Public School Magazine, September 1901
THERE was once an aesthetic gentleman who commented on a certain statue to the following effect: “The head of Alexis is distinctly divine. Nor can I in the whole range of ancient, mediæval, and modern sculptchah recall anything quite so fair and precious.” I might follow his example by saying that in the whole range of Public School cricket seasons I cannot recall any season quite so successful and creditable. Past seasons may have been more successful, but I at any rate cannot remember one in which five members of Public School teams played for their respective counties on the same day, as happened when the Hon. M. Herbert, of Eton, and V. H. Cartwright, of Rugby, played for Notts; W. H. B. Evans, the Malvern captain, for Worcestershire; K. R. B. Fry (Cheltenham) for Sussex; and J. E. Raphael (Merchant Taylors’) for London County. It was, if a touch of the kail-yard is allowable, a michty day for the Public Schules of Auld England.
It is curious that Harrow, who were probably the best team of the year, contributed no one to the roll of honour. Perhaps the reason lay in the fact that they were an all-round team, with no members conspicuous above the rest. They were particularly strong in batting, centuries being frequent throughout the season. Against The Town, G. Maclaren ran up 135, and in the next match v. Household Brigade, K. M. Carlisle made 111. It was Carlisle, it will be remembered, who accomplished an unusual bowling feat in last year’s Eton match. Eyre made a century against the Zingari, and another in the next match against the Old Harrovians. The fixture card shows four victories, three losses, and three draws. One of the losses might serve as an “instance” in a sermon on bad luck, helped by bad fielding. The School led off with 253 for eight, and declared. The Harlequins had two and a quarter hours in which to make the runs. Many catches were dropped, but when the last ball of the match was bowled the Harlequins were still behind. The batsman lashed out and gave an easy catch. It was dropped and the match lost, the score standing at 254 for eight. The Old Harrovians’ match was a moral victory, for the School made 317 for nine, and the O. H’s. 135 for nine. This is always the case. No one ever seems to win a close game except one’s opponents.
Eton’s bowling powers were limited chiefly to the captain, E. G. Whately, who also batted with great success. He and Herbert were the only two to do very much in the Lord’s match, but there were other capable cricketers in the team, notably Mulholland, who made 89 and 38 v. Winchester.
Winchester had a stroke of the worst possible luck in losing their captain, H. C. McDonell, on the eve of the Eton match. A captain is often not nearly as valuable as the eleventh man of a team, but in this case McDonell was admittedly the best bowler in the School, and also one of the best bats. He was the victim, I believe, of an accident at “Lord’s practise,” which seems if anything to accentuate the bad luck. One can resign oneself to an illness, but to be suddenly injured a day before the most important match on the card is bad luck at its worst. The season opened well with two victories, that against the Greenjackets being particularly easy. The School scored 225 for six (Marshall 100) against 65. Another victory was over Magdalen College, whom McDonell and Udal dismissed for 92, Winchester making 343 for nine (Johnston 80, McDonell 64). The Oriel match was won, and the match v. A. J. Webbe’s team (against whom McArthur made 112) drawn in favour of the School. The Authentics, however, won their match rather easily, and the Old Wykehamists with some difficulty. In all and considering everything, Winchester’s 1901 season was a good one. The batting was strong all through. E. L. Wright’s century in the Eton match was a fine effort, and McArthur, McDonell, Johnston, and many others played some splendid innings. Udal, Burn, and McDonell were conspicuous in the bowling.
Westminster (captained by E. C. Cleveland-Stevens) had rather a bad season, but made up for other defeats by pulling off their great match v. Charterhouse. Westminster started with the terrible score of 86. Their bowling, however, was more successful than their batting, and they dismissed the Carthusians for 111. In the second innings they showed their best form, falling only six runs short of the third century. Charterhouse went in with 270 to win, but only managed to make 178. It was an excellent match. The Westminster batting averages are headed by J. P. Blane with 29. Cleveland-Stevens was top of the bowling averages, taking 25 wickets at a cost of 16.5 runs each. He is a left-handed bowler, a type always dangerous in school matches.
Charterhouse, it is perhaps unnecessary to say, lost to Westminster. Even a Dr. Watson could deduce this from the data supplied above. But apart from this the season was by no means below the average. The Wellington match, for instance, was a very Carthusian affair (343 for seven against 91 and 61 for two) as also was the Sandhurst match, where the School scored 281 for six against 69 and 68 for two. Against R. Renshaw’s team Charterhouse actually made 341 for only two wickets, a colossal score. Their opponents replied with 142 for four. On the whole a very good season. The captain of the Charterhouse XI. of 1901 was O. T. Norris.
If every school could have met every other school, Malvern would probably have been well to the fore. It is not unlikely that they would have secured first place. Last year’s team was supposed by many to be the finest the School had ever had, but this year’s was even better. W. H. B. Evans was captain, and rarely failed to do prodigies with both bat and ball. His great triumph was against Uppingham, where he made 136 not out in sixty-five minutes, hitting thirty fours, and then took eight wickets for a little over thirty, and won the match three minutes before time. He also scored a century in the Warwickshire Gentlemen match. Against Uppingham he found a valuable partner in C. H. Alison, who helped to take the score from 24 for three to 224 for three, himself scoring 70 not out. The same player topped the century v. Free Foresters, and J. B. Orr, with 153 not out v. Eton Ramblers, made the highest score in the season’s matches. The team was a good one all through, as was shown in the Repton match, where Osborne, the last man, scored 66 not out. G. N. Foster, A. P. Day, A. E. Worsley, and Balfour-Melville also played with consistent success. The card shows six wins, two losses, and four draws. Two of the draws v. Warwickshire Gentlemen and v. Free Foresters, were greatly in favour of the School, especially the last-named, where they made 484 for seven wickets. Both the School matches were won.
Uppingham were curiously unfortunate this year, not winning a single match. The Repton match was not played, and at Haileybury only an even draw resulted. The scores were very high. Haileybury made 377, Uppingham 360. In the second innings Haileybury had three wickets down for 122. N. D. C. Ross captained the Uppingham team this year.
Rugby lost their first match, an innings defeat at the hands of Oriel. Later on in the season Trinity Oxford were beaten by over a hundred runs. Then followed defeats by the M.C.C., Free Foresters, Butterflies, and Old Rugbeians, and the cup of sorrow was filled to the brim by the result of the Marlborough match, which, though not a defeat like the one administered by Rugby to Marlborough in 1900, was still a defeat. Rugby, therefore, in spite of the presence of V. H. Cartwright (now of Notts) did badly in 1901.
Haileybury must have felt a little worried at Lord’s when the Cheltenham bowlers had secured seven of their wickets for 17. Luckily for them they had only 30 to make, and they did it, but it was a very near thing. The Haileybury card shows four victories, five defeats, and three draws. The Wellington match was a draw in favour of the Wellington team, who scored 393, and got Haileybury out for 224. Among the most creditable of the victories was that over Mr. Bowden-Smith’s XI, where the School made 240 for five, against time. The Uppingham match was an even draw. R. Lee was captain, with F. A. Heymann, P. F. Reid, and E. C. Hodges of last year’s team.
Cheltenham, though they lost against Haileybury and Clifton, had a very sound team. K. R. B. Fry, who afterwards played for Sussex, was the best batsman on the side, scoring with wonderful consistency. There were eight members of last year’s team, R. S. Bridge being captain. Fry’s scores seldom fell below the twenties, and twice reached three figures. In the Haileybury match he did not come off, but against Marlborough made 112 in the second innings. This match was won by 119 runs, largely owing to an extraordinary bowling performance Winterbotham, who took nine wickets for 49 in the last innings. R. S. Bridge scored a not out century v. R.A.C. Cirencester, the match being an easy win. This feat he repeated in the O.C’s. match. Against Clifton, Fry again did well with 83.
Clifton, well captained by R. P. Keigwin, won four, drew three, and lost two. The averages are headed by A. E. J. Collins with 38 exactly. Keigwin comes next with 33, and Brownlee third, also with 33. Seven of the team have averages of 20 and over. The Cheltenham match was the great triumph of the season. Clifton won in spite of losing the toss—Keigwin lost the toss eight times out of a possible nine during the season—by two wickets. Mailer did a fine bowling performance in the second innings, nine for 39, including the hat-trick. He is the best fast bowler the School has had since A. H. Evans of first-class cricket fame. Keigwin heads the bowling averages, but Miller has taken four times the number of wickets for only a few more runs. Considering the strength of the teams played the season’s results are in every way satisfactory.
And of the rest of the schools, had I a thousand fountain-pens—. Suffice it to say that for Merchant Taylors’ J. E. Raphael broke a Public School record and is quite first class, that for Tonbridge K. L. Hutchings played many excellent innings, that in N. A. Knox Dulwich had one of the most promising bowlers of the year, that Repton did averagely well, though losing to Malvern, that Shrewsbury also did averagely well, that Bedford Grammar School had the brothers F. G. and F. B. Brooks, both of whom scored hugely, and that the Marlborough team must have enjoyed their journey back from Lord’s after the Rugby match.
[Note:—I take this opportunity of thanking the captains of the various school teams for supplying me with many of my facts. A retrospect, even from the pen of the most polished stylist, is rarely at its best without facts.—P.G.W.]