Alfred Edward Thomas Watson.

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will devise how one can take them by mastery [skill] , and with what
engines one can do it. For it seems to me that no one is a perfect
hunter if he knows not both to take beasts by strength and with gins;
but I will speak of this unwillingly, for I should not teach to take
beasts unless it be by nobleness and gentleness, and to have good
sport, and that they be not killed falsely."

From the foregoing the reader will have obtained some insight
into the old Norman hunting which prevailed in England up to the


end of the fifteenth century, and which differed as does day from
night from the subsequent ** game slaughter '* which became fashion-
able on the Continent during the two following centuries, or from
English hunting during the Stuart period.

No work of recent years, and certainly no previous English book,
gives us a better picture of what hunting was like in the Middle Ages
than the recently published "Master of Game,'* dealing with our
oldest English hunting book written by that ** rubustious" Plan-
tagenet, Edward, Duke of York, who fell at the head of the English
advance guard at Agincourt, a.d. 141 5.

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into '^m^dTr^En:^^ fhe'tlct'''? f' '^ "'t "'*' ' '''"^'^^^'on
teems bein- exotinS'- tf<=hnical terms with which the book

while an exc£rK M- """^'f "°*"' ""^ '" ^" admirable glossary

before tL7e^7L'^Zt' °' H ' ""'t, °" ''""^-Z-S
for all wh/fol ^ '' ^" indispensable work of reference

dent Theodore Ron 'I .-^ "* of modern sportsmen. Presi-

world has mSe sport Z;^"''"^ "" ^'^V^"^""- '" -hich the old
interest of this valu^W ^'^^"P^*'^" ^^ '*= leisure, enhances the

venery; whHe the l". ? ^°" "^ution to our knowledge of ancient
reproducdons om the ! ? "' ""^'""' Photogravure plates,

vi^. " Gaston Ph-h '. '* ^^."^"' °^ ^" ^"*^'^"' hunting books
Nationafeof pLttive °" °^ *.*^^ *-— of the BiblLh^que
those remote day ' ^ "' ' '"P''"' '^^'^ ^^^'^^^ ^P^'"' "^^^ like in

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A CRICKET season immediately following one distinguished by the
visit of an Australian team is apt to be regarded with anticipations
of tameness. In the present case, however, there seems little reason
for such gloomy foreboding. In fact, it is many years since such
alertness has been noticed in the spring; for, unlike the British
Government after the South African war, English cricketers show a
keen desire to profit by the lessons of last summer. The wide re-
sponse to and keen discussion of an article I contributed to the
National Review of last December, dealing with ** The Waning
Popularity of First-Class Cricket," suggests that on all sides there
is a general desire to remove the imperfections threatening the
attractiveness of the game.

The most serious contemporary matter is the increasing pro-
portion of drawn games. Last season the Australians drew exactly
fifty per cent, of their matches, and out of 113 contests in the county
championships 55 were unfinished. There is no need to dilate upon
the demoralising effect an evitable and useless draw has upon
cricketers and spectators. More interesting is it to note that Essex
have proposed to the committee of M.C.C. to adopt the scoring
favoured by the minor counties. Upon that proposal Mr. O. R.
Borrodaile, the energetic secretary of the eastern county, in the
course of a long conversation with me, observed that though he
does not affirm this provides a final settlement, yet it is at least
an endeavour towards obtaining an augmented number of decisive
results, and whilst open to modifications if practice suggests im-
provement on theory, he believes it will tend to brighten cricket.

The system of scoring thus advocated is to give three points for
a win outright, and one for a result decided on the first innings.
Mr. Borrodaile himself confesses he would like to deduct a point for

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every draw, but that is at present only an Elysian dream. His
theory is that, as matters now stand, if a day and a half has been
wasted by rain, to start a county match is virtually waste of time,
but under his modification a keen contest could be waged.

No one in England is so competent to offer an opinion as
Mr, A. M. Miller, who takes such an active share in the cricket of
the minor counties. He writes : '* There are a good few cricketers
playing for minor counties now who have had a great deal of ex-
perience in first-class cricket, and they are pretty well unanimous
that the system of scoring points for a win on the first innings is a
^reat improvement on the plan by which the first-class counties
decide their competition. There is, however, a division of opinion
as to whether the value of points for a win on the first innings
should be two and for a completed match three, or two and five,
or one and three, respectively. This is not an argument against the
system, but merely about the ratio, and it is certain that the minor
counties will not go back to the methods of the first-class counties,
which they used up to the end of 1901, as the players prefer the
new system." This was written before the Essex proposition was
announced, and Mr. Borrodaile regards the ratio as unimportant, so
long as the new principle is introduced. Among the amateurs who
last year participated in the minor competition, having already had
experience of first-class county matches, may be cited Messrs. J. H.
and W. H. Brain, P. J. de Paravicini, A. C. M. Croome, T. N. Per-
kins, and A. K. Watson.

Another suggestion forwarded to me by a member of the Wel-
lington Club is that a side should be compelled to declare as soon as it
has obtained a lead of 250 runs. He adds : ** This would be unpopular
with batting-average-mongers, but it involves no useless leather-
hunting, and keeps the game always alive." Without agreeing that
it is feasible, the present writer at least thinks it is a proposal
sufficiently interesting to be mentioned. It may be added that in
a very large batch of letters from known and unknown corre-
spondents, those not officially connected with a county executive
unanimously condemn the tea interval.

Naturally the views on the game of the English captain must
be of great interest, and in a letter to me the Hon. F. S. Jackson
vvrrites: ** In my humble opinion the popularity of first-class cricket
has been at its very top during the last few years, and it has been
at a height that could not be maintained, and must necessarily
decline to a more normal state; but at the same time I believe the
section of the cricket-loving public is as large as ever.*' Most de-
cidedly : but is it not the very love of cricket that keeps spectators
a^vay from matches in which leg-play and the abuse of the off-ball,

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as well as lack of a probable definite result, rob the exhibition of all
genuine sport ?

The opinion of the Hon. F. S. Jackson was displayed in a number
of speeches of a distinctly frank nature last autumn, but he did not
carry that frankness so far as to tell us who were the two amateurs
who wrote asking to be played for England, for though the identity
of one is an open secret, that of the other forms a myster>\ His
optimism is curiously at variance with the balance-sheets of quite a
number of first-class counties, which only reveal satisfactory results
because of the receipts obtained from the Australian tour.
Warwickshire, for example, shows a deficit of 3^132, notwith-
standing the fact that the club received 3^315 as a share of the Test
Match receipts. Gloucestershire, Somersetshire, Derbyshire, Hamp-
shire, and Essex could also give reports fraught with anxiety. The
financial basis is not the sporting one, but so long as cricket is
avowedly run on the gate-money basis, it is impossible to deny that
it refutes the satisfactory view of the English captain.

Absolute apathy has been the attitude at home towards the tour
of the moderate M.C.C. team in South Africa. Mr. G. A. Brooking
mentions in that capital periodical The A merican CricheUr that an
article was published in a London weekly from the pen of Mr. P. F.
Warner, in which he stated that the team was stronger than any
eleven that had yet appeared from England. This is in marked
contrast to the general feeling that the side is not sufficiently repre-
sentative to make Test Matches satisfactory, considering that the
^ame is progressing in South Africa in a most marked degree.
Mr. J. N. Crawford, Denton, Hayes, Haigh, and Blythe, fine as
they are, have not colleagues worthy of places in the England
team at home. This was in no sense the fault of the energetic
executive of M.C.C, but the result is the curiously marked indif-
ference. Naturally the inference is that the next South African
side that comes home will find the more hearty welcome. Already
one new cricketer has been discovered in Nourse, who bowls well,
his best ball coming from leg, whilst his left-handed batting is com-
pared by a member of the M.C.C. side to that of Mr. Darling or
Mr. Hill. By the way, it is notable that in the current Australian
season the chief feature is the great batting of Messrs. McAlister and
Mackay, both candidates for the trip to England last summer, but
rejected in favour of Messrs. Gregory and Hopkins.

My warmest thanks are due to the officials whose generous
kindness has enabled me to give the following facts, though in no
way must they be held responsible for the opinions advanced.

At Lord's, Hardstaff of Notts, Reeves and Buckenham of Essex,
and Head of Wiltshire, have been added to the ground-staff. No

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changes have been made in the buildings round the ground except
the pulling down of the iron structure used as a refreshment bar on
the practice ground. The counties which meet M.C.C. at St. John's
Wood are Notts, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Kent, Leicestershire, and
Worcestershire, whilst the usual trials precede the University match
^vhich begins on Thursday, July 5, Gentlemen v. Players being
on the following Monday, and Eton v. Harrow on Friday, the 13th.
The West Indians play M.C.C. immediately afterwards, having
met Lord Brackley's West Indian team on June 18. The Whit
Monday match, which, as usual, is Middlesex v. Somersetshire, is
for the benefit of V. A. Titmarsh, an old and valued servant of the
club, both as cricketer and umpire. Few professionals have ever
been more widely and deservedly respected. Like Diver and
Nichols, he first played as an amateur. The long programme at
Lord's deserves special appreciation for the increased number of such
matches as those of Gentlemen of M.C.C. v. Household Brigade,
R.E. and R.N., as well as fixtures with Royal Academy and Public
Schools, and one between Authors and Actors.

Dr. W. G. Grace writes that the London County Cricket Club
has arranged a long series on the same lines as last year. Although
not able to afford many first-class matches, out and home will be
played under the title of Gentlemen of England v. Cambridge
University, an out match with Oxford, the West Indians will open
their tour at the Crystal Palace, and Surrey will be encountered at
the Oval on Easter Monday. Having asked the G.O.M. of cricket,
who has such a wonderful appreciation of young players, if he can
commend anyone, he answers, " A. Marshall, who was engaged last
season and this at the Palace, and who is qualifying for Surrey,
having been born in Queensland, is one of the finest all-round
cricketers I have ever seen. He made over a centur)' seven times for
London County, is a fair bowler, and a good field."

Mr. M. W. Payne is an optimistic secretary to Cambridge
University, for he concludes a particularly incisive report with :
** Does this impress you that Cambridge will beat Oxford ? I don't
think we shall lose many matches.'* The prospects are unusually
bright, for there are nine old choices available for 1906, as well as
Mr. Hopley, who received his blue in 1904. Mr. Eyre is the
captain, and Mr. Payne will of course keep wicket. To support
these two batsmen the chief run-getters will be Messrs. Colbeck,
Young, Keigwin, and Page. In bowling, Messrs. Napier and
Morcom will lead off. The need will be to strengthen the attack,
even if Mr. Hopley returns to form. Mr. H. Mainprice should
stand a good chance, as he is also a beautiful field and neat bat.
Mr. W. P. Harrison should also get a careful trial. Other Seniors

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are Mr. C. Palmer, who hardly seems as sound as he should be
after so much coaching, Mr. R. E. H. Baily and Mr. C. R. W.
Magnay, both good bats. So few vacancies, however, imply that if
the Blues play well scant opportunities come to others. Of the
Freshmen I would cite three — Mr. J. J. Reunert of Harrow, who
scored 92 out of 139 in 75 minutes against Eton ; Mr. J. C. Buchanan
of Charterhouse, who made 54 and 139 v. Westminster, as well
as 70 V. Wellington, after which he took five wickets for 25 ; and
Mr. K. G. MacLeod of Fettes, who, besides being a fine field, had
an aggregate of 500 and an average of 30 — equal to 50 on English
wickets — whilst he claimed 50 wickets for 11 runs apiece. The
ground bowlers will include Cox, Bland, and Reeves. The home
matches are with Yorkshire, Northants, Surrey, Gentlemen,
Middlesex, and Gloucestershire; out-fixtures: Gentlemen at Crystal
Palace, Sussex, M.C.C. and Ground, Surrey, and Oxford, followed
by the usual visit to Liverpool.

Mr. E. L. Wright, as secretary for Oxford, fears he has very
little information to give as to promising players. Mr. W. S. Bird,
the wicket-keeper, is the new captain — thus occupying the ideal
position for the leader — and Mr. Wright himself is so fine a
hitter that with a little care he ought to make a great bat. The
other old Blues are Messrs. E. G. Martin, G. T. Branston,
N. R. Udal, and G. N. Foster ; the Hon. C. N. Bruce, whose illness
last summer deprived his University of the best public-school bat
of 1904, will probably be fit to play this year, and his form will be
watched with great interest, for Mr. Laver the Australian expressed
the opinion that he had hardly a superior in England. The
other Seniors certainly contain little of promise. Whilst Mr. E. L.
Wright has not yet heard of a slow bowler among the Freshmen,
I should prophesy that Mr. E. B. Carpenter from Winchester
will probably be the best available. In Lord Somers, Charter-
house sends a lively if uncertain hitter, somewhat of the stamp of
Lord George Scott ; and Eton provides one bat, particularly
fine on the leg-side, in Mr. J. J. Astor, who should be care-
fully coached in playing off- balls with more decision. The home
matches are with the Authentics, Gentlemen, Lancashire, M.C.C.
and Ground, Yorkshire, and Free Foresters. On tour will be
met Worcestershire, Surrey, Sussex, M.C.C. and Ground, and

A learned expert has observed to me that Yorkshire will
shortly come toppling down, because all the best cricketers are
now seniors, and he further ventured on a comparison with the
fate of Notts at one period. On the other hand Mr. F. C. Toone
writes : ** Of course, with such promising players as Rothery, Grim-

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shaw, Rudstone, Wainwright, and Wilkinson, Yorkshire is not

likely to fall off. All these are fast approaching the high standard

of county cricket. Still, there is just the want of a 5'oung fast

bowler. Our programme extends from May 3, when we meet

South Wales at Cardiff, to September i, with only three days' rest

on the date of Gentlemen v. Players at Lord's. It should be noted

that this very large programme is arranged for the benefit of county

cricket generally, for by playing some weaker counties it is felt a

great service is being rendered by Yorkshire to the game, and thus

the great strain placed upon the players is somewhat compensated

for. I have pleasure in saying that all the old players are available."

To this I would add that I have italicised all, because this implies

the official denial to the rumours of one retirement. How much the

Hon. F. S. Jackson will play it is impossible to add. Lord Hawke

has booked his return passage from Bombay for April 16. Of the

above-mentioned young players, though all are useful, only Rothery

as yet looks like taking front rank. The balance sheet shows a

profit of 3^1,117.

Mr. T. Matthews sends a flourishing account of Lancashire :
** Our heavy fixture list includes an encounter with Oxford for the
first time for many years. Tyldesley takes the Yorkshire match in
August for his benefit. Our second eleven has entered the Minor
Counties Competition. At Old Traflford, where great changes are
being made, ;^i,ooo is expended over new stands. Mr. A. C. Mac-
Laren is coming to live in the North, and will again captain our
side, but we shall be without Mr. H. G. Garnett. We have hopes
among the younger men of Harry and Rowlands, and there are
several other promising colts on the staff.'' To these observations
may be added that Cook, the new formidable fast bowler, will be
available for the early matches. Mr. W. Brearley announced his
retirement, but it is permissible to doubt whether so keen a
cricketer will thus prematurely close his career.

The only other county which has an equally extensive pro-
gramme is Surrey; but more than one uncertainty renders the
immediate outlook dubious. The splendid work done by Lord
Dalmeny, both as a captain and fine hitter, may possibly be arrested
by his new Parliamentary duties. Nor is anything officially known
about Mr. J. N. Crawford, the greatest public-school cricketer since
Mr. A. G. Steel and the Hon. F. S.Jackson. In both cases, however,
hopeful views are held by Mr. C. W. Alcock, now happily much
stronger, as his innumerable friends will be glad to learn. No new
amateurs are known to the executive, but Mr. W. W. Read has again
been offered the post of cricket coach. Lees is, of course, the Hirst
of the South, and Mr. Knox should improve on his fine work in 1905.

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Bale is a capital reserve wicket-keeper; but apart from Marshall, who
qualifies in 1907, there does not appear to be a great deal of unde-
veloped talent.

Mr. Gregor MacGregor hopes to play for Middlesex in a few
matches, while Mr. B. J. T. Bosanquet, report says, " will have to
stick to work." Otherwise the county team will present a strong
phalanx in August, and rather a scratch appearance in some of
the earlier fixtures. Mr. G. W. Beldam is in much better health,
and Mr. P. F. Warner is keeping in practice at the Cape. It is
earnestly to be hoped that Trott may have the good sense to act
on the advice so freely given to him. Mignon, of course, is quite
a beginner, and it is difficult to decide whether he is useful or not.
In 1907 Mr. E. H. D. Sewell will play under the amateur status,
and Vogler will be qualified. Certainly Middlesex is the embodi-
ment of Imperial Federation in cricket. The same nine counties
are again met, with an extra match against Cambridge. Another
had been arranged with the West Indians, but this has been
dropped. Lord Brackley's team filling the gap at Lord's.

The Sussex team will be again under the leadership of Mr.
C. B. Fry, but unfortunately the two young amateurs, Messrs. H. P.
Chaplin and K. O. Goldie, have returned to military life in India.
There is every reason to believe that K. S. Ranjitsinhji — with whom
Lord Hawke has been staying — will again be in England and able
to play regularly. Two professionals become qualified by residence.
At the beginning of the season R. Relf, younger" brother of the
valued professional, will show what he is like as a batsman, and
at the end of May the Australian Dwyer should appreciably
strengthen the bowling, besides proving a determined run-getter.
The programme is smaller than in previous seasons, for the
encounters with Leicestershire and Northants have been dropped,
and, as usual, Worcestershire is not met. Two county matches will
be played at Hastings ; for the first time a county fixture will take
place at Chichester, it having been decided to play Hampshire
there, whilst Oxford University will probably be opposed at East-
bourne, Cambridge as usual being met at Brighton.

Lord Lilford is apparently effecting for Northamptonshire what
Mr. C. E. Green has so munificently done for Essex. At his ex-
pense Mead and Thompson have been engaged as coaches, the latter
being awarded forty pounds as compensation for not being allowed
to go to South Africa. An innovation is a county match at Peter-
borough, Warwickshire being the visitors, whilst an out-fixture
with Cambridge University is also new. The other counties to be
met are Surrey, Worcestershire, Derbyshire, Hants, Essex, Notts,
and Leicestershire, whilst the West Indians will be given an

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opportunity of repeating their success of 1900, when they won
their first English victory on the county ground.

The Kent captain expects to have the support of all who

assisted last year, and as usual the executive is most energetic. The

Tonbridge ground has been purchased for 3^4,300, and by moving

the pavilion another acre will be added to the playing area, while

the size of the entrance has been doubled. Sussex and Lancashire

take part in the Canterbury Festival, Hampshire and Middlesex

in the Tonbridge Week. It may be mentioned that Huish's benefit

yielded 3^675. The Kent Nursery, which has already produced such

excellent players, appears to possess valuable batting recruits in

Hubble and Munds, and promising all-round cricketers in Hardinge,

Skinner, and Woolley.

The Warwickshire eleven will be the same as in recent summers
except that Mr. A. C. S. Glover may appear more frequently, but
Mr. F. R. Loveitt does not appear to be available. Smith is deputy
wicket-keef)er, and Weldrick, a batsman born in Yorkshire, will
probably obtain a trial. Essex and the Universities have not re-
newed their fixtures. The home match with Northampton will be
at Coventry, the rest at Birmingham.

Mr. G. L. Jessop reports succinctly re Gloucestershire : *' Our
side will be practically the same as last year. No new discoveries
have been made of any great batsmen or bowlers. The Cambridge
match is continued. Taking into account the poor report re
balance-sheet that some of the other counties have to bewail, we
have no reason to be displeased."

Mr. Murray Anderson writes: ''Somersetshire plays the usual
counties, meeting five at Taunton and four (Gloucestershire, Yorkshire,
Sussex, and Lancashire) at Bath. All our last season's amateurs
are available again, Messrs. L. C. H. Palairet and P. R. Johnson as
often as the claims of work will allow. Messrs. Phillips and Daniell
having returned from abroad, will again play regularly under
Mr. S. M. J. Woods, captain for the thirteenth year. We have a new
professional bowler, a younger brother of Cranfield, qualified, and
we hear of some young amateurs coming on. Our financial prospects
were not good last year, but we hope to put that all right this season."

Mr. Turner observes that it is too early to form any idea of what
colts would be of service to Notts, who have all their team of last
summer available, with some likely recruits on the ground-staff,
and the same list of county fixtures as in 1905.

Leicestershire has substituted engagements with Kent for those
vvith Sussex, and again enjoys the financial advantage of playing
home engagements on both Bank Holidays. Pougher will still coach.
Several young cricketers of promise are on the ground-staff, including

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Hampson, a useful second-string wicket-keeper; Palmer, who is
left-handed; Curtis, Looms, and Astell. All last year's professionals
and amateurs are again available. Thanks to the share in the profits
of Test Matches amounting to £315, a balance of £ioy is shown,
thus reducing the debt due to the bank to 3^763.

Essex is troubled with lack of funds. On the question of Mead
it is obvious that until he approaches the committee the latter can
do nothing ; but as his eight wickets in first-class cricket last year
cost 25I runs, it may be that some of his old skill is lost. Mr.
Borrodaile denies that the bowling of Essex is weak, and lays all
the blame on the fielding. As usual, Mr. C. E. Green generously

Online LibraryAlfred Edward Thomas WatsonThe Badminton magazine of sports and pastimes → online text (page 30 of 52)