Cricket (Steel, Lyttelton)/Chapter 12

Cricket  (1888) 
Chapter 12

CHAPTER XII.

GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS.

(By the Hon. R. H. Lyttelton.)

At first sight it appears impossible that amateurs—men who play when they chance to find it convenient—should be able to hold their own against professional cricketers who make the game the business of their lives. Cricket, however, is the one game where the two classes contend more or less on an equality, unless football be also an exception. Many amateur cricketers are not bound to work for their daily bread, and they can consequently find time to play as much as a 'professional,' if the accepted slang in which the adjective is employed as a substantive be permissible. Such was the state of things a few years ago when the Walkers, the Graces, Mr. Buchanan, and others could always be depended on to take part in the annual matches against the Players.

But there are other reasons besides; and here we tread on rather delicate ground. Suffice it to say that at one time, and that was when the Gentlemen used heavily to defeat the Players, there was such a very thin border-line between the status of the amateur and professional, that a definition of 'amateur' was often asked for and never obtained. The position was getting acute when finally the Marylebone Club, which is not in the habit of moving except when very strong pressure is exerted, was obliged to discuss and legislate on the matter. Broadly speaking, the rule stands that amateurs may take expenses, and a difficult and delicate point is now set at rest.

It is a striking illustration of the great popularity of the game that a large and increasing number of men anniially give themselves up to the profession of cricket, and it is only in cricket that amateurs and professionals regularly compete against each other. We have heard that from the county of Nottingham alone several hundred professional bowlers emerge every year, and go to fulfil cricket engagements in various parts of the kingdom. The limits of cricket seem likely to be extended, and we know of several English professionals who have accepted offers from America and elsewhere. So long ago as 1864 the famous Wm. Caffyn was engaged in Australia; later on, Jesse Hide, of Sussex, was in South Australia, and several other players have been in America. All professionals, or nearly all, first come into notice as bowlers. A club with a ground wants a man who can bowl to its members for an evening's practice, and he has to be there to attend on any member who may happen to come. As a rule also, he is required to play for the club in the Saturday matches, and he may earn by way of fixed salary, together with what he makes by bowling at a shilling for half an hour, 3l. or 4l. per week.

If the club is situated in a county which possesses a county club, the professional may have inducements held out to him to take up a permanent residence and become a naturalised resident. The county of Nottingham, for instance, has only one county eleven, but she has hundreds of professionals. These men get engagements in all directions, and if they are good enough to be asked to play for their adopted county, it would be hard to deprive them of a livelihood; though no doubt it is provoking to Nottingham to see the success of Lancashire largely owing to the play of Briggs, a Notts man of whose virtues Lancashire became aware before his own county. Nor is Briggs a solitary specimen, for Walter Wright, Mills, Bean, Brown, and Wheeler play respectively for Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Cheshire, and Leicestershire.

The congestion of professional ability in certain favoured districts is hard to explain. Every cricketer has heard of Lascelles Hall, the famous village near Huddersfield, to which Bates, the Lockwoods, the Thewlises and Allan Hill belong. There are several villages and small towns near Nottingham where cricketers appear indigenous to the soil, just as primroses are in certain localities. There have always been cricketers in these parts, and so sure is this constant supply that some scientific society ought really to go down and inspect the spot, make a theory to explain the phenomenon, and read a paper about it. Nottingham itself raised and reared Daft, Shrewsbury, Gunn, Scotton, and Selby; the famous Sutton-in-Ashfield nursed Morley, J. C. Shaw, Barnes and Briggs in their infancy. There are several large towns in Yorkshire, such as Sheffield, Leeds, and other manufacturing centres, where the traditions of the place are in favour of cricket; but it is curious to observe that, though it was not so in the days of Noah Mann, David Harris, and the Hambledon Club, the modern professional now springs entirely from populous centres. The only reason we can give for this is that for young players between the ages of eight and eighteen practice is everything, and of this youngsters can generally make sure in populous places. In a rural district the same chances may seldom occur. In Nottingham and the West Riding towns, hundreds of boys may be seen playing almost at the mouth of coal-pits, and the practice they get enables them to become professional players.

Amateurs are not by any means in the same situation. Apart from the natural qualifications any lad may chance to possess, he is largely benefited or the reverse by the atmosphere of the schools to which he is sent. About the age of thirteen he is sent to a large public school, where cricket is regularly taught, and he has a great deal of experience if he can manage to get into his school eleven. After that he may go to Oxford or Cambridge, and if he is fond of the game, he may play an unlimited quantity of cricket. Many amateurs after they leave the university disappear for ever from first-class cricket, as their time then ceases to be their own.

When we examine the M.C.C. cricket 'Scores and Biographies,' we find the same story over and over again: 'This year the Gentlemen had to regret the absence of Messrs. Hankey and Kempson.' Mr. Felix did not play for the Gentlemen, they as usual losing one of their best men,' In a footnote attached to the score of the 1847 match at Lord's, the editor gives a list of no fewer than sixteen gentlemen who had to abandon the game when in their prime. It was in consequence of this that in 1862 a match was tried between Gentlemen and Players all under thirty, but with no better success for the Gentlemen.

The first Gentlemen and Players' match took place in 1806 on the old Lord's ground, so the contest between these teams is not so old by one year as the Eton and Harrow. It is true that in 'The Cricket Field' Mr. Pycroft says that Lord F. Beauclerk and the Hons. H. and T. Tufton had previously made an attempt to get a Gentlemen and Players' match, and the Players won, giving the services of T. Walker, Beldham, and Hammond. These three men were nearly the best in England, and to call the Players a representative eleven without them was absurd. The same objection may be mentioned in discussing the next match in 1806, when the Gendemenwere helped by two of the foremost players: this made a more equal match, but apparently rather too much was given, for the amateurs beat the Players in an innings and 14 runs. Beldham and Lambert were the two given men, and at that time Lambert was unquestionably the finest player of the day. A second match was played a fortnight later, when the amateurs were a second time victorious, and in this case Lambert alone was given. After this match there was a considerable hiatus, for the rival teams did not meet again till 1819, when a match was played on even terms, the players winning by six wickets. Mr. Budd scored 56 for the Gentlemen, and Tom Beagley 75 for the Players—

. . . Worthy Beagley,
Who is quite at the top;
With the bat he's first rate, a brick wall at long-stop.

Mr. Budd in this match stumped six of the Players, and only one bye was recorded against him and the long-stop. In 1820 T. C. Howard, who had bowled for the Players, was transferred to the Gentlemen, and they won by 70 runs. In 1821 the Gentlemen scored 60 and the Players 278 for six wickets, at which stage the Gentlemen succumbed and gave up the match. Beagley, who appeared to be partial to amateur bowling, made 113 not out, and began the long list of hundreds that have since been obtained in this match. In 1822 Lord F. Beauclerk bowled finely, Mr. Vigne stumped four and caught two at the wicket, Mr. Budd made 69 runs, and the Gentlemen won by six wickets. Elated by this victory, in 1823 the amateurs again threw down the gauntlet on even terms and were defeated heavily by 345 runs.

This knock-down blow must have cowed the Gentlemen, for in the next four matches they played fourteen, sixteen with Mathews, and seventeen in the two matches of 1827; and each side won two. In 1828 there was no match, and in 1829 and 1830 they stole two players to help them. This was a period when the superiority of the professionals was very marked, for in 1831, '32, and '33 odds were given on each occasion, but still victory refused to crown the efforts of the amateurs. In 1832 the Gentlemen defended smaller wickets than those of their opponents, but the game was admitted to be a failure. The extraordinary result of all the matches between 1824 and 1833 in which the Gentlemen had odds, was that out of eight matches the Players won six. The bowling of W. Lillywhite, Cobbett, and others was far too good for the amateurs, and the records of the Players were wonderful.

In 1833, however, for the first time the famous Alfred Mynn appeared on the scene. This crack amateur was the idol of Kent and the terror of his opponents. Very tall in stature and heavy in weight, he was at that time and for many years subsequently one of the fastest bowlers in England. His physique was enormous, and he could bowl a great number of balls without any sacrifice of pace or precision. When asked how many balls he should like the over to consist of, he said as fiar as he was concerned he should like a hundred. He was a hard hitter, fond of driving the ball in front of the wicket, and was probably the champion at the then frequently played singlewicket matches. It must have been a fine sight to see Alfired Mynn advance and deliver the ball; he took a short run and held himself up to nearly his full height as the ball left his hand. He was of unfailing good humour, and is immortalised in by far the best cricket poem yet published, which may be found in the 'Scores and Biographies,' vol. ii. p. 200. Altogether he was one of the leading players of his day, and his arrival gave a strength to the amateurs that was sorely needed,

Proudly, sadly we will name him—to forget him were a sin;
Lightly lie the turf upon thee, kind and manly Alfred Mynn.

In 1834 the match was played on even terms, but again the result was disastrous to the amateurs, for they were beaten in an innings and 21 runs; nor did the assistance of Cobbett and Redgate, two of the crack bowlers of the day, save them from defeat in 1835, though Alfred Mynn scored 53 and bowled down four wickets. In 1836 eighteen Gentlemen won by 35 runs, and again was Alfred Mynn to the fore, for he scored 29 and 30 and got eight wickets. In the following year was played a match, when the Gentlemen defended three wickets, 27 inches by 8, and the Players four, 36 inches by 12. The match was the famous 'Barn Door Match,' or 'Ward's Folly,' but again the impotence of the amateurs' batting caused them to be defeated in one innings and 10 runs. Thirteen was the highest amateur score and the only double figure, and Lillywhite and Redgate apparently did what they liked in the way of bowling. In 1838 Alfred Mynn was away, so the amateurs helped themselves to Pilch, Cobbett, and Wenman, three good men from the professional ranks; they lost the match, however, by 40 runs. This was the last match in which odds have been given. A drawn game was played in 1839, and twice the Players were victorious in 1840 and 1841. In 1842 and 1843 the men gained two victories, the match in 1842 being their first win on even terms since 1822. Mynn and Sir F. Bathurst got all the wickets for the Gentlemen; the former scored 21 and 46, and Mr. Felix played a fine innings of 88, having been missed badly at short-slip before he scored. In 1843 the Gentlemen actually won in one innings on even terms, for the first time on record. Again Alfred Mynn did excellent service, for he made 47 runs and lowered eight wickets. Mr. C. G. Taylor scored 89 runs and then his hat fell on the wicket, or rather it was knocked off, which showed that Lord's had a way of testing the bravery as well as the skill of batsmen. In 1844 the Gentlemen lost the services of Mr. Felix, perhaps their best bat, and Sir F. Bathurst, their second best bowler, and were defeated by 38 runs. The famous William Lillywhite, who 'handled the ball as he would do a brick,' and Hillyer were the crack professional bowlers at this time, and sad havoc they made of amateur wickets. Lillywhite was fifty-two years old in 1844, five years older than the wellknown Tom Emmett, who in the year 1888 is par excellence the veteran cricketer. The era of Alfred Mynn and Sir F. Bathurst was the golden age of amateur bowling, for Mynn was at the top of the tree in this department of the game for a far longer period than any amateur has been since. He played twenty matches for the Gentlemen against the Players, and though he was generally on the losing side, did great things both with bat and ball, especially with the latter. In 1845 the Players again won, old Lillywhite, aged fifty-three, taking twelve wickets for 96 runs—a remarkable performance.

The match for the year 1846 is an historical one for one or two reasons. It was the first time that George Parr, aged 20, and William Clarke, aged 47, represented the Players. Both were Nottingham men; the younger was very nearly the best bat in England, and the elder, if not the best bowler all round, certainly by far the most successful bowler of lobs that has ever appeared. Clarke had played for thirty seasons before he was chosen to represent the Players. He died in 1856 at the age of 57, played cricket during the last year of his life, and took a wicket with the last ball he ever bowled. He was head and captain of the 'All England Eleven' which used to tour about the country. Very amusing work it must have been for old Clarke, bowling on rough provincial grounds to provincial batsmen; and who can wonder that he, with several other bowling captains, had a great dislike to taking himself off? He was one-eyed, having lost his right eye while indulging in the manly game of fives. He certainly got a lot of wickets in the best of matches, but there is nothing to guide speculation as to how Clarke and Lillywhite would have fared if they had bowled to W. G. Grace and McDonnell. Round old Clarke's head, as round the heads of Fuller Pilch, Alfred Mynn, and William Lillywhite, an aureole has gathered; they are the great lights of that epoch of cricket, and during his career old Clarke must have been one of those few bowlers who generally made fools of batsmen.

To return to this year of 1846, as it was Parr and Clarke's first Gentlemen and Players, so it was C. G. Taylor's last. This great player at all games was an Eton and Cambridge man; and, like many old cricketers, formed the theme of poets, 'Taylor the most graceful of all,' one writes, and again he is represented as being

Unlike our common sons, whose gradual ray
Expands from twilight into purer day,
His blaze broke forth at once in full meridian sway.

Mr. C. G. Taylor was evidently born with an eye; he often ran out to bowling to drive, could field splendidly either at point, coverpoint, or mid-wicket, and bowled slow round-arm, we are told, both well and gracefully. We suspect that, as may be inferred from the description of his style of play, there was a weak place in his defence, and he used to have long bouts of small scores. But so graceful and altogether fascinating was his style, that all his great innings were indelibly stamped on the memory of those who witnessed them. In this his last Gentlemen and Players match he got 23 and 44. It was a great match, won by the Gentlemen by one wicket, and the credit was due to Messrs R. P. Long and Taylor for batting, and to Alfred Mynn and Sir F. Bathurst for bowling.

In the following year, 1847, the Players again won, but at this period the sides were far more even than they had been before for any long time together. The redoubtable bowlers Mynn and Bathurst were helped by Harvey Fellows, the celebrated Etonian, and George Yonge the Oxonian; and we doubt if the Gentlemen have ever been so strong in this line since. These two bowled out the Players in 1848 for 79 and 77 runs, Mynn getting eight wickets in the second innings and hitting up 66 runs. In this year, in fact, it is a question if the amateurs were not stronger in bowling than batting.

In the next year, 1849, further triumph awaited the amateurs, for winning the toss they scored 192 runs, compelled the Players to follow on, and won the match in one innings and 40 runs. Alfred Mynn did not get a wicket, but Harvey Fellows bowled his fastest, first hurt his opponents, and then got them out. Old Wm. Lillywhite played his last Gentlemen and Players match this year, and we read that he refused to bat in his second innings because he was hurt by Mr. Fellows. He was 57 years old, so may be excused if he felt a little nervous on old Lord's ground at standing up to one who used to make the ball hum like a top.

The famous 'Nonpareil bowler,' as old Lillywhite was called, was the king of bowlers in the days when he flourished. Mr. Robert Grimston, who remembered him well, said that though a slow bowler he was quicker off the ground than Alfred Shaw. He lived in the days when wides were common, but it is recorded that during his whole career he did not deliver half a dozen. He was born in Sussex in 1792, and played as a given man for the Gentlemen in 1829 and J830; after that began his long career as principal bowler for the Players. He was, therefore, no less than 39 years of age when he played his first match for the Players. If to other cricketers may be given the credit of inventing round-arm bowling, still to Lillywhite and Broadbridge all honour is due for having been the first really good round-arm bowlers. Lillywhite bowled in seventeen matches against the Gentlemen and got 132 wickets, or close upon eight wickets per match. He was occasionally useful as a bat, and though he refused to go in, as just recorded, he had plenty of pluck when younger, for in a single wicket match he stood up for 278 balls to George Brown, to whose bowling Little Dench of Brighton used to long-stop with a sack stuffed full of straw to protect his chest Batting gloves were not used in those days, and Lillywhite had his fingers broken three times before they were invented. Fuller Pilch played his last Gentlemen and Players match this year, which is famous for witnessing the farewell of such great cricketers as himself and William Lillywhite. Pilch was born in 1803, and was therefore 46 years old in 1849.

Another young tailor, as fine a young man
As e'er hit a ball and then afterwards ran.

Pilch was undoubtedly the champion of his day, and his mantle fell on George Parr. He was the originator of what we call in modern times 'forward play,' and his object was the sound one of smothering the ball at the pitch. He was the worst enemy of William Clarke, for he left his ground to balls that were well up and ran him down with a straight bat He was one of the dauntless fist. that carried Kent into a unique position among cricket counties.

And with five such mighty cricketers 'twas but natural to win,
As Felix, Wenman, Hillyer, Fuller Pilch, and Alfred Mynn.

In 1850 the famous Johnny Wisden came to the front and the Players grew stronger, and George Parr made 65 runs not out. Wisden and Clarke bowled unchanged, and got rid of their rivals for 42 and 58, winning the match in one innings and 48 runs in 1850, and in 185 1 they also won in a single innings. Wisden, Grundy, and Caifyn were three fine all-round men, and Joe Guy of Nottingham was apparently quite at home to amateur bowling. Both Mynn and Fellows had lost their devil, or perhaps it might be more correct to say that the latter had lost his straightness and accuracy. In 1852 the Players won by five wickets, and the great Alfred Mynn retires from the scene as far as this match is concerned.

In 1853 fine bowling won the Gentlemen a match by 60 runs. Both Sir F. Bathurst and Mr. Kempson bowled unchanged all through the two innings of the Players, and got rid of them for 42 and 69. Martingell got seven wickets for 19 runs in the second innings of the Gentlemen, so this was essentially a bowlers' match; and though it is an historical fact that it was the first time the Gentlemen never had to change their bowling, in 1846 Mynn and Sir F. Bathurst got all the wickets, and Mr. Taylor was only on for a few overs. Sir F. Bathurst might therefore have bowled one end all the time if Mr. Taylor had relieved Mynn. At any rate, to Sir F. Bathurst is due the credit of being one of the main causes of two defeats of the Players. He was a fast bowler with a low delivery, but very straight.

In 1854 both sides played weak, four Players refusing to come forward because of a dispute between Clarke and the M.C.C., and the Gentlemen losing Messrs. Hankey and Kempson. An uneventful match was the result, and the Players again won. From 1853 to 1865 the match was played on even terms, but the Players had a run of victory, and not once during that time did the Gentlemen prove successful. There is no doubt that the batting strength of the Players during these years was very considerable, and, though George Parr, Hayward, and Carpenter did not score their hundreds as the men of modern times so often have done, they made their fifties and sixties with nearly the same consistency. Parr was a most regular scorer during the decade between 1853 and 1863, and his average for the whole series of these matches must have been very high.

In 1855 the Players won easily by seven wickets, though the Gentlemen began well; but in their second innings Dean and John Lillywhite got them out for 43, five consecutive wickets falling without a run. In 1857 the Gentlemen lost several of their best men, but the famous Oxonians, Messrs. Marsham and Payne, bowled finely, and though the Players had only 70 to get to win, they only pulled through by two wickets. Willsher played this year for the first time, and he and Wisden were too much for the Gentlemen. The year 1857 was an historical one for two reasons. In the first place at Lord's was played one of the closest matches of the series, a game also famous for one of those great batting feats the recollection of which lingers long; and in the second place because a second match was played for the first time at the Oval. The historical innings was that of Mr. Reginald Hankey, whom George Parr considers the finest bat he ever saw. This is the proverbial effort quoted by all who saw it as the masterpiece of its day, and Mr. Grace himself has never played an innings that made more sensation. Mr. Hankey got 70 runs in an hour and three-quarters, and hit the fast bowling of Willsher, Wisden, Jackson, and Stephenson all over the ground. Messrs. Hankey, Haygarth, Drake and Lane amassed 224 runs, the other seven only 58 between them, and in the end the players won by 13 runs. Mr. Drake played his hardest to win, making a score of 58 out of 114.

At the Oval the Players won easily by ten wickets, and on this ground the Gentlemen lost every match till 1866. In those days the Oval was what we should call a better ground than Lord's—that is to say, it was more in favour of the batsmen and long scores; and consequently the weak amateur bowling was at a considerable discount. In 1858 at the Oval the Players won by three wickets, and R. Daft played for the Gentlemen for the first and only time. At Lord's in the same year the Gentlemen collapsed in batting and lost by 285 runs, the bowling of Jackson being at this period an object of dread among the amateurs. In 1859 the Players won both matches easily, and the famous Robert Carpenter made his first appearance, scoring 44 runs at the Oval.

In 1860, at the Oval, the Players won by eight wickets; Mr. T. E. Bagge made two scores of 62 and 60, and the scoring altogether was very large for those days. Carpenter made 119 in his one innings. At Lord's the other great Cambridgeshire player, Tom Hayward, came on the scene with a vengeance, scoring 132 runs, and the Players won in one innings and 181 runs, though George Parr could not play. At this time the tremendous bowling of Jackson and Willsher was at its best, and Hayward, Carpenter, Parr, and Daft were too good for amateur bowling. In 1861 the Players won in one innings and 60 runs at Lord's, and in one innings and 68 runs at the Oval; Carpenter for the second time making a hundred.

In 1862 a famous drawn match was played at the Oval. Over 200 runs were made in each innings, and there was curious equality of scoring, the highest figures on each side being 108, made by Mr. John Walker for the Gentlemen, and by Hayward for the Players. The match was drawn, the Players having lost eight wickets and still wanting 33 runs. Mr. Walker was bowling lobs a good deal in this match, and whilst Anderson and Stephenson were batting just before stumps were drawn at the end of the day, each having made 33, the famous Tom Lockyer, who could not endure lobs, was continually to be seen nervously looking at the clock; to go in against these dreaded balls was a privilege he did not covet. Willsher, Parr, and Daft could not play for the Players, nor Messrs. Makinson and Mitchell for the Gentlemen. At Lord's a match was played between the elevens, all the engaged being under thirty, and the Players won by 157 runs. Mr. C. D. Marsham, the steadiest of all Gentlemen bowlers, played his last Gentlemen and Players match this year. He had taken part in ten matches, but never had the good luck to be on the winning side.

In 1863 the great Hayward made 112 runs in his only innings, and nobody else except Mr. Walker got 30 runs in the match, which the Players won by eight wickets, Jackson and Tarrant being quite unplayable on the rough Lord's wicket. Mr. R. A. H. Mitchell played for the first time, and, with the exception of Mr. Grace, no greater batsman has appeared for the Gentlemen, though he did not play for many years. At the Oval in the same year Mr. Mitchell scored 76 and 6; but the Gentlemen were weak in bowling, and the Players won by nine wickets. At Lord's in 1864 Tarrant and Willsher bowled unchanged during the match, and the Gentlemen scored 119 in the two innings; but at the Oval there were a lot of runs made, Stephenson putting together 117, and Messrs. C. G. Lyttelton and Makinson playing two fine innings for the Gentlemen.

In 1865 began what brought about a revolution in cricket, fur W. G. Grace played his first match, and at once began to score. Originally more famous as a bowler, he has since made runs in a manner and to an extent altogether unparalleled in the history of cricket, and soon after his appearance the almost dull monotony of professional victory was changed for the almost equally dull monotony of professional defeat. When he first began to play there was a schism in the professional ranks which lasted several years; between 1863 and 1871, many of the crack Northern players refused to play at the Oval, and soon afterwards at Lord's also. It is a curious fact that at Lord's in 1865 the amateurs won by eight wickets, scoring a victory for the first time since 1853, after losing nineteen matches in succession. This was W. G. Grace's first match and George Parr's last, the latter having scored sixty runs in his actual last innings. Giace was sixteen years old, and Parr, who first played in 1846, was 39. Parr's average for these matches was no less than twenty-eight, and his was altogether one of the best and longest careers ever seen.

Up to 1886 Mr. Grace had played 78 innings in these matches, and averaged 45 runs an innings; and he is still the best amateur bat. The cricket schism weakened the Players very much for several years after he played, and the matches were in consequence not so interesting. At the Oval, in 1866, the Gentlemen followed their innings but won the match by 98 runs, and this was the first time they were successful at the Kennington ground; but no Northern players appeared except Grundy, Wootton, Luke Greenwood and Alfred Shaw. It was the same story in 1867 and in every match till 1872, and the amateurs were generally successful. Since that period, however, it has always been considered a special honour to be asked to represent either eleven, and the Committees at both Lord's and the Oval now offer higher terms to the professionals for this than for any other match. For some reason which we are totally unable to explain, between the years 1867 and 1877 there was a blight on the Players. Their batting fell off to an extraordinary extent, nor was their fast bowling at all up to the level of what it used to be. Of course W. G. Grace was the main cause of the apparent weakness of the bowling, but this could not account for the great batting deterioration. The Players won at the Oval in 1865 and did not win again till 1880, though one match was drawn considerably in their favour. Up to 1874, including the Oval matches and omitting three unfinished, the Players lost twelve matches in succession, mainly owing to Mr. Grace.

If we take the best of the innings of 100 played in these matches, we find that there have been 36 individual innings of over 100 runs played, and Mr. Grace has played eleven himself, or nearly a third of the whole; and when we remember that he has had a great deal of bowling to do as well, it may be said with confidence that no such performances for so many years have ever been seen in the history of cricket. In 1873 he got 163 runs at Lord's, and 158 at the Oval, and in the latter match secured seven wickets in the Players' second innings. In 1874 the Gentlemen won by seven wickets, having to go in for 226 runs to win. Mr. Grace had got 77 runs in his first innings, went in first in the second innings, stayed in till 152 runs were scored, and was then out for 112. The match was won by seven wickets.

The most exciting match that has occurred in recent years was in 1877. The Players made 192, and the Gentlemen 198 in the first innings, and the Players 148 in the second. Consequently, to win the match 143 runs were wanted by the Gentlemen. The wicket was not quite a first-rate one, and good judges anticipated a close finish. Grace made 41, and Alfred Lyttelton 20; but Watson, Ulyett, and Morley bowled well, and the Gentlemen wanted 46 runs to win when nine wickets had fallen. Mr. W. S. Patterson and G. F. Grace were in, and gradually, by excellent play, the runs were secured.

In 1883 a tie match was played at the Oval, for the first and only time. The wicket was difficult on the third day, and the Gentlemen, who lost the services of Mr. W. G. Grace for the first time since 1867, were 31 runs ahead on the first innings. Bates did well for the Players in the second innings and scored 76 runs, making his last 30 runs in eight hits. Rain fell in the night, and Plowers found a spot. Mr. Lucas, who scored 47 not out, was really caught at point when he had got 8, but the catch was a low one, and neither umpire would give a decision when appealed to. So he continued his innings, which was hard for the Players. Fourteen were wanted when Mr. Rotherham joined Mr. Lucas, and when 8 runs were wanted Bates badly missed Rotherham. When the match was a tie, Peate was put on, and clean bowled Rotherham with his second ball The Players had rather hard lines in Lucas's case, but they lost the match through the bad miss of Bates.

In 1879, following the good example set by Sir F. Bathurst and Kempson, the Gentlemen won Jhe Oval match without once having to change their bowlers. Messrs. Steel and Evans were the heroes; Evans got ten wickets, and Steel nine. The wicket was difficult, but the batting was feeble, and only realised totals of 73 and 48.

For the last few years the Players have gradually recovered their lost prestige, and reached the high-water mark of excellence in 1887, when, for the first time since 1861, they won both matches in one innings each. At the date of writing (1888) they possess not only perhaps the most consistent scorer of the day in Shrewsbury, but they have many all-round men, famous for bowling and batting. The names of Barnes, Flowers, Bates, Ulyett, Barlow, Briggs, Lohmann, and Peel will at once suggest themselves, and at no previous time have they been so good all through in fielding as they proved themselves in 1887. Mr. Grace, whose experience has been gained in the course of twenty-three years, has publicly stated that they never had such a good eleven in his time as they possessed in 1887, and the Gentlemen show symptoms of decline. In batting the amateurs are still fairly strong, but in bowling—let us draw a veil.

A survey of the whole series of matches points to the fact that, as is natural, the Gentlemen have been, and probably will be, beaten as a general rule. Every cricketer knows what it is to play in an eleven with a comrade, either a batsman or bowler, of commanding superiority. Such a man makes an eleven. He does this by giving confidence to the other ten members of the team. They feel that the match does not depend on them, that if they fail he will pull them through, and consequently they go in boldly and score. The two notable instances of one man making an eleven are W. G. Grace and Spofforth. Of course there were good players amongst the Australians and amongst the Gentlemen, but the presence of Grace and Spofforth was an incalculable benefit. The Australians began a match feeling sure that, even if they did not run up large scores, Spofforth would get rid of their opponents for less. It is probably the absence of this feeling that partly accounts for the apparent falling off in Australian play.

In conclusion, let us express a hope that the Gentlemen and Players match will never fall through; for, having been played off and on since 1806, it has a notable history, and it ought to be the summit of ambition in every cricketer, be he amateur or professional, to appear in these great classic contests.