The Alleynian, May 1907
[Editorial note: This item was not written by but rather about P. G. Wodehouse.]
Dulwich College v. P. G. Wodehouse, Esq’s XI.
On Saturday, May 4th, the First XI gained a highly creditable victory over a strong team brought by P. G. Wodehouse (O.A). Our opponents batted first. The attack was shared by Nelson and McCormack. The start was dramatic, for owing to an unfortunate mistake, in which numerous innocent people of quite blameless character took an unwitting share, Mr. Doulton was run out the first ball of the match, and the last ball of Nelson’s over clean bowled Field. Nightingale and Milne made a useful stand, during which Garrett displaced Nelson, but with the score at 41 Milne was bowled by McCormack after a careful 20. Bourdas and Knox added a few, and shortly after Nightingale was bowled by a beautiful ball from Betham. He batted in excellent style but was not so bright as usual. The innings ended for 111, Cox being not out for a useful 20. Betham, Garrett, and McCormack all bowled well, though the latter was unlucky. The fielding was good all round. Betham and McCormack opened our innings to the bowling of Knox and Field. They both batted very well and put on 30 before Betham returned one to Field. Firth and Keddie were unfortunate in materially assisting Field’s bowling average, but Lamb and McCormack took the score to 64 before the former was bowled. At 91 McCormack was unfortunately run out. He made his 42 in good and steady style. Garrett and Clark added the required runs and played out time. The First XI thus won a very good game by three wickets, which we trust is prophetic of a successful season.
Score and analysis:—
P. G. Wodehouse’s XI.
F. L. Nightingale b Betham …… … 38
H. V. Doulton run out … …… … 0
G. W. Field b Nelson … …… … 4
A. A. Milne b McCormack …… … 20
N. A. Knox b Garrett … …… … 5
E. V. Lucas b Garrett … …… … 0
A. F. Bourdas b Garrett …… … 6
N. J. Cox not out … …… … 20
F. J. Ellis c Lamb b Betham …… … 0
P. G. Wodehouse b Nelson …… … 4
H. Westbrook c Nelson b Betham… … 4
Extras … … …… … 10
Total … 111
G. L. Betham c & b Field …… … 19
K. H. McCormack run out …… … 42
J. C. Firth b Field … …… … 0
C. M. Keddie c & b Field …… … 0
C. W. Lamb b Nightingale …… … 15
G. C. F. Nelson c Milne b Nightingale … 6
L. Garrett not out … …… … 14
H. R. C. Meade b Nightingale… … 1
F. S. Clark not out … …… … 18
Extras … … …… … 13
C. L. Thomson and E. C. Coleman did not bat —
Total … 128
BOWLING ANALYSIS.—P. G. Wodehouse’s XI.
Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
G. C. F. Nelson… 7… 1… 17… 2
K. H. McCormack… 9… 3… 25… 1
L. Garrett… 10… 2… 27… 3
G. L. Betham… 8… 0… 34… 3
N. A. Knox… 7… 1… 15… 0
G. W. Field… 11… 2… 44… 3
P. G. Wodehouse… 8… 0… 20… 0
F. L. Nightingale… 7… 1… 18… 3
A. F. Bourdas… 3… 0… 21… 0
I will leave the analysis of cricket to more knowledgeable commentators; it is interesting to note some of the names on the team Wodehouse put together.
A. A. Milne (1882–1956) had attended Westminster School and Cambridge, and was writing for Punch at the time. Wodehouse probably met him because both played cricket on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s team. His greatest fame would come from the Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin books, beginning in the mid-1920s. During the Second World War he jumped to conclusions about Wodehouse’s Berlin broadcasts and denounced him as a traitor.
N. A. Knox (1884–1935) had attended Dulwich College, gaining a place on the First XI just as Wodehouse was finishing his time there. Wodehouse would ghostwrite a newspaper article on cricket bowling for Knox, who had a brilliant career as a fast bowler in the years 1905–1910.
E. V. Lucas (1868–1938) was a writer in many fields, best known for his humor and light essays. He had worked at the Globe newspaper before Wodehouse’s time there, contributing to the “By the Way” column, and from 1904 to the end of his life was on the staff of Punch. He also played on Conan Doyle’s cricket team as well as the Punch team.
Herbert Westbrook (1881–1959) was a frequent collaborator with Wodehouse, who hired him as his assistant at the Globe. See the opening notes to their serial For Love or Honour for more. Wodehouse seems to have been both amused and inspired by his easy wit and frustrated by his slapdash approach to life, and their collaboration seems to have ended about the time of Westbrook’s marriage in 1912. Their last joint credit, as far as I know, is in the Strand version of “Rallying Round Old George” in December 1912.
H. V. Doulton (1864–1941) had himself attended Dulwich, playing on the First XI in 1881, and was an assistant master there when Wodehouse arrived in the summer 1894 term. Wodehouse lodged in his home in East Dulwich for the summer, moving to one of the school houses in the autumn. Wodehouse’s article “Cricket at Dulwich” mentions him as one of the masters who coach the cricket team at the nets.
F. L. Nightingale was in the Dulwich cricket team with Wodehouse; a report in the September 1899 Alleynian gives Nightingale’s average as 13.36 while Wodehouse averaged only 6.14.
—Notes by Neil Midkiff
Raja Srinivasan adds this comment:
In his younger days at school, P. G. Wodehouse was known for his medium pace bowling. This is reflected here since he was the third bowler to bowl for his team. He delivered 8 overs, and gave away 20 runs. But, and this is important, he did not take any wickets.
The fact he scored 4 runs is not that important—he was not known for his batting.
If this was in 1907, then he was representing the old boys playing against the school. Some of these games are more for fun than for real competitive spirit. Given this scenario, I am sure that PGW and his team had a very good time of it.