HISTORICAL.—1300 TO 1845.
cannot remember when I began to play cricket. Respect for the truth prevents me from saying I played the first year of my existence, but I have little hesitation in declaring that I handled bat and ball before the end of my second. My family was known as a cricketing family a quarter of a century before I was born. My brothers Henry, Alfred and E. M. were respectively 15, 8 and 7 years of age when I appeared, and though my mother did not lay claim to being considered a player, I am inclined to believe, judging by the light of later years, she knew how to play as well as any of them; she was certainly most enthusiastic, and ever ready with sound counsel and cheering words. And I know in her heart she hoped that I should be a credit to the family.
I have been told that I was an easy subject to teach; always willing to listen to words of wisdom, but rather casual in carrying them out, and looking as if I had a theory of my own about playing the game. Perhaps even at that age I realised the duty resting on every cricketer who desires to add a page or two to cricket history.
This much, then, may be safely accepted, that not a year has passed since 1850 in which I have not, in some form or other, played the game. That must be my justification for giving my experiences to the cricket-reading public.
But I have been asked to say something about the history of cricket; to touch upon the remote past, about which every writer has an opinion of his own, and upon which very few agree. Where wiser and more learned heads have failed I cannot be expected to succeed. I am a player pure and simple, and have been all my life more interested in the doings of players than in reading this and the other account of how the game began and where it was first played. I would rather read a hundred pages of Frederick Lillywhite's Scores and Biographies any day than half a dozen pages which try to prove it is absolutely untrue that the game had its origin in Rome, or Greece, or indeed anywhere but in England.
Club-ball was played in the thirteenth century, and the Rev. J. Pycroft, author of The Cricket Field, and a friend of my own family, has little doubt of it being single-wicket cricket in its earliest form. He also quotes from Strutt, who wrote to this effect, fifty years later :— "In the Bodleian Library at Oxford is a MS., No. 264, and dated 1344, in which a female figure is represented bowling a ball of the size of a cricket-ball to a man who is raising a bat to strike it; behind the bowler are figures, male and female, waiting to catch the ball. The game is called Club-ball, and the score is made by running and hitting as at Cricket." A modern writer, who examined the MS. also, takes exception to Strutt's assertion that some of the figures in the picture are females, and says: "All the figures are monks, with their cowls up and down alternately."
In 1477 Hand-In-and-Hand-Out was mentioned as a kind of cricket, and identical with Club-ball.
The word Cricket is said to have been first used in the year 1550. John Parish, an innkeeper in Guildford, enclosed a piece of waste land that year, but was ordered to give it up in 1593. John Derrick, one of Queen Elizabeth's coroners for Surrey, aged fifty-nine, said: "When he was a scholler in the free school of Guldeforde, he and severall of his fellowes did runne and play there at crickett and other plaies." That has been accepted by writers generally on the authority of Russell, a local historian, who transcribed it from the old records of the borough of Guildford; but another and more careful reading has shown that Russell must have, innocently or intentionally, substituted crickett for quoits.
The seventeenth century was half through before the word was again heard of. Bishop Ken, in his thirteenth year, entered Winchester College in 1650, and Lisle Bowles, writing of him, says: "On the fifth day our junior is found attempting to wield a cricket bat." Eight years later Edward Phillips, John Milton's nephew, in his poem entitled "Treatment of Ladies at Balls and Sports," says: "Would that my eyes had been beaten out of my head with a cricket ball the day before I saw thee." In 1670 the British sailor added his testimony. The chaplain on board H.M.S. Assistance wrote to the effect that while they were lying at Antioch, on May the 6th of that year, "Krickett" and other games were played. This is his letter: "This morning early at the least 40 of the English, with his worthy the Consull, rod out of the city about 4 miles to the Greene Platte, a fine valley by a river side, to recreate themselves with such pastimes and sports such as duck hunting, fishing, shooting, hand-ball and Krickett, and at 6 we returne all home in good order, but soundly tyred and werry."
What is considered as the beginning of the doublewicket game was played in Scotland in 1700 under the name of Cat and Dog. Dr. Jamieson, in his Dictionary, 1722, says:—
"This is a game for three players at least, who are furnished with clubs. They cut out two holes, each about a foot in diameter and seven inches in depth, and twenty-six feet apart; one man guards each hole with his club; these clubs are called Dogs. A piece of wood, about four inches long and one inch in diameter, called a Cat, is pitched by a third person from one hole towards the player at the other, who is to prevent the cat from getting into the hole. If it pitches in the hole the party who threw it takes his turn with the club. If the cat be struck, the club bearers change places, and each change of place counts one to the score, like Club-ball."
If we are to accept that as authentic, then small beginnings have had great developments, and something may be said in favour of English Tipcat as having made its mark on the game.
Strutt, in his Sports and Pastimes, quotes from Thomas D'Urfey's Pills to Purge Melancholy (1710):
- "Her was the prettiest fellow
- At football and at Cricket."
In 1736 all doubt of the game being firmly established is at an end, for Horace Walpole on the 6th of May of that year, two years after he had left Eton, wrote:"An expedition against bargemen, or a match at Cricket, may be very pretty things to recollect; but, thank my stars, I can remember things that are very near as pretty." And again, in 1749, he says: "I could tell you of Lord Montford's making cricket-matches,
(From a Picture by F. Hayman, R.A., belonging to the Marylebone Club.)
Clubs were now springing up rapidly, the most important of them being in the counties of Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Middlesex. Matches were of frequent occurrence, and according to several accounts large sums of money were staked on the result, and not unfrequently lawsuits followed. It said well for the popularity of the game that it fought through that stage and reached its present pure and healthy position in the hearts of the English people.
The oldest recorded score is:—
KENT v. ALL ENGLAND.
Played in the Artillery Ground, London, 1746.
|1st Innings. ALL ENGLAND.||2nd Innings.|
|Harris, b Hadswell||0||b Mills||4|
|Durgate, b Hadswell||3||b Hadswell||11|
|Newland, b Mills||0||b Hadswell||3|
|Cuddy, b Hadswell||0||c Danes||2|
|Green, b Mills||0||b Mills||5|
|Waymark, b Mills||7||b Hadswell||9|
|Bryan, st Kips||12||c Kips||7|
|Newland, not out||18||c Lord J. F. Sackville||15|
|Harris, b Hadswell||0||b Hadswell||1|
|Smith, c Bartrum||0||b Mills||8|
|Newland, b Mills||0||not out||5|
|1st Innings. KENT.||2nd Innings.|
|Lord J.F. Sackville, c Waymark||5||b Harris||3|
|Long Robin, b Newland||7||b Newland||9|
|Mills, b Harris||0||c Newland||6|
|Hadswell, b Harris||0||not out||5|
|Cutbush, c Green||3||not out||7|
|Bartrum, b Newland||2||b Newland||0|
|Danes, b Newland||6||c Smith||0|
|Sawyer, c Waymark||0||b Newland||5|
|Kips, b Harris||12||b Harris||10|
|Mills, not out||7||b Newland||2|
|Romney, b Harris||11||c Harris||8|
Kent winning by one wicket.
Up to 1700, and for some years after, the stumps were two in number, one foot high and two feet wide, surmounted with a bail. Between the stumps a hole was cut in the ground, large enough to contain the ball and the butt-end of the bat. In running, the striker was required to put his bat into the hole to score a notch; and the wicket-keeper had to place the ball in the hole before he could run the striker out. Wicket-keeper and bowler had many severe knocks on the hand from the bat; and the present mode of placing the bat inside the crease was substituted, and in force in the match I have given.
The following have been the changes in the size of the wicket:
1700. — Two stumps, 1 foot high, 2 feet wide.
1775. — Three stumps, one bail, 22 inches by 6.
1798. — Three stumps, one bail, 24 inches by 7.
1816. — Three stumps, one bail, 26 inches by 7.
1817. — Three stumps, two bails, 27 inches by 8.
There has been no change in the laws respecting the size of the wicket since 1817; but in the Gentlemen v. Players' match in 1837 the Players by arrangement had to defend wickets 36 ins. by 12 ins.
The distance between the wickets has been always twenty-two yards. All bowling was underhand, and of very indifferent quality; pace without length was the aim of everyone.The strongest club at this stage of the game was undoubtedly the Hambledon Club, in Hampshire, holding a position somewhat similar to the M.C.C. to-day. It was formed in the year 1750, and held its
THE ROYAL ACADEMY CLUB IN MARYLEBONE FIELD.
(From a Picture by F. Hayman, R.A., belonging to the Marylebone Club.)
Beldham and Harris were the great men of the team—Beldham as a batsman, Harris as a bowler. Of Beldham, Nyren says: "We used to call him 'Silver Billy.' He was a close-set, active man, standing about five feet eight inches and a half. No one within my recollection could stop a ball better, or make more brilliant hits all over the ground; besides this, he was so remarkably safe. I hardly ever saw a man with a finer command of the bat, and he rapidly attained to the extraordinary accomplishment of being the finest player that has appeared within the latitude of more than half a century. One of the most beautiful sights that can be imagined, and which would have delighted an artist, was to see him make himself up to hit a ball. It was the beau ideal of grace, animation, and concentrated energy."
Of Harris, he says: "He was a muscular, bony man, standing about five feet nine and a half inches. It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to convey in writing an accurate idea of the grand effect of Harris's bowling; they only who have played against him can fully appreciate it. First of all, he stood erect, like a soldier at drill; then, with a graceful curve of the arm, he raised the ball to his forehead, and drawing back his right foot, started off with his left. His mode of delivering the ball was very singular. He would bring it from under the arm by a twist, and nearly as high as his armpit, and with his action push it, as it were, from him. He never stooped in the least in his delivery, but kept himself upright all the time. His balls were very little beholden to the ground when pitched: it was but a touch and up again; and woe be to the man who did not get in to block him, for they had such a peculiar curl that they would grind his fingers against the bat."
Harris may be considered the first bowler who knew the power of a good-length ball. Until he appeared, daisy-cutters were about the only balls bowled. Everyone knows the result of hitting at a ball on the rise that is off the wicket; or how easy it is to get a batsman out who can only play back. The two best batsmen; of that time, Beldham and Lord Frederick Beauclerk, could play both back and forward, and the display was considered of a very high order when Harris was bowling against them.
Tom Walker was another of the Hambledon worthies, the coolest fellow in existence. Patience and imperturbability were his chief virtues; and he had the reputation of keeping up his wicket from the beginning to the end of an innings, and playing his first ball as he would play the last. Tom's appearance on a cricket-field would startle the carefully-dressed player of today. "He was the driest and most rigid-limbed chap I ever knew," says Nyren. "His skin was like the rind of an old oak, and as sapless. I have seen his knuckles knocked handsomely about, from Harris's bowling, but never saw any blood upon his hands. You might just as well attempt to phlebotomise a mummy. He had a wilted, apple-john face; long, spider legs, as thick at the as at the hips, and perfectly straight all the way down." Tom was not satisfied with underhand bowling, and was the first to raise the arm above the level of the elbow; but he got no encouragement from the Hambledon Club, who decided it was throwing, and he had to give it up.
Nyren, while strong in the opinion that the Hambledon Club was head and shoulders above every other, was not blind to the merits of his opponents. He is great in praise of Lumpy—Stevens was his real name—a Surrey man. Lumpy could bowl the greatest number of length-balls in succession of any bowler he knew. He had a great reputation as a single-wicket player; but was completely and unexpectedly sat upon on a certain occasion. The match in which he was playing having been concluded early in the day, "a long, raw-boned devil of a countryman came up, and offered to play any of the twenty-two at single-wicket for five pounds. Lumpy was persuaded to accept the challenge, but would not stake more than a pound; the rest was subscribed. The confident old bowler made the countryman go in first, for he thought to settle his business in a twink; but the fellow having an arm as long as a hop-pole, reached in at Lumpy's balls, bowl what length he might, slashed and thrashed away in the most ludicrous style, hitting his balls all over the field, and made an uncommon number of runs before he got rid of him. Lumpy was not much of a bat, and the countryman quickly upset his wicket with a fast daisycutter, and won very easily, amidst the uproarious laughter of those present. Lumpy swore he would never play another single-wicket match as long as he lived, and he did not."
Nyren's description of a match is as hearty and enthusiastic as his sketch of the players. " Little Hambledon pitted against All England was a proud thought for the Hampshire men. Defeat was glory in such a struggle; victory, indeed, made us only a little lower than the angels. Half the county would be present, and all their hearts were with us. And whenever a Hambledon man made a good hit, worth four or five runs, you would hear the deep mouths of the whole multitude baying away in pure Hampshire, 'Go hard! go hard! Tich and turn! tich and turn!"
We can shout to-day when occasion requires, but the players of the past seem to have had rather the best of us there.
The Hambledon Club played first on Broad-halfpenny Down, afterwards on Windmill Down, both close to the village of Hambledon. An old painting gives the eleven in their club costume of knee-breeches, stockings, buckles, shoes, and velvet caps. Lord Winchelsea's team some years later played in silverlaced hats.
Harris's introduction of good-length bowling caused the bat to be altered from the hockey shape to a straight form, and playing with a straight bat was now cultivated. There was no law in existence as to its size, and a player named White, of Reigate, appeared at a match with a bat larger than the wicket; but a rule was immediately passed regulating the size, and the Hambledon Club had an iron frame made through which every bat was passed before it was allowed to be used. Leg-guards now came into use, but they were very simply and imperfectly made. They consisted of two pieces of wood placed anglewise to protect the shins, and were anything but comfortable.
There were laws of a kind governing the game about the year 1700; but umpires had not the powers they possess now, and few matches were played without bickerings and quarrellings. Those of us who have had any experience of country cricket know that the umpires' decisions do not always receive the respect due to them, and that many a match has terminated in a dispute. That was not an uncommon ending to many a close match from 1700 to 1708. No man was ever justly out; many claimed to go in twice; catches were often disputed. The side going from home had the right of pitching the wickets, and a good general took care they were pitched to suit his own bowlers. One maxim of Nyren's will show that each side was only too anxious to steal an advantage over the other in the preliminary arrangements. He says: "In making a match you should be careful to stand on higher terms than you have an absolute occasion for, that you may the more easily obtain such as are necessary; keeping in mind the old adage, 'A match well made is half won.' '
The following laws are the oldest published, and remained in force until the beginning of 1774:
"THE GAME OF CRICKET, AS SETTLED BY YE CRICKET CLUB AT YE STAR AND GARTER IN PALL MALL.
The pitching ye first wicket is to be determined by ye cast of a piece of money when ye first wicket is pitched and ye popping crease cut, which must be exactly 3 Foot 10 inches from ye Wicket. Ye Other Wicket is to be pitched directly opposite, at 22 yards distance, and ye other popping crease cut 3 Foot 10 inches before it. The Bowling Creases must be cut in a direct line from each. Stump. The Stumps must be 22 inches long, and ye Bail 6 inches. The Ball must weigh between 5 and 6 ounces. When ye wickets are both pitched and all ye Creases Cut, the party that wins the toss-up may order which side shall go in first at his option.
LAWS FOR YE BOWLERS—4 BALLS AND OVER.
The Bowler must deliver ye Ball with one foot behind the Crease even with ye wicket, and when he has bowled one ball or more shall Bowl to ye number 4 before he changes wickets, and he Shall Change but once in ye same innings. He may order ye Player that is in at his wicket to Stand on which side of it he Pleases, at a reasonable distance. If he delivers ye Ball with his hinder foot over ye Bowling crease ye Umpire shall call no Ball, though she be struck or ye Player is Bowled out; which he shall do without being asked, and no Person shall have any right to ask him.
LAWS FOR YE STRIKERS, OR THOSE THAT ARE IN.
If ye wicket be bowled down its out. If he Strikes, or treads down, or falls upon ye wicket in striking (but not in over running) its out. A Stroke or Nip over or under his Batt or upon his hands (but not arms), if ye Ball be held before She touches ye Ground, though She be hugged to the Body, its out. If in Striking both his feet are over ye popping Crease and his Wicket put down, except his Batt is down within, its out. If he runs out of his Ground to hinder a Catch, its out. If a Ball is nipped up and he Strikes her again Wilfully before She comes to ye Wicket, its out. If ye Players have crossed each other, he that runs for ye Wicket that is put down is out. If they are not Crossed, he that returns is out, If in running a Notch ye Wicket is struck down by a Throw before .his Foot, Hand, or Batt is over ye Popping Crease, or a Stump hit by ye Ball, though ye Bail was down, its out. But if ye Bail is down before, he that catches ye Ball must strike a Stump out of ye Ground, Ball in Hand, then its out. If ye Striker touches or takes up ye Ball before she is lain quite still, unless asked by ye Bowler or Wicket Keeper, its out.
BATT, FOOT, OR HAND OVER YE CREASE.
When ye Ball has been in Hand by one of ye Keeper or Stopers and ye Player has been at Home, He may go where he pleases till ye next Ball is bowled. If Either of ye Strikers is crossed in his running Ground designedly, which design must be determined by the Umpires. N.B.—The Umpires may order that notch to be scored. When ye Ball is hit up either of ye strikers may hinder ye catch in his running ground, or if She is hit directly across ye Wickets ye Other Player may place his Body any where within ye swing of his Batt so as to hinder ye Bowler from catching her, but he must neither Strike at her nor touch her with his hands. If a striker nips up a Ball just before him he may fall before his Wicket, or pop down his Batt before Shee comes to it, to save it. The Bail hanging on one stump, though ye Ball hit ye Wicket, its not out.
LAWS FOR WICKET KEEPERS.
The Wicket Keeper shall stand at a reasonable distance behind ye Wicket, and shall not move till ye Ball is out of ye Bowler's Hands, and shall not by any noise incommode ye Striker; and if his knees, foot, or head be over or before his wicket, though the Ball strike it, it shall not be out.
LAWS FOR YE UMPIRES.
To allow 2 minutes for each man to come in when one is out, and 10 minutes between Each Hand to mark ye Ball, that it may not be changed. They are sole judges of all outs and ins, of all fair and unfair Play, of frivolous delays, of all hurts, whether real or pretended, and are discretionally to allow whatever time they think Proper before ye Game goes on again. In case of a real hurt to a striker, they are to allow another to come in, and the Person hurt to come in again, but are not to allow a fresh Man to Play on either side on any Account. They are sole judges of all hindrances, crossing ye Players in running, and Standing unfair to Strike; and in case of hindrance may order a notch to be scored. They are not to order any man out unless appealed to by one of ye Players. These Laws are to ye Umpires Jointly. Each Umpire is ye Sole Judge of all Nips and Catches, Ins and outs, good or bad runs at his own Wicket, and his determination shall be absolute; and he shall not be changed for another Umpire without ye Consent of both Sides. When ye 4 Balls are bowled he is to call over. These Laws are separately. When both Umpires shall call Play 3 Times 'tis at ye Peril of giving ye Game from them that refuse Play."
"Notch" was the term used for a run in those days. Scorers generally were not sufficiently educated to enter in writing the runs as they were made, and the primitive form of cutting a notch in a piece of wood was resorted to. A deeper notch was made every tenth run. Rarely were individual innings recorded in other than first-class matches; and it is difficult to say when the important clubs began to keep complete and reliable results of their matches. The year 1774 left its mark upon the game. A committee of noblemen and gentlemen, from the counties of Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, and Middlesex, met at the Star and Garter, Pall Mall, on February the 25th, and revised the Laws. Compared with those already given, they showed distinct progress, though falling short of the completeness and comprehensiveness of those in existence to-day. The great point gained was, that an authoritative body of players, chosen from the chief clubs in the kingdom, had spoken out, and their decisions were sure to be respected. Very few of them have stood the criticism of the 117 years that have elapsed since they were drawn up; but they were the outcome of the united wisdom of the best players of that time, and met the demands of the game for a good many years afterwards. The foot-notes with regard to betting would not be tolerated to-day; but, if we are to accept the statements of different writers, that nearly every important match played then was for a sum of money varying from £50 to £1000, we can see the need for them and understand why they were added.
The year 1775 saw the abolishment of placing the ball in the hole between the wickets, and the increase in the number of the stumps from two to three. At an important match that year, Lumpy, one of the best bowlers of the day, two or three times bowled balls which passed between the stumps. This was naturally considered hard upon Lumpy, and the third stump was added, and placed so that the ball could not pass between them without knocking the bail off. Two years later, 1777, what was considered a phenomenal score was made by James Aylward, for the Hambledon Club,, against England. He scored 167 runs out of a total of 403. Individual performance and aggregate score were reckoned among the sensational doings; and it was thought that the former would stand as record for a century at least; as for the same individual exceeding it, no one dreamt of it. The same year saw the last match played on the Artillery Ground, Finsbury Square, the scene of many great and exciting contests for a considerable number of years.The first recorded match of the White Conduit Club was played in 1785; and two years later the Marylebone Club was started. Farther on I have written more fully upon the rise and progress of the club, which has been looked upon as the authority upon all points of the game for more than a century. This much will suffice here: In 1779 a number of gentlemen among them Lord Winchelsea, Sir Horace Mann, Sir P. Burrell, Lord Strathaven, and others were in the habit of playing matches in the White Conduit Fields, and in the Artillery Ground, Finsbury. They formed the White Conduit Club the year after, and continued playing until some misunderstanding arose amongst the members. Thomas Lord, an attendant and enthusiastic player, was one of their bowlers, and he was instructed to look out for a ground, and promised support if he succeeded. By some writers Lord is given as a Scottish Jacobite; by others as a native of Yorkshire. It matters little to which country he belonged: he possessed the enterprising qualities which both Yorkshiremen and Scotchmen have the credit of; and in 1789 Lord's Cricket Ground, and the foundation of the M.C.C. on the site of Dorset Square, were accomplished facts. Here he remained for some years, until driven out by encroaching builders, when he and the club moved, about the year 1811, to another ground, where South Bank, Regent's Park, now stands. The cutting of the Regent's Canal compelled him to move a second time; and 1814 saw him and the M.C.C. established for good in St. John's Wood Road. The M.C.C. played matches in 1789, but there is no published record of their doings
A YOUNG CRICKETER.
(From a Picture ascribed to Gainsborough, belonging to the Marylebone Club).
The year 1791 saw the dissolution of the Hambledon Club and the dispersion of its members over the counties of Surrey, Hampshire, Kent, and Middlesex.
Lord Fredrecick Beauclerk (height, 5 ft. 9 ins.; weight, 11 st. 12 lbs.) played his first match at Lord's in the same year for the M.C.C. v. Kent. He was in his eighteenth year, but gave no promise in that match of the skill which attracted the cricketing public a few years later, and which stamped him as the best amateur batsman of his day. He was a fair bowler, and kept up his form for nearly a quarter of a century.
Surrey, Kent, and M.C.C. were now the crack clubs in England, and before the end of the eighteenth century they were in turn strong enough to play an eleven of All England. County matches were of frequent occurrence: Surrey played Kent, Hampshire, and Middlesex; Kent and Middlesex played Essex; and Nottingham played Leicester.
The first twenty years of the nineteenth century introduced seven names which will live in the memories of cricketers as long as the game is played. To belong to the M.C.C. even in those days was the aim of most players; to be considered good enough to play for or against it, was to stamp the player as belonging to the first flight. W. Lambert made his first appearance at Lord's in 1801, playing for Surrey v. England; E. H. Budd in 1802, playing for Middlesex v. Surrey; George Osbaldeston in 1808, playing for M.C.C. v. Middlesex; W. Ward in 1810, playing for England v. Surrey; Jas. Broadbridge in 1817, playing for Sussex v. Epsom; George Brown in 1818, playing in a single-wicket match; and Fuller Pilch in 1820, when only seventeen years of age, playing for Norfolk v. M.C.C.
W. Lambert (height, 5 ft. 10 ins.; weight, 15 st.) was a good all-round player: first-class as a batsman, possessing tremendous hitting powers, a good bowler and wicket-keeper, and one of the best single wicket players of his time.
Mr. Edward Hayward Budd (born at Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire; height, 5 ft. 9 ins.; weight, 12 st.) excelled as a batsman, but was good all round: he used a bat 3 Ibs. in weight, hit terrifically, and played cricket from his seventeenth year until his seventieth.
Mr. George Osbaldeston (born 1786 or 1787; height, 5 ft. 6 ins.; weight, 10½ st.) was a splendid batsman; but made his mark more as a bowler, being considered the fastest who had yet appeared. His reputation as a single-wicket player was only second to Lambert's, and together they were equal to any pair in England. A good story is told of a single-wicket match made between Osbaldeston and Lambert on one side, and Lord Frederick Beauclerk and Howard on the other. It was a p. p. match for fifty guineas, and the result was thought to determine which was the strongest pair of that time. On the day of the match Osbaldeston was ill, and Lord Frederick was asked to postpone the match.
"No! Play or pay," said his lordship.
"I won't forfeit," said Osbaldeston. "Lambert may beat you both; and if he does, he shall have the money."
His lordship would not hear of it. "Nonsense," he said, "you don't mean it."
"Yes; play or pay, my lord. We are in earnest and shall claim the stakes."
Score: Lambert—First innings, 56; second innings, 24; total, 80. Lord Beauclerk and Howard—First innings, 24; second innings, 42; total, 66.
MR. GEORGE OSBALDESTON.
(From an old Print.)
Mr. William Ward (born at Islington, London, 24th July, 1787; height, 6 ft. 1 in.; weight, 14 st.) was a better batsman than bowler, and will be remembered for his great score of 278, when playing for the M.C.C. against Norfolk, in 1820. He played with a bat 4 lbs. in weight, and was one of the few who accommodated himself quickly to the change from underhand to round-arm bowling. Indeed, the change made little difference to him; and after it was introduced, he continued to score as freely as ever.
Jas. Broadbridge (height, 5 ft. 10 ins.; weight, 12 st.) could bat, but his name stands out as one of the two great bowlers of his time. Lillywhite and he were the two great exponents of round-arm bowling, and by their exceptional skill raised Sussex to a very high position in the cricketing world.
George Brown (born at Stoughton, Surrey, 27th April, 1783) is supposed to have been the fastest underhand bowler that ever played. He was so very fast that two longstops were needed for him, and nearly all the fieldsmen were placed behind the wicket. At Lord's a man once tried to stop the ball with his coat, but Brown bowled through it and killed a dog on the other side! Jackson, Tarrant, and Freeman, of later years, we can most of us remember, but Brown's pace at his best is said to have been faster than theirs. His height was 6 ft. 3 ins.; weight, about 16 st.
Fuller Pilch, as a batsman, was head and shoulders above the others, and was undoudtedly the crack from 1820 to 1850. His height was 6 feet 01⁄2 in.; and he possessed an exceptionally long reach, which he used to the fullest advantage. He played forward, and was thoroughly at home against all kinds of bowling. He was born at Horningtoft, Norfolk, iyth March, 1803, but migrated to Town Mailing in 1835, and by his personal skill raised Kent to the position of being able to play an eleven of England. He scored the century at least ten times in his career, which was considered a remarkable and exceptional performance then. He was past playing when I saw him first; but I can remember the pleasure it gave me when I met him at Canterbury, and we talked about the past, present, and future of the game. His star had set: mine was in the ascendant; but the light of battle was still on his face, and I could see what manner of man he had been.
Those were the players who made cricket history from 1800 to 1825; and I can quite believe they would give an excellent account of themselves to-day on our improved wickets against our best bowling.
Eton and Harrow played against each other at the beginning of the present century; but the earliest published score in existence is of the year 1805, when Eton won by an innings.The Gentlemen and Players commenced in 1806; but then and for some years afterwards it was a case of the Players giving one or two of their best men, or playing against odds. The first match of that year the Gentlemen had Lambert and Beldham given them, and won; the second match Lambert only, which they won also. For years the Gentlemen struggled to make a fight, but all in vain. Various suggestions were made to make the match interesting and give them a chance
The year 1817 saw a great decline in the powers of Surrey. Considered good enough to play thirteen of England some twenty years before, it was not able now to play eleven, and did not attempt it again until 1852.
The year 1822 was an important one. It saw Mr. John Willes at Lord's on the 15th and 16th July, playing for Kent v. M.C.C., make a big bid for the introduction of round-arm bowling. He was only allowed to bowl a few balls before he was "no-balled," and he left the ground, declining to go on with the match. A substitute was found, and Kent won easily by an innings.
Mr. Willes has the credit of introducing roundarm bowling, and there can be little doubt his attempt in this match created the agitation which led to its adoption a short time afterwards. This is the story told of how he learned it. He had been very ill, and to recover strength fell back upon the game he loved so dearly. He was not quite strong enough to bowl, so he enlisted the aid of his sister to bowl to him. The straight ones troubled him more than the old style of bowling; rising more quickly off the pitch, and travelling differently. A little reflection revealed that his sister in delivering the ball turned her hand over it, hence the change. As soon as he got well he practised it, and found he could do more with the ball. Unfortunately his temper was stronger than his respect for the laws; for not only did he leave the match, but made up his mind to give up playing altogether a decision which he adhered to. It will not do to condemn his action too severely. He is not the first who has had a pet theory pooh-poohed, and given it up in a moment of petulance. Five years later, if he had retained his proficiency, he would have been a perfect godsend to the Gentlemen, and have helped to speed the good cause with F. W. Lillywhite, J. Broadbridge, and Mr. G. T. Knight. It should be remembered that Tom Walker, of the Hambledon Club, practised it also.
The year 1827 saw the new bowling having a fair trial. Lillywhite and Broadbridge were the most proficient at it, and placed Sussex in the position of being able to play All England. The first match came off on the 4th June, at Darnall, Sheffield, and was looked upon as a comparative test of the two styles of bowling England being represented by underhand bowlers. Alas! for the underhand representatives! they were out of it altogether, Sussex winning by seven wickets. Why the match was played in Yorkshire I do not know,, unless it be that the cricketing authorities in the South were desirous, in the interests of the game, to give cricketers in the North an opportunity of witnessing first-class play. Cricket had made tremendous strides in Nottingham, Sheffield, Liverpool and Manchester in the last half-dozen years, and the policy of the M.C.C. in playing a representative match there was in keeping with the forward spirit it has ever shown since the welfare of the game was placed in its hands.
The second match was played at Lord's a fortnight later, Sussex again winning, but only by two wickets. The defeat upset some of the players who represented England, and a number of them, with more temper than judgment, met and signed the following document: "We, the undersigned, do agree that we will not play the third match between All England and Sussex, unless the Sussex bowlers bowl fair that is, abstain from throwing."
Fuller Pilch's name was amongst the signatories, but reflection brought wisdom, and the third match was played at Brighton, the 23rd, 24th, 25th July, England winning by 23 runs. Ten years later Pilch, playing for Town Mailing v. Reigate, scored 160 against Lillywhite's bowling. Round-arm bowling had now taken a hold, and here will be the place to say a word on behalf of one of the earliest and finest exponents it has ever had.Frederick William Lillywhite was born at West Hampnett, near Goodwood, Sussex, June 13th, 1792. There is no record of his doings until he was thirty years of age, and his first appearance at Lord's was on June 18th, 1827, in his thirty-sixth year, playing for Sussex v. England. His height was only 5 ft. 4 ins.; but he was substantially made (weighing 11st. 81bs.), and possessed exceptional stamina. He played right up to the day of his death, August 24th, 1854. The introduction of round-arm bowling was his opportunity, and no one then had a greater command over the ball. His pace would be considered slow to-day, but his accuracy of pitch was something marvellous, and a ball off the wicket was a rare thing. A wide ball rom him was not expected and rarely given; he only bowled some half-a-dozen in his whole career. He was what is now called a "head bowler," always on the look-out for a weak spot in the defence of the batsman, and trusting more to catches than to wickets bowled down. He
MR. ALFRED MYNN.
(From an old Print.)
In 1832 Mr. Alfred Mynn appeared at Lord's. In his way, he was quite as celebrated as Lillywhite, and was certainly a more striking figure. He was born January 19th, 1809; height, 6ft. 1in.; weight, 18st. He was of the most lovable temper, and no player was cheered more heartily by the cricket-loving public; and he was a rare good batsman, hitting severely, and scoring faster than any player of his time. The hitting of his time compares unfavourably with the rapidity of the scoring to-day, thirty runs an hour being considered fast. His bowling was round-arm, very fast, but in the early part of his career very erratic aiming at beating the batsman by sheer pace. His delivery was peculiar, described by one writer as noble and majestic. He walked up to the crease, head erect like a soldier on parade, and the ball shot from his hand at a pace worthy of so strong a man.
Mynn and Lillywhite were the two bowlers who were now looked up to as possessing the styles to be copied—Mynn, very fast, relying on his pace; Lillywhite, a good length, relying on his accuracy. Mynn had the greater number of followers for a time followers who bowled at a pace much beyond their strength and went quickly to pieces. Lillywhite's accurate length appealed to the thoughtful player, and raised both bowling and batting to a more scientific position.
Sir Frederick Hutchinson Harvey Broadhurst was born June 30th, 1807. Height, 6 ft.; weight, 13 st. He was a first-rate round-armed bowler, and, like one or two fast bowlers I have mentioned, had rather a low delivery. Very few amateurs have continued playing at so advanced an age, and with such great success; for when he was 53 years old he represented the Gentlemen of Hampshire on several occasions, bowling in most of their matches, and rarely failing to come off: one match in particular, against the United England Eleven, he showed that he had lost little of his wonderful command of the ball.
He represented the Gentlemen v. Players in 1837, the "Barn Door" match, and continued to do so until 1854, when he was in his 48th year. Most years he bowled for them with more or less success; but in 1853, at Lord's, he carried everything before him, bowling unchanged in both innings a feat which had never been performed before by either Gentleman or Player in those matches. In the first innings he bowled 132 balls, 24 maidens, 19 runs and captured 5 wickets; in the second, 140 balls, 20 maidens, 31 runs, 6 wickets; and there can be little doubt the Gentlemen were indebted to him and Mr. Kempson for winning the match on that occasion.
He was not a scientific bat, going in for hitting, and taking little trouble about defence, like many of the great bowlers of that time, and I do not remember any very large scores to his name. But he was a very fine fieldsman, and one of the greatest supporters of the game we have had. He was President of the M.C.C. in 1857, and a constant attendant for many years at the great matches played at Lord's.
Mr. C. G. Taylor (height, 5 ft. 9 ins.; weight, 10 st.), two years later, made his first appearance at Lord's, playing for Eton v. Harrow, and for the next twelve years shared the amateur batting honours with Mynn. He belonged to Middlesex, and was born 21st November, 1815.
July 11th, 1836, at Lord's, was the beginning of North v. South matches; the North winning by six wickets. Lillywhite was ill, and did not play, or the result might have been different. In the return at Leicester, six weeks later, the South won by 218 runs. Mynn was in his best batting form, scoring 21 not out, first innings; 125 not out, second. In his last four innings he had scored 283 runs, twice not out a feat which was considered a record for four consecutive innings in great matches. Lillywhite was just as effective with the ball in this match, capturing five wickets first innings, six second. Fuller Pilch played on the side of the North; but 1837 saw him batting for the South, which he continued to do for the remainder of his career.
Messrs. W. Marcon and H. W. Fellows, as exceptionally fast bowlers, attracted attention in 1841. Both played for Eton v. Winchester at Lord's, 29th, 30th July of that year, and in the fulness of strength were contrasts physically. Mr. Marcon was 6 ft. in height; weight, 11 st. He was born at Swaffham, 28th March, 1824. Mr. Fellows was 5 ft. 93⁄4ins. in height; weight, 15 st. He was born at Rickmansworth,. Hertfordshire, 11th April, 1826. Mr. Marcon played a great deal, and, like George Brown of Stoughton, required two longstops, and tested the nerve of every wicket-keeper who tried to take his bowling. It is said of him that, with a very fast ball, he broke a batsman's leg at Oxford. As a player, I should like to have seen this particular fast ball and the unfortunate batsman who tried to play it. My medical experience has shown me that some legs are easily broken; but I have been always of the opinion that the legs, like the heads, of 'Varsity men have been exceptionally hard nuts to crack. I have had many an interesting chat with Mr. Fellows; but, as far as I know, he has no such extraordinary testimony to his powers, although his bowling was considered dangerous to bat against, and the ball as it travelled hummed like a top. On one occasion he hit a stump so terrifically hard that it fell into the longstop's hands eleven yards distant! Both gentlemen had rather a low delivery, something between under-hand and round-arm.
The year 1845 was another of the eventful years. George Parr played for the North v. M.C.C. at Lord's. He was then in his twentieth year, and, though he did not score largely, eventually became the best batsman in England a position which he held for many years. He had splendid defence, and hit particularly well all round, but excelled in hitting to leg. He had also a good knowledge of the game, and made an excellent captain; and his name was on the lips of every player for twenty years. He was born 22nd May, 1826, at Radcliffe-on-Trent: height, 5 ft. 9 ins.; weight, 12 st. 12 lbs.
The 17th July of that year is the date of the first match played at Kennington Oval. Originally a market garden, the Montpelier Club secured the ground in 1844, and formed themselves into the Surrey Club the year after. After a number of ups and downs in the next ten years, Surrey suddenly blossomed into a most powerful club, and became second only to its next-door neighbour, the M.C.C., in power and influence. The members in 1855 numbered 230, income £500; in 1861 they had increased to 1,000, income £2,000', and every year since then may be said to have increased.
The 25th August, 1845, is another landmark. On that date the now famous club, the I Zingari, began its wanderings over the face of the earth, seeking for rising clubs; but more particularly for gentlemen bowlers who should wrest the supremacy from the professionals, and make the Gentlemen v. Players match a closer contest.
The club became a most popular one, and did good work for the game whenever it played. Crowds naturally flocked to see an eleven which comprised most of the best amateur bats of the day. Originally small in number, its strength to-day is something to be proud of, and to be enrolled amongst its members is considered a very high honour. I have in my possession a copy of its first Rules and Regulations, and give a selection:
A candidate for election shall be placed at a wicket, with or without a bat as the club may decide, and be bowled at. One straight ball to exclude. The number of balls given not to exceed the number of members of the I Z.
That the entrance be nothing, and the annual subscription do not exceed the entrance; but that the expenses of a match (i.e. of the I Z. umpire, &c.) be defrayed by the members engaged therein.
That all directions connected with the game may be conveyed in the French or Italian languages.
Members playing in I Z. matches are more than most earnestly requested to abstain from wearing any coloured shirt, jacket or trousers. A Zingari belt or cap or ribbon should be the only distinguishing badge.
I Z. batsmen and fieldsmen being hit are not entitled to scratch or rub.
Health drinking and dry toasts.
Keep your promise, keep your temper, keep your wicket up.
The club flourished at a great rate, and in 1862 was made up of Active Members, Agents, Half-play Members liable to be called out, Members unattached to Cricket but attached to the I Z., and Candidates for the Asylum for Aged and Decayed Zingari.