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Full name William Lambert
Born 1779, Burstow, Surrey
Died April 19, 1851, Nutfield, Surrey (aged 72 years)
Major teams Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, Sussex
Batting style Right-hand bat
|First-class debut||England v Surrey XI at Lord's (Old), Jul 20-21, 1801 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Sussex XI v Epsom at Lord's, Jul 2-6, 1817 scorecard|
A great cricketer in the early days of the organised game, William Lambert was a fine exponent of the forward style of batting and was regarded at one time as the best batsman in England. Standing in the somewhat awkward "Harrow" style, with his feet a yard apart, a strong stride forward was followed by a full swing of the bat. A good bowler, and an exceptional fielder, he made his living from the game, playing for the highest bidder, notably in single and double wicket matches. Famously, when his double-wicket partner George Osbaldeston was unable to take part through sickness, he singlehandedly defeated the redoubtable pair of Lord Frederick Beauclerk and TC Howard. He was the first man in cricket history to score a hundred in each innings, playing for Sussex at Epsom in 1817, a feat not repeated for 76 years. In the same year, however, he was banned from Lord's after being charged with trying less hard than he might for England against Notts.
PF Warner wrote: "It may be that the charge was false. A cricketer's skill is not always at one level of excellence: he has his off-days, and even weeks when out of form. should these coincide with an important match, on which there was heavy wagering, the atmosphere created by disappointment and anger might well preclude an accurate judgement on a particular player's failure. In the case of so fine a cricketer one prefers to think that the decision was based on surmise and supposition rather than on indisputable evidence."
For 16 years he was a dominant player in the game and was also an early author, dedicating his 1816 book to the MCC, the body that excluded him from their grounds a year later.
Whatever happens, the Australia-New Zealand World Cup final at the MCG will be the most divine fun