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afraid to meet the South Africans. Any schoolboy can tell us that fear of anything in the world of cricket has never entered into the calculations of Australian cricketers, and the suggestion was quite unworthy of the sporting country whence it emanated. When, however, people do not give a reason at all, even a bad one, for refraining from doing a thing which there is absolutely no reason they should not do, then they, and their supporters, must not be surprised if other people substitute a disagreeable reason for one which may be really quite a good one. It is the way of the world, however unfortunate it may be.

The position of the Australians was not improved when it became known that they adhered to their refusal in spite of the fact that someone had offered to make good to them any loss they might incur. Only a wet summer could make the

a tournament a financial failure, and with that thus guarded against there was nothing to prevent the Australians taking part in what would certainly have been a sporting affair of the very deepest interest to cricket lovers. I allude now to the tournament for one year only, not to the whole Triangular Scheme. Possibly a badly-worded ultimatum early in July from the M.C.C. to the effect that “if you don't join in the triangular tournament we don't want to see either of you” made the Australians more opposed to the meeting than they were originally, and if this is so it is not surprising. Such a cable ought never to have been sent. Couched in conciliatory language it is surely more likely Australia would have reconsidered the position and have come. Something of this kind :-"The counties sincerely regret the decision of Australia not to be a party to the proposed triangular tournament, but hope that in the interest of sport they will reconsider the decision, and that in view of the decision of the majority of the first-class counties, and the desire of South Africa to meet them on neutral ground, Australia, as holder of the cricket championship of the world, will make a special effort to come,” would probably have suited the case better.

On top of the either-both-or-neither cablegram came two letters to the Times from Messrs. F. S. Jackson and G. L. Jessop. The gist of Mr. Jackson's letter, which, I am told, was at once cabled to Australia, would in itself have sufficed to prevent the Australians coming had they, on receipt thereof, been wavering. Both letters made the action of our Advisory Board and the M.C.C. look foolish, and for that reason, if for no other, such expressions of personal opinion from men with the best of all qualifications to express them would have been rather better unpublished.

These letters put an end to the brief and rather unhappy existence of the Triangular Scheme, and it only remains to add that the majority of those who opposed it for no particular reason were, as is customary in such cases, exceedingly sorry.

Then on July 30th, the Advisory Board met for the purpose of discussing whether they should wire Australia, “ Did not quite mean what we cabled last time. As you won't have Triangular Scheme please come on the old lines.” The day before this meeting Yorkshire, in council, decided that they would rather have the Australians over in 1910. But notwithstanding that resolution the meeting decided to ask the M.C.C. to invite the Australians, and this was accordingly done on July 31st. A provisional acceptance was received on August 5th, and there the matter rests at the moment of writing. Among other things the Australians, having learnt from the experiences of the last M.C.C. team in Australia, ask that a rest before and after each of the five Test matches shall be one of the conditions of their agreement to come. As we do not in this country regard the Test matches as the raison d'être of these tours, this difficulty will have to be overcome. As our counties invite the Australians, those counties who are likely to be left out in the cold to give the visitors the rest they ask for may, not unnaturally, demur to the new suggestion.

The visit of the third Philadelphian team to England took place this year. Dr. J. A. Lester was the captain and probably the best bat in the team, while J. B. King was again the best bowler. A more interesting bowler to watch when at work I have never seen. He is a real schemer, and his attack does not depend solely upon the success of his wonderfully fine swerving ball. He bowls the George Hirst swerve in on to the batsman, bowling right-handed. While A. E. Relf, of Sussex, can bowl a similar ball, and R. T. Crawford and A. E. Lawton are also exponents of the same type of delivery, nobody is so good as the Philadelphian amateur. He would, if resident in this country, be chosen for the Gentlemen if at all in form. The fielding powers of the team varied considerably, being at times brilliant in the extreme, at others below the average of our ordinary county teams. T. C. Jordan is a first-class wicket-keeper, and the batting was invariably as brisk and lively as one would expect it to be from players from over the herring-pond accustomed to the dash and go of baseball. It only remains to add that the Gentlemen of Philadelphia have nothing to learn from us in the matter of playing a thoroughly sporting game right up to the hilt.

Form in the three biggest matches of the year was, excepting

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in the case of the Gentlemen and Players match at the Oval, rather moderate. Contrary to custom, the Gentlemen v. Players match at Lord's preceded the University match. Why this was done nobody seems to know, the only reason I came across, though rather ingenious, being scarcely likely to be the true one. It was that because form at the Universities had been so moderate during the past few seasons the authorities were not this year anxious to see the University cracks disport themselves before they, the authorities, selected the Gentlemen's XI.! What extraordinary notions some writers do possess as to the way in which teams are chosen. As it happened, neither side at Lord's or the Oval was representative. There was no valid excuse for this at Lord's; but, as usual, several county matches were set for decision the same day as the Oval match. A good deal of cheap, sensational copy was extracted out of the match at Lord's, several of the amateurs being represented as having been at daggers drawn, for no particularly apparent reason, and in some quarters P. F. Warner was liberally abused for his captaincy. While I do not think he was at his best I cannot for a moment subscribe in any degree to the "slating ” which he received, some of it of a most cruel, let alone ignorant, character. I think it was a pity that the M.C.C. did not invite either his Highness the Jam Sahib of Nawanagar or C. B. Fry to captain the Gentlemen, both of them being senior, both as regards University careers and as Test match cricketers, to P. F. Warner. Considering the personal record of C. B. Fry it is little short of astounding that he has never yet captained the Gentlemen at Lord's. The chief omission from the team was that of A. C. MacLaren, who, in form or not, is one of the first three choices for a representative Gentlemen's eleven, the other two being C. B. Fry and R. H. Spooner. The selectors at the Oval saw to it that no such oversight marred their match, and not only invited MacLaren, but asked him to captain the side, which he did with all his old unequalled astuteness, and added the two finest innings seen in town up to that period of the season into the bargain. The Players at Lord's lacked the help of Hirst, who was resting in view of Yorkshire's chance of the championship, which his fine play had helped so much to bring within that county's reach once more. It is open to discussion whether players, if physically fit, should forgo a place in the representative matches of the season in order to recuperate for the championship matches. The

voice which says that amateurs should not inquire too tenderly after expenses when invited to play for the Gentlemen does not always agree that professionals similarly invited should sacrifice county claims.

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At Lord's the Players won without being distressed in any way. They were delighted that Warner did not worry them for more than three overs with the lobs of G. H. SimpsonHayward, an amateur who was not invited to play for his fielding or batting ability. They were also indebted to Fielder for taking advantage of a wicket which, whether over-watered or not at the pavilion end, played very queerly indeed considering the weather of the fortnight preceding the engagement.

In this connection it may be mentioned that it is high time the whole playing area at Lord's was thoroughly overbauled. As a first-class cricket ground it may not be mentioned in the same breath with that of Kennington Oval, where good wickets could be found on several portions of the outfield, wickets fit for first-class matches and perhaps as good as any to be found on the actual wickets area at Lord's. On the day of Gentlemen 0. Players I walked over the major portion of the outfield at Lord's, and its state was very bad indeed. Bare patches the better part of a yard square, and cracks galore. I have seen a better outfield in the hot weather on an Indian gymkhana ground.

To return to the big match for a moment, C. B. Fry once more proved what a master batsman, in his own style, he is. Very short of practice, he was the only one in the whole match who played the bowling. In the second innings, just when getting set, he chopped a ball on to his leg-stump, and it was left to P. F. Warner to retrieve that innings of the Gentlemen. He also got out just when he had begun to show his real form. For the Players, Hobbs played an attractive innings, but was not at his best ; Fielder bowled very well, combining direction with length and pace in an unusual degree for him, but he is not a second Richardson or Lockwood ; and Lilley again proved himself facile princeps among wicket-keepers. On the whole, it was a moderate match, not up to the traditions of this particular contest.

At the Oval, on the other hand, some splendid cricket was seen. A. C. MacLaren and G. L. Jessop, neither of whom was playing at Lord's, were in the team, which included Fry, Warner, Crawford, N. A. Knox-his first appearance of the seasonH. A. Gilbert, the crack Oxford slow right-hander, and C. C. Page, who began the season in such startling fashion at Lord's. Both University captains, E. L. Wright (Oxford) and R. A. Young (Cambridge) were to have played, but Young was injured in the University match, and Wright very generously gave up his place to Fry. Young would have kept wicket, and it was to the general disappointment he could not turn out, as many people wanted to see the player who had been given the preference

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over Humphries in Australia. In his stead was seen a quite first-class performer in the person of C. V. Staples, whose cricket in this country had hitherto been identified with the London County eleven. He has played a good deal in Melbourne, and possesses a residential qualification for Surrey. The players were not so well represented as at Lord's, the engagement of so many counties interfering with their chance. N. A. Knox proved to be in his very best form, and I never remember to have seen him keep such a fine length for so long a period. His seven wickets for slightly over 50 runs gave the professionals a very short shrift. Their total of 99 was headed by 119 runs, C. B. Fry (88) and A. C. MacLaren (71) having a glorious partnership, during which the cricket was sparkling and attractive enough to satisfy the most captious. At least, one would imagine so had not the cricket specialist on a daily paper expressed the opinion in print that MacLaren is not graceful! Everybody was keenly disappointed that MacLaren did not score his first century on the Oval. His record on the other Oval at Sydney is a very different one.

The Players did better in their second innings, as was only to be expected, but the amateurs had no difficulty to win, his Highness the Jam Sahib playing well, and MacLaren being in at the death with three masterly strokes to the leg and onboundaries off good length deliveries, the ball in each case being hooked over the heads of the in-fieldsmen and placed clear of the outfields in a way that can only be done by a master hand. So much for the two big games of the year.

The University match, with some the greatest occasion of all, was a ding-dong affair from the first stroke, when Young very nearly pulled a short-pitched ball straight into Bruce's hands at short square-leg, right up to the stubborn, belated, and plucky finish by H. Teesdale, with a badly damaged thumb, and C. E. Hatfeild, who is probably the most casual, inconsequent player of the moment. There was not quite such a huge throng of onlookers as usual, on the first day at all events, but the attendance on the second day, especially of Old Blues, was quite up to if not above the average. Probably not more than the usual amount of interest was taken by one-third of the welldressed assemblage in the actual cricket, and one casual conversation in my hearing is too good to miss here. Two ladies were strolling round, when one said to the other :

“This is my first cricket match !”

"Oh!” replied the other, with a delightful note of superiority in her voice, "it's my second."

' However, the play's the thing for the purposes of this article,

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