Sunday, 24 May 2020

Following On

posted by John Winn

Those who read yesterday's posting more than hour after it appeared on the blog will know that I belatedly discovered the reason for Middlesex's visit to Hornsey in 1959. It was not part of an attempt to spread county cricket to outlying parts of the county but merely a solution to avoid a double booking at Lord's which on those three days in July was needed for a game between MCC and Cambridge University. It was not however a kneejerk response for the 1959 Wisden lists in its fixtures for that season a championship game at Hornsey between Middlesex and Hampshire.

I also mentioned in yesterday's addendum that the match at Lord's was won by Cambridge, their only win in nineteen first class matches that 'most disappointing season' (Wisden). Henry Blofeld's century, the only one he registered in first class cricket, helped him to second place in the university averages but take away those 138 runs and only 490 are spread across 21 innings, an average of 23.33. Far and away their star that season was Michael Willard who topped both batting and bowling averages but whose first class career never extended to championship cricket. He made 81 and 87 in the victory over MCC.

The MCC side was described by Wisden as 'moderate' but it contains some interesting names including England opener Peter Richardson who had left Worcestershire and was qualifying for Kent, Denis Compton and WHH 'Billy' Sutcliffe who two years earlier had been captaining Yorkshire. He made 98 in MCC's second innings, an innings in which MCC were bowled out for 404 and still lost by 50 runs.

Responses to the posting of the have thrown up a few other occasions when Middlesex have played away from Lord's, on two occasions going beyond the historic county boundary. The most recent of these was in 1977 when their home game with Somerset was postponed to allow a rain affected Gillette Cup semi-final which stretched over six days to be completed, eventually by a 15 over match. The switch to Essex fared little better for no play was possible on the third day. The seven points Middlesex gained were sufficient to give them a share in the title with Kent.

Going further back Middlesex had played a 'home' match at The Oval in 1939, this time because Eton and Harrow had use of The Long Room. Crossing the Thames brought Middlesex no luck for they were on the end of  a mauling by Notts. Batting first the visitors hit 560 for 9 with Walter Keeton hitting 312 not out which remains the highest individual score for Notts. Middlesex were bowled out twice on a rain affected wicket with Voce taking ten wickets in the match. They returned to The Oval later in the season, this time to the away dressing room and did a little better but were still beaten by 8 wickets.

To find the occasion before Hornsey when Middlesex had played away from Lord's but within the county we need to go back to 1887, the year of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. This excursion took them to Chiswick Park and a three day match with Oxford University. The students batted first and were all out for 555, Key (281) and Philipson (150) adding on 340 for the seventh wicket. WJB Soppitt bowled 64 overs and took 5 for 159. It should be mentioned that these were four ball overs. Middlesex were dismissed for 119 and 207 to lose by an innings and 229.

Chiswick Park hosted one other first class match when CI Thornton's XI entertained 'Australians' in 1886. In a three day match Thornton's XI scraped a draw. Cricket Archive records other non first class matches played at the ground with the final one in 1980 but according to other sources it was built on after World War Two. More next time.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Middlesex go the Palace.

This rare photograph appeared on twitter earlier in the week and it dates back to 1959 when, for the first time in sixty years, Middlesex played away from Lord's*. Such excursions away from the home of cricket are not so rare today, they were scheduled to play at Merchant Taylors' school this July and in the not too distant past I have seen them at Uxbridge and Southgate. Wisden describes the ground as a 'pleasant new venue in the shadow of Alexandra Palace', its famous mast can just be seen in the far distance but pleasant or not, they have not returned. 

For whatever reason this experiment became a one off, lack of excitement cannot be cited for opponents Hampshire won by two wickets with just three balls to spare having claimed the extra half hour and a typically adventurous declaration by skipper Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie set up this thrilling finish. On an easy-paced pitch Middlesex scored 293 with Fred Titmus top scorer, as he was in the second innings and he had a stand of 79 for the sixth wicket with JT Murray. Marshall and Jimmy Gray got the visitors off to flying start with a stand of 127 and Gray went on to make 155 including twenty fours. The declaration came on the second evening with Hampshire only 47 ahead but such boldness paid off with Middlesex losing Gale and Russell (WE) for 13 before the close. Thanks to Hooker and Titmus Middlesex reached a position where they too felt able to declare setting Hants 189 to win which they reached when Canning hit a four off the third ball of the last over which was bowled by Titmus. Grey again top scored for the victors. 

Wisden quotes the attendance for the three days as 'about 5000', which given that it did not include Saturday play by today's standards might seem quite reasonable but if we look forward a month to a match against Yorkshire at Lord's which Jack Robertson wisely chose as his benefit, the recorded attendance was over 21000 and therein perhaps lies the reason why championship cricket has never returned to Tivoli Road. Yorkshire won this match and two weeks later, as Brian has described in a recent posting, were crowned champions. At Lord's they had Stott and Bolus to thank for runs and Illingworth for wickets. Set only 81 to win they lost four for 56 before Illingworth saw them home. 

*Since posting this an hour ago I have discovered that Lord's was not available because landlords  MCC were playing Cambridge University. The match was won by the university with Henry Blofeld scoring his only first class century in their second innings. 

Friday, 22 May 2020

Final M.C.C test match of Australian tour of 1904.

By Brian Sanderson

The final Test was back in Melbourne on the 5th March to the 8th. As in the previous Tests the weather decided the match but this time Australia benefited. Trumper batted brilliantly for Australia scoring a fine 88 out of a total of 247.Victor Thomas Trumper was a genius and had the ability to make big scores in impossible conditions. There was no limit to his range or flaw in his fluency and timing.In this series he headed the averages of both sides with 574 runs
at average of 63.77.

Len Braund of Somerset took 8 for 81 in the innings. He was one of the greatest all rounders who played for Surrey for three years before going to Somerset in 1901. He was an aggressive right hand
bat with powerful strokes on the leg  and a bowler who could bowl fast medium to slow medium leg spin and the finest slip  fielder.

A considerable amount of rain fell and England were bowled out for 61 with Noble taking 4 for 19 and Cotter 6 for 40.Albert Cotter was a fearsome fast bowler with a similar style to Jeff Thomson. He toured England in 1905 and 1909. He was killed by a sniper during the First World War.

Australia batted again to score 133 with Duff top scoring with 31.George Hirst took 5 for 48.Reginald Duff was a right hand bat who watched the ball closely and drove powerfully. He came to England in 1902 and 1905.He was third in the Australian averages in this series with 30.40.

England had no chance in chasing 320 runs to win. They were bowled out for 101 with Foster top scoring with 30.HughTrumble bowled medium paced off spin of the highest class. Twice he performed the hat trick, each time at Melbourne and in his final test he took 7 for 28 so helping  Australia to win by 218 runs.

The top batsman for England was Foster with average of 60.75.Top of the bowling was Rhodes who took 31 wickets at average of 15.74. Rhodes mentioned that during this tour he bowled a trifle quicker than in England. When he returned home he continued to bowl slightly faster,never going back to the pace of his first six seasons in first class cricket.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Knight's day

By Brian Sanderson

The fourth Test of the 1904 series was in Sydney from the 26 February to 3 March, England batted first and began badly with Warner going for 0 and England were at one stage 66 for 4. Albert Knight of Leicestershire saved them batting through the rest of the innings ending with 70 not out in four and half hours ,as England reached 249. Knight was a outstanding character among the professionals of his day. A right hand batsman who was very strong on the off side. He scored 1000
runs in a seasons ten times making his highest score 229 not out against Worcestershire in 1903.A Methodist preacher,he would pray before going in to bat. and sometimes
at the wicket- Walter Brearley threatened to report him to M.C.C for taking unfair advantage!

Australian first innings only reached 131 .Duff and Hill scored all but 51 of their runs. Arnold who was the Worcestershire all rounder took 4 for 28. In  four consecutive seasons he achieved the double. Wilfred Rhodes also took 4 for 33.

Rain interfered with much of the play as England built up a substantial lead of 328. Thomas Haywood , the Surrey opening batsman scored 52. He was tallish and well built with a military moustache and bearing .Patient and watchful ,he reached his 1000 runs for 20 successive seasons. He was first choice for England from 1896 until 1909.In 1913 he became the first professional to reach his hundredth century in first class matches.

When Australia batted they were baffled by Bosanquet bowling his googlies. He took 6 for 51 runs in 15 overs. His main fame is due to him being  the inventor of the googly  The main batsman was Montague Noble with 53 not out.He is regarded as the greatest all rounder produced by Australia.In his career from 1893 until 1919 he scored 14034 runs at average of 40.80 and took 628 wickets at 23.08. Australia were bowled out for 171 so England won by 157 runs and the Ashes.

Facebook goes to Derbyshire

Posted by Tony Hutton

I spend a considerable amount of time posting pictures from my rather extensive collection on a Facebook site called 'Cricket Grounds of Britain'. I have recently posted three groups of club grounds in Derbyshire which I have visited over the years. There are over eight thousand members of this site and it really is fascinating to see some of the pictures they come up with of obscure grounds all over the country.
Quarndon, Derbyshire.

One of the benefits of publishing a large number of pictures is the response I get from other members, who often remember incidents that happened to them at particular grounds in their playing days from long ago. Others take objection to not having their own club grounds included and often post pictures themselves to put the record straight. For instance this week a gentleman from Buxton complained that I had not included a picture of the very attractive Buxton cricket ground. I had to explain to him that although I did see cricket there in the early 1970s, I did not have a camera with me and therefore have no pictures.

I was delighted to receive three aerial pictures of Buxton, taken by a drone, which obviously far exceed anything I could have produced. Another gentleman complained that I had not included the best ground in Derbyshire and sent me a picture without telling me where it was. It took me some time to work it out but eventually decided it was an up to date picture of Shipley Hall cricket club. It is much changed since I visited on the occasion of the club's centenary in 1999, but there are still small similarities with the pavilion. Fortunately I could inform him that two pictures appear today in my final instalment of Derbyshire pictures.

Shipley Hall, Derbyshire.

Possibly the best comment came from a gentleman from the north west of the county who thinks that I am missing out by not visiting several of the clubs in that part of the world. He waxes lyrical, saying that they are beautiful, idiosyncratic and all very different. He has promised to send me pictures to encourage me further, as if that was needed!

Most of the comments are complimentary and I enjoy sharing my pictures and travels from the past with a whole new world of fellow cricket ground enthusiasts.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Australian victory

By Brian Sanderson

On the 15 January 1904 in Adelaide ,Australia began in fine style after two defeats .Trumper scored 113 in just under three hours in a opening stand of 129 with Duff scoring 79. Hill with 88 and
 Noble with 59 enabled Australia to get to 365 for 6 by the close of play.
However Bosanquet bowled then out next morning for 388. Rhodes taking 1 for 45 and Hirst 2 for 58.

By the end of the second day England were 199 for 8 with Hirst with 58 and Warner 48 making reasonable scores. Wicket keeper Kelly ,took a remarkable catch on the legside to dismiss Tyldesley for 0. England were then all out next morning for 245 giving Australia a substantial lead
of 143.

Australia surged ahead leaving England to score 495 to win. A brilliant innings by Gregory of 112 in 115 minutes was in a stand of 162 with captain ,Noble, for the fourth wicket .Bosanquet bowling well in the a late spell takingthe last four wickets. Rhodes and Hirst both taking one

A great opening stand of 148 by Warner and Haywood was not supported by the other English batsmen as they compiled just 126 between them . Hirst scoring 44 and Rhodes 8.

Hopkins was the most successful Australian bowler taking 7 wickets in the match. This was a good displayby the Australians but a dismal one by England. The result left it open for either side to win the series.

A Milestone at The Riverside

posted by John Winn

 There was some discussion on twitter yesterday which caused confusion  in some people's minds over the distinction between first class and championship when they appear in front of the word matches. Sticking my oar in  I used the example of Durham's first first class match being against Oxford University at The Parks in April 1992 but their first championship fixture being a couple of weeks later when Leicestershire were the visitors and the venue was The Racecourse Ground by the banks of the Wear in Durham City.

This discussion arose because this week marks the twenty fifth anniversary of a game between Durham and Warwickshire at The Riverside Chester le Street which of course was both first class and championship and the first in either category to be played at Durham's then new hq.

The first three years of Durham's first class cricket career had not gone well, they had finished bottom twice in the three seasons but at least the 1995 season had begun with a win when Hampshire lost by 26 runs at Stockton. In a low scoring match runs for Manoj Prabhakar  allowed Durham to set Hants 232 to win which they seemed certain to achieve with Robin Smith hitting 50 off 51 balls but when he fell to Simon Brown Hampshire collapsed to 205 all out and  John Wood had the honour of taking the tenth wicket.

It was soon back to square one for Durham with two heavy defeats, by eight wickets at Old Trafford and an innings defeat at The Oval, big scores here for Alec Stewart and Mark Butcher helped Surrey to their sixth highest total in championship history.

And so to The Riverside on May 18th when champions Warwickshire who had started the season with two wins but a loss at Old Trafford, won the toss and batted and after going for 652 at The Oval Durham's attack conceded 424 at their new home. Runs for Moles and Nick Knight. In Durham's reply John Morris had the honour of being The Riverside's first centurion and Prabhakar hit 66 in the second innings but that was about it and in bitter weather The |Bears were winners by 111 runs.

Play gets underway at the Riverside for the first time in 1995.

Durham;'s sequence of losses carried on until late June when Derbyshire became the first team to lose at The Riverside. Wisden remarked on the variable bounce of the wicket but Morris hit 99 against his previous teammates and a dogged 75 not out by Steve Birbeck gave Durham a decent first innings lead. Nine wickets for Simon Brown set them up for an eight wicket win when on the final morning Phil Defreitas, who had joined the match late having been released by England,went for 46 off 8 overs  as Larkins hit 50 and Roseberry who had a miserable first season as captain hit 36 not out.

This win meant Durham swopped places with Derbyshire at the foot of the table but by the end of the season the Peakites had risen to fourteenth and only Kent kept Durham off the bottom. Kent's wooden spoon was their first for exactly 100 years. For Durham things could only get better and they did, but not for about ten years.

The picture at the head of the blog takes us back to 2016 and the advent of the uncontested toss. Somerset captain  Chris Rogers became the first of many skippers at The Riverside to exercise his option by asking Durham to bat. A surprisingly large crowd has gathered to watch a man not toss a coin and another man confirm a decision he had probably made as soon as he saw the fixture list. 

The second picture shows the score at close of play on the fourth day of the last match of the 2015 season. The score 291 for 7 meant Durham had beaten Worcestershire by three wickets thus confirming the visitors' relegation and the not out batsmen are Richardson on 65 and McCarthy on 12. Borthwick had earlier hit 99. That this should rank amongst my favourite photographs might surprise readers for in those days when Durham's top order included the likes of Stoneman, Jennings and Borthwick chasing down a generous target was hardly reason for cracking open the Bollinger. The twist is that the picture was taken almost seven months later on April 5th 2016, a day on which Durham should have opened their season against Durham MCCU but rain wiped out wiped out play for the day. When the scorers, showing commendable optimism, opened up the scorebox up popped the score from the victory over Worcestershire from 2015 illuminated by the Stygian gloom. I love the idea that Richardson and McCarthy had been not out all winter and that Harrison might  still smarting for it is he against whose name the lbw had stood for seven months. If memory serves the score remained in lights until play was abandoned for the day in mid afternoon.