Public School Magazine, September 1900
The wonderful regularity with which Malvern has been represented in the ’Varsity matches of late years renders her a most fascinating prey to the statistic-hunter.
It may be said that Malvern first became a power in the cricket world with the advent of P. H. Latham. He was the first of the series of famous cricketers who owe their early training to the Worcestershire School. He got his colours under V. B. de Bartoline in 1887. In 1888 H. R. Sedgwick was captain, but 1889, 1890, 1891 saw Latham in the first place. No other Malvernian, except Rhodes, has ever been five years in the team. Three years’ captaincy is also a record.
The first team led by Latham was a very strong one, including, as it did, H. K. Foster, his brother, W. L., T. B. Rhodes and H. S. Pike. All these remained for the next two seasons, and in 1890 a new celebrity was added to their ranks, the name of W. W. Lowe first appearing on the boards of the pavilion. These three years, consule Latham, must have been a trying time for the bowlers of opposing teams, for the number of these “big guns” was not diminished even by one. Every year saw Latham, the two Fosters, Rhodes, Pike, and Lowe still there, a horrid spectacle for a bowler on the faultless Malvern wicket.
In 1891 Latham left for ’Varsity, trailing clouds of glory in the way of reputation. Malvern was now a recognised “blue-factory,” and, as Latham’s mantle fell on H. K. Foster, there was still, even now, no rest for the weary bowler. Pike and Latham were no more, but Rhodes, Lowe, and the great brethren still remained, and C. J. Burnup became one of the elect.
Rhodes was captain in 1893—his fifth season in the team. This eleven was probably the strongest the School had ever had. At any rate, it contained the greatest number of men destined afterwards to make their mark in first-class cricket. Besides the veteran, Rhodes, there were Lowe, Burnup, Marriott, Porch, and R. E. Foster, the illustrious and record-breaking Tip. The rest of the team were—C. H. Neville, C. H. Simpson, C. W. B. Elliott, E. H. Simpson, and A. E. B. Manders. Tip was tenth man. Burnup followed Rhodes, and, with such a captain and such batsmen as Marriott, Porch, and R. E. Foster, the team was no weak one.
E. H. Simpson, the successor of Burnup, was a fine batsman himself, and headed the averages. R. E. Foster got second place, and the third place was filled by a new man, S. H. Day.
1896 found Tip captain in his fourth year, Day in his second, a rising batsman with a future.
Day was captain in 1897; and, besides his school success, found time to play for Kent. He justified his inclusion in the County team, for which Burnup was now a regular member, by scoring 113 in his very first innings, a marvellous performance, equalled only by A. C. Maclaren while at Harrow. E. E. Apthorp, E. W. N. Wyatt, B. A. White, and G. B. Canny, all played with success in this team.
Day was captain again in 1898. In this year a fourth Foster, B. S. of that ilk, got his colours. It was a good level team, with Day, of course, a head and shoulders above the rest.
The elevens for ’99 and 1900 were both led by B. A. White. Canny, Evans, Foster, and Sanderson were useful members. This year Malvern knocked up a modest 527 against Repton, which does not seem to argue degeneracy.
It is very probable that several of the members of this team will be heard of again in higher circles. Sanderson and Canny are both going up to Oxford. B. A. White is a very fine bat, as are W. H. B. Evans and H. S. Gunn. Evans, who will be captain next year, is one of the best bowlers Malvern has had for some time—very fast, with a tendency to bump. Bird is a very good wicket-keeper. It is a remarkable thing about Malvern cricket how completely the batting eclipses the bowling. Against a long list of first-class bats, Malvern has no first-class bowler to show. This is due to the absolute trueness of their wickets. The turf is as good as could possibly be desired, and dries up very quickly after rain. It is very seldom that the wicket gets really difficult.
There is another thing which makes Malvern cricket particularly attractive, namely, the exploits of the Fosters. Heredity is always an interesting subject, especially in cricket. The Foster family beats all records. In 1890 H. K. and W. L. first got into the team, and stayed there for the next two years, H. K. being captain in 1892, with W. L. second in command. In 1893 R. E. was there to carry on the tradition. In 1895 he was second colour, and in the following year captain. In 1897 there was a short pause, but in 1898 the family was represented by B. S. Foster, a powerful hitter, and, like every Foster, a fine field, especially in the slips. He stayed till this year, playing some big innings, notably 102 not out v. Repton. G. Foster, one of this season’s 2nd XI., is certain to uphold the honour of his house. Thus for the last ten years, with the exception of 1897, there has always been a Foster in the Malvern XI. As for racquets and football,—but that’s another story.
Notable for a paragraph on the Foster Brothers of Malvern, seven cricket-playing brothers from a distinguished cricket family. Wodehouse wrote: “When I was a small boy, I used to spend part of the summer holidays with (Uncle Edward). . . and I played a lot of boys’ cricket, some of it on the Malvern ground. From those early years the place fascinated me. . . I can well remember peering in at the pavilion and reading all those illustrious names on the boards.” It is a near certainty that Wodehouse knew some of the Foster brothers as a child: they were to become his models for cricket ace Mike Jackson and his brothers, and everyone who read Mike recognized the family.