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At a Special General Meeting of the Members of M. C. C., held in the Pavilion on the 4th of May, the Hon. F. Ponsonby proposed, Mr. F. N. Micklethwait seconded, and (after discussion) it was duly carried, that Law IX should read as follows:--
The Bowler shall deliver the ball with one foot on the ground behind the bowling crease, and within the return crease, and shall bowl one over before he change wickets, which he shall be permitted to do twice in the same innings, and no bowler shall bowl more than two overs in succession.
A proposition to add to Law xliv. the words Or any agreed number was not carried. 66 new members were then duly elected.
The 83rd ANNIVERSARY DINNER was held the same evening in the new Tavern on the ground. The President--The MARQUIS OF LANSDOWNE--took the chair. Bell's Life reported-- The dinner was well attended, the table was elegantly arranged, and the good things provided did great credit to Mr. Day, the landlord. After the usual loyal toasts had been heartily responded to, and the good old annual toast of CRICKET AND SUCCESS TO THE MARYLEBONE CLUB had justice done it, the Secretary read the annual report of the Committee, the prominent items thereof being the following:--
In presenting their annual report the Committee beg to draw the attention of members to two important matters which have been successfully carried out during the recess. Firstly, the piece of ground known as Guy's garden, and secondly, the Grand Stand, have been purchased at an outlay of £3,491 14s. 4d.
The match list presents several new features, and the Committee have great satisfaction in stating that the differences among the players have been healed, and that the season 1870 will see again at Lord's Ground the best cricketers of the kingdom.
The expenses of matches last season amounted to £972 17s. 10d. The Benefit Fund now amounts to £250 6s. 4d.
The Committee, in conclusion, beg to express their conviction that the Club has at length passed through its most critical epoch. The large expenditure which has necessarily been incurred is now at an end. The Club is still further indebted to Mr. W. Nicholson for the accomplishment of its objects. All the buildings on the premises have been put in thorough repair. The ground has not only been renovated, but is now extended to its natural limit.
The Committee hope that the members and the public will continue to assist them in their efforts to maintain Lord's Ground in a manner worthy the Premier Club of England.
On Monday, the 9th of May, the season was practically commenced at Lord's with a match-- Right v. Left of England--that brought together such cricketers as Mr. W. G. Grace, Carpenter, Mr. C. F. Buller, R. Daft, Jupp, T. Hayward, John Smith, Wootton, J. C. Shaw, Willsher, Emmett, Griffith, James Lillywhite, Alfred Shaw, T. Hearne, Howitt, Killick, and others. Such a gathering of the cracks had never before been seen at Lord's in an opening match, the gathering being doubly welcome,inaugurating as it did the return of some of the most scientific players of the age to the old ground, and indicative as it was of the subsequent frequent appearance of the best cricketers in the country during the season. It was the 57th season of M.C.C. on the present Lord's Ground; and regarding number of matches, general high quality of the cricket, and frequent excitingly close finishes, it was one of the busiest and best seasons the Club has yet played. 40 M.C.C. or M.C.C. and G. matches were played--20 at Lord's; M.C.C. teams contesting the other 20 at Cambridge, Oxford, Eton, Harrow, Winchester, Rugby, Cheltenham, Marlborough, Vincent Square, Aldershot, Chatham, Canterbury, Sandhurst, Woolwich, The Oval, Charleywood, Thorndon Hall , The Node, Dereham, and Bury St. Edmunds. The first nine named localities tell how earnestly M.C.C. strive to encourage the National Game at the Universities and Public Schools. The counties that measured their strength against M.C.C. elevens were:-- Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Surrey; (twice), Kent, Huntingdonshire, Derbyshire, Herts (twice), Norfolk, and Suffolk. In the 40 M.C.C. matches played, so many as 146 different members of the Club batted. The largest innings hit by a M.C.C. team was that of 457 runs against the Royal Artillery on Woolwich Common, and the highest individual innings played for M.C.C. was the 174 by Mr. A. H. Winter in the same match. The highest individual innings last season on Lord's Ground was the 172 for Gloucestershire against M.C.C. by Mr. W. G. Grace, who also (first man in) scored 117 not out for M.C.C. against Notts, and 109 for The Gentlemen v. The Players on the old turf, Daft's 117 in the Notts match being the only other three figure innings of note played at Lord's last season. Nottinghamshire's 267 was the largest innings played at Lord's in 1870, the 265 by the M.C.C.twelve against the Civil Service Club being the second highest. In addition to the 40 Club contests 14 other matches were played under the auspices of M.C.C., including the revivals of the old North v. South and Left v. Right of England matches. The old and very popular stock items of the M.C. C. programme -- The Gentlemen v Players, Oxford v. Cambridge,and Etonv. Harrow--were played with as much eclat and more attraction than heretofore; and among other novelties, The United North and the United South Elevens played their first match on the old historical turf. The weather was favourable at most of the leading matches; and although in the earlier portion of the season some of the wickets were in anything but good order, as the season wore on a majority of the wickets were the best conditioned played on at Lord's for several years past. All classes of visitors were unanimous in praise of the decided improvement to the ground by the addition thereto of the slip of land on the eastern side, hitherto known as Guy's Nursery Ground, and alike general were the expressions of gratification at the several excitingly close contests that were played during the three months at Lord's;to wit the one wicket victory by Yorkshire over M.C.C. and G; the success, after three days' struggle, of Notts by one wicket; the win, by 4 runs only, of Sandhurst; the famous fight that ended in the Gentlemen defeating the Players by 4 runs; the near finish to the Etonv. Harrow match; and that wonderfully effective last over of Mr. Cobden's that took three wickets and won, when it was 50 to 1 against Light Blue --the Universities match for Cambridge--by 2 runs, and caused that madly joyous rush of shouting thousands to the pavilion that never will be forgotten by those who witnessed it.
The sad deplorable accident that ended in the untimely death of poor George Summers will distressingly assist in rendering the past season at Lord's a memorable one to all classes of cricketers, by whom the unassuming manners, excellent conduct, and great cricketing abilities of Summers were held in high esteem; and it must be some consolation to his relatives and friends to know that no professional cricketer ever left us who in life was more highly respected, and whose death was so deeply deplored, than George Summers.
Among the more than 250 different batsmen who played at Lord's in 1870 were-- Mr. W. G. Grace, Carpenter, Mr. I. D. Walker, Jupp, Mr. W. B. Money, Richard Daft, Mr. Pauncefote, Roger Iddison, Mr. Yardley, John Smith, Mr. Dale, Pooley, Mr. C. E. Green, George Parr, Mr. G. F. Grace, Charlwood, Mr. C. F. Buller, T. Hayward, Mr. Ottaway, W. Oscroft, Mr. W. H. Hadow, Bignall, Mr. H. A. Richardson, T. Hearne, Mr. C. R. Filgate, T. Humphrey, Mr. Townsend, Mortlock, Mr. A. H. Winter, Summers, Mr. Beevor, Rowbotham, Mr. F. E. R. Fryer, Silcock, Mr. Fortescue, Rawlinson, Mr. C. S. Gordon, C. Coward, Mr. C. E. Boyle, H. H. Stephenson, Mr. E. F. S. Tylecote, Luke Greenwood, Mr. Akroyd, Griffith, Mr. Thornton, Lockwood, Mr. F. Hill, Killick, and others. The principal bowlers who took part in the matches at head quarters were-- Alfred Shaw, Freeman, J. C. Shaw, Willsher, Mr. Appleby, Wootton, Mr. C. K. Francis, Southerton, Mr. F. C. Cobden, Atkinson, Mr. C. J. Brune, Howitt, James Lillywhite, Emmett, F. Silcock, Hughes, McIntyre, Mr. A. Bourne, and Farrands; and when it is borne in mind that in various matches the wickets were kept by Pooley, Plumb, Mr. Bissett, Pinder, Biddulph, Mr. W. A. Stewart, Mr. J. A. Bush, and Mr. Lines, it will be evident that at Lord's in 1870 the science of the fine old game was duly exemplified by the most accomplished cricketers in the kingdom.
The two prominent items of M.C.C. cricket in 1870, are:--
Mr. W. G. Grace having in 15 innings (3not outs) scored 666 runs.
Average for, M.C.C....55 runs per innings.
Alfred Shaw having in 12 of the principal M.C.C. and G. matches bowled for M.C.C.:--
775 overs (436 maidens) for 759 runs and 102 wickets.