Cricket 1900

476 CRICKET : A WEEKLY RECORD OF THE GAME. D e c . 20, 1900. A REMINISCENCE OF CRICKET AS IT ONCE FLOURISHED. [BEING A PA RTLY IM AG IN A R Y SKETCH OP OUR GREAT N ATIONAL GAME AS PLAYED SOME 50 O R 60 YEARS JACK, B Y THE GREATEST BATSMAN AND GREATEST BOW LER OF THAT PEBIOD. W IT H SOME REFLECTIONS.] By “ A n O l d H a r r o v ia n .” M e c _ In and about 1840 Fuller Pilch was by far the best batsman in England, and William Lillywhite excelled all his com­ peers as a slow, round-armed bowler. I will now endeavour to recall and relate to the best of my ability some match in which these two redoubtable champions and celebrities performed each his own part, when opposed to one another, for though they often appeared on the same side, yet still more fre­ quently they did not, Pilch assisting Kent, while Lillywhite aided Sussex. I will take as an example a Kent v. England match, as contested at Lord’s in and about 1842, Kent then being the strongest county, and I will suppose for a moment that Pilch had just gone in to have his innings and that Lillywhite was his opponent. All was hushed, and a long pause ensued, the surroundings being very pleasant, though not so mag­ nificent as developed at Lord’s and on all other grounds in these days of show and vanity. No vulgar shouting or noise, as now takes place, was heard, or at least but little. Pilch receives guard of his wicket, which was always “ one leg,” and not “ two leg ” or “ middle,” as most batsmen ask for and use. Lillywhite now advances a few steps with his usual short and quick run up to the bowling crease, and delivers one of his accurately-pitched and deadly- straight balls. Pilch meets the same quietly and with ease, never endeavouring to excite applause at once by hitting successively threes, fours and fives, while Lillywhite sends down maiden over after maiden over at the “ great master,” the per­ formance of both being greatly appre­ ciated by the admiring spectators. At last Pilch, having “ got his eye in,” begins to “ let out,” runs being obtained with celerity and accuracy, and this con- ■ tinued for an hour or more, with no result but an increase of the score. Then the “ nonpareil ” began to deliver even better than hitherto (though he never bowled amiss), and he put in a ball which Pilch could not stop. “ Bravo, Lilly,” “ Bravo, Pilch,” and some shouting took place, but no hooling or extraordinary and violent demonstra­ tions, frantic and objectionable. This is how scientific cricket ought to be ex­ hibited, because batting and bowling were completely level throughout, which should always be the object aimed at, and not what is now unfortunately the case, batting being supreme, to the great detriment of the sport generally. The batsman in the above sketch did not have the ball at his mercy, nor was the bowler lite helpless. jr Equality existed throughout the inn­ ings, and taking and attractive cricket preserved thereby. But in these days, alas! the “ plebs” care nothing for scientific cricket. They hate and despise “ maiden overs ” altogether, and what they invariably seek for and demand is a succession of “ hard knocks, high and mighty,” made “ anyhow and anywhere.” They must and will have huge and gigantic scores, and even when balls pitched on the off­ side of the wicket are pulled round to the leg-side for four or five, it pleases them mightily. Also they object entirely to small items or figures—namely, ones and twos—let them be ever so accurately and and gracefully manipulated. “ Forcing ” the game, which in former days was called “ slogging,” is alone appreciated, and to see that carried out nine-tenths of the enormous crowds patronise and frequent all cricket grounds at the present time. The true science and equality of cricket, as regards batting and bowling, are ignored altogether, and cast to the winds by and through this desire on the part of the “ mob,” which understand little or nothing of ciicket as it should be played. Such is our national game in these degenerate days of money-making—a melancholy fact, indeed. Billiard-table wickets, splendid pav­ ilions, too much and too good eating and drinking, enormous benefit matches, large additional collections made on the ground, frequent “ tips,” most liberal pay, petting up in excess of the favourites, too fine clothes, fashionable visitors in­ numerable, including ladies (as spectators only), ignorant altogether or possessing but very little knowledge of even the simple rules and laws of our national game, are all it seems necessaiy and in vogue now, but these accessories certainly do not improve the pastime or harden the stamina of our best performers, but causes them on the contrary to deteriorate sooner than might otherwise have eventuated. And these “ improvements” (so-called) were not thought of and carried out to such an extent fifty years back or even later. “ Every dog has his day ” is a true saying, but the real science of cricket is rapidly departing, and rough and “ forcing” or slogging play is being substituted, combined with throwing, instead of fair bowling ! To throw and not bowl the ball to anyone taking his innings, is not only unfair to the batsman, but is also in­ jurious and hurtful to other bowlers, who can and would deliver fair if only “ put on.” I do not remember a single case of throwing the ball by any celebrity in and about 1860, though there were a few complaints about that date of some, who were accused of Bowling too high or over the shoulder. Bowlers ought to be satisfied now that they can and may deliver any height, for that was not then permitted. They may bowl now over their heads if they wish. Foul bowling, however, or throwing should not be tolerated for a moment in in these days, considering the great ad­ vantages the bowlers in 1900 have over those which flourished in and about 1850. I refer, of course, only to the law passed in 1864, which permitted the arm to be raised any height in the act of delivery. The smooth, level and adamantine wickets, or “ pitches,” as now prepared (or rather over-prepared) are, on the other hand, entirely in favour of the batsmen alone, which should not be the case on anv ground. These advantages have only to be pointed out to be universally acknow­ ledged by all who understand the real science of our noble game, which should first and foremost contain equality, both as regards the batsmen and the bowlers. If this is not preserved, cricket will gradually fade away, and eventually fall altogether. Therefore let all laxity be discontinued by those in authority, and the laws in future strictly enforced, beginning the next century with vigour. A las! that at the close of the year there should be any doubt or difficulty at all in deciding about throwing bowling, and leg-before-wicket also, two of the most important points in our national pastime. I ask: Is there no remedy t NATIVE GUANO. ■REST and CHEAPEST MANURE for LAWNS, -13 CRICKET and TENNIS GROUNDS and all Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers. Price, £ 3 10s. per ton in bags; 2 ton lots carriage paid. Lots under 10 cwt., 4 / - per cwt. at works. A 1 cwt. bag sent carriage paid to any station in England on receipt of P.O. for 6/-. Extracts from recent reports : ‘*J. P ow ell, Loughborough. Lawns and cricket ground very much improved in colour and sub­ stance. A good manure.” —“ G. Clinging, Gardener , Hayward's Heath. Results: Excellent. Lawns a beautiful dark green colour. Gave every satis­ faction.” —“ W . G ill, CheamFields , Sutton. Used for lawns with very satisfactory results. Grass very thick and velvety and beautiful dark green.” — “ P. E. Puttock, Blackheath. Used on tennis courts and golf links j found it a most excellent manure; rapidly producing a thick velvety sward on worn patches.” Orders to the Native Guano Co., Ltd., 29, New Bridge Street, London, E.C., where Pamphlets of Testimonials, &c. may be obtained. Agentswanted. JOHN WISDEN ’S Cricketers’ # # Almanack F o r 1901 I S N O W R E A D Y , And Contains all Cricket Information as usual. Edited by Mr. S. H. PARDON. P rice , i s . ; p o s t free, i s . 3 d . 21, Cranbourn Street, LONDON. Pirated and Published for the Proprietor by M x e b it t * H a tc h * * , L t d . 167. 168, and 1*8, Upper Thame* Street, London, E.C., Dec. 20th, 1900.