Cricket (Steel, Lyttelton)/Chapter 11
THE UNIVERSITY CRICKET MATCH.
(By the Hon. R. H. Lyttelton.)
If to play drawn matches be a constant reproach against certain elevens, neither University eleven can be blamed on this score. Fifty-three matches have been begun between these old rivals, and no fewer than fifty-one have been finished. Of the two drawn matches, one, the first ever played, was confined to one day only; the second was so long ago as 1844, and that was confined to two days. All the rest have been fought out to the end, and of the fifty-one completed matches Cambridge has won twenty-six times and Oxford twenty-five; thus Cambridge has a proud balance of one in its favour. All the matches except five have been played at Lord's; the remaining five were played at Oxford, three on the Magdalen ground, one on Cowley Marsh, and one on Bullingdon Green. The dark blues appear to have been slightly favoured in this respect—for presumably they knew their way about Oxford grounds better than their rivals—and out of the five matches played at Oxford, Cambridge only succeeded in winning one. The rules of qualification to play in this match are now strict only in one particular, and that is that nobody is allowed to play more than four times. Several players have played five matches, and their names are: C. H. Ridding, A. Ridding, C. D. Marsham, and R. D. Walker, all Oxford men. The fact that some players play on a side for five years may constitute a slight reason for causing the side they assist to lose matches and not win them; but during the last three years that Mr. R. D. Walker helped his University he also helped the Gentlemen of England in their annual matches against the Players both at Lord's and at the Oval; and C. D. Marsham was certainly not excelled by any gentleman bowler for accuracy and general efficiency during all the years he played for Oxford. Oxford were strong all the five years he played, and won four out of the five matches; the other match resulted in a victory for Cambridge, mainly owing to the performances, both in batting and bowling, of the famous Mr. J. Makinson. Not since 1865, however, when Mr. R. D. Walker last played for Oxford, has any cricketer played more than four times, and since that time the rule has been well established, limiting the period to four years. But there is considerable elasticity allowed in permitting players to represent their University within those four years. A residence for a week is apparently sufficient, provided that the man's name is kept on the books of some College or Hall. Mr. O'Brien, who represented Oxford in 1884 and 1885, resided for one summer at New Inn Hall and never went near his University again, but if he had chosen and had been selected he might have played for the full term of four years. Mr. Leslie, after residing at Oxford for one year, went into business in London, but played three years for Oxford, and till his last year performed yeoman's service. In 1856, Makinson's year, Mr. T. W. Wills, with the concurrence and sanction of Oxford, played for Cambridge without ever having resided at Cambridge for one single day, though his name was entered on the College books. However, his part in the match consisted of getting five runs in one innings and bowling nine overs for one wicket. It appears very clear, then, that Oxford have profited very much by having five matches played on their own ground and making use, for five years, of Mr. C. D. Marsham, the best bowler they ever possessed, to say nothing of Mr. R. D. Walker.
Of course the characteristics of University cricket have changed very much, following the example of cricket generally. About the first match of all the Bishop of St. Andrews, who played in it, has very kindly written the following note:—
The First Inter-University Cricket Match.—1827.
In the newly published Life of my younger brother Christopher, the late Bishop of Lincoln, the following words are to be found, quoted from his private journal:—'Friday' (no date—but early in June, 1826). 'Heard from Charles. He wishes that Oxford and Cambridge should play a match at cricket' (p. 46). And as I have been asked to put upon paper what I can remember concerning the first Inter-University Cricket Match, with a view to its insertion in the present volume, I venture to take those words for my text. Yes; I was then in my Freshman's year at Christ Church, and both my brother and I—he at Winchester, and I at Harrow—had been in our respective school elevens. But more than this, as captain of the Harrow Eleven I had enjoyed what was then a novel experience in carrying on correspondence with brother captains at other public schools—Eton, Winchester, Rugby and even Charter House; and I well remember how the last amused us at Harrow, by the pompous and, as we presumed to think, bumptious style of his letter, proposing 'to determine the superiority at cricket which has been so long undecided.' Having played against Eton for four years, from the first match in 1822 to 1825, and in the first match against Winchester in the last-named year, I had a large acquaintance among cricketers who had gone off from those schools and from Harrow to both Universities. My brother, as I have said, was one of these, but though successful in the Wykehamist Eleven at Lord's in 1825 (when he got 35 runs in his second innings, and 'caught' our friend Henry Manning—the future cardinal—of which he was wont to boast in after years), he did not keep up his cricket at Cambridge, whereas I continued to keep up mine at Oxford and was in the University Eleven during the whole time of my undergraduate course. Nothing came of my 'wish' to bring about a match between the Universities in 1826. But in 1827 the proposal was carried into effect. Though an Oxford man, my home was at Cambridge, my father being Master of Trinity; and this gave me opportunities for. communicating with men of that University, many of whom remained up for the vacations, or for part of the vacations, especially at Easter. I remember calling upon Barnard of King's, who had been captain of an Eton Eleven against whom I had played, and who was now one of the foremost Cambridge cricketers, and he gave me reason to fear that no King's man would be able to play at the time proposed (early in June), though that time would be within the Cambridge vacation and not within ours, because their men, at King's, were kept up longer than at the other Colleges. And this, I believe, proved actually the case; and if so, some allowance should be made for it. But the fact is, there were similar difficulties on both sides, and I am not sure they were not as great or greater upon ours. In those ante-railway days it was necessary to get permission from the College authorities to go up to London in term time, and the permission was not readily granted. To take my own case:—My conscience still rather smites me when I remember that in order to gain my end, I had to present myself to the Dean and tell him that I wished to be allowed to go to London—not to play a game of cricket (that would not have been listened to)—but to consult a dentist; a piece of Jesuitry which was understood, I believe, equally well on both sides; at all events my tutor, Longley—afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury—was privy to it.
Thus, though not without difficulties, the match came on, but unhappily, the weather presenting a fresh difficulty, it did not fully go off. We could only play a single innings; with the result which the score shows. The precise day in June on which it was played has been disputed. One report gives the 4th; another states that 'the match did not take place on the 4th as intended, but was deferred for a few days.' I can only say that I do not remember any postponement, as I think I should do had such been the case; and what is more, 'a few days' later would have brought it within our vacation, and so would have rendered my piece of Jesuitism unnecessary. The players on the Cambridge side were mostly Etonians, though there was, I think, no King's man among them; and on the Oxford side, mostly Wykehamists. We scored 258 runs to our opponents' 92, but it cannot be said we were a strong eleven. The bowling was divided between Bayley and me; and the state of the ground being in my favour, I was singularly successful with my left-hand twist from the off, bringing down no less than seven wickets in the one innings for only 25 runs. Jenner, famous as a wicket-keeper, and well known afterwards as Sir Herbert Jenner Fust, was the only batsman who made any stand against it. He had learnt by painful experience how to deal with it. We had been antagonists in the Eton and Harrow match of 1822; and I can well remember even now, though it is 66 years ago, his look of ineffable disgust and dismay when I had pitched a ball some four or five inches wide to the off, and he had shouldered his bat meaning to punish it as it rose by a smart cut to point, the tortuous creature shot in obliquely and took his middle stump, when he had only got two runs. Precisely the same happened again in his second innings, only then he got no runs at all. Again in Eton v. Harrow 1823 I had bowled him at 7. And yet he was considered the best bat on the Eton side next to Barnard. He now made 47 runs, while no one else on the Cambridge side scored more than 8. He was also successful as a bowler, taking five wickets, mine included (against which he had a very strong claim), though I do not remember that he had much reputation in that line; and certainly upon the whole the Cambridge bowling must have been very indifferent to allow some of our men to run up the scores which stand to their names.
Though often successful as a bowler (left-handed, under-hand), batting (right-handed) was, if I may be bold to say so, my forte. In 1828, the next year after this match, my average, upwards of 40, was higher than that of any other in the Oxford eleven. I mention this with the less compunction because in the second Inter-University match my name appears without a run in either innings, and I wish to state how the failure is to be accounted for. In that year, 1829, the first Inter-University boatrace took place at Henley, and I was one of the eight As boating and cricket were then carried on in the same (summer) term, and the race and the match were both to come off in the same week, I wished to resign my place in the eleven. But this was not allowed. I had therefore no alternative but to make my appearance and do my best, though I had not played once before during the season, and though I was suffering from the effects of my rowing in a way which made it almost impossible for me to hold a bat However, though I got no runs, I was so far of use that I bowled two, and caught two of our opponents; and we won the match, not quite so triumphantly as in 1827 (if a 'drawn' match can be so described), but quite easily enough, as we had won the boatrace quite 'easily' two days before, Wednesday, June 10th.
Of the players in the two elevens, who contended at Lord's more than 60 years ago, five—if not six—I believe, are still living. Who shall say how much the lengthening of their days beyond the ordinary span of our existence here is to be attributed to 'Cricket's manly toil'?
I have now done the best I could to comply with the request made to me as an old cricketer, and if I have been garrulous, and if I have been egotistical, I can fairly plead, that this is no more than was to be expected when an ultra-octogenarian was applied to for his reminiscences.
St. Andrews: May 16, 1888.
In the match of 1827, Oxford, strange to relate, got a total of 258 runs, and exactly realised 200 runs in the third match in 1836, while Cambridge got 287 runs in the fifth match in 1839; but from 1839 to 1851, when Cambridge scored 266 runs, there was no innings played by either side which resulted in 200 runs, and this notwithstanding the gigantic number of extras that were sometimes given. Cambridge in 1841 won by 8 runs, but scored in the two innings 56 by extras. In 1842 Cambridge again won by 162 runs, and scored 81 by extras; while Oxford in 1843 gained 65 by. extras, losing the match, however, by 54 runs. After 1851 scores of 200 runs and over became more frequent, and still extras formed a formidable item in the various totals. Cambridge gave 34 extras out of a total of 273 in 1852, or 1 run in every 8; and Oxford in the same year gave Cambridge 40 extras out of a total of 196, or an average of a little under 1 in every 5. We have made a careful comparison showing the different totals and the percentage of extras, and have found the following remarkable fact: in the first twenty-six matches the total of runs scored came to 11,192, the number of extras amounted to 1,767, making the percentage of extras to runs amount to a little over 1 to 6. In the last twenty-seven matches 16,457 runs were scored and 988 extras, reducing the propordon to 1 to 16. In other words, for the first twenty-six matches extras constituted 16 per cent, of the total amount scored, while during the last twenty-seven years they only amount to 6 per cent.
Most earnestly is it to be hoped that some improvement will soon be visible in the bowling at both Universities, for the scoring is getting very tediously large. Since 1880 Cambridge has had Messrs. A. G. Steel, C. T. Studd, and C. W. Rock, who were good bowlers, and Messrs. P. H. Morton, A. F. J. Ford, and C. A. Smith, who may be called fair bowlers. Oxford during the same period has turned out, in our judgment, only one really good bowler—Mr. A. H. Evans; but she has produced more fair bowlers than Cambridge—Messrs, Peake, Bastard, Whitby, Cochrane, Buckland, Forster, and Nepean, having all claims to be included under this head. These fair bowlers could be relied on to get men out on difficult wickets, but more can hardly be said of them. The four good bowlers, Messrs. Steel, Studd, Rock, and Evans, had great merit, and were worthy to be compared with C. D. Marsham, W. F. Traill, W. F. Maitland, E. L. Fellowes, and E. M, Kenney of Oxford, and R. Lang, H. W. Salter, H. M. Plowden, Hon. F, G. Pelham and W. N. Powys of Cambridge. These last were all fast, with the exception of Messrs. Maitland, Pelham and Plowden, while the four later bowlers were all slow, except Mr. Evans.
No fewer than sixty-nine men have played four matches; and it is curious to notice that out of these sixty-nine there are only one Oxford man and three Cambridge men who have played in four winning elevens. The three Cambridge men are Messrs. T. A. Ansdn, W. Mills, and W. de St. Croix; and the one Oxford man is Mr. S. C. Voules. Mr. Voules played in the four winning elevens of 1863, '64, '65, and '66, Messrs. T. A. Anson and W. de St. Croix played in the four winning elevens of 1839, '40, '41, and '42, and Mr. W. Mills played in 1840, '41, '42, and '43. Two unfortunate Cambridge men had the bad luck to play four losing matches—namely, Messrs. R. D. Balfour and G. H. Tuck, in the years 1863, '64, '65, and '66. So far no Oxford man has had this fate. Cambridge once won five consecutive matches, and on two occasions they have won four, while Oxford has twice won four consecutive matches. As may be expected, the runs scored by the more recent batsmen altogether exceed the earlier players' efforts. Up to 1870, when Mr. Yardley made the first hundred, Mr. Bullock's 78 for Oxford, obtained in 1858, was the highest individual score, and the highest individual aggregates in any one match are 92 in 1849 by Mr. T. King, 95 by Mr. Makinson in 1856, 90 by Mr. Mitchell in 1862, and 92 by the same gentleman in 1865. One of Mr. King's innings was not completed. So Mr. Yardley in 1870 beat the record of any two aggregates by his one innings. Since 1870 the individual scores of 100 have come fast and furious, and altogether thirteen hundreds have been played, seven by Cambridge to six by Oxford. Mr. Yardley is still in the proud position of being the only batsman who has twice got into three figures, and nobody who saw either of his great performances will ever forget it. Unless, however, there is a change for the better in bowling or an alteration in the laws, it is certain that hundreds will come with comparative frequency, and we cannot help pining for a return to the old state of things when 200 Was reckoned a very large total. The highest aggregate in any one match is Lord George Scott's 166 in 1887, and the highest individual score is Mr. Key's 143 in 1886. No performances, however, are entitled to more credit than Mr. Makinson's aggregate of 95 in 1856, and Mr. Mitchell's 90 in 1862, and the fewer long scores made in former days made a far larger proportion of the total runs obtained by the whole side. Mr. Makinson's runs in 1855 were obtained against perhaps the best bowling eleven that Oxford ever possessed, containing Messrs. C. D. Marsham, A. Payne, W. Fellowes, and W. Fiennes, while Mr. Mitchell's score in 1862 was not much less than half of the total score of his side. Against him are to be found the names of Plowden, Lang, Salter, and Lyttelton, and never in any match, except in the previous year when they had the same quartet, has Cambridge been so strong in bowling as they were in 1862. The highest average has been secured by Mr. Key of Oxford, and this amounts to no less than 49. Close behind him comes Mr. Wright of Cambridge, with an average of 48·4; then Mr. Mitchell with 42·4, and Mr. Yardley with 39·5. Mr. Mitchell's average is remarkable, as his highest score 'was 57, though he was once not out. Mr. Wright was twice not out, Mr. Key and Mr. Mitchell once each; Mr. Yardley, however, was always got out in the end.
The earlier bowlers, as far as analysis is a guide, carry all before them. Not till the twentieth match, played in 1854—Mr. C. D. Marsham's first year—was any analysis kept. To judge, however, by the standard of wickets, Mr. G. E. Yonge of Oxford, who in four years obtained thirty-nine wickets, Mr. E, W. Blore and Mr. Sayres, both of Cambridge, who in the same time got thirty-two, are entitled to the highest place.
Naturally enough, as Mr. Marsham played five years and was also the best bowler on the whole that Oxford ever turned out, most wickets fell to his share. He got forty wickets at a cost of 361 runs— that is to say, of only 9 runs a wicket—a great performance under any circumstances. Two wides only were scored against Mr. Marsham, and there is no record of a 'no ball.' He bowled a strictly orthodox round-arm of fast medium pace, and generally round the wicket.
Mr. E. M. Kenney was a very fast and dangerous left-hand bowler, most terrifying to a nervous batsman, for he delivered that unpleasant sort of ball which pursues the batsman, and is apt, to adopt a pugilistic metaphor, to get in heavily on the ribs. During the three years that Mr. Makinson played for Cambridge he took twenty -one wickets at a cost of 194 runs, or just 9 runs a wicket; and when it is remembered that he was also distinctly the best bat in the two elevens each of the three years he played, it may be safely assumed that, as an all-round man, he has never had a superior, with the exception of Mr. A. G. Steel. At the same time it must be admitted that in bowling he was quite as successful against Oxford as his merits justified.
The famous Cambridge fast bowler, Mr. R. Lang, played three years and got fifteen wickets at a cost of only 84 runs, or a fraction over 5 runs per wicket—an analysis that has never been surpassed, and deserves to be quoted as an example for young players to emulate. In 1860 he bowled in the two innings twenty-one overs for 19 runs and six wickets. In 1861 he lost his pace owing to an injured arm and was unsuccessful, bowling twenty-six overs for 30 runs and no wicket. In 1862, in the two innings, he bowled twenty-nine overs for 35 runs and nine wickets; and, to take the first innings alone, we find he bowled only thirty-four balls for 4 runs and five wickets all clean bowled. Considering his pace he was very straight, and only bowled 6 wides in all three matches. H. W. Salter of Cambridge played two years, and obtained fourteen wickets for 74 runs, or a fraction over 5 runs a wicket, another extraordinary performance. Mr. H. M. Plowden, who played four years from 1860, lowered nineteen wickets for 153 runs, or an average of 8 runs a wicket. In no previous or subsequent years has either University been so amply provided with bowling strength as was Cambridge during these three years, as, besides Salter, Lang, and Plowden, in 1860 she had Messrs. E. B. Fawcett and D. R. Onslow, and in 1861 and '62 the Hon. C. G. Lyttelton, who bowled for the Gentlemen.
The greatest bowling feat in the whole history of University cricket belongs to Mr. S. E. Butler, of Eton and Oxford renown, and took place in 1871. Cambridge had some good bats in her eleven—Messrs. Money, Tobin, Fryer, Scott, Yardley and Thornton, a rough and ready hitter in the person of Mr. Cobden, and a fair batsman in Mr. Stedman. But Mr. Butler found an old-fashioned Lord's wicket, and he bowled a terrific pace and got on a spot which shot and made his balls break considerably down the hill. He got the whole ten wickets in one innings and in the match he lowered fifteen wickets for 95 runs. His bowling was unplayable on the first day; eight of the ten wickets in the first innings were clean bowled, and twelve out of the whole fifteen.
It will interest and comfort young cricketers to remind them how many great batsmen have failed in these matches. We feel sure that these latter will excuse us for pointing out their shortcomings; for they will know that we do so only to sustain their weaker brethren and illustrate the glorious uncertainty of the game. The late Mr. John Walker, who for several years represented the Gentlemen, got 19 runs in six innings, or a proud average of 3. His younger brother, Mr. R. D. Walker, the silver-haired veteran of five inter-University contests, gallantly led off with an innings of 42; but the result of his five years' batting against Cambridge was 84 runs in ten innings, his first innings in fact amounting to one-half of the total runs he scored in five years. Yet he played for the Gentlemen in 1863, 1864, and 1865, and these were the last three years he played for Oxford. Mr. A. W. Ridley played for four years, and his runs for seven innings came to a total of 61, or an average of 10 runs per innings, as once he carried his bat. The present Lord Lyttelton, who played for the Gentlemen of England his first year at Cambridge, batted exactly on a par with Mr. Ridley, as he also made 61 runs in six innings, and was once not out. Cambridge men of his date will tell you that on Fenner's nobody was ever more dangerous, and his scores for those days were enormous. Mr. C. G. Lane—of whom the poet wrote
May resound with hearty plaudits to the praise of Mr. Lane—
played seven innings for a total of 35 runs. Take courage then, young cricketer, and know that if you fail, you fail in good company!
Most extraordinary have been the vicissitudes of fortune in several of these matches. Oxford in 1871 had a fine eleven, which easily defeated Cambridge by eight wickets; and in 1872 they played no fewer than eight of their old eleven. Cambridge played seven, and the four new men were the famous pair of young Etonians, Messrs. Longman and Tabor, the Harrovian, Mr. Baily, and the Wykehamist, Mr. Raynor. The odds on Oxford at the start were about 2 to 1. Yet Cambridge on winning the toss put together the largest total yet realised by either side in any one innings, namely 388 runs. The two Etonian freshmen were on the whole entitled to the chief honours on this occasion, as for the first time they made over 100 runs before the fall of a wicket. Mr. Longman was badly run out by Mr. Yardley after batting for about two and a half hours, or else another 100 runs might have been put on. When the Oxford eleven went in to bat, not one of them could look at Mr. Powys, the fastest bowler of the day, except Messrs. Ottaway and Tylecote, who both played remarkably well in the second innings. Mr. Powys secured thirteen wickets at a cost of 75 runs, or a trifle under 6 runs a wicket.
Everybody has heard of the 2-run success of Cambridge in 1870, and the 6-run victory of Oxford in 1875. The difference between the two matches consisted in the fact that in 1870 not till the last wicket was actually bowled down did it appear possible for Oxford to lose; in 1875 the issue was quite doubtful till Mr. A. F. Smith made that fatal stroke to a plain lob. Cambridge in 1870 were on the whole the favourites; not that there was much to choose between the two elevens, but because they had won the three previous years. In batting, Cambridge had Messrs. Dale, Money, and Yardley; and Oxford, Messrs. Ottaway, Pauncefote, and Tylecote—quite a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other, though Yardley was far the most dangerous man. In bowling Oxford were handicapped by Mr. Butler's strained arm, which prevented him from bowling more than a few overs; but they possessed Messrs. Belcher and Francis, two good fast bowlers. Cambridge had Cobden for a fast bowler, Harrison Ward for a medium pace, and Bourne for slow round. So while Mr. Francis was some way the best fast bowler of the two elevens, Oxford were deficient in variety, while Cambridge possessed all paces and also Mr. Money's lobs. Cambridge won the toss and put together 147 runs, the good bats all failing, and only Mr. Scott doing credit to himself by an innings of 45. Oxford scored more equally, though neither Ottaway nor Pauncefote contributed more than modest double figures; the total, nevertheless, came to 175, or a majority of 28. The next hour's play apparently saw Caipbridge utterly routed. Mr. Dale stopped all that time, but nobody stopped with him. The total at the fall of the fifth wicket was 40, or only 12 on. 'We are going to win a match at last!' said one of the Oxonians to another who had been educated at Rugby. 'Wait a bit,' said the Rugbeian, who turned his head and saw Yardley advancing to the wicket; 'I have seen this man get 100 before now.' The companion of the last speaker possibly had not seen Yardley perform this feat, but he had not long to wait. There are several batsmen whose play baffles criticism, and Yardley was one of them. He certainly played some balls in a manner that purists found fault with, but good judges of the game could see that there was genius in his method; and genius, as we all know, rises above canons and criticism. If Mr. Yardley had not touched a bat for six months, still he might walk to the wickets and play a magnificent innings; for genius requires little or no practice. Those familiar with his play knew that they might look out for squalls if he was allowed to get set. Mr. Dale was at the other end, playing every ball with a perfectly straight bat and in the most correct style. In the minds of both of them it was a crisis; for each knew that unless they put on a lot of runs the match was lost, as five of their side were out. One mistake and Cambridge would have to retire beaten. But no mistake was made. Yardley got set; the bowling was fast and so was the ground, and the former was hit into a complete knot There seemed to be no prospect of getting either of them out, when Mr. Yardley sent a ball hard back to the bowler, who made a fine catch off a fine hit, and the Cambridge man retired with the first Inter-University 100. Mr. Dale made a leg hit, and was splendidly caught by Mr. Ottaway with one hand over the ropes.
In a short time the innings was over, and Oxford had to face a total of 178 to win the match. In these days on a hard wicket this is regarded as a comparatively easy feat; but runs were not so easy to accumulate eighteen years ago, and the betting was now even, Cambridge for choice. One Oxford wicket was soon got, and then a long stand was made by Messrs. Fortescue and Ottaway, both of whom played excellent cricket. The total was brought up to 72 for only one wicket, the betting veered round to 2 to 1 on Oxford, and Mr. Ward was put on to bowl. This change was the turning point of the game. Mr. Fortescue was soon bowled, so was Mr. Pauncefote, and with the total at 86 the betting was again evens, Oxford for choice. Mr. Ward had found his spot and was bowling with deadly precision when Mr. Tylecote came in. Both Ottaway and Tylecote now batted cautiously and well, and Mr. Ward went off for a time. Mr. Tylecote was a very good bat, but compared to Ottaway only mortal; how on earth Ottaway was to be got out was a problem that seemed well-nigh insoluble. The total went up to 153, or only 25 runs to win and seven wickets to go down; the betting 6 to 1 on Oxford. A yell was heard, and Mr. Tylecote was bowled by Mr. Ward, Mr. Townshend came in only to go out for a single, and then appeared Mr. F. H. Hill.
Again did the match seem over, for Mr. Ottaway's defence appeared perfectly impregnable, and the new comer batted with the greatest confidence. The Cambridge fielding had not been tiptop at any part of the innings, and few of them were up to the mark now—in fact, if the match had finished against them, they would have deserved their fate for their slovenliness in the field. Mr. Ward was bowling to Mr. Ottaway, who made a characteristic hit, not hard but low, in the direction of short-leg. Mr. Fryer was not a good field, but he rose to the occasion and made a good catch close to the ground, so close that Mr. Ottaway appealed, but the decision was given against him. Oxford only wanted 18 runs, Mr. Hill was batting well, and there were four more wickets to go down. Mr. Francis came in, made a single, and was out l.b.w., amid Cambridge yells; when over was called by the umpire the betting was 3 to 1 on Oxford. The Oxford eleven might have been seen sitting in the pavilion quite happy in the anticipation of a victory, for only 3 runs were wanted to tie and 4 to win. For three long years the Cambridge eleven had been blessed by victories; the turn seemed to have come at last; and Mr. Charles Marsham's face wore a look that his friends knew well, the best description of which is that it bore the greatest contrast to his expression when Oxford's star was not in the ascendent. Mr. Butler now walked to the wicket Mr. Butler this year of grace was not a bad bat; he had greatly improved since the previous year, and had made 18 runs the first innings. He had not now to receive the ball, for Mr. Hill, who was bustling the field a good deal, stood at his place ready to play, and amidst dead silence the ball was tossed to Mr. Cobden.
We say with confidence that never can one over bowled by any bowler at any future time surpass the over that Cobden was about to deliver then, and it deserves a minute description. Cobden took a long run and bowled very fast, and on the whole was for his pace a straight bowler. But he bowled with little or no break, had not got a puzzling delivery, and though effective against inferior bats, would never have succeeded in bowling out a man like Mr. Ottaway if he had sent a thousand balls to him. However, on the present occasion Ottaway was out, those he had to bowl to were not first-rate batsmen, and Cobden could bowl a good yorker.
You might almost have heard a pin drop as Cobden began his run and the ball whizzed from his hand. Crack! was heard as Mr. Hiirs bat met the ball plumb and hard, and a yell that beat Donnybrook burst from several thousand Oxford throats. The Oxiord eleven still sat at the threshold of the pavilion ready to welcome their comrades after the winning hit was made, and they yelled louder than the rest. The ball was hit hard and low in the direction of long-off, where stood Mr. Bourne, a safe fieldsman; but that he could save this ball from going to the ropes and winning the match by three wickets nobody dreamt. However, the yell of Oxford subdued to a gentler tone, and it was seen that Mr. Bourne had got his left hand in the way and converted a fourer into a single; as the match stood, Oxford wanted 2 to tie and 3 to win and three wickets to go down: Mr. Butler to receive the ball. The second ball that Cobden bowled was very similar to the first, straight and well up on the off stump. Mr. Butler did what anybody else except Louis Hall or Shrewsbury would have done, namely, let drive vigorously. Unfortunately he did not keep the ball down, and it went straight and hard a catch to Mr. Bourne, to whom everlasting credit is due, for he held it, and away went Mr. Butler— amidst Cambridge shouts this time. The position was getting serious, for neither Mr. Stewart nor Mr. Belcher was renowned as a batsman. Rather pale, but with a jaunty air that cricketers are well aware frequently conceals a sickly feeling of nervousness, Mr. Belcher walked to the wicket and took his guard. He felt that if only he could stop one ball and be bowled out the next, still Mr. Hill would get another chance of a knock and the match would probably be won. Cobden had bowled two balls, and two more wickets had to be got; if therefore a wicket was got each ball the match would be won by Cambridge, and Mr. Hill would have no further opportunity of distinguishing himself. In a dead silence Cobden again took the ball. Everybody knows that the sight of a yorker raises hope in a batsman's breast that either a full pitch or a half-volley is coming. To play either of these balls ninety-nine players out of a hundred raise their bat off the ground as a first preliminary. If you are not a quick player the raising of the bat sometimes means nothing less than opening the door of defence, and the ball getting underneath. This is precisely what happened on the present occasion, and Cobden shot in a very fast yorker. A vision of the winning hit flashed across Mr. Belcher's brain, and he raised his bat preparatory to performing great things. He had not seen till too late that neither a full pitch nor a half- volley had been bowled; he could not get his bat down again in time, the ball went under, and his wicket was shattered. There was still one more ball wanted to complete, and Mr. Belcher, a sad man, walked away amid an uproarious storm of cheers.
Matters were becoming distinctly grave, and very irritating must it have been to Mr. Hill, who was like a billiard-player watching his rival in the middle of a big break; he could say a good deal and think a lot, but he could do nothing. Mr. Stewart, spes ultima of Oxford, with feelings that are utterly impossible to describe, padded and gloved, nervously took off his coat in the pavilion. If ever a man deserved pity, Mr. Stewart deserved it on that occasion. He did not profess to be a good bat, and his friends did not claim so much for him; he was an excellent wicket-keeper, but he had to go in at a crisis that the best bat in England would not like to face. Mr. Pauncefote, the Oxford captain, was seen addressing a few words of earnest exhortation to him, and with a rather sick feeling Mr. Stewart went to the wicket. Mr. Hill looked at him cheerfully, but very earnestly did Mr. Stewart wish the next ball well over. He took his guard and held his hands low on the bat handle, which was fixed fast as a tree on the block-hole; for Mr, Pauncefote, having seen that Mr. Belcher lost his wicket by raising his bat and letting the ball get under it, had earnestly entreated Mr. Stewart to put the bat straight in the block-hole and keep it there without moving it. This was not by any means bad advice, for the bat covers a great deal of the wicket, and though it is a piece of counsel not likely to be offered to W. G. Grace or Daft, it might not have been inexpedient to offer it to Mr. Stewart. Here, then, was the situation—Mr. Stewart standing manfully up to the wicket, Mr. Cobden beginning his run, and a perfectly dead silence in the crowd. Whiz went the ball, Stewart received the same on his right thigh, fly went the bails, the batsman was bowled off his legs, and Cambridge had won the match by 2 runs! The situation was bewildering. Nobody could quite realise what had happened for a second or so, but then—— Up went Mr. Absalom's hat, down the pavilion steps with miraculous rapidity flew the Rev. A. R. Ward, and smash went Mr. Charles Marsham's umbrella against the pavilion brickwork.
One word more about this never-to-be-forgotten match. The unique performance of Cobden has unduly cast in the shade Mr. Ward's performance in the second innings. It was a good wicket, and Oxford had certainly on the whole a good batting eleven. Yet Mr. Ward bowled thirty-two overs for 29 runs and got six wickets, and of those six wickets five were certainly the best batsmen on the side. He clean bowled Messrs. Fortescue, Pauncefote, and Tylecote, and got out in other ways Messrs. Ottaway, Townshend, and Francis. It is hardly too much to say that in this innings Mr. Ward got the six best wickets and Mr. Cobden the four worst. In the whole match Mr. Ward got nine wickets for 62 runs, and this again, let it be said, on an excellent ground. Comparisons are odious, however, and the four Cambridge men, Yardley, Dale, Ward, and Cobden, have no reason to be jealous of each other, and every reason to be satisfied with themselves.
Oxford have got a victory to set off against this Cambridge triumph in 1870. It took place five years later, and though Mr. Ridley's bowhng at the finish was not condensed into one sensational over like Cobden's, still the greatest credit is due to him for putting himself on at the right moment, fully realising an undoubted truth, that lobs are most terrifying to very nervous players at a crisis.
Comparing the two elevens, on paper it would appear that Oxford were the better bowling eleven, and were considerably superior in fielding. In 1870 Cambridge deserved to have lost the match on account of their bad fielding; in 1875 they succeeded in doing so. Messrs. Webbe and Lang started by making 86 for the first wicket, and Mr. Webbe was twice badly missed at short-slip. Mr. Lang ought to have been easily stumped. In Oxford's second innings four Oxford wickets, including Ridley and Webbe, were down for 34. Mr. Briggs came in and was badly missed at short-slip directly, and disaster was averted for some time; and Mr. Game, who scored 22, was missed shortly after he went to the wicket. The Oxford fielding was very fine all through, though one member missed two easy catches. The bowling was more evenly divided; Oxford had more bowlers than Cambridge, though Messrs. Sharpe and Patterson were as good as, or better than, Messrs. Lang and Buckland. But besides these two Oxford had Mr. Royle and Mr. Ridley and Mr. Kelcey, while the two Cambridge bowlers had to do most of the work.
In batting the position was somewhat similar. Ridley and Webbe were superior to Longman and the second best Cantab, but on the other hand Cambridge were stronger all through. On the whole the sides were very even.
Oxford made a good start, thanks to the politeness of the Cambridge field, though both Webbe and Lang played well, and fair scores were made by Ridley, Pulman and Buckland, but at no time during the match did Mr. Ridley appear at home to Mr. Patterson's bowling. The total reached 200, and there were 20 extras, of which 15 were byes; and the Cambridge wicket-keeping was not up to the mark. Cambridge batted on the whole disappointingly in the first innings; the captain, Mr. G. H. Longman, played a very good innings of 40, but the other scores were below what was expected, and again did extras prove of great value, for Cambridge realised 17 thereby. But, on the whole, the Oxford fielding was very fine, and both Messrs. Longman and Blacker, who played good steady cricket, found great difficulty in getting the ball away.
At the close of the Cambridge innings Oxford had a valuable balance of 37 in their favour, and most thoroughly did they deserve this advantage on account of their very superior fielding. It is always consoling to an eleven who are beginning their second innings to feel that every hit adds to the total that the other side must get before they can win, and that their energy is not to be applied towards wiping off a deficit. Oxford had this balance of 37 in their favour, and very sorely was it needed, for their wickets fell with depressing rapidity. Both Sharpe and Patterson bowled admirably; the former had both Lang and Campbell with the score at 5 only. Ridley again fell to Patterson, with the total at 16, and at 34 Webbe was out to a good running catch from short-slip to short-leg.The match now looked well for Cambridge, as Ridley and Webbe were far superior to their comrades. Mr. Webbe had
Oxford's second innings was not over till a quarter to seven, but Mr. Ridley rightly insisted on the letter of the law being kept, and five minutes before the drawing of the stumps Oxford were in the field and two nervous Cambridge batsmen in a fading light were walking slowly to the wickets. Only one over was bowled, and a leg-hit for four was the only result.
We have said that the Oxford captain rightly insisted on Cambridge going in, and we contend that Mr. Ridley acted wisely and not unfairly in so doing. He had the law on his side, and if the law is not to be enforced in the University match, when is it ever likely to be? Mr. Ridley also probably anticipated the fact that the Cambridge captain would be unwilling to run the chance of sacrificing one of his good wickets, and that the order of going in would be altered. This may be a considerable disadvantage to the side; it is not certain that it was in the present case; but Mr. Macan, who went in fifth wicket down in the first innings, had to go in considerably later in the second innings, and thus a good batsman was wasted.
Messrs. Sharpe and Hamilton went in first; at the beginning of the third day Cambridge wanted 171 runs to win, and had all their wickets standing. Both Sharpe and Hamilton played well at the start, and brought the score up to 21, when the latter put his leg in front and departed. Mr. Lucas came in, but was clean bowled for 5 runs: two wickets for 26. Mr. Longman, the captain, came in, and played steadily and well, and the bowling for the first time in the innings seemed to be collared; Lang went off, Ridley bowled three overs for 11 runs, and Mr. Royle took the ball. Mr. Royle's bowling proved the turning point of the game. He was not by any means an accurate bowler, but at times his balls broke fast and were most difficult to play. He bowled three maidens, and with the fifteenth ball clean bowled Mr. Sharpe, who had played an excellent innings of 29. He had stepped into the breach overnight and gone in when twilight was coming on; having passed through that ordeal safely, he completed a most useful innings next day. Messrs. Longman and Sharpe had brought the score from 26 to 65, but Royle made Blacker play a ball on at 67, and clean bowled Longman at 76 for a second very good innings. The ball that bowled Mr. Longman was a dead shooter of the old sort, which came back also considerably. Messrs. Greenfield and Lyttelton were now in together, and the score again steadily rose, though Mr. Lyttelton was manifestly uneasy with Royle's bowling. However, the total came to 97 when Lyttelton was badly missed, and a snick put 100 on the board; but at 101 Greenfield made a bad hit and was caught at mid-off, and in walked Mr. Sims. Sims this year was a powerful and dangerous bat—in fact, he was the most determined hitter in the two elevens, and on the present occasion he made a great bid for victory. He possessed a bulldog courage in whatever he undertook, and his contemporaries at Cambridge could scarcely believe that so strong a man could have caught a chill and died so quickly as he did some few years later while in full work as an energetic clergyman in the North of Engkind. Shortly after Sims had gone in, Lyttelton was a second time missed, though fortunately for Oxford the mistake mattered little, for from a fine leg-hit he was grandly caught by Webbe close to the ropes while running at full speed. It was not a high hit, but it would have hit a spectator on the nose if the fieldsman had not caught it. There was no finer bit of fielding in the match than this, and it was hard to be got out in such a way, though the batsman was lucky to have made 20 runs. The score was 114 when Lyttelton was out, or 60 to win and 3 wickets to go down, and the betting 7 to 4 on Oxford. Messrs. Sims and Patterson played well, and brought the score to 128, or 46 to win, when down came the rain and play was stopped for an hour and a half. It rained hard for a time, and Oxford had to turn out to bowl with a wet ball and field on slippery ground. Mr. Patterson played well, and Sims shut his teeth and went to work with savage determination. The runs came fast; in 20 minutes the score had been raised from 128 to 161, when Ridley went on to bowl and with his first ball clean bowled Patterson. Macan then came in and made a single (13 to win), and a mighty whack did one of Ridley's balls then get from Sims, who sent the ball over the bowler's head to the ropes like a cannon shot, and Lang took the ball from Royle, 9 runs being wanted to win the match for Cambridge. A legbye was got from Lang's first ball and a no ball followed, making 7 to win. It appeared good odds on Cambridge, for Sims did not look like getting out, and his hits had a way of going to the boundary. Be it remembered that the ball was wet and heavy, and forgetfulness of this fact on the part of Sims at this stage cost him his wicket and Cambridge the match. Mr. Game was fielding deep square-leg close to the ropes by the tennis court, and Pulman was on the on side close to the left-hand comer of the enclosure that stands on the left facing the pavilion. There was a considerable space between these two fields, and off the full pitch on his legs which Sims now received from Lang the ball might have been swept safely under the ropes anywhere between the two men. But Sims no doubt felt as strong and as lusty as an eagle, and forgetting that the ball was wet and heavy, go under it and tried to lift it over the ropes. The sodden ball refused to go so far, and Pulman, running some distance, made what with the ball dry and of a normal weight would have been an ordinary country catch. With the ball wet and heavy, however, his success was the more commendable, and back to the pavilion, crestfallen and sad, went Sims. Returning for a moment to the 2-run match, the two men for whom sympathy may be felt because the game did not result in favour of their side were Ottaway in 1870 and Sims in 1875. Ottaway got out when his side wanted 18 runs to win and had four wickets to go down, and Sims when only 7 runs were wanted and there were two wickets to fall. Both are now dead, but as long as any matches in England are remembered these two innings will be borne in the memory of those who witnessed them.
Mr. Smith had to face a crisis he had long been dreading, and he walked apprehensively to the wicket. Mr. Macan, who was in, had only received two or three balls, so both had to feel their way cautiously. It is, perhaps, true to say that at the extreme moments of nervousness climatic surroundings have no effect on the constitution; be this as it may, the air was chilly, the ground was wet, and the sun invisible. Probably Mr. Smith felt as cold as if he had been in a damp cellar. A well-known Harrovian told the writer at this stage that he had seen Mr. Smith get over 25 runs against the famous George Freeman's bowling. What did that matter lie was unable to get 6 runs against Ridley's lobs? He somehow or other stopped two balls in a doubtful sort of style, and played slowly forward to the third, thinking that after the manner of lobs it would twist. The wet ground prevented this; it went on and hit the middle stump, and Oxford won the match by 6 runs.
We regard this match as a model of what a cricket match should be; the runs were not too numerous, the interest was kept up to the very end. It would have been hard lines perhaps for Oxford to have lost the match, for the rain that fell in Cambridge's last innings was unlucky for the dark blue; it is impossible to bowl or field well with a wet ball, and it happened that Sims was just the man to take advantage of this state of things. The bowling was managed with great skill by Mr. Ridley, and, as we have said before, he realised an undoubted truth that lobs are often fatal to a batsman who is paralysed by nervousness.
The Universities are on the whole going off in bowling, though there have been former years when the bowling was as weak, but the roughness of Lord's prevented very long scoring. This was the case in 1864. Oxford were led by the famous Mr. Mitchell, and were a strong batting eleven. Cambridge were fiairly strong in batting, but they deliberately chose to meet Oxford with only two bowlers, Messrs. Curteis and Pelham. So well did these two gentlemen perform that almost to the very end the result was doubtful. Messrs. Fowler and Booth each succeeded in getting a wicket in the first innings, and Mr. Booth one in the second innings, but between them they only bowled twenty-two overs in the whole match, while Mr. Curteis bowled seventy-five overs for eight wickets, and Mr. Pelham fifty-six overs for five wickets. This was a fine match, won at the finish by a grand innings of Mr. Mitchell's. No man ever went in at a more critical time than he did this second innings, neither did anybody ever bat with better nerve. Out of 125 required to win the match, no fewer than 55 (not out) fell to his share, and Oxford won by four wickets. The Cambridge eleven of 1878 had a most extraordinary run of success, never, as far as we know, equalled by any University eleven. They won no fewer than eight matches, and not a defeat or a draw is found against them. They beat Oxford by 238 runs, and the Australians in one innings. There is no doubt that during that year, if a representative English eleven had been chosen to play Australia or any other eleven, no fewer than four out of the Cambridge eleven would have been found in the English team. They were not all good, but the superlative excellence of those four made the eleven one of the best that has yet played in these matches; and that of 1879 was almost as good.
It may interest some of our readers if we make a few remarks as to the standing of the various public schools in regard to the composition of the University elevens. We have analysed the elevens from 1860 to 1887 inclusive, and, as is perhaps natural, Eton comes first, having had during that period forty of her alumni representing one or other of the Universities. We are not reckoning the number of years that each played, but forty different Etonians have in the last twenty-seven years played in the University match: twenty-three for Cambridge, seventeen for Oxford. Harrow is represented by thirty-six players: eighteen at Oxford, and eighteen at Cambridge. Rugby comes next with twenty-two: fourteen for Oxford and eight for Cambridge. At one time Rugby was almost on a level with Eton and Harrow, for from the years 1861 to 1873 inclusive there were always two Rugby men playing in the match, and sometimes more; since that time, however, more than two Rugbeians have never played, two have played only twice, and from 1884 downwards not one has played. Mr. Leslie was the last good cricketer Rugby sent out, and her prowess seems much diminished as compared with the days of Pauncefote, Yardley, Francis, Kenney, and Case. Winchester and Marlborough have each been represented by thirteen. No fewer than eleven of the thirteen Marlborough men have played for Oxford, but Cambridge men will ever gratefully tender their thanks to Marlborough for the services of Mr. A. G. Steel, by far the greatest player ever turned out by that school, and perhaps the best all-round cricketer that has yet played for either University. Oxford have had more than the due proportion of Wykehamists, for eleven out of the thirteen have played for Oxford. Eleven Cliftonians have played for Oxford, and none for Cambridge; but seven out of eight Uppingham boys have represented Cambridge. Tonbridge, Cheltenham, Charterhouse, and Westminster have each had five players representing them, and on the whole the proportion between Oxford and Cambridge has been about equal.
Of all-round players both Universities have had their full share in numbers, but Oxford has never produced three to equal the famous trio, Makinson, A. G. Steel, and C. T. Studd of Cambridge. When we say this we take as our basis the performances of the three in the University matches, and we do not consider the men who played before 1854, for it is difficult to make fair comparisons over so long a distance of time. The above-mentioned three will be found in the first half-dozen of batsmen and in the first half-dozen of bowlers. Messrs. Makinson, Yardley, Lucas, A. Lyttelton, and A. G. Steel are the best batsmen from Cambridge, and Messrs. Mitchell, Ottaway, Key, and Pauncefote the four best from Oxford. In bowling, the champions from Oxford are Messrs. Marsham, Traill, and Kenney; from Cambridge, Messrs. Plowden, Lang, and A. G. Steel. This is an opinion only, and would have to be considerably altered if we were to take another basis than the Interllniversity match to draw our conclusions from. Mr. Kenney never played for the Gentlemen against the Players, and neither he nor Mr. Plowden could be compared as a bowler to Mr. Kempson, whose performance against the Players is historical. But he failed against Oxford. In the same way Lord Lyttelton, Mr. Ridley and Mr. Lane were each as good as Mr. Pauncefote, but they failed in the Inter-University match and consequently are out of our list.
Neither University can claim a superiority up to the present date, and both may derive a legitimate pride from the feeling that their rivalry is of a healthy and vigorous nature. If ever the University match should cease to be played, a great blow will be struck at amateur cricket, for these matches are a model of what all matches ought to be.