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Sir Walter died in 1939 and his son, Guy, was not keen on cricket and so the award fell by the wayside. But in 1965 Brian Thornton inherited the trophy on the death of his father-in-law, Guy Lawrence, and the following year reinstated the award for the fastest Test century by an England batsman, with the help of MCC and many others, including Brian Johnston.
In 1970 the award reverted to its original form for the fastest first-class century during the English season. Also in that year the award was presented for 'the most meritorious innings of the England v The Rest of the World series' to Geoff Boycott, for his 222-ball century at The Oval.
In 1985 the basis for the award was changed from minutes to the number of balls faced after more hundreds began to be scored against less than challenging bowling in contrived circumstances. Matters came to a head in 1983 when Lancashire's Steve O'Shaughnessy made a hundred in 35 minutes against Leicestershire against joke bowling. Such innings are now barred from inclusion at the discretion of the judges.
The trophy, together with a cheque for £5,000 to the winning batsman and another for £5,000 to charity, is presented during an awards ceremony and dinner held in the Long Room at Lord's, which is attended by current and former cricketers, correspondents and many celebrity guests.
Winners1934 Frank Woolley
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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