Alfred Edward Thomas Watson.

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defrays the expenses of Peel and Lockwood, who are to coach before
the regular season. Much is expected from Connor, a fast right-
handed bowler, said to be alert in the slips. Benham, who is coach
at Winchester, with additional opportunities should do tetter, and
J. Freeman is a reserve wicket-keeper of promise. Major Turner
and Rev. F. H. Gillingham will more frequently appear, and the rest
of the team remain undaunted by reverses in excess of victoria.
The matches with Warwickshire have been dropped, Gloucestershire
and Northants being met instead. The West Indians play their first
county match at Leyton, and the out-fixture with Kent is at Tun-
bridge Wells instead of at Canterbury.

"Derbyshire,'* Mr. Barclay Delacombe writes, "will have to
rely chiefly on the same eleven, but it is hoped Messrs. A. E. Lawton
and G. Curgenven will be able to play more regularly. Though no
colts of great promise are in view, there is every reason to expect a
marked development in Cadman, while Norton looks like making a
really first-class player. Derbyshire welcomes Yorkshire, Surrey, and
Northants at Chesterfield, Leicestershire at Glossop, and the other
counties who were encountered last summer at Derby. A greatly
increased subscription list is anticipated, which will permit more to
be done in the way of encouraging young players, of which there
are many of promise."

With the possible exception of Captain Greig and Mr. G. N.
Bignell, who will both be in India, Hampshire will have all last year's
cricketers available. Mead, a left-handed slow bowler, and Bad-
cock, who is fast right-handed, will receive trials, and are rather con-
fidently expected to strengthen the attack. The Hon. C. N. Bruce,
of Oxford University, will assist as often as he can. The Army will
be encountered at Aldershot, where Surrey will also be met ; War-
wickshire plays at Basingstoke, Kent at Bournemouth, Somerset-
shire, Sussex, and Worcestershire at Portsmouth ; Yorkshire, Derby-
shire, Northants, Leicestershire, and West Indians at Southampton.

Mr. A. M. Miller has most kindly responded to my request to

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write upon the subject with which he is so identified, to the
following effect : —

•* The Minor Counties Association, which includes the second
elevens of Surrey and Yorkshire, and will this year, for the first
time, include that of Lancashire, is yearly attracting more attention.
It was founded in 1895, and there were then seven counties playing
in its competition ; in 1906 there will be twenty competitors, including
the three second elevens just mentioned. It is unsatisfactory in regard
to the system of arranging matches, as at present a county may pick
and choose its opponents, and by avoiding the stronger counties and
selecting the weak it can finish high up in the table of results, while
the stronger counties, by playing each other, have not scored so
many points, and are, consequently, not at the top ; this, however,
will be righted shortly, as at the last meeting it was only postponed
as all the counties had made their fixtures for 1906. There are two
schemes to select from. The one discussed at the annual meeting
divides the counties into two groups of ten each, which play each
other once during the season, with a final match between the top
counties of each group. The other advocates a system by which
the counties are divided into four groups, each county playing two
matches with each other, the top county of each group to play in a
semi-final match, and the two winners to play a final, and the winner
to be the champion county of the second division. Which of these
two schemes will be adopted it is hard to say, for both have their
respective merits, but on the whole the four-group seems to be the
easiest to work. A few of the competitors do not welcome the
second elevens of first-class counties in the competition, and think
that if they do enter they ought to have a separate supply of
cricketers and not play those who are on the borderland of the first-
class eleven. It is needless to say that the counties holding this
opinion do not play the second elevens ; but it is the wish of the
majority of the minor counties to play against the best sides they
can, and thus try to improve their standard of cricket. Although
Surrey second have been in the competition since 1899 and York-
shire second since 1901, neither have yet succeeded in being at the top
of the table of results. The wickets in minor county cricket are not
on the whole as good as the first-class counties play on, as they
have not the money to spend on the up-keep of their grounds; but
they are improving steadily, and there is little to be found fault wiih
in this respect. The umpiring, which in the old days before inde-
pendent umpires were adopted was most unsatisfactory, is now quite
the reverse.

" One frequently hears discussed the respective merits of some
minor county and those towards the bottom of the first class, and

MO. cxxix. VOL. XXII. — April 1906 H E

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the advent of Northamptonshire in the first division was watched with
the greatest interest. Considering that they finished above three
others in the list in 1905, it shows that there is not such a wide gap
between the tail of the first division and the top of the second.
Personally I think that the standard of first-class cricket should be
judged by the first dozen on the list, and not the last five. Although
it would be considered hard lines to turn down into the second divi-
sion some of the first-class counties, it must be borne in mind that
it is equally hard on any minor county that is better than some of
the existing first-class counties to keep it from promotion. There
ought to be, and no doubt will be in the future, some plan devised
by which a minor county can obtain promotion by merit."

The last suggestive paragraph is far too pregnant to be adequately
dealt with towards the close of a lengthy article hampered by severe
compression. It is, however, possible that ultimately there may be
three classes: (a) the first ten who may compete for the county
championship ; (6) the second eight composed of the last six of the
present first-class counties and the two highest of the present minor
counties, who would compete for the second-rank championship, both
these classes .to be included in first-class averages; (c) the remainder
of those engaged in the Minor Counties Competition. If the bottom
county of one class played a match with the top county of the class
below for their respective qualification in the ensuing year, a great
stimulus might be given to the whole tournament of English county
cricket, whilst the strain of too many matches would be perceptibly
relieved, as no shire would have more than eighteen championship

Finally must be dealt with the prospects of the forthcoming
West Indian tour. It is open to doubt if the committee of the
M.C.C. will decide that any of their fixtures shall count in first-class
averages, but considerable interest will, in any case, be excited by
their visit. On the last tour, in 1900, five victories could be set
against eight defeats, but Lord Brackley's Team in the West Indies
in the spring of 1905 had to put up with three disasters against
eleven successes. On the present occasion, Mr. F. E. Lacey has
arranged a capital programme, commencing at the Crystal Palace,
against London County, on June 11, and concluding on August 18
at Northampton. An England Eleven is met at Blackpool, Lord
Brackley's Team and M.C.C. and Ground at Lord's, and the following
first-class counties have home engagements with them : — Essex,
Surrey, Hampshire, Kent, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire,
Northamptonshire, and Notts. The other games are with a Minor
Counties Combined Eleven at Ealing, Wiltshire, Northumberland
and Durham, Norfolk, South Wales, and Scotland.

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The Sports Sub-Committee of the West India Club, acting in

co-operation with the West Indies and with Mr. F. E. Lacey, have

obtained some guarantees as well as generous assistance from the

counties. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the gentlemen

playing for the Islands are in the truest sense bond-fide amateurs, who

will only receive their bare expenses while on the tour. Though not

yet appointed, it is probable that Mr. A. E. Harrigan, the captain of

Trinidad, will officiate in that capacity for the team. He is a big

hitter, who never considers he has done himself justice until he has

hit a six. Burton, the black bowler from Demerara, who was the

best on the last tour, is coming again, this time with Cumberbatch,

another bowler of colour, right-handed medium-paced, considered

the pick of Trinidad. These two will bear the brunt of the attack,

Avith Mr. S. Smith (a slow left-handed bowler who took six wickets

for 17 runs v. Barbadoes) and Mr. R. Ollivierre as chief changes.

The latter, a brother of the amateur now playing for Derbyshire,

and in style modelled on him, much impressed Lord Brackley's

Team when he scored 99 and took seven for 38 and four for 19.

The last tour suffered from the absence of Mr. H. B. G. Austin,
ivho was serving in South Africa. We shall now see the most grace-
ful bat in Trinidad, who scored 83 for the Combined Islands against
Lord Brackley's Team. Mr. Constantine will be remembered for
the brilliant way in which he punished the bowling of Dr. W. G.
Grace and Mr. A. E. Stoddart at Lord's. Mr. Learmond, a steady
but vigorous bat, is reported to have much improved since his former
visit. Mr. P. Goodman, who made 104 v. Derbyshire in igoo,
obtained the only century, as well as another 75, against the last
English touring side. Mr. Challenor is also reported to be a stylish
run-getter. The wicket-keeper is Mr. C. K. Bancroft, of Barbados,
and, presumably, Mr. J. E. Parker is selected as reserve stumper.
JLayne is a bowler said to come with his arm, and Mr.C. S. Morrison
is chosen to afford occasional assistance in that department. What-
ever proportion of victories they obtain, the West Indians are sure
to enjoy a very instructive and enjoyable tour.

The foregoing must abundantly prove that there is reason to
anticipate a busy and important cricket season.

E E 2

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BY C. V. A. PEEL, F.Z.S., F.R.G.S.

After a five days* hard march over very rough country, I pitched
camp on the edge of a huge open plain a few miles north-east of
Lake Baringo. The heat here in the middle of the day was very
great, and I think I must have had a touch of the sun, for the first
two days I felt very ill, and was unable to go out hunting. The
first morning I got on to the open plain I saw a great deal of
game and caught sight of the first wild giraffe I had ever set eyes
upon. He looked positively gigantic as he slowly walked up wind.
Numbers of Peter's gazelle and Thomson's gazelle were about, also
a single ostrich, but all very wild.

Keeping close under cover of some thick thorn bushes I next
came upon a large herd of oryx antelope feeding on the open plain.
It was impossible to get near them, so I tried a prodigiously long
shot, which for a wonder came off, and a fine bull oryx lay kicking
in the sand. After we had got the skin off I turned to go home, as
I was still feeling very weak and ill ; and while walking along, a
small herd of zebras was seen to be approaching us. As they ap-
peared to be about to offer a grand chance for a photograph at vety
close quarters, I laid down my rifle, and taking cover in the thick
bushes, began to get my camera ready. The zebras stopped ; I "w^

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obliged to make towards them, and was stalking along very, very
quietly with my eyes intent upon them, when I all but walked on to
the top of a huge rhinoceros which lay in a deep depression in the
ground before me. With a loud snort the beast jumped up and,
wheeling round, stood sniffing the air. Armed only with a camera
I thought the best thing to do was to squat slowly down behind a
bush and await events, expecting every moment he would charge up
wind right at me. I felt so excited that I forgot all about the camera
I was holding, for I might easily have taken a grand snapshot of
him as he stood only a few yards away, looking particularly formid-
able. After waiting for what seemed an age to me, he turned


slightly sideways and moved past me at a tremendous pace, snorting
and blowing and crashing through the tiny bushes like a runaway

I was very thankful when the boys came up with my rifle. We
searched the dense bush for some time, but saw no more of the

Next morning from my tent door I could see such a sight of
game that it was difficult to credit it in these days of game laws and
restrictions. Almost at my feet in this bush country I made out
with my naked eye several herds of Peter's gazelle and two herds
of impala, including three fine bucks. The impala in the Baringo

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country carry the finest heads of any I have ever seen, the horns
rarely measuring less than 30 in. round the curve.

Farther on I could detect innumerable herds of Peter's gazelle.
Still beyond us out on the open plain my glass showed me a never-
ending procession of zebra and oryx, with a single rhino and its calf.
In the far distance I discerned the same tall figure of my friend the
big giraffe standing like a leaning tower of Pisa right out in the
open. This panorama, backed by giant mountains and a rising sun,
was the sight of a lifetime. Turning my back on the plains and
facing hills, I made out a single cow koodoo ; but although I searched
all the rocky slopes within sight, I failed to make any more out.

About eight o'clock I saw what I took to be a small herd of


eland mixed up with some zebras, and began the stalk at once. It
proved the most arduous of any I had so far undertaken, owing to
the amount of game between them and me. I had left my gun-
bearers behind as usual, as they had proved themselves a positive
nuisance when a scientific stalk was in progress, for they never
seemed to take in the situation in the least degree. As the time
passed, all the while I was worming myself on my belly I was in
constant dread lest my gun-bearers should get impatient after so long
a wait and show themselves, but luckily they knew by experience
what would happen should they dare to do so.

I now saw a fine bull eland make as though to join the main
body, but unluckily he turned away and went and stood under some

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thick bushes out of my sight. After using my glass for some
minutes I became aware that a very large herd of eland were before
me. Behind every tree and bush were gathered together three or
four of these gigantic antelopes. I made frantic struggles through
the grass to get nearer, and at length spotted a second bull, at which
I fired, hearing the bullet tell. There was a wild rush of animals
for the open, and I counted as many as fifty cows and four huge
bulls. I sat down and made some shocking shooting at the last of
these latter, which I took to be my wounded one, as he moved so
slowly and badly. The whole herd were soon out of range, when
one of my men
ran up saying he
had seen the bull
I had wounded,
so I walked up to
the place and
found a lot of
blood. We fol-
lowed the spoor
amongst rocky
hills for some
half-mile, when
my gun - bearer
pointed out what
he said was the
eland. Person-
ally I thought it
was an ant-hill,
for I could see no
head. However,
I sat down, and
at eighty yards

made one of the giant ant-hill

-worst shots in my

life ! But somehow I thought I was firing at nothing, and that
may partially account for the miss. To add to my conjecture the
thing I aimed at never moved, and I was fumbling in my pocket for
another cartridge when an enormous bull eland ran from behind the
bush and away ! He stopped again after going a hundred yards,
and I distinctly heard the bullet tell on him ; however, he moved
slowly out of sight. I raced after him till I could go no further,
and sank exhausted amongst the stones. We followed the track
for miles, but lost it eventually in stony ground.

Next morning I felt so sick at the thought of losing so fine a

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trophy, that I once more set out to try to find his tracks. By seven
o'clock we had taken up the blood spoor, but it was terribly slow
work owing to the rocky nature of the ground. Whilst we were
going along we heard a terrible commotion in the bushes to our left,
and I expected to see the inevitable rhino (which swarmed in this
part of the country) come blundering into us ; however, it turned out
to be a herd of six giraffe, and a very interesting sight it was. Their
walk is majestic in the extreme, but when it comes to running these
great camel-like animals cut rather ridiculous figures.

But to proceed with our tracking. We had been going about
four hours, and I could see my boys were beginning to get tired of
it, when, as we were descending into a rocky gorge, I suddenly saw
the eland far below me running slowly down hill. At length he

reached the bottom, went out into an open space, and stood under a
solitary tree. Now was the time for a stalk ! Feeling the wind
carefully by throwing grass into the air, I crawled and crawled to-
wards him until I was a hundred yards off. No further could I get
owing to want of cover. I flattered myself my stalking was gene-
rally good, but my shooting — oh, I knew how bad it could be! I
took plenty of time and careful aim before I fired, but the eland
never moved. Had I hit him or missed him ? Yesterday's pro-
ceedings were to be reproduced again, I feared. I crawled nearer (I
was horribly excited, I own) and fired again. The eland did not
move. I got up and ran towards him. He still stood with his head
in the shade of that solitary tree. All at once he seemed to realise

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that he must be off. He put up his head, saw me, and started to
run. Was I going to lose him after all? I ran as I never ran
before, found 1 gained on him, and got up to within twenty yards
of him ; then as he turned his great broadside to me I put a bullet
through his heart, bringing him down in a kneeling position. After
photographing him I tried to get at his throat with my knife, but he
was game to the last, and with a low bellow he flourished his horns
about me in threatening fashion, so that I was obliged to end his
troubles with another ball. He was a superb bull eland, measuring
from tip of nose
to end of tail lift.
I in. His girth
was exactly 7 ft.
and his height at
the shoulders 5 ft.
10 in. His horns
measured 14 in.
in length.

Next day I was

wandering about

the bush on the

edge of the open

plain, when all at

once I saw ap-
proaching me in

the distance a

huge bull giraffe.

With head and

neck bent low,

with stooping

shoulders and

slow wandering

gait he was mak-
ing straight for

me. Getting my gun-bbarbr and oryx antelope

gun-bearers safe-
ly hidden from view — a matter of no little difficulty, as they
insisted on walking upright instead of crawling — I lay amongst
some aloes to await events. There were a number of Peter's
gazelle about ; some of them had seen us and were running
or walking about suspiciously. They turned the giraffe, so that I
judged he would walk past me at about three hundred yards.
This would never do, I thought, so I prepared to stalk him, and
if possible cut him off. Every now and then he would stop

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and watch the gazelle and then proceed in his accustomed leisurely
fashion. I left my patch of aloes and began to crawl on all fours.
I soon found out I had plenty to think about. In the first place,
after crawling but a few yards, I perceived a huge rhinoceros
walking slowly away from me about one hundred yards in front,
then I had the gazelle to keep out of the way on my right, and
my quarry the giraffe was coming on at a goodly pace, albeit it
looked so slow.

The bushes here were pretty high, so I ventured to stand up
and show myself, first to the gazelle to get them if possible quietly

out of the way. It was a risky proceeding, but it had the desired
effect, for the gazelle slowly walked across me. I was now left with
the rhino to deal with. He insisted on stopping every minute or so
to feed, so that I could not get on. I feared he would either stam-
pede the giraffe or the giraffe would stampede him, in which latter
case I might probably have to run for it !

I tried all the time to keep calm, but I was getting so close
(barely thirty yards) to the rhino that I was beginning to wish
for a gun-bearer with a second gun, as I held only a single-barrelled
•450 cordite rifle. However, the wind held right, the rhino moved
quietly, the giraffe approached rapidly, and I reached a small bush

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in safety. Here I sat down, cocked my rifle, and waited for the
gigantic tower to appear — waited for what seemed an age. In
reality it was barely a minute. At length the creature strode in
sight, and I never beheld such a wonderful picture as he presented as
he stalked out from behind some small thorn trees and stood broad-
side on watching me from the open. He was quite two hundred
yards away, but realising I should never have a better chance I
took aim and pulled the trigger. With a crash that could be plainly
heard even at that great distance, the huge beast fell heavily to the


His total height was about 16 ft. 2 in., his height at the
shoulders 8 ft. 10 in., and his girth exactly 8 ft. 4 in. He was a
specimen of the southern or two-horned variety, with light fawn-
coloured markings on a white ground.

One day, being short of meat for the porters, I determined to
shoot a couple of Peter's gazelle, which simply swarmed in the
thick bush about here. We soon found a herd, which I stalked.
The biggest animal had its head hidden in a bush, but it offered a
good chance, so I fired. It galloped for fifty yards full tilt and
then fell over dead. It turned out to have a very good head, and I

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had just got my camera out to photograph it when for the second
time a rhinoceros appeared on the scene. He walked slowly past,
so we sat stock still till he vanished into the bushes, and luckily


neither saw nor winded us. I swopped my Mannlicher for my '450
cordite, and following up the huge imprints in the sand we came

up with him in a very short time. In a crouching position I
advanced behind his tail until at length he turned to feed in a thorn
bush ; I then, losing no time, fired into his left shoulder at once. He

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dropped on to his knees, and cramming in another cartridge I fired
again, knocking him right off his fore legs. He banged the ground
about with his head for a minute, and then all movement ceased.
His front horn measured 23 in., but I have often seen larger rhinos.
After having great sport with gazelle, impala, oryx, Jackson's harte-
beest, and waterbuck, I went down to the shores of the lake. Here I
got a hippo from a dug-out native canoe, and saw the old tracks of
buffalo and elephant. But the heat down by the lake was terrific,


and so were the mosquitos, which forced me to beat a hasty retreat
out of what must be a magnificent game country. We marched
through thick thorn bush the first day, and the porters got charged
by a rhino. The number of tracks of these animals is incredible in
this part of the country, and the wonder to me was that we did
not see more of the animals themselves.

On the way back we tried for elephant at Lake Hannington,
but the tracks were all old.

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Google 1


I shot near the lake an enormous python which lay in my path
one early morning. I all but trod on it, taking it to be the stump

Online LibraryAlfred Edward Thomas WatsonThe Badminton magazine of sports and pastimes → online text (page 31 of 52)