Alfred Edward Thomas Watson.

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For the practice of boating and swimming the broad smooth
stretches of the Tiber afford every facility. On fine summer evenings

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quite a number of rowing boats are to be seen on its surface.
Swimming is also freely indulged in at certain points, and a common
sight to see is that of men and boys diving from the bridges. Some-
times the feat is varied by plunging over the embankment wall
mounted on a bicycle. Tennis-players have a club of their own near
the Porta del Popolo and not far from the charming Pincio Gardens.
The ** Circolo Lawn-Tennis, Roma,'* as the club is known, has a
membership of one hundred and fifty, and is presided over by the
Duke of Lorenzo.

Golfers in the Eternal City are particularly well catered for, the


Rome Golf Club providing them with the means of enjoying a round
whenever they feel inclined and can spare the time for making the
necessary expedition. The links are situated at Acqua Santa, on the
Via Appia Nuova, and are within a quarter of an hour's walk of both
a railway station and a tram terminus. The course is a fairly
sporting one, and its nine holes extend over about three thousand
yards. The amateur record for these is thirty-nine. Italians, it
may be noted, have taken kindly to the royal and ancient game,
and several members of the leading Roman families belong to the
club. The bulk of the membership, however, consists of ** forestieri "

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(as Englishmen and Americans are termed), and includes Sir Edwin
Egerton, the British Ambassador, and Mr. Hector de Castro,
Consul-General for the United States. There are two classes of


members, (i) permanent and (2) temporary, the subscriptions in
the case of gentlemen being one hundred lira and thirty lira (about
£4 and £1 5s.). Ladies are eligible to join on considerably reduced



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terms, while chance visitors can purchase daily tickets on payment
of the green fee of three lira (half a crown). Caddies are paid the
equivalent of a shilling for eighteen holes. The boys who officiate
in this capacity seldom know much English, and what they do
know is not always of the sort approved in Sunday-schools. For
instance, '* Plenty damn fine shot, missy," is the observation with
which they are apt to greet a lady who has made a good drive; while,
" Oh hellee! Hard lines !'* is their way of commiserating with per-
haps a clerical gentleman who has got bunkered. There is a club
house at the entrance to the links, where members can change their
clothes, etc.; and a professional, who gives lessons if required, is
always in attendance.

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{With contributions by many prominent authorities)

In his new work ** Industrial Efficiency," that prominent expert,
Dr. Shadwell, furnishes a remarkable analysis of the leading differ-
ence between the inhabitants of England, Germany, and the United
States. ** The English people still possess as much energ}' as for-
merly ; but they direct it into different channels and make play their
work. That applies to all classes of the community, and it is a new
thing. The English have always been distinguished as a people for
exceptional love of games and sport, but indulgence in those amuse-
ments was an occasional relaxation between periods of serious labour.
These have now become a constant preoccupation and the chief
interest of life to a large proportion of men in all ranks of society . . .
Both masters and boys in the mass pay more homage to proficiency
in cricket than to any intellectual attainments, and the captain of
the school on the cricket-field is a greater personage than its captain
in the class-room."

This is not the occasion to enter into any estimate as to whether
the love of cricket has become an abuse as Rudyard Kipling suggested,
or whether it builds up the stamina and the moral discipline which
make a typical Englishman, though there would be no difficulty in
proving the latter case in the judgment of British sportsmen. Leaving
that, however, apart, and accepting the facts of the case as stated by
the clear-sighted censor just quoted, so long as cricket occupies its
high position it is incumbent to provide the best possible exponents
of the game. For many years it has been a truism that the finest
combination is a happy conjunction of amateur and professional
talent. At one time the public-school cricketer provided almost the
whole of first-class amateur talent, apart from a comparatively small
section, which included the Graces and Mr. W. W. Read. Of late
the University elevens have had a larger percentage of players drawn
from smaller schools or even privately educated. The same feature
is observable in the composition of the sides representing England and
the Gentlemen, five of the eleven chosen for the latter at Lord's last

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summer not hailing from any public school, and three out of the seven
amateurs selected to play in Test Matches, as well as about one-third
of the first fifty amateurs in first-class batting averages and a dozen
of the thirty-four in the bowling.

It has been laid down by Lord Hawke that it takes three years to
make a county cricketer out of a likely colt, and it has long been an
axiom that for the University match, if all other capacities are equal,
preference will be given to an Etonian or Harrovian, simply because
he has already played before a big crowd at Lord's in his school match.
This being the case, it has been thought desirable to obtain the views
of well-known old Wykehamists and others intimately associated
as to the desirability of transferring the Eton and Winchester match
to Lord's. For a long time that halcyon idea of a Public School Week
at the headquarters of cricket has been discussed, and there are two
contemporaneous signs which may be indicated ; first, that this year
Eton plays Winchester only a week before meeting Harrow, and
secondly that there is some prospect that the long-desired meeting
between Harrow and Winchester may be arranged. In this respect
it may be worth stating that Mr. M. C. Kemp, who so enthusiasti-
cally directs Harrovian cricket, writes in reply to my interrogatories :
** By special desire of my Head Master my lips are closed, so I fear I
cannot oblige." Needless to say I did not take the invidious step of
trying to obtain opinions from any of the three Head Masters, and the
fact of his remaining after the rest of the M.C.C. team in South Africa
deprives this article of the valuable views of that well-known Wyke-
hamist and singularly judicious critic, Mr. H. D. G. Leveson-Gower.
It is with sincere gratitude that I acknowledge the great kindness
which has characterised the replies of those I addressed.

The senior old Wykehamist I applied to was that ardent cricketer
and inspiriting captain Mr. J. Shuter, one of the most popular men
who ever led a county team. Against Eton, in 1871, when Win-
chester won by 8 runs, he scored 2 and 18, earned the unenviable
** pair of spectacles " next season, but wound up with 13 and 52, the
highest score on the side, in 1873. He writes : ** I feel I can give you
but little help, my experience of school cricket since I left Winchester
having been practically nil. I have certainly always been under the
impression that Eton looks upon the Winchester match as of second-
ary importance as compared with the Harrow match, and that a
distinct advantage is gained over Winchester from the fact that the
ordeal is a greater one for Winchester than for Eton. This would be
equalised could the match be played at Lord's. I really cannot say
that I ever gave the matter any consideration when I was at Win-
chester, but could the change now be made I for one would most
cordially welcome it; and I cannot but think that, considering the

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fierce light which now beats on ' public ' cricket, the experience thus
gained at such an impressionable age cannot but be of benefit to
young cricketers — and to the cricket of the school in general."

This view does not coincide with that of the majority of my
other correspondents. It will occur to everyone, What does
Mr. J. R. Mason say ? Emphatically the greatest cricketer ever
produced by Winchester modestly observes: ** You will understand
that I am giving you only my personal views and feelings on the
subject" — which is exactly what was desired in all cases. He then
goes on : " In answer to the several questions in your letter, I do
not think that any benefit would accrue to Winchester cricket if
thq annual match against Eton was played at Lord's. Winchester
used to play both Eton and Harrow at Lord's, but no match has
been played with Harrow since 1854, and after that year the match
with Eton has been played alternately at Eton and Winchester. My
views are, and always have been, strongly in favour of this arrange-
ment. There are many pleasant features in connection with this
yearly exchange of visits and friendly hospitality, and the lasting good
feeling engendered thereby would unquestionably be lost if a change
to Lord's were adopted ; in fact, I think such a change would be detri-
mental rather than beneficial to Winchester cricket. No further
publicity is needed to increase the keenness of the generous rivalry
which the annual match between Winchester and Eton creates, and
I trust no question of having to pay to watch the play will ever arise.
I am of course aware that this interesting topic has been often dis-
cussed, but I fail to see any advantage to Winchester cricket or to
the eleven in changing the venue to Lord's." It is appropriate to
recall how great an opponent Mr. Mason proved in his school
matches. In 1890, when he went in last, he scored 15 not out. Next
year illness deprived the eleven of his services, but in 1892 he amassed
147 and 71, besides taking eight wickets, and when captain in the
following summer he obtained 43 and 36, besides claiming eight
wickets at a cost of little more than seven runs apiece.

Mr. G. W. Ricketts, who showed himself a rattling cricketer
when up at Oxford, has since become particularly identified with
reforms, so that his views were especially desirable. He observes
that '* it would be beneficial to Winchester cricket to play Eton at
Lord's if the match were at the end, or near the end, of the term.
For the last thirty years at least the match has been played during
the last week in June, which is too early in the summer term for the
climax of the school cricket season. It would, I think, be equally
beneficial if the match were played as at present, but later in the
year. This year, for the first time so far as I know, the match is to
be on July 6 and 7, and this goe§ a good way towards meeting my

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objection." [In 1891, when Mr. R. L. Ricketts was in the eleven,
Winchester beat Eton by five wickets on July 4.] " I am not
sure at this distance of time what I would have preferred when I
was at school, but so far as I can remember, if I had been given the
choice, I should have chosen to play at Lord's. This would have
been on account of the fame of Lord's ground, and not for the
pleasure it would have given. I know I greatly enjoyed my two
visits to play at Eton in 1881 and 1883, in spite of our being beaten
in 1881, when we thought we ought to have won." [This was a
great personal triumph for Mr. P. J. de Paravicini, who scored 59
and took ten wickets for 71. The Winchester players were a fine,
powerful set, and admittedly the stronger eleven.]

Mr. W. H. Leese develops a further aspect by expressing the
opinion that it would have no effect on the "cricket " at all if the
match were played at Lord's. ** Speaking generally, I think Eton
play worse there than anywhere else ; anyhow, it would not improve
our form. Every big school has now so good a ground and wicket
that natural talent is bound to come to the front. So also are made
cricketers, though they depend on the coaching, which in its turn
depends on the wickets, for no good cricket can be taught unless
the wickets are perfect. Incidentally I should much regret '* fine
natural wickets " at schools. They are usually a synonym for
" fiery *' ones, and are, however amusing such cricket is to watch,
both unpleasant and dangerous to the player. Any good cricketer
is in these days certain to get a chance from whatever school he
comes, and the advertisement of playing at Lord's is very little good.
In fact, I have known some men from smaller schools, who went up
to the University with big reputations largely gained by meeting
inferior players, very much overtried. After all, the county and
University authorities want the best men and have ample means to
find them. Socially the Eton and Winchester encounter is at
present as pleasant as can be. Both the school grounds are magni-
ficent in every way, and since Winchester have had a good wicket
the matches are very even. Until then, with few exceptions, we
had the poorest possible sides. Lord's at the school match is a
rabble of people who never were at Eton but who wear light blue.
Unless one was a member of M.C.C. I should imagine it a day of
toil and tribulation. On either school ground one can move about,
see many friends, and wear rational dress. One more thing, and
that important : Contrast the feeling between the two schools and
that between Eton and Harrow. In the former case the friendli-
ness is lafgely, I think, due to the fact that each school entertains
the other in turn. The Eton and Harrow feeling is not a good one,
though it may serve to amuse people. There is bitterness at the
NO. cxxxi. VOL. xxu.^June 1906 X X

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back of it. The Eton and Winchester feeling, on the other hand,
is up to the best traditions of the two schools and lasts through life.
I have spent hours watching Eton and Winchester matches with
Etonians I have played against. I notice that Etonians and
Harrovians do not much frequent the Eton v, Harrow. I am
sure it would be much to their advantage if they could play the
match as we do. Fancy exchanging New Field at Winchester, with
the Old Barge, the river running at the bottom and * Hills' in the
distance, and all the jolly old trees and buildings; or *Agar's
Plough,' which will be perfect when the trees grow a bit, and all
the beautiful surroundings of Eton, for Lord's as it is now ! You
might as well play the match at Olympia."

How strongly divergent opinions are may be judged from the
following incisive observations of Mr. A. L. Watson. It will be
remembered that the Hampshire county amateur was one of the
comparatively few Wykehamist cricketers who went up to Cambridge.
(Others were the Hon. J. W. Mansfield, Messrs. G. E. Winter
and H. C. McDonell.) Against Eton in 1885, when captain, he
contributed 67. He points out that with one exception no old
Wykehamist has ever scored a century in the University match-
Mr. V. T. Hill, in 1892, made 114 — nor in Gentlemen v. Players,
nor yet in Test Matches either in England or Australia, whilst
Mr. J. R. Mason is the only one who has achieved the double feat
of scoring 1,000 runs and taking 100 wickets, which he did in 1901,
when his aggregate was 1,561, and he dismissed 118 opponents.

*' It would be an excellent thing," writes Mr. A. L. Watson, "if
the authorities could see their way to allow Winchester to play
Eton at Lord's. Boy-cricketers should be given a chance of appear-
ing before the public at Lord's before they go up to the University.
It is a good tonic for nervous cricketers ; it gives them more confi-
dence when they get to the University; and, further, their chances
are more on a par with Etonians and Harrovians, whereas in the
present state of things these chances are somewhat discounted.
Many Wykehamists in the last twenty years have failed to do them-
selves justice on the cricket field in the University match, and it is
quite possible thit nervousness on their first appearance at Lord's
may have been a big factor in their failure.

** There should be no reason, if the match were played annually
at Lord's, for losing that bonne camaraderie which has always existed
in the Eton and Winchester match ; and it would give a great
impetus to Winchester cricket in the future.

'*The match should not be played later than the Eton and
Harrow match, because cricket at public schools, especially with
the members of the eleven, is kept up at a very high tension, and is

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likely to be too much strain on some boys if the match were played
at the end of the term, owing to the monotony of the constant
practices. Personally I always was in favour of it when I was
captain of Winchester in 1885, and further wished to play Harrow at
Lord's, though I can fully see that the authorities might have a
strong case against both the Winchester matches and Eton and
Harrow being played at Lord's. In my time I never even saw Lord's
cricket ground until I had left Winchester three years, and others
in the eleven may have had similar experiences.

" Unhesitatingly I consider that it would be a most admirable
thing in every way if the Eton and Winchester could be played at
Lord's every year."

Allusion has been made to Mr. V. T. Hill as the sole
Wykehamist ** centurion " in the University match. He sends some
notes which run as follows : " The mere fact of playing Eton at
Lord's would not, in my opinion, make much difference to cricket
in general at Winchester, although it would, of course, be of
considerable benefit to those who were fortunate enough afterwards
to assist in the University match. Lord's being well known to be a
ground on which it is difficult to do oneself justice, either with the
bat or fielding, until one is accustomed to its peculiarities. I think
it is a great pity there should not be a Public School Week in which
Eton, Winchester, and Harrow^ should play one another. It would
create extra keenness amongst the schools, and also be well worth
watching from a spectator's point of view. At present Winchester
or Eton has, I think, quite an advantage playing on the home
ground. At Winchester, although the ground was a very good one,
the ball always rose rather straight off the pitch, and those w^ho
were not used to it were apt to get caught in the slips, especially if
fond of cutting, while at Eton there was the curious light as well
as the plague of flies in the afternoon. At Winchester we had the
advantage of almost perfect practice wickets, which coupled with
the opportunity of occasionally seeing good cricket goes a long way
towards making a good cricketer."

Only one old Wykehamist, distinguished in many ways besides
at cricket, desires anonymity for his contribution. From it may be
extracted "the cricket is always keen and there is no waste of time.
In my time the first day's play began at 10.45, and stumps were
drawn at 6.30. On the second day we commenced at either 10.15
or 10.30 ; deducting luncheon intervals, there was thus a total of
over fourteen hours' play, and in the six seasons I was at Winchester
the match with Eton was only once drawn. Possibly a good many
people would like to see some of the match, and could do so if it
were played at Lord's, but as a whole those who want to see it get

X X 2

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to it, and there is a healthy avoidance of the social function.
The match is this year to be played nearly a fortnight later than
usual, and the later date is beneficial to Winchester cricket,
although it happens to be on the two last days of the University
match. I see no valid reason for changing the present out-and-
home arrangement."

Among recent amateurs few have seemed to play more
"brainy" cricket than Mr. H. C. McDonell, and on the very eve of
starting for Italy in the midnight watches he writes: "I sincerely
trust that there is no immediate danger of Eton v. Winchester
being played at Lord's, for, to my mind, it would be extremely
prejudicial to the cricket of both schools. It seems to me that the
main point is that it should be essentially a ' school event,* and
not merely a kind of holiday outing when eleven representatives
from each school happen to play a cricket match. Once transfer
the game to Lord's and this object, now fully attained, becomes
merged in a social event, in which the cricket is quite a secondary
consideration. I have only once witnessed the Eton v. Harrow
match, but I could not help being thankful that we played Eton on
our own grounds, especially if the fact of our playing at Lord's were
to involve a free fight among our supporters at the conclusion of the
match. I do not believe the cricket of our eleven would gain any-
thing by the change, though one or two members might acquire
a little confidence afterwards by having played at Lord's before.
Moreover, it is very apt to upset a young player, perhaps somewhat
oppressed with the importance of the occasion, suddenly to exchange
the school atmosphere for that of London. Speaking for myself, I
have always found it extremely difficult to sleep in London, though
never before a cricket match anywhere else, but I have experienced
the same difficulty before the University golf match. Having
mentioned golf, and remembering the article in last year's
Badminton on Cricket v. Golf, may I say a word in favour of that
game being played by boys at school ? To my mind, there is no
finer test of a man's nerve than a good, close golf match. I would
rather go in at a most critical juncture in a cricket match than
have to hole a difficult putt for a half in an important competition
or team match. In the first case, if you fail you make matters
very little worse than they were before, whereas if you do well all
the papers praise your wonderful nerve at a critical stage of the
game ; in the second, you have only yourself to blame if you miss
the putt, and you get little or no credit if you hole it. At
Winchester it has been clearly shown that golf can be played
effectively without seriously interfering with cricket, and I am sure
that its value as a training for nerve in cricket is far greater than

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would be the visit of a school team to the headquarters of cricket.
I devoutly hope the day may never return when I shall have to go
to Lord's to see ' Eton Match.' "

This recalls, as was mentioned by Mr. J. R. Mason, that
Winchester last played Eton at Lord's in 1854, when Mr. A. J.
Bramley, with five wickets for 33 runs, and seven for 32, had much
to do with giving Winchester a victory by three wickets. This was
also the last year Winchester met Harrow, the authorities of the
Hampshire College objecting to the boys coming up to London — in
those days the Public School rubber was played at the beginning of
August. Up to that period Winchester had eleven times beaten
Harrow, leading off with a succession of six victories, beginning
in 1825, and had thirteen times been defeated. Against Eton
ten successes could be set against fourteen defeats, one tie having
to be recorded in 1845.

In the absence of the Oxford University secretary, Mr. E. L.
Wright, who is in Italy for the vacation at the time of the compila-
tion of this article, his father informs me that he believes his son
would be decidedly against playing Eton Match at Lord's. The final
Wykehamist opinion invited was that of the Hon. C. N. Bruce, who
only left the school in 1904, and of whose cricket such high hopes
are entertained should health permit him to participate regularly in
first-class fixtures. His views are: **I am sure the majority of the
eleven prefer it, and will always prefer it, as it is ; and I do not see that
playing this one match at Lord's would improve a fellow's cricket or
nerve on subsequent occasions. It is also a very good thing for the
school that old Wykehamists — and in the same way old Etonians —
should have some occasion, and that such a very enjoyable one, of
going back and seeing, as they must, a good few of their old school-
fellows. I do not think anyone wishes the match made more public.
What is there to be gained by it ? "

By this time it may have occurred to some reader that the Eton

Online LibraryAlfred Edward Thomas WatsonThe Badminton magazine of sports and pastimes → online text (page 48 of 52)