Who Would Have Thought It – Married v Single at Lord’s

  The olden days of first-class cricket in England were replete with intriguing and bizarre fixtures, such as One-Legged XI v One-Armed XI, Smokers v Non-Smokers and Over 38 v Under 38, to name a few. Among these off-beat encounters were seven matches titled Married v Single, contested between – as the name suggests – teams featuring married and unmarried men respectively.

  There have been mentions of a few Married v Single games played between 1794 and 1815 in Cambridge, but the first instance of a first-class match between the Married and the Single occurred at Lord’s, a three-day match starting from June 1, 1829. William Searle, who played for Kent and Surrey, top-scored with 48 in the Married’s first innings total of 153.

  The Single snatched a narrow lead of three runs on the first innings, after a fine 75 from Herbert Jenner, of Cambridge University and Kent and a future President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), steered them to 156. No other singleton crossed 20. Jenner was not done yet though, as he took five wickets to help bowl the Married out for 93 in the second innings.

  Faced with a target of 91, the Single capitulated for only 63, thus going down by 27 runs. Besides James Broadbridge, who made 25, none of the batsmen could stand up to the round-arm duo of William Mathews and Frederick Lillywhite, one of the leading cricketers of the pre-Test era and an uncle of James Lillywhite, who represented England in her first Test match in 1876-77.

  July 11, 1831 saw the start of the second Married v Single clash at Lord’s, with the Single exacting revenge in a low-scoring dogfight. Thanks to a five-wicket haul from James Cobbett, the Single were bowled out for 104, the only three-figure total of the game. Edward ‘Ned’ Wenman, a Kent stalwart of yore, then starred for the Single with a fifer of his own as the Married were skittled out for 43.

  The only married gentleman to display valour was Nicholas Felix, who carried his bat for 30*. Frederick Lillywhite gave the Married renewed hope by taking six wickets in the second dig as the Single could manage just 42. Needing 104 for the win, the Married were all out for 81 – Wenman took three wickets to add to his five, not to mention his 35 and 24, both innings-topping scores.

     John Wisden took 12 wickets for the Single against the Married at Lord’s in 1849, playing a pivotal role in his side’s three-wicket win (source – gettyimages/mirror.co.uk) 

  It was not until 1844 that the Married and the Single squared up again, on September 12. This time, the venue was not Lord’s, but Higher Common Ground in Tunbridge Wells, which was hosting its maiden first-class match. Unlike in 1829 and 1831, when the game ended within two days, this made it to the third day. As for the ground, it had its last taste of first-class cricket in 1884.

  Part of the Married XI was the 37-year-old roundarm all-rounder Alfred Mynn, nicknamed ‘Lion of Kent’ and considered to be one of the earliest greats of the game. Incidentally, his elder brother Walter Mynn was opening for the Single. The Married slipped to 49/5 after electing to bat first, before a lower order revival saw them post 134. Kent’s William Hillyer returned with 5/45.

  The Single replied with a poor performance, crashing to 39/6 before being dismissed for 82. Alfred Mynn was the wrecker-in-chief, with figures of 6/34, bowling unchanged with James Dean (3/48). The Married totalled 101 in the second innings to set the Single a target of 154. William Martingell was the pick of the bowlers with 4/31, whilst Hillyer took three to give himself eight in the match.

  The situation was looking bleak for the Single as Mynn and Dean combined to reduce them to 28/4. William Napper and stumper Edward Wenman staged a rescue act, putting on 60 for the fourth wicket. However, the last laugh belonged to the Married as the Single subsided from 105/5 to 144, losing by only nine runs. Dean (5/54) and Mynn (4/65, 10/99 in the match) starred once again.

  The fixture returned to Lord’s for its fourth outing, from June 11, 1849. John Wisden, Sussex’s 23-year-old all-rounder, was among the Singles. He would go on to launch the Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack fifteen years down the line. The Married threw down the gauntlet with a total of 203, courtesy of a third-wicket stand worth 99 between William Clarke (71) and Thomas Box (42).

  Wisden, who bowled underarm, took five wickets. But he contributed little with the bat, getting out for zero and being among the procession of wickets to fall as the Single crumbled from a steady start to 65/6, losing six for 16. George Parr scored 61 from number eight to stretch the eventual total to 180. Frederick Lillywhite, now aged 57, and James Dean shared the ten wickets equally.

  Wisden snared seven wickets, including Mynn for a duck, in the third innings to end with 12 victims in the match. The Married were well placed at 82/2, but could manage only 147. The chase began with a handsome opening stand of 88 between Robert Grimson (76) and William Nicholson, before the score stumbled to 152/7. James Chester kept his cool though, guiding the Single to a three-wicket win.

      The great W.G Grace carried his bat for 189 as the Single beat the Married by an innings and 73 runs at Lord’s in 1871 (source – telegraph.co.uk/alamy)

  The next fixture was played at the Oval, from August 9, 1858, and saw another narrow win for the Single. John Jackson (7/62) helped bowl the Single out for 188, to which the Married, riding on Robert Carpenter’s 81, replied with 221. John Wisden (5/39) took five and so did William Caffyn (5/94). Opening for the Married was Julius Caesar. Not the Roman statesman, of course.

  A manic second day featured the fall of 26 wickets. Trailing by 33 on the first innings, the Single batsmen produced an ordinary display and were kept to 124. Defending only 91, Heathfield Stephenson and Wisden bowled unchanged to condemn the Married to 75 all out. Wisden (5/36) took his customary fifer, backed by able support from Stephenson (4/39) at the other end.

  Back to Lord’s again it was on July, 10, 1871, a match held for the benefit of Kent’s Edgar Willsher, renowned for his role in the shift from roundarm bowling to overarm bowling. The first day was marked by the brilliance of William Gilbert ‘W.G’ Grace, who was eight days shy of his 23rd birthday. Opening the innings for the Single, he carried his bat for a stellar 189* out of a total of 310.

  Alfred Shaw, who would go on to bowl the first ball in Test cricket, took 5/70 for the Married. There was no play on the second day due to rain, but the final day saw the Single bowlers, led by Arnold Rylott (5/53), reduce the Married to a woeful 80/8. It was only thanks to a fightback from Shaw and James Southerton, who would also play in the inaugural Test, that the Married could reach 159.

  Following on 151 runs in arrears, the Married imploded in even worse fashion in the second innings. After Rylott and Robert Clayton knocked over the top order, James Lillywhite, bowling left-arm slow medium, made short work of the latter half of the innings. The Married melted from 78/5 to 78 all out, with Lillywhite, who would become England’s first Test captain, returning figures of 6-4-5-5.

  The last Married v Single fixture, the only one in the Test era, was played at Lord’s from May, 23, 1892. The Single maintained their stranglehold with a fifth consecutive win, and each over now had five balls, as against four balls in the previous six encounters. England’s medium-fast spearhead George Lohmann bowled 56 overs to take 7/121 on the opening day, restricting the Married to 230.

  The Single edged a lead of 66 despite being 172/7 at one point, thanks to fifties from John Read (61), Lohmann (58) and Robert Henderson (50). Lohmann further bettered his match, taking 5/58 in the second innings to ensure that the target for the Single was a gettable 119. A jittery start of 9/3 was overcome due to opener Andrew Stoddart’s 53, who paved the way for a five-wicket victory. 


Specials – Manek Bajana: The Parsi batsman who played for Somerset

  Manek Pallon Bajana was one of the most promising Parsi cricketers of his time. But interestingly, he never played a first-class match for the Parsis nor for any other team on Indian soil. Instead, he devoted almost his entire playing career to Somerset in the County Championship.

  ‘Prince’ Bajana, a solidly-built right-handed batsman, was born on September 14, 1886. He had a late start to his cricket career – on the historic tour of 1911, he joined the all-India team in England where he was in the service of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan of Cooch Behar.

  He thus became the seventh Parsi in that squad, and was the only one representing Eastern India (Cooch Behar is situated in Bengal). On his first class debut for the Indians against Surrey at the Oval, he batted at number six and had the misfortune of recording a pair. He fared a little better in his second outing against Kent, scoring 21 and 12.

  It was in his fourth match, against Somerset at Taunton, that Bajana gave a display of his batting skills with a brilliant hundred. Replying to Somerset’s 157, Bajana was promoted from the middle order to open the Indians’ innings, and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. The first two wickets fell with only one run on the board, but this woeful start did not deter Bajana.

  He shared in a 57-run partnership with Rustomji Meherhomji for the third wicket and was finally out for 108 – studded with 14 fours – out of the team total of 196; the next highest score being 19. Somerset fought back to set a target of 265 for the Indians. Though Bajana was out for zero this time, Palwankar Shivram (113*) guided the visitors to a one-wicket win.

zbajana       Manek Bajana was among the earliest Indians to have played in the County Championship (source – wikipedia.org)

  Impressed by his innings, a struggling Somerset – who were regularly placed at the bottom of the table in the past few seasons – duly signed Bajana as an opening batsman. Thus he became one of the earliest Indian cricketers to play in the County Championship.

  On his county debut against Sussex at Hove in May 1912, he scored 22 and 7 as Somerset clinched a low-scorer by six wickets. In the next game against Hampshire at Southampton, he impressed in defeat with a gutsy 71 in the second innings.

  Though Somerset’s performance did not improve much (they finished 14th out of 16 teams), Bajana topped the run charts and averages for his club in his first year. He played all 16 games, and scored 575 runs at 22.11 with four fifties. In the return drawn fixture against Hampshire at Bath, he top-scored with 85, while his highest of 95 came in a drawn game against Worcestershire at Amblecote.

  Bajana could not quite repeat his performance in the 1913 season, this time averaging 19.75 with only one half-century in ten matches. Against Derbyshire at Taunton, he struck a crucial 78 in the first innings to help Somerset win by 91 runs – a bit of solace in a season in which the county finished last again.

  In his first appearance following the war in the 1919, he scored 20 and 36 against Surrey at the Oval. He played only six Championship matches that season, but averaged a healthy 27.55. He showed a liking for the Derbyshire bowlers again, scoring 77 at Derby to help his side win by ten wickets. Somerset eventually finished joint fifth out of 15 teams.

  The following season, i.e 1920, happened to be Bajana’s last at Somerset. He scored 361 runs in 14 Championship matches at 16.40, with a knock of 106 being his only fifty-plus score. This innings, which included 12 fours, came against Warwickshire at Bath, and enabled Somerset to win by ten wickets.

  A few days prior, Bajana achieved his career best score of 115, against Cambridge University at the Fenner’s Ground. With his team having been set 330 to win, he guided them to a draw with this innings. His final match was against Middlesex at Lord’s, where he scored 6 and zero. At Somerset, he was known by the nickname ‘Pyjamas’, probably because it seemed to be rhyming with his surname.

  In his eight-year career, Bajana played a total of 55 first-class matches, of which 46 were in the County Championship. He scored 1975 runs from 96 innings at 20.83 with three hundreds and a best of 115. He also took 36 catches and four wickets.

  Apart from first-class cricket, he played for London’s Indian Gymkhana in a few minor matches between 1917 and 1924. He was a better batsman than his numbers suggest, and it can be said that most of his peak years unfortunately coincided with the first World War.

  Bajana was among those who led the way for future Indian cricketers to play on the county circuit. Sadly, he did not live to experience India’s first ever Test match – he passed away on April 28, 1927 in London at the young age of 40.

IN FOCUS – Durham’s third title in six years

  The youngest county in the County Championship added a third title to their cabinet this season, sealing the issue last month with a round still remaining. Durham, who were awarded the status of a first-class county only in 1992 (seven decades since the previous newest team) now boast of a rare three Championship victories in the past six seasons – 2008, 2009 and 2013.

  Durham’s moment of glory came on 19th September in the penultimate round of matches, when they posted a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Nottinghamshire at their home ground of Riverside at Chester-le-Street. Nottinghamshire were blown away for only 78 in their first innings, and despite making a much better 246 in the second dig, they were never going to pose problems to Durham (256 and 69/2) . The champions lost their final round match to Sussex, but that mattered little.

category_image_update_ffac8982584bf551_1379600973_9j-4aaqsk    Durham celebrate after clinching their third Championship title, all of them coming within a span of six years (source – itv.com)

Durham won more games than any other team in either division – 10 as against 4 defeats and 2 losses. Their final points tally came up to 245.5, while Yorkshire, who were looking to many as title favourites throughout the summer, finished second with 221 points. The start for Durham, however, was anything but smooth sailing, as they lost two of their first three matches. But the Paul Collingwood-led outfit overcame the hurdles, not to mention the club’s financial problems and the heart attack suffered by head coach Geoff Cook in July, from which he thankfully recovered soon and went on to oversee a much-deserved win for his side.

  According to Collingwood, the turning point was Durham’s seven-wicket victory over Yorkshire at Scarborough in the last week of August. Beating the table-toppers on their own turf surely was a boost for the team, and they never looked back from then onward. What is pleasing from Durham’s point of view is that the core of the team has always been formed by locally-bred players. An average county might have considered an inability to afford an overseas player as a blow to its chances, but Durham instead relied on its home-grown talent to deliver when it mattered the most.

  Collingwood took charge of the team from Phil Mustard only last season, and he has proved be an inspirational leader. In 2012, his first ten games as captain resulted in seven victories, which ensured that Durham, who were staring at relegation, finished 6th in Division One. ‘Colly’, who with his obdurate batting developed the habit of bailing out England from dire situations in Test matches, will no doubt consider this as one of the major highs of his cricketing career.

Graham Onions in action for Durham   Graham Onions spearheaded Durham’s bowling attack and finished as the highest wicket-taker in the Championship (source – theguardian.com)

  The star performers for Durham were number three Scott Borthwick, opener Mark Stoneman and fast bowlers Graham Onions and Chris Rushworth. Borthwick and Stoneman logged 1022 (at 39.3) and 1011 (at 34.86) runs respectively, making three centuries each. Onions was the best bowler in the championship, claiming the most wickets (70) at the best average (18.45). His strike rate too was outstanding, at 35.9. Rushworth supported him well, taking 54 wickets at 22.5. Another fast bowler, all-rounder Ben Stokes was impressive too, picking up 42 wickets and earning himself a place in the Ashes squad which will tour Australia.

  As for other teams in Division 1, second-placed Yorkshire were also impressive throughout, riding on the form of batsmen Gary Ballance (leading run-scorer with 1251) and Joe Root. Derbyshire (3 wins) and Surrey (1 win) were relegated, finishing 8th and 9th respectively. The two teams which will replace them next season are Lancashire and Northamptonshire, who won promotion from Division 2. Leicestershire were quite woeful, finishing bottom of Division 2 with just 79 points, 70 less than the 8th placed team. They were the only side not to win a single game in the season. 

  Durham’s triumph has signalled that one does not need big overseas names or healthy finances to win the Championship – a committed unit and an experienced captain can be enough. For the record, Durham’s three titles are second only to Warwickshire’s four, in the period since 1992 (when Durham debuted) till date. 

IN FOCUS – Ten tumultuous years of Twenty20

  The commencement of the latest edition of England’s domestic Twenty20 tournament yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the oldest T20 competition in the world. On 13th June 2003, five games of the Twenty20 Cup were played across England to signal the arrival of cricket’s newest product, which was to become a golden goose in a few years’ time.

  The invention of T20 can be credited to Stuart Robertson, the then marketing manager of the ECB, who proposed a 20 over per innings game to county chairmen in 2001 and they voted 11–7 in favour of adopting the new format. The objective was to introduce a fast-paced cricket package to those who were finding county cricket monotonous, and enable spectators to watch a quick fun game after work. In the inaugural 2003 edition, Lord’s, the Mecca of cricket, was conspicuous by its absence, but the competition was nevertheless a success. Surrey, led by Adam Hollioake, became the first ever winners of a T20 tournament, defeating Warwickshire in a highly one-sided final at Trent Bridge.

2176883_1745073a     Adam Hollioake’s Surrey celebrate after winning the first ever Twenty20 Cup in 2003 (source – thesun.co.uk)

  Twenty20 cricket, just like the initial days of both Tests and ODI’s, motored along quietly for the first few years, generally seen as a hit-and-giggle format mostly restricted to the domestic level, albeit with a good degree of success and profitable returns to the cricket boards. South Africa started their own Pro20 competition in April 2004, while Sri Lanka had a two-day tournament of its own a few months later. The fans liked it, as a game was done and dusted in three hours and the atmosphere at the grounds was festive. Purists scoffed at it, lamenting about its ill-effects on the County Championship. For the administrators though, it was a dual reason to be happy – people were actually attending county grounds to near-capacity, and secondly, it had commercial viability. In the 2004 Twenty20 Cup, Lord’s hosted its first T20 game, between Middlesex and Surrey, and it attracted a crowd of 27,509, the largest attendance for any county cricket  game on ground other than a one-day final since 1953. The seeds of a revolution were sown. 

  Test cricket was seen as a secondary affair to the county season during its infancy, but the birth of the Ashes brought a new dimension to the game in 1882. One-day international cricket had not caught the world’s fancy until the Packer revolution altered the game’s dynamics between the first two World Cups. Similarly, the inaugural World T20 in 2007 can be seen as the slam-bang format’s watershed moment. The tournament was won by India, and it had an immense impact on the game. The BCCI, who were ironically the only board opposed to this format – in fact the board bigwigs were mulling not to send an Indian team to the World T20 at all – suddenly envisaged dollar signs all around them. The ‘rebel’ Indian Cricket League was the first to see an opportunity, but it was quickly brushed away by the BCCI, who had ideas of their own, as unofficial.

  In February 2008, different sections of the cricket community were either taken aback, amused or offended as the world’s best cricketers were actually auctioned at eye-popping prices at a five-star hotel. Cricket was turning corporate, as business houses and film-stars clamoured to ‘buy’ the cream of the cricketing world. It was a first-of-a-kind event in the history of cricket, and just two months later the Indian Premier League kicked off, and went on to become a huge hit with the fans as the BCCI and the cricketers laughed their way to the bank. Twenty20, which was just a pass-time, became the most lucrative option available to cricketers. England’s innovative idea was converted by India into a relentless assault, and how. Each four and six was now sponsored, commentators went over the top to create as much fabricated drama as possible, cash and sleaze became the order of the day. The IPL has turned into the Frankenstein of cricket in just five years.

download (2)         India’s win in the inaugural World T20 in 2007 proved to be the catalyst for the ‘tamasha’ called the Indian Premier League (source – in.reuters.com)

  The IPL however, went on to become a model for other nations to follow, who accordingly revamped their T20 competitions. The new Big Bash League, the Bangladesh Premier League and the Sri Lanka Premier League can be in some way considered as clones of the IPL. However, the IPL scores over all other T20 tournaments on many counts – popularity, star attractions and possibly, corruption too – although the BPL and the SLPL do not seem to be far behind in the corruption aspect, if recent happenings are anything to go by. Also in 2008 was witnessed the embarrassing Stanford fiasco and his near boot-licking by the ECB. Its creator Allen Stanford eventually was jailed for in a fraud case and the shambolic ‘Twenty20 for 20 million’ one-off game was thankfully done away with after a sole attempt.

  In a matter of a decade, Twenty20 has gone on to become probably the most serious threat to cricket as we know it. It is true that the public loves the format, especially in the sub-continent, and the format is a money-spinner for the cricket boards. However, the downsides are too dangerous to neglect. The biggest worry for the game is that players are being paid many times more to play three hours of meaningless cricket than they get while representing their country in a proper Test match. Today we are seeing lesser crowds at and cancellation of Test matches, shorter careers and an increase in corruption. Nothing wrong in the players earning a good sum of money, but they should get their priorities right – which is difficult when money becomes the sole source of motivation. Also, in spite of the players earning handsome amounts, we see a few of them succumb to the temptations of match-fixing. I can say with confidence that the corruption menace in the IPL is on a much wider scale than is known.

images (15)        The dark side of Twenty20 – fans protest against the IPL after the spot-fixing controversy rocked the game last month (source – iplzilla.com)

  With the amounts of money being offered, Twenty20 has become serious business for the cricketers and the administrators, however meaningless the games are. It is up to the ICC to ensure that the format does not erode the very ethics of this great game. The need of the hour is to ensure that conducive co-existence of the three formats in such a way that Test cricket remains the pinnacle and that each game has meaning attached to it. Unfortunately precious little is being done in this regard at the moment.

  T20 has brought a new audience to the game, but it does not need rocket science to find out whether these people will gradually get interested in Test cricket or not. How can someone who is introduced to cricket through the T20 format, be expected to appreciate the beauty of a Test match? Yes, it often makes for good entertainment, and it should be kept at that.

  It will interesting to see how Twenty20 shapes out to be in the coming decade. Will it suffer from overkill? Will its downfall be as quick as itself? Or will it kill off Test matches?

  Dicey times ahead for cricket. 

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT – Glenn Turner’s one-man show

   Glenn Turner was easily one of New Zealand’s best batsmen. He represented the Kiwis in 41 Tests and an equal number of ODI’s with distinction, averaging 44.64 and 47 respectively. In first class cricket, he has recorded an amazing 103 centuries – with a best of 311*. But undoubtedly the most eye-popping of these hundreds came at St Helen’s, Swansea in 1977, when Turner was playing for Worcestershire.

   The hosts Glamorgan declared at 309/4 in 100 overs after electing to bat first. Michael Llewellyn (91*) and Gwyn Richards (74*) put on an unbeaten 161 for the 5th wicket, while opener Alan Jones made 48. The former England test spinner Norman Gifford took 3/91. By stumps on Day 2, Worcestershire were 44/2, having lost Barry Jones and Phillip Neale. Turner was unbeaten on 39 already.                             Glenn Turner in full flow during his days at Worcestershire

  The next day Turner proceeded to play one of the most unique innings ever. Glamorgan bowled out Worcestershire for just 169 in 68 overs, but Turner entered the record books by carrying his bat and making 141* – a staggering 83.43% of the total number of team runs. The next best score was 7 by Gifford, with whom Turner added 57 for the 9th wicket, rescuing his side from a very worrisome 93/8. Elton Cordle was the wrecker-in-chief with 5/53, but none could remove Turner even as the rest of the batsmen crumbled around him. The other ten batsmen managed only 14 scoring shots among them!

  ”As each of them came out, in what looked like a disaster area” remembered Turner, “I told them there was nothing wrong with the pitch, but they didn’t seem to believe me!” Turner’s percentage of the innings total – 83.43% – remains the first-class record.

  The third day of the game was washed out and the match was drawn. Worcestershire finished the season 13th while Glamorgan finished 14th. Namibia’s Gerrie Snyman came close to breaking this record at Sharjah in the 2007-08 Intercontinental Cup, when he scored a stunning 230 out of 282 runs against Kenya.

Match Scorecardhttp://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/37/37233.html

WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT – Not just an ordinary rearguard effort

  This Championship match of 1947 was played between home side Derbyshire and visiting Essex at Chesterfield. Derbyshire won the toss and elected to bat in this three-day affair.

  Almost immediately, Raymond Smith drew first blood, as he bowled Charles Elliott for only 2 to make it 8/1, upon which Trevor Bailey, later to play 61 Tests for England, took over. Bailey, with his fast-medium pace accounted for Thomas Worthington, George Pope and Albert Alderman, whereas Denis Smith was run out – as the hosts slumped to 89/5. However, opening batsman Arnold Townsend hung on, scoring a crucial 86. Thomas Peter Bromley Smith, called Peter Smith (3/59) took the next three wickets, while Bailey (5/83) came back to end the Derbyshire innings at 223, after a defying 9th wicket stand between captain Edward Gothard and Clifford Gladwin.

  The Essex openers Thomas Dodds and Stanley Cray replied with a steady start to reach 30/0, but then the seam duo of William Copson and Pope ran through the batting line-up. Copson removed the openers and Alfred Avery while Pope sent back Harry Crabtree and Richard Horsfall, as Essex crashed to 51/5. Wickets continued to fall, but Frank Vigar, who came in at No.5, held fort. Essex ended Day 1 at 173/8. However, when number eleven Peter Smith went in at 199/9 to replace his cousin Raymond, few would have anticipated anything out of the ordinary, and Derbyshire seemed set for a narrow lead.

  Primarily a leg-break bowler, Peter Smith could bat a bit and was often shuffled across the order. Back in 1936, he had scored a century in 80 minutes against Hampshire. But now aged 39 and in his benefit year, he was kept at No.11, plus in the previous match against Worcestershire he was out for a pair. He deserved his place at No.11 on his form, but in this game, he made a mockery of it all.

         T.P.B Smith, known as ‘Peter’ Smith – the record breaking No.11 batsman (source – espncricinfo.com)

  Joining Vigar at 199/9, Peter Smith smashed an astonishing 163 in 140 minutes. Vigar steadily went on to reach his own hundred. When Smith was finally out for 163, with 22 fours and 3 sixes, the two had put on a stunning 218 runs for the last wicket, with Vigar remaining unbeaten on 114. Essex finally scored 417, and Smith’s extraordinary feat had assured them of a safe 194 run lead. Bailey added another fifer, 5/92 to give him ten for the match, while Raymond Smith took 4/122 as Derbyshire made 304 in the second innings. However, they were rescued by a rearguard effort of their own, recovering from 170/8, reaching 209/8 at stumps on Day 2, before finally reaching 304 courtesy stands of 72 and 62 for the last two wickets. 

  Set a target of 111, Peter Smith was understandably promoted to No.3, but he could manage only 4, getting caught off Copson. Copson and Pope took two each as the top order came a cropper again, getting reduced to 36/4, but further panic was averted by the solid Vigar, who scored an unbeaten 40 to see his county home by 5 wickets, helping them reach 114/5. 

  Smith’s 163 remains the highest ever first class score by a No.11, while the last wicket stand of 218 with Vigar is an Essex record. In the end, the 1947 season turned out to be great for Peter Smith, as he made 1063 runs and took 172 wickets – the first time he achieved the ‘double’ of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in a season. Moreover, his wickets tally of 1947 is an Essex record for a single season.

  In a 22 year first class career spanning from 1929 to 1951, Smith turned out for Essex in 465 matches, and this knock of 163 at No.11 is his highest score, though he made seven other centuries too. But more importantly, he took 1697 wickets, including 122 five-wicket hauls at 26.55 with his leg break googlies – another Essex record. He played four Tests for England from 1946 to 1947.           

Match Scorecard – http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/18/18210.html

Who would have thought it – Hampshire’s stunning comeback

  The sort of comeback engineered by Hampshire against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in the 1922 county championship is unlikely to be seen again. This intriguing match took place between 14th and 16th June, 1922.

  Hampshire captain, the Hon. Lionel Tennyson, decided to put the home team in after winning the toss. The wicket was turning slowly, but yet it was comfortable to bat on. The Warwickshire innings revolved around a 122-run fourth-wicket partnership between Frederick Santall and captain, the Hon. Frederick Calthorpe.

  Better known as F.S.G Calthorpe, he was the same man who would refuse to enforce the follow-on on the West Indies in a Test at Kingston seven years later in spite of a 563-run lead!

  Santall and Calthorpe scored 84 and 70 respectively, as Warwickshire ended their innings at 223. Medium pacer Jack Newman and left armer Stuart Boyes led the bowling for Hampshire, although Newman was carted at almost six runs an over.

  Hampshire would have been fairly happy with their bowling performance, but their batting in the first innings was nothing short of nightmarish. The visitors could post a team total of only 15 in 8.5 overs – currently the joint fifth-lowest total of all time, and then the lowest since 1901.

Image           The Hampshire team that took on Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 1922 (source – hampshirecrickethistory.wordpress.com)   

  After playing a part in Warwickshire’s total, which now looked gargantuan, Calthorpe scalped 4/4 while fellow paceman Harry Howell collected 6/7. The first three wickets were all ducks, as Hampshire slid to 0/3 in four overs.

  The England left-handed batsman Phil Mead was the only one to come out of the rubble with his head held high, scoring a regal 6* and hitting one of the two boundaries (the Hon. Tennyson chipped in with the other).

  The score went on to further levels of mediocrity, as 5/5 in the fifth over became 10/8 in the eighth, and finally to 15 an over later. With 20 wickets falling in less than 62 overs, the wicket seemed anything but comfortable to bat on. Hampshire were staring at a big defeat, possibly within two days.

  This time Calthorpe did enforce the follow-on, unlike seven years later at Kingston. Hampshire, trailing by 208, ended the first day at 98/3 – still a wobbly position – 23 wickets fell on the day.

  Even though Alex Bowell and Tennyson scored 45 runs each, Hampshire hardly looked like saving the game, let alone win it, when placed at 177/6 on the second day – still 31 in arrears.

  Left-handed batsman George Brown, who was batting at number six and who won seven England caps, then got engaged in a 85-run stand for the seventh wicket with  William Shirley (30), which helped the visitors to mop off the deficit. But he was in danger of being stranded not out, as his side pulled to 274/8, a lead of just 66.

  Enter wicket-keeper Walter Livsey – who until then had a collection of 181 runs in 36 innings. Brown cleverly farmed the bowling, while ensuring that Livsey was kept away from the strike.

  With the new ball due, the end of the innings seemed a formality. But Calthorpe thought otherwise, and chose not to take a fresh cherry the new ball. By and by, the partnership grew, and when Brown was finally out for 172, the stand had been worth 177. The lead was now a healthy 243 as Hampshire ended Day Two at 475/9.

  The following day, Livsey reached a century of his own. He ended at t 110 not out, adding 70 for the last wicket with Boyes. Hampshire piled up a total of 521, thereby setting a bewildered Warwickshire a target of 314.


       A book by Neil Jenkinson as a tribute to Hampshire’s amazing win (source – amazon.co.uk)

  The day seemed to be drifting away and the home team were comfortably placed at 77/1, when Newman struck mayhem. Warwickshire went to lose five wickets for 12 runs over the next hour to slump to 89/6, with Newman taking four of them. Willie Quaife, who came in at number four, kept the battle alive with a fighting, and ultimately unbeaten, 40.

  But the wickets continued to fall at the other end. It was Newman (5/53) who scalped Howell for his fifth victim to script Warwickshire’s demise, as the hosts were bowled out for 158 in 68.3 overs. Paceman Alex Kennedy provided vital support with 4/47.

  Hampshire won by 155 runs and Calthorpe was left wondering how on earth did his team even find themselves chasing 314 on the final day. While the bowlers were taken by surprise by the assault from Brown and Livsey, the batsmen probably could not fathom the turn of events and eventually succumbed to the unlikeliest of defeats.

  Wisden aptly stated – ‘The victory taken as a whole, must surely be without precedent in first-class cricket.’ And surely no team had ever won nor has since won after being bowled out for such a low first innings score.

  For the record, Hampshire finished sixth that season while Warwickshire ended at a lowly twelfth, with Yorkshire winning the title. 

Match Scorecard – http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/10/10456.html