Horace G. (Horace Gordon) Hutchinson.

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From a Painting by


The "■ COUNTRY Life








Surely it is sheer neglect of opportunity offered
by an official position if, being an editor, one has
no prefatory word to say of the work that one is
editing. It is said that that which is good requires
no praise, but it is a sayi-ng that is contradicted at
every turn — or else all that'-is advertised must be very
bad. While it is our firm belief that the merits of
the present book — The Country Life Cricket Book —
are many and various (it would be an insult to the
able heads of the different departments into which
the great subject is herein divided to think other-
wise), we believe also that the book has one very
special and even unique merit. We believe, and are
very sure, that there has never before been given to



the public any such collection of interesting old
prints illustrative of England's national game as
appear in the present volume. It is due to the kind
generosity of the Marylebone Cricket Club, as well
as of divers private persons, that we are able to illus-
trate the book in this exceptional way ; and we (that
is to say, all who are concerned in the production)
beg to take the opportunity of giving most cordial
thanks to those who have given this invaluable help,
and so greatly assisted in making the book not only
attractive, but also original in its attraction. In the
first place, the prints form in some measure a picture-
history of the national game, from the early days
when men played with the wide low wicket and the
two stumps, down through all the years that the bat
was developing out of a curved hockey-stick into its
present shape, and that the use of the bat at the
same time was altering from the manner of the man
with the scythe, meeting the balls called " daisy-
cutters," to the straightforward upright batting of the
classical examples. The classical examples perhaps
are exhibited most ably in the pictures of Mr. G. F.
Watts, which show us that the human form divine
can be studied in its athletic poses equally well (save
for the disadvantage of the draping flannels) on the
English field of cricket as in the Greek gymnasium.
The prints, too, give us a picture -history of the
costumes of the game. There are the " anointed


clod-stumpers " of Broadhalfpenny going in to bat
with the smock, most inconvenient, we may think,
of dresses. There are the old-fashioned fellows who
were so hardly parted from their top-hats. These
heroes of a bygone age are also conspicuous in braces.
We get a powerful hint, too, from the pictures, of
the varying estimation in which the game has been
held at different times. There is a suggestion of
reverence in some of the illustrations — a sense that the
artist knew himself to be handling a great theme.
In others we see with pain that the treatment is
almost comic, certainly frivolous. We hardly can
suppose that the picture of the ladies' cricket match
would encourage others of the sex to engage in the
noble game, although " Miss Wicket " of the famous
painting has a rather attractive although pensive air —
she has all the aspect of having got out for a duck's

More decidedly to the same effect — of its differing

hold on popular favour — do we get a hint from the
spectators assembled (but assembled is too big a word
for their little number) to view the game. " Lord's "
on an Australian match day, or a Gents v. Players,
or Oxford and Cambridge, hardly would be recog-
nised by one of the old-time heroes, if we could call
him up again across the Styx to take a second innings.
He would wonder what all the people had come to
look at. He hardly would believe that they were


come to see the game he used to play to a very
meagre gallery in his life. But he would be pleased
to observe the progress of the world — how apprecia-
tive it grew of what was best in it as it grew older.

Another thing that the collection illustrates is the
various changes of site of the headquarters of the
game, if it had a headquarters before it settled down
to its present place of honour in St. John's Wood.
There is a picture (vide p. v) of " Thomas Lord's
first Cricket Ground, Dorset Square, Marylebone.
Match played June 20, 1793, between the Earls of
Winchilsea and Darnley for 1000 guineas." With
regard to this interesting picture, Sir Spencer Pon-
sonby-Fane, in his catalogue of the pictures, drawings,
etc., in possession of the Marylebone Cricket Club,
has a note as follows: — "This match was Kent
(Lord Darnley's side) v. Marylebone, with Walker,
Beldham, and Wills (Lord Winchilsea's side). M.C.C.
won by ten wickets. It will be noticed that only
two stumps are represented as being used, whereas,
according to Scores and Biographies, it is known that
as far back as 1775 ^ third stump had been intro-
duced ; many representations, however, of the game
at a later date show only two stumps." No doubt
at this early period there was no very fully acknow-
ledged central authority, and such Jittle details as
these were much a matter of local option. The wicket
shown in this picture does not seem to differ at all


from the wicket in the picture of " Cricket " by
F. Hayman, R.A. {vide p. i), in the possession of
the Marylebone Club, though the date of the latter
is as early as 1743. Neither does the bat appear to
have made much evolution in the interval. It is
on the authority of Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane, in
the catalogue above quoted, that we can give " about
1750 " for the date of the picture named " A Match
in Battersea Fields " (vide p. 3), in which St. Paul's
dome appears in the background. Here they seem
to be playing with the three stumps, early as the
date is. Again, in the fine picture, " painted for
David Garrick " by Richard Wilson, of " Cricket
at Hampton Wick" {vide p. 375), three stumps are
in use, and the bat has become much squared and
straightened. Of course the pictures obviously fall
into two chief classes — one in which " the play's the
thing " ; the cricket is the object of the artist's
representation ; the other in which the cricket is
only used as an incidental feature in the foreground,
to enliven a scene of which the serious interest is in
the background or surroundings. But the pictures
in which the cricket is the main, if not the
only, interest are very much more numerous. A
quaintly suggestive picture enough is that described
in Sir-S. Ponsonby-Fane's catalogue as, "Situation
of H.M.'s Ships Fury and Hecla at Igloolie.
Sailors playing Cricket on the Ice." In this, of


course, there is no historical interest about the
cricket (vide p. 392). The one-legged and one-
armed cricketers make a picture that is curious,
though not very pleasant to contemplate ; and the
same is to be said of the rather vulgar representation
of the ladies' cricket match noticed above. The
" Ticket to see a Cricket Match " [vide p. 40)
shows a bat of the most inordinate, and probably
quite impossible, length ; but we may easily suppose
that the artist, consciously or unwittingly, has ex-
aggerated the weapon of his day. Here too are
two stumps only. We may notice the price of the
ticket as somewhat remarkably high, 2s, 6d. ; but it
was in the days when matches were played for large
sums of money, so perhaps all was in proportion
(length of bat excepted, be it understood). There
is a picture of the " celebrated Cricket Field near
White Conduit House, 1787" {vide p. 17), which
is named a " Representation of the Noble Game of
Cricket." It is a picture of some merit, and evi-
dently careful execution, and here too the players
are seen with bats of a prodigious length ; so it may
be that these huge weapons came into fashion for a
while, only to be abandoned again when their useless-
ness was proved, or perhaps when the legislature
began to make exact provision with regard to the
implements used. In this same picture of the " Noble
Game of Cricket " a man may be seen standing at


deep square leg, who is apparently scoring the
" notches," or " notching " the runs, on a piece of
stick. This at least appears to be his occupation,
and it is interesting to observe it at this com-
paratively late date, and at headquarters. In the
match between the sides led by Lord Winchilsea and
Lord Darnley respectively, it is seen that there are
two tail-coated gentlemen sitting on a bench, and pro-
bably scoring on paper, for it is hardly likely that they
can have been reporting for the press at that time.
England did not then demand the news of the fall
of each wicket, as it does now. Nevertheless, that
there must have been a good deal of enthusiasm for
the game, even at a pretty early date, is shown
conclusively enough by the engraving {vide p. 190)
of the "North-East View of the Cricket Grounds
at Darnall, near Sheffield, Yorkshire." What the
precise date of this picture may be I do not know,
but it is evident that it must be old, from the
costumes of the players, who are in knee-breeches
and the hideous kind of caps that have been re-
introduced with the coming of the motor-car. Also
the umpires, with their top-hatted heads and tightly-
breeched lower limbs, show that this picture is not
modern. And yet the concourse of spectators is
immense. Even allowing for some pardonable
exaggeration on the part of the artist, it is certain
that many people must have been in the habit of


looking on at matches, otherwise this picture would
be absurd ; and this, be it observed, was not in the
southern counties, which we have been led to look
on as the nurseries of cricket, but away from all
southern influence, far from headquarters, in York-
shire, near Sheffield. To be sure, it may have been
within the wide sphere of influence of the great
Squire Osbaldeston, but even so the picture is
suggestive. The scorers are here seated at a regular
table. A very curious representation of the game is
that given in the picture by James Pollard, named
"A Match on the Heath" {vide p. 29). It is
a good picture. What is curious is that, though
the period at which Pollard was producing his
work was from 1821 to 1846, the bats used
in the game are shown as slightly curved, and,
more notably, the wicket is still of the two stumps
only. There are only two alternative ways of
accounting for this : either they still played in
certain places with the two - stump wicket, or else,
which is not likely, Pollard was very careless, and no
cricketer, and took his cricket apparatus from some
older picture. I observe, by the way, that I have,
on the whole, done less than justice to the ladies, as
they are portrayed playing the game, for though it
is true that the one picture is, as noticed, vulgar
enough, there is another, " An Eleven of Miss
Wickets" {vide p. 248), that is pretty and


graceful. While some of the pictures in this collec-
tion are interesting mainly for their curiosity, or as
being something like an illustrated history or diary
of events and changes in the game, there are others
that are real works of art and beauty, sometimes
depending mainly on their expression of the game
itself, and sometimes only using it as an adjunct to
the scenery. Of the former kind, we must notice
most especially the remarkable series of drawings by
Mr. G. F. Watts, R.A., which show the batsman in
the various positions of defence or attack. To very
many it will be a revelation that the great artist
could lend his pencil to a matter of such trivial
importance (as some base souls may deem it) as the
game of cricket ; but without a doubt that great
knowledge of anatomy, which has been one of the
strong points in all his paintings, has been learned
in some measure from these studies, which also give
it a very high degree of expression. There is a force,
a vigour, a meaning about these sketches which are
interesting enough, if for no other reason than because
they show so vividly the inadequacy of the mechanical
efforts of photography, when brought into competi-
tion, as a means of expression, with the pencil of a
really great artist. You feel almost as if you must
jump aside out of the way of the fellow stepping
forward to drive the leg volley, or of the fearful man
drawn back to cut, so forcefully is the force expressed


with which the batsman is inevitably going to
hit the ball {vide p. 67). One of the most
charming pictures of those who have taken cricket
for their theme is that which is lent by His Majesty
the King to the M.C.C., and is styled " A Village
Match." It is by Louis Belanger, of date lyGS (vide
p. 361). Charming, too, is the picture attributed
to Gainsborough, " Portrait of a Youth with a
Cricket-bat " ; it is said to be a portrait of George
IV. as a boy, but it seems doubtful. The bat here is
curved, but hardly perceptibly ; it shows the last
stage in evolution before the straight bat was reached
(vide p. 208). Our frontispiece is a jolly scene —
the ragged boys tossing the bat for innings — " Flat
or Round .^ " and the fellow in the background
heaping up the coats for a wicket. We all of us
have played and loved that kind of cricket. A
wonderfully good and detailed picture is that of
"Kent V. Sussex" (vide p. 137). It is a picture
of a match in progress on the Brighton ground, and
Brighton is seen in the background ; in the fore-
ground is a group of celebrated cricketers in the
spectators' ring, yet posed, in a way that gives a
look of artificiality to the whole scene, so as to
show their faces to the artist. Even old Lillywhite,
bowling, is turning his head quaintly, to show his
features. One of the most conspicuous figures is the
great Alfred Mynn, who was to a former generation


what W. G. Grace has been to ours. All the figures
are portraits, and every accessory to the scene is
worked out most carefully. The drawing is by
W. H. Mason. Sir Spencer Ponsonby-Fane has a note
on this picture : " As a matter of fact, this match, as
here represented, did not take place, the men shown
in the engraving never having played together in
such a match, but they all played for their respective
counties about 1839-1841." Very delightful, too, is
the picture that is the last in our book (p. 433), "At
the End of the Innings " — an old veteran with eye
still keen, and firm mouth, telling of a determination
to keep his wicket up and the ball down " as well as
he knows how," and with an interest in the game
of his youth unabated by years. A jolly painting is
that of " Old Charlton Church and Manor House"
{vide p. 415), with the coach and four darting past,
and the boys at cricket on the village green. And
last, but to many of us greatest of all, there is the
portrait of Dr. W. G. Grace, from Mr. A. Stuart
Wortley's picture, which sums up a modern ideal of
cricket that we have not yet found ourselves able to
get past {vide p. 228).

There are other pictures, not a few, that we
might select for notice, but already this ramble goes
beyond due prefatory limits. There are the sketches
in which the cricket is made to point or illustrate
political satires. To do full justice to these, one


would need to be well versed in the history (other than
the cricketing history) of the period. But enough
has been said. One could not let such a gallery of
old masters go without an attempt to do the show-
man for them in some feeble way. They need neither
help nor apology. They are good enough to win off
their own bat.

In our modern instances we have been no less
lucky : with Mr. Warner to bat, Mr. Jephson to
bowl, Mr. Jessop to field, and the rest of the good
company, we do not know that any other choice
could have made our eleven better than it is ; but
after all, that is for the public to say ; it is from the
pavilion, not the players, that the applause should



1. Some Points in Cricket History . . . . i

2. Early Developments of the Cricketing Art . 29

3. Batting ......... 48

4. Bowling ......... 79

5. Fielding . . . - . . . .117

6. County Cricket . . . . . . .137

7. Amateurs and Professionals ..... 193

8. Earlier Australian Cricket . . . . .217

9. English and Australian Cricket from 1894 to 1902 251

10. University Cricket ...... 296

11. Country-House Cricket ..... 342

12. Village Cricket ....... 361

13. Foreign Cricket ....... 381

14. Cricket in South Africa ..... 396

15. Cricket in New Zealand ..... 409

16. Cricket Grounds . . . . . . -415



Tossing for Innings Frontispiece

Cricket as played in the Artillery Ground,

London, in 1743 ..... To face page \

The Royal Academy Club in Marylebone

Fields ,. ., 2

A Match in Battersea Fields ...„,, 3

An Exact Representation of the Game of

Cricket , ,, 6

The Game of Cricket .....„,, 16

The Cricket Field near White Conduit House

The Noble Game of Cricket

A Match on the Heath ....

Cricket." After the painting in Vauxhall
Garden ......


A Ticket for a Cricket Mate

1 in 1744 .

To face page 40

William and Thomas Earle ....

., 41

Mr. James Henry Dark

.' 44

Mr. Thos. Hunt .

» 45

" Block or Play "

„ 52

" Forward Play "

» 53

The Draw or Pull

„ „ 65

The Leg Volley .

„ 66

The Cut .

„ „ (^1

Eighteenth-Century Bats

„ 70

Celebrated Bats .

•, 71

War-worn Weapons

„ 72

Relics of Past Engagements

,, 73

George Parr

.. 74

N. Felix .

,, 75

The Bowler (Alfred Mynn)

., 79

William Lillywhite

„ -, 84

John Wisden

... ., 85

Alfred Mynn

„ 92

James Cobbett

., 93

William Lillywhite

„ „ 98

William Clarke, etc. .

'. 99

Lord's Ground early in the Nineteenth Century

„ 106

One Arm and One Leg Match

„ 107

A Match at the Gentlemen's Club, White

Conduit House, Islington

„ 110

The Kennington Oval in 1849

„ 117

The Cricket Field at Rugby

-, 124

A Match in the Eighties ....

., 125

Kent V. Sussex at Brighton

,, 137


A Cricket Match (about 1756)

A Curious County Club Advertisement

Grand Female Cricket Match

The Batsman (Fuller Pilch)

An Old " Play " Bill .

Rural Sports .....

The Cricket Ground at Darnall, near Sheffield

The Earl of March ....

Mr. J. H. Dark, Hillyer, The Ump
Martlngell .....

Fuller Pilch

Portrait of a Youth ....
William Doorinton ....
George Parr .....

Thomas Box .....

Dr. W. G. Grace ...

Youth with a Cricket Bat
An Eleven of Miss Wickets .
The Honourable Spencer Ponsonby
A Cricket Song .....
A Lyric of the Cricket Field
Salvadore House, Tooting, Surrey
Cricket Ground, Todmorden
Cricket at Rugby in 1837

Cambridge University Students playing Cricke

The Corinthians at Lord's in 1822

A Match in 1805

Miss Wicket and Miss Trigger

A Country-House Cricket Match .

To face page 148









A Village Match in 1768 . . . .

" ' Out,' so don't fatigue yourself, I beg. Sir ! "

A Cricketer .....

Village Cricket in 1832

Cricket at Hampton Wick .

An Eighteenth-Century Caricature

A Parliamentary Match

A Match at Igloolie between H.M. Ships Fury

and Hecla .....

A State Match

The Soldier's Widow or Schoolboys' Collec

tion ......

Old Charlton Church and Manor House

Cricket's Peaceful Weapons .

At the End of the Innings (William Beldham)

To face page 361





By The Editor

Cricket began when first a man-monkey, instead of
catching a cocoa-nut thrown him playfully by a
fellow-anthropoid, hit it away from him with a stick
which he chanced to be holding in his hand. But the
date of this occurrence is not easy to ascertain, and
therefore it is impossible to fix the date of the invention
of cricket. For cricket has passed through so many
stages of evolution before arriving at the phase in
which we find it to-day that it is difficult to say when
the name, as we understand its meaning, first became
rightly applicable to it. The first use of the name
" cricket " for any game is indeed a matter entirely of
conjecture. It is not known precisely by Skeat, nor


Strutt, nor Mr. Andrew Lang. But whether the
name was appHed by reason of the cricket or crooked
stick, which was the early form of the bat, or whether
from the cross stick used as a primitive bail, or from
the cricket or stool, at which the bowler aimed the ball,
really does not very much matter, for all these etymo-
logical vanities belong rather to the mythological age
of cricket than the historical. Neither is it of great
importance whether cricket was originally played under
another name, such as club-ball, as Mr. Pycroft infers,
on rather meagre authority, as it seems to me, from
Nyren. Nyren did not hazard the inference. The
fact is that the form in which we first find cricket
played, and called cricket, is quite unlike our cricket
of to-day, so that we do not need to go seeking any-
thing by a different name. They played with two
upright stumps, i foot high, 2 feet apart, with a
cross stump over them and a hole dug beneath this
cross stump. The cross stump is evidently the origin
of our bails. Nyren does not believe in this kind ot
cricket, but he gives no reason for his disbelief, for
the excellent reason that he can have had no reason
for his scepticism ; and the fact is proved by the
evidence of old pictures. He was a simple, good
man ; he never saw anything like cricket played in
that way, so he did not believe any one else ever had.
He did not perhaps understand much about the law
of evidence, but he wrote delightfully about cricket.
The fourth edition of his guide, which a friend's
kindness has privileged me to see, is dated 1847,
some time after the author's death.



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Yes, in spite of Nyren, they bowled at this cross-
stick and wicket which the ball could pass through
again and again without removing the cross piece, and
the recognised way of getting a man out was not so
much to bowl him as to catch or run him out. You
ran him out by getting the ball into the hole between
the stumps before he got his bat there — making the
game something like rounders. Fingers got such
nasty knocks encountering the bat in a race for this
hole that bails and a popping crease were substituted
^at least the humane consideration is stated to
have been a factor in the change.

It is not to be supposed that even we, for all our
legislation, have witnessed the final evolution of cricket.
Legislate we never so often, something will always
remain to be bettered — the width of the wicket or
the law of the follow on. About the earliest records
that have come down to us there is a notable incom-
pleteness that we must certainly regret. The bowler
gets no credit for wickets caught or stumped off his
bowling. What would become of the analysis of the
underhand bowler of to-day if wickets caught and
stumped were not credited to him .? But at the date
of these early records all the bowling was of necessity
underhand. Judge then of the degree in which those
poor bowlers have been defrauded of their just rights.
Whether or no the name of our great national game
was derived from the " cricket " in the sense of the
crooked stick used for defence of the wicket, it is
certain, from the evidence of old pictures, if from
nothing else, that crooked sticks, like the modern


hockey sticks, filled, as best they might, the function
of the bat. They are figured as long and narrow,
with a curving lower end. There was no question in
those days of the bat passing the four-inch gauge.
They must have been very inferior, as weapons of
defence for the wicket, to our modern bats — broom-
sticks rather than bats — more than excusing, when
taken in connection with the rough ground, the

Online LibraryHorace G. (Horace Gordon) HutchinsonCricket → online text (page 1 of 30)