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and it must be placed on record that the better side (Oxford) won, and would have experienced very hard lines had it lost. The victory broke R. A. Young's (the Cambridge captain) sequence. It was his fourth Inter-'Varsity cricket match, and he had been on the winning side three times. The game gave cricket a wicket-keeper of great promise in A. G. Pawson, of Winchester and Oxford, and those who saw his neat, unostentatious style cannot have wondered at E. L. Wright deposing D. R. Brandt, the Old Harrovian wicket-keeper of 1907, in Pawson's favour. Another most promising youngster was E. Olivier, the Freshman from Repton, a right-hand medium fast bowler, whose powers with the ball may increase right up to Test-match form. He has a splendid run-up to the wicket, and the delivery of a bowler who is going to make a name for himself. My only doubt is on the all-important score of temperament, and not having the pleasure of his personal acquaintance I can offer no opinion as to this. His batting and fielding were such as to hold out the hope that he will not be “only a bowler."
H. A. Gilbert, his Oxford rival, has the reputation of being the cleverer bowler, and as he has more methods than Olivier of finding his way through the batsman's defence, this may prove to be so in the long run. I was disappointed with him in this particular match, the second University match in which he has had a fine chance of immortalising himself. In 1907 the wicket was literally made for him, and that of this year's match was never against his success. G. N. Foster failed to maintain his and the family reputation, being shockingly run out by the Hon. C. N. Bruce in the first innings, and himself selecting the wrong ball at which to have a good old-fashioned hit in the second innings. Of the twenty-two batsmen in this game he stands in a class by himself, as the records of the game will yet very clearly prove. J. N. Buchanan, next year's Cambridge captain, suffered a similar fate, being run out by his partner in the first innings, but a freely-hit hundred in a 'Varsity match ought to be his before he goes down. The ability is there plainly enough. Should circumstances enable him to play regularly next season and he was to always go in first, there is no knowing how good he might become. With his ability he is built on lines which spell success in batting. Probably the best batting was shown by the two captains in their different styles, Wright playing freely, Young with rather unnecessary restraint. C. S. Hurst succeeded twice in the style of that best of all batsmen--he who makes runs when they are most wanted—and the Hon. C. N. Bruce also got runs, but Wright's batting was the best of all. While form in the game was on the whole rather moderate, the
game did not lack incident or interest, for all that it fell rather below the average from a strictly cricket point of view. Those who watched its va et vient carefully will probably never forget what looked very like a struggle for the catch-as-catch-can championship of the two Universities between the Cambridge captain and the Oxford wicket-keeper. Neither appeared to recollect for the moment that a batsman may only be caught out off a "live" ball.
During the past season there were two interesting personal celebrations. W. G. Grace attained the age of sixty on July 18th, a birthday party being held in his honour by Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Lowndes at The Bury, Chesham; and on July 14th occurred the presentation of the testimonial, subscribed to by friends and cricketers all over the world, to Lord Hawke, to commemorate his twenty-five years of captaincy of the Yorkshire team. This was at Leeds on the second day of the Notts match, the Earl of Wharncliffe presiding. If Yorkshire regain the County Championship it will be a triumph over numerous difficulties upon which his countless friends and admirers all the world over will readily congratulate Lord Hawke.
The struggle for the championship in county cricket was from the first exceedingly interesting. Last year's champions, Notts, are quite out of it, and never looked seriously to be in it. Yorkshire, not without a fair amount of luck, have succeeded in maintaining an unbeaten certificate up to the first week in August, which makes the honour practically a certainty for them. It is very difficult for any side unbeaten at the end of July to lose the first place during the course of four weeks' play. Allowance of a very generous description must be made for their misfortune in Haigh having the most important finger of his bowling hand broken in the first of the two matches with Lancashire. This kept him out of several games, but it is possible that as most of these were played on hard wickets the loss was actually not so great as it is on paper. He is undoubtedly the best bowler in England on soft or difficult wickets. Yorkshire had several very near shaves in maintaining their undefeated record. They had none the better of their Essex (at Leyton), Middlesex (at Lord's), Warwickshire (in Yorkshire), and Worcester (at Worcester) matches. A leg-before-wicket decision given in Hirst's favour directly after he went in at Leyton had a great bearing on the drawn result, while Essex managed to miss the two important catches that mattered most of all, or they must have won with some ease.
Middlesex were only just beaten, and had any other bowler given Field ordinary support Warwickshire would have won. A tremendous piece of
bowling by Hirst, than which nothing finer was seen the whole season, pulled off the Worcestershire match. All the old ability to fight a losing game for which Yorkshire teams have for so long been famous was constantly in evidence, and as usual of a side which contained such popular men as Lord Hawke, Hirst, and Rhodes, the Yorkshire team was keenly followed and appreciated wherever it went. To say that the eleven is as good as Yorkshire champion teams of the past is greatly to flatter it and to talk nonsense at the same time, but it has served its purpose. Of the new men in the eleven Newstead was most prominent.
Surrey began the season with the bad luck of being deprived of its captain, H. D. G. Leveson-Gower, owing to a badly injured thumb. As he is probably the best captain now playing the loss may better be gauged. Surrey deserved to lose the first Yorkshire match on a wet wicket at Leeds for playing the wrong game at the beginning of the match while the wicket was still too soft to give the bowlers much help. Again, the eleven deserved to lose at Blackheath against Kent for bad batting on a good wicket. But on this occasion the Fates were not kind. E. W. Dillon, who made 97 runs in the second innings, and largely served to ram home the advantage gained by Kent owing to Surrey's bad batting, had his off-stump hit before he had scored by a ball from a fast bowler without the bails being disturbed, and Marsham, who also made a fine score, was missed when he had scored only 3. The arrangement of Surrey's field-LevesonGower was not playing-and the management of their bowling was also open to question on the same occasion. At full strength they were probably the best eleven in the competition, but for occasional unaccountable lapses. Kent did not promise very well at first, and had a lot of bad luck with their bowlers-in-chief, Blythe and Fielder, breaking down now and again. K. L. Hutchings was inconsistent, and Seymour off colour. Against this C. H. B. Marsham was in great form, and Hardinge made a big step forward. Fairservice, who is not far from being a great bowler when the wicket helps, and is one of the few of our bowlers who can take advantage of such an opportunity, did some good things, and clearly enough won the Gloucestershire match for Kent at the end of July by a spirited innings of 50 and some excellent bowling. I have omitted to mention Woolley's remarkable analysis of five wickets for 19 at Blackheath in the second innings of Surrey. This left-hander did so well with the bat that he should find his way into a Test match if his fielding is up to it.
Middlesex had as usual a side the strength of which varied
throughout the season. Whenever B. J. T. Bosanquet, L. J. Moon, and P. F Warner were playing, they were always likely to beat any other side in the competition ; but these three, especially Bosanquet, were rarely able to play at the same time. Gregor MacGregor dropped out of cricket entirely for the season, and G. W. Beldam was also unable to play.
The experiment of beginning county matches on a Saturday was tried twice, viz., by Leicestershire with Warwickshire at Leicester, and by Lancashire at Old Trafford with Yorkshire on the Saturday before August Bank Holiday. While there is a good deal to be said for the idea on both sides, I fancy the authorities are not so enamoured of it as to give it an extended trial. One or two neighbouring counties may make the attempt next season, but this is doubtful, to say the least of it. A match becomes rather disjointed with a blank day intervening, and there is no particular reason why, if the thing succeeds in Australia, it should, under different conditions, in this country.
One of the features of the season was the fine form of the Repton School Eleven. It is unlikely that even a school which sent forth such cricketers as the family of Fords, L. C. H. and R. C. N. Palairet, C. B. Fry, and J. N. Crawford, not to mention many another fine player, ever had such an eleven as it possessed this year. H. T. Altham was the captain, and the first time he played for Surrey's second eleven he made 136. On the same Monday two other members of his team, R. Sale and W. T. Gresswell, were tried for the first time in first-class cricket for Derbyshire and Somersetshire respectively, and were not found wanting. Sale is a left-handed batsman, and Gresswell a slow right-arm bowler. A very strong team of Quidnuncs was taken down to Repton by R. A. Young, the eleven including six Blues. It can truthfully be recorded that the visiting team had a very poor time of it. Whether the members of this School Eleven are individually really good players or only splendidly fitting parts of a good machine, the future alone will tell us.
Very few new men came into notoriety this year, while several of the old did little to enhance their reputations. The man most talked of, perhaps, was Newstead, of Yorkshire, a fast medium right-handed good length bowler and fair batsman, whose success was no surprise to good judges in the M.C.C., with whom in club matches he had played a good deal for the past few
He always kept a fine length, and was therefore invariably difficult to score from, owing his wickets largely to the batsmen's rashness. Length, as usual, proved the master in the end. Lancashire produced a new all-rounder, Whitehead by name, who was promptly no-balled for illegal delivery,
T. Brown being the umpire who was not satisfied with the fairness of his action. Opinions always will differ on this point, but it is only fair to Brown to add that everyone thought his action in no-balling Whitehead perfectly honest, and that subsequent to that action on Brown's part, Whitehead's bowling ceased to be so effective as it had promised to be in the match in which he was no-balled. A bowler knows very well which particular delivery it is that is questioned, and after having once been
called” it is highly probable that for the next few matches, at any rate, he will not try to bowl that particular ball. Opinions formed after the match in which a given bowler was pulled up short are therefore of very little use, unless it is a genuine case of his whole action being illegal. While commenting on this subject it is worthy of note that never before, perhaps, has our first-class cricket been so entirely free from the illegal delivery evil which some years ago actually threatened to ruin it. In 1900 the county captains at Lord's in solemn conclave wrote down eight or ten names of bowlers whose action they considered illegal, and a few more who were to be warned to be more careful in the future. If our county captains met round a table to-day I question whether they could name five bowlers suspected of an occasional illegal delivery.
Fielding, which has never deteriorated in itself to half such a degree as the grumblers in recent years have tried to establish as a fact, has on the whole been very good. The real trouble of recent years has been the increase in buildings and darklooking grand stands round our playing areas. These make a good sight of the ball almost impossible in just those positions where it is most needed, i.e., in the slips. Most catches are offered in the slips; most catches are dropped there. This has been so since the game began. It will be so until the last ball is bowled.
Grand-stands, especially those with anything like an awning in front, help to increase the revenues of the clubs owning them in two ways : by the prices paid for the seats they contain, and by the number of catches they assist in causing fieldsmen to miss-thus prolonging matches. It is generally supposed that on bright, sunny days the ball must be seen all the more clearly. Not so by the fieldsmen in the slips when they are facing these stands. For the brighter the sun the blacker the shadow under the awning--and the average cricket ball does not remain red, and therefore more quickly visible, for long.
In coming to the conclusion of this paper I feel bound to state that exigencies of publication insist that it shall be written while the season is still flourishing, though dying hardily.