys, W. S. Patterson and H. T. Luddington, each of whom had 5 wickets, for 8 and 10 runs apiece respectively. Only F. M. Buckland and R. Briggs could do anything with them. Patterson then proceeded to score 105 runs without losing his wicket (another record), backed up by A. P. Lucas with 67. Lucas also hails from Uppingham, which school also contributed D. Q. Steel to the Cambridge ranks. Oxford made a better show at the second attempt, and W. H. Game (log) had the honour of being the first Oxford man to score a century: it was quite a sound though a curious innings, as the batsman was content to play two or three balls very gently, and lashing out to the next—he was a tremendous hitter—would send it humming to the boundary. However, Cambridge required only 73 to win, and this cost but i wicket, that of the Hon. A. Lyttelton, who was unluckily run out when the match was a tie. Once again, after forty-two matches, the scores showed a tie of twenty matches each, two only having been drawn.

In 1878 Cambridge was reinforced by one of her greatest cricketers, A. G. Steel, who made a successful début with bat and ball. He scored 44 (not out) and 9, and had 8 wickets for 62 runs, and 5 wickets for 11. As in the latter innings P. H. Morton had 5 for 20, and but one extra was given away, 32 was the meagre Oxford total, though in the first innings only 127 had been scored. Lucas and the two Lytteltons (Edward and Alfred) all did good work with the bat, and Cambridge's victory by 238 runs was not only most decisive, but also a fair criterion of the merits of the two sides. A. H. Evans of Oxford, the fast bowler from Clifton, worked like a horse, bowled 90 overs, and secured 12 wickets for 141 runs. No man ever tried to do more for his University, but his reward was not to come till 1881. when he led his men to an easy victory.

Another win, by 9 wickets, fell to Cambridge in 1879; but the match was, on the whole, uneventful. Steel played a beautiful innings of 64, and captured 11 wickets for 66 runs, he and A. F. J. Ford getting rid of the Oxford men for 64 runs in their second attempt, the first having reached 149, A. H. Heath claiming 45, and E. T. Hirst 35; but the Dark-blues had quite a poor side. For Cambridge the Hon. A. Lyttelton played admirably for 53 and H. Whitfeld for 31, the whole side totalling 198. A. H. Evans and F. G. Jellicoe, the Oxford crack bowlers, got but a single wicket apiece, and each of these wickets cost 60 runs. Very powerful again in 1880, Cambridge secured her third consecutive win, and by 115 runs, though her partisans expected something even more decisive; but they had probably underestimated the value of Evans's fast bowling, to which 10 wickets fell for 133 runs, a great performance against so formidable an array of batsmen. The Hon. Ivo Bligh opened well with 59, but no one stayed with him (Steel was bowled round his legs by G. C. Harrison for 19), till G. B. Studd appeared and rattled up 38; but the total (166) was a surprise and disappointment. However, Oxford's retort was but 132 (Hirst 49 not out), Steel and Morton securing the wickets, 3 for 37 and 6 for 45 respectively. A second innings of 232 was more like proper form, C. T. Studd claiming 52, and his brother G. B. 40, while there were other useful contributions. Oxford now required some 260 to win, but could only raise 151, Steel's bowling—7 for 61—being too good for all but H. Fowler, who hit about bravely for 43.

Oxford's unexpected win in 1881 broke Cambridge's series of successes, but they were resumed in 1882, 7 wickets being the majority. G. B. Studd, by making 120, found himself among the ranks of century-makers; and a rare and dashing piece of hitting it was, supplemented by some brilliant fielding at mid-off which cost two Oxford men their wickets, run out. P. J. T. Henery, who hit most freely for 61, helped Studd to add 127 for the sixth wicket, and but for these two Cambridge's strong side would have made a poor show. C. T. Studd, probably the best bat on the Cambridge side, failed to score, being caught out off the last ball bowled on the first day, having been sent in to bat in the dark—a grave error of judgment. However, he had the satisfaction of getting 7 wickets for 54 runs. A dashing 82 by M. C. Kemp was the feature of Oxford's second innings of 257: it was a brilliant effort to retrieve a lost game, but several men gave him useful help with twenties and thirties. Cambridge lost but 3 wickets in scoring the necessary 148, C. T. Studd providing 69, and only being out just before the runs were hit off. Another 7-wickets win for Cambridge came in 1883, and another Cambridge man scored three figures, C. W. Wright 102, with useful contributions from C. T. and J. E. K. Studd, the total being 215. Oxford, however, failed completely before the slows of C. T. Studd (4 wickets for 14) and the "expresses" of C. A. Smith's peculiar action (3 for 28); nor were matters mended by having three men run out. However, 55 was the sum-total of the innings, leaving a dead-weight of 160. H. V. Page with a dashing 57, and J. G. Walker with a more scientific 51, and smaller sums from others of the team, brought the total to 215, and Cambridge lost 3 wickets in knocking off the runs. Smith and Studd again shared the wickets, the former taking 6 and the latter 4; but both, especially Studd, were fairly expensive. E. Peake did a fine bit of bowling for Oxford: put on to bowl quite late, he took five wickets for 2 7 runs, including the century-getter.

After the loss of one match, Cambridge won, again by 7 wickets, in 1885, and again Wright played admirably for 78 and 15, every one thinking and hoping during his first innings that he would rival Yardley's feat of twice getting into three figures. Though he did not succeed, yet one of his confrères, H. W. Bainbridge, made loi, and the total of 287 left Cambridge well ahead, to the extent of 154 runs. A first-rate 78 by Page, made by the fastest hitting, and 51 by K. J. Key, largely helped to Oxford's 239, but Cambridge soon knocked off the necessary runs. T. C. O'Brien (now Sir Timothy), who had been very unfortunate in his debut the previous year, made excellent scores of 44 and 28 for Oxford. Of the bowling brigade, C. Toppin and C. A. Smith for Cambridge, and A. H. J. Cochrane and E. W. Bastard for Oxford, were the most successful. Wright and Bainbridge put on 152 for the first wicket, Toppin and Smith 53 for the last wicket, so that the intermediates did nothing startling. Cambridge was now four matches to the good, which advantage was reduced to two in the next two years, while the fifty-fourth match, the match of 1888, was unfinished, owing to rain, and though it was arranged to play on the fourth day, yet that day was so wet that cricket was impossible. No draw had occurred for forty-four years. The scores stood, Cambridge 171 and 170, Oxford 124, so that the Cantabs. had the best of things—on paper. No individual score was higher than 37, and the bowling of S. M. J. Woods (Cambridge) and A. H. J. Cochrane (Oxford) was the chief feature of an unsatisfactory match.

Once more, beginning with 1889, Cambridge had a series of three wins, in this year by an innings totalling 300 to Oxford's 105 and 90. Woods was the destroying angel, capturing 11 wickets for 82 runs,—in fact, Lord George Scott and H. Philipson alone seemed able to play him; at least both got a few runs, and he got neither of them out in either innings. H. J. Mordaunt made over 100 runs—127, to be exact—and batted exceedingly well; but after Oxford's miserable start all the life seemed to be taken out of the game, and even so good an innings caused little enthusiasm. E. Crawley's 54, a smart display, deserves a line of record. H. Bassett got 5 Cambridge wickets for 65 runs, and A. C. Croome was fairly successful, but the other bowlers were unmercifully flogged. In 1890 Oxford went in first on a dreadful wicket, and could not make more than 42 against S. M. J. Woods (four for 25) and E. C. Streatfield (5 for 14): of these E. Smith claimed 22, and he played a fine forcing game, the only chance of getting runs on such a morass. Cambridge only made 97, but a lead of 55 was most valuable under the circumstances, and to F. S. Jackson and C. P. Foley that lead was mainly due. Oxford did better next innings by making 108—M. R. Jardine 24, G. L. Wilson 20, and H. C. Bradley 21—and at least there was not a string of five consecutive "ducks," as in the first attempt. Woods, with 5 for 31, was again a dreadful thorn in the side of Oxford, and probably no bowler has ever done better service for his 'Varsity. In the end Cambridge won by its favourite majority of 7 wickets, but anything might have happened on so curious a wicket and in such threatening weather; hence Cambridge men were delighted to see R. N. Douglas and F. G. J. Ford slash away rapidly, the latter carrying his bat for 32 out of the necessary 54. F. J. N. Thesiger in the first innings sent back three Cantabs. for only 6 runs in all. The 1891 match caused the partisans of Cambridge some very anxious moments. The I.ight-blue side was exceedingly strong, with G. MacGregor to keep wicket, C. M. Wells, S. M. J. Woods, F. S. Jackson, and E. C. Streatfield to bowl, while the strength of the batting may be estimated by the fact that the last three on the list were Wells, Woods, and D. L. Jephson. Yet this strong side only snatched a narrow victory by 2 wickets, and there was quite a sigh of relief when Woods, the captain, smacked a 4 off the first and only ball he received in the second innings. Cambridge opened proceedings with 210, but fared badly at the outset, till A. J. L. Hill hit up a lucky 62, and found some support forthcoming from MacGregor and Streatfield. Woods, however, bowled so finely that he sent back seven Oxonians for 60 runs, and as the whole venture only totalled 108, the Dark-blues had to follow on, 102 in arrears. W. D. Llewelyn had played well for 38, and followed this up with 24; E. Smith got 32, and G. L. Wilson S3, a capital piece of hitting, yet 191 was all the side could amass, and Cambridge had only to get 90 to win. As 210 had been considered disappointing, a 9 or 10 wickets' win was the least that was expected. However, G. F. H. Berkeley proved quite irresistible. Going on when 2 wickets had fallen for 47, he got the Cambridge men out with great rapidity, and had not C. P. Foley kept his head clear and his bat straight, anything might have happened. As it was, he scored an invaluable 41 before he fell to the arm of the all-conquering Berkeley, and Woods, as aforesaid, just landed the Cantabs. winners by a short head. Five wickets for 20 runs was Berkeley's analysis in this fragmentary innings.

Oxford won in '92, but Cambridge had ample vengeance next year. K. S. Ranjitsinhji was included in the side, but only scored 9 runs in all, and, with the exception of F. S. Jackson, who played admirable cricket for 38 and 57, two most attractive innings, and of P. H. Latham, who made 21 and 54 almost equally well, the crack bats of the side were disappointing, though a merrier partnership than that of T. N. Perkins and L. H. Gay in the second innings can hardly be imagined, and it came as a welcome relief after some rather dull cricket. Curiously enough, each man scored 37. The Cambridge first innings, then, only amounted to 182. Had not L. C. V. Bathurst sent J, Douglas back by an absolutely marvellous catch, when well set, there might have been a difference. Still, so badly did the Oxford men, except L. C. H. Palairet (32), shape to the bowling of C. M. Wells, H. R. Bromley-Davenport, and E. C. Streatfield, that 9 wickets were down for 98. Here the Oxford batsmen consulted, and Wells, conceiving the idea that they proposed to deliberately lose a wicket so as to ensure a "follow-on," bowled a four-wide and a four-no-ball, thereby frustrating the intention. The incident caused much discussion, of a more or less acrimonious kind, but, curiously enough, was repeated, and again by a Cambridge bowler, in 1896. However, the results proved that the Cambridge total of 182 was sufficient to give them an innings victory, as in their second "hands" the Light-blues totalled 254, and Oxford could only retort with a paltry 64 (C. B. Fry 31). No less than four bowlers were put on during this brief innings, in which Jackson had 3 wickets for 22, Wells 2 for 27, Streatfield 2 for 9, and Bromley-Davenport 3 for 2! The Cambridge majority was 266.

Oxford won easily in 1894, but Cambridge made it "all square" in 1895, her majority being 134. Yet so powerful was the Oxford eleven, and so great its reputation for big scoring, that even when the Oxonians went in to score 331 runs in the last innings, many thought that the feat was not beyond their strength. Both sides were exceedingly strong, especially in batting, but Oxford was certainly the favourite. F. Mitchell, W. G. Grace, jun., and R. A. Studd made a good start for Cambridge, and W. G. Druce and W. M'G, Hemingway (whose
Ranji 1897 page 361 W. M. Hemingway at the wicket.jpg


From photo by E. Hawkins & Co., Brighton.

57 was top-score) kept up the hitting, but the total of 244 was not considered good enough. However, Oxford scored 42 less, having started so badly in a bad light that 6 wickets were down for 68. However, G. O. Smith (51) and H. D. Leveson-Gower (73) played an uphill game in fine style, and to them mainly was the Oxford total of 202 due. Again Grace and Mitchell made a good start for Cambridge; indeed their scores were, Grace 40 and 28, Mitchell 28 and 43. C. E. M. Wilson scored 36, and W. G. Druce, the captain, once more showed excellent nerve and excellent cricket at a critical moment: his 66 was as good and valuable an innings as has ever been played in this match. The grand total of 288 left Oxford with a "set" of 331. The final innings of the match was most remarkable. Ten of the Oxford men found the Cambridge bowling apparently unplayable; the eleventh man, H. K. Foster, found it the easiest stuff in the world. He cut, drove, pulled, and hit to leg, without giving a fair chance, till he had scored 121 out of 159 for 7 wickets, a piece of batting that took just two hours; and no one who saw that innings will ever forget its brilliance. No one admired it more than the Cambridge partisans, who could afford to view it with some complacency, because other wickets were falling fast: they could enjoy the treat of some grand hitting without the mortification of seeing their side beaten.

Oxford won in 1896, but next year Cambridge, certainly the stronger side in the opinion of most good judges, turned the tables. The game was more remarkable for steadiness than brilliance, G. L. Jessop's 42, scored in 15 minutes, being the one exciting piece of cricket. Cambridge won by 179 runs, but their second innings of 336 would, if it had come first, have given the Light-blues a single innings victory. The Oxford batting, except that of G. R. Bardswell, cut up badly, and it was owing to this failure that they lost the match. C. J. Burnup, H. H. Marriott, N. F. Druce, G. L. Jessop, C. E. M. Wilson, and E. B. Shine, all batted well for Cambridge, and the bowling honours were fairly divided between G. L. Jessop, E. B. Shine, and H. W. De Zoete for Cambridge, and C. E. Cunliffe for Oxford.

The Jubilee Book of Cricket 0383.jpg
The Jubilee Book of Cricket 0384.jpg

The following is a list of centuries :—

The Jubilee Book of Cricket 0384a.jpg
Ranji 1897 page 364-1 Sir R. E. Webster.jpg

Sir R. E. WEBSTER, Q.C., M.P.,
President Surrey C.C.C.

From photo by Knight, Newport.

Ranji 1897 page 364-2 Charles W. Alcock.jpg

Secretary of the Surrey C.C.C.

From photo by E. Hawkins & Co., Brighton.

Ranji 1897 page 364-3 Capt. E. G. Wynyard.jpg

Capt. E. G. WYNYARD,
President Hampshire C.C.C.

From photo by Mayall & Co., London.

Ranji 1897 page 364-4 H. E. Murray-Anderson.jpg


From photo by O'Shannessy & Co., Melbourne.