The three Gentlemen v. Players of England matches in 1877

THE RESOLVE OF THE SECRETARIES in 1875 that in future there should be nine consecutive cricketing days of Gentlemen v. Players of England Matches on the London Grounds was duly carried out in 1877, when on the 28th, 29th, and 30th of June (Sunday then intervening), and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th of July, Gentlemen v Players cricket was in full swing at The Oval, at Lord's, and at Prince's.

The weather during these nine days was of extraordinary variety, and those present at the three grounds will not easily forget the glorious sunshine at The Oval, the vivid lightning flash, loud thunder clap, and furious rain-pour at Lord's or that remarkable hail-storm that burst over Prince's, and for twenty minutes gave that ground the appearance of being topped by hoar-frost.

As to the nine days' cricket the batting and fielding will long retain a bright spot in the memories of those who witnessed the play, and when beardless and hearty youngsters of the present day have grown grey and feeble, they will have many a tale to tell the cricketers of the future how, in one of the 1877 matches, Mr. W. G. Grace was bowled out for a one hit (a 3) innings; how perfect was the cricket played by young Arthur Shrewsbury for his 78; how Mr. I. D. Walker in one match went twice to the wickets, received but one ball in that match, and that ball bowled him; how unsurpassably splendid Mr. J. M. Cotterill hit for his 59 and 92, and what a grand 7, all run out, he made at Lord's; how daringly Mr. A. N. Hornby hit, and how daringly he ran for his 144 (the largest innings hit in the three matches); -- with what care, patience, skill, and success Mr. W. W. Read played for his 72; how very finely Mr. G. F. Grace hit for his 134, and his brother, Mr. W. G. did ditto for his 41; how Ulyett made 53 and 118 in one match; how Mr. A. J. Webbe caught out 6 of them in one innings; how the Hon. A. Lyttelton, as stumper, captured 5 of them in another innings, and 8 in that match; how the Hon. A. and Mr. Hornby put on 130 runs whilst they were together; -- how the players were virtually without a wicketkeeper in two of the matches; how finely the Players started the scoring by Lockwood and Shrewsbury hitting 166 runs before a wicket fell, Lockwood making 92; and how very finely the Gentlemen finished off the glorious match by Mr. G. F. Grace and Mr. W. S. Patterson making the requisite 46 runs for the last wicket.

Alfred Shaw's unfortunate illness was a bad blow to the Players' success; the loss of his bowling being severely felt throughout the matches, especially at Lord's, when that memorable struggle for the 46 runs or the wicket was so excitingly progressing.

© John Wisden & Co