May 1962

WG's bad-tempered brother

RC Robertson-Glasgow
No cricketer, surely, has ever enjoyed the battle more; none ever argued more with umpires, players and spectators alike; none ever departed more reluctantly from the wicket when batting, or disagreed more verbosely with decisions when bowling than
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There is entry in Wisden's which still fills me equally with delight and amazement. It concerns Mr. E. M. Grace, "the Coroner", who was born in 1841, some seven years before his brother, "W. G.".

Now "W. G." was undoubtedly among the half-dozen or so greatest allrounders who ever played cricket. Some would place him alone, at the top. But, for sheer personality, he must give way to his elder brother, E. M., "the Coroner".

No cricketer, surely, has ever enjoyed the battle more; none ever argued more with umpires, players and spectators alike; none ever departed more reluctantly from the wicket when batting, or disagreed more verbosely with decisions when bowling.

Wisden's of 1908 remarks: "In all matches in which he has participated during his extraordinary career, E. M. Grace has scored 76,705 runs, and obtained (I like the "obtained") 11,959 wickets". Of course, many of these runs and wickets were obtained when he was playing for his home Club, Thornbury, in Gloucestershire. For Thornbury, in 1906, he took 352 wickets.

Next year, at the age of 65, he obtained only 212, but he had 208 catches missed of his bowling! Who kept the record of these missed catches? I like to think that it was E. M. Grace himself, with a full list of culprits, to whom, on the anniversary of their crime, he sent a card of reminder.

A wonderful man. Perhaps unique. For, in spite of all those runs and wickets, he rated hunting above cricket.