BOWLER OF THE YEAR - 1924

Arthur Gilligan

MR. ARTHUR E. R. GILLIGAN, who has in the last two seasons, but more especially last year, taken his place among the leading amateur cricketers of the day, was born on the 23rd of December, 1894. Educated, like his brothers, at Dulwich College, he showed plenty of talent for the game while at school, but to the public he was an unknown quantity till after the war. Going up to Cambridge he got his Blue when first-class cricket was resumed in 1919, a sad lack of bowling talent at the University making the way easy for him. His bowling record for Cambridge came out rather badly--thirty-two wickets at a cost of a little under 27 runs apiece--but in the University match, though he did not have the luck to be on the winning side, he foreshadowed the fame which has since come to him. On the third morning he finished off Oxford's second innings by bowling nine overs and three balls for 16 runs and five wickets. Fast bowling of such quality had not been seen in the University match since A. F. Morcom was at Cambridge. In another respect the season of 1919 revealed Arthur Gilligan's potential force very clearly. Against Sussex at Brighton he went in last for Cambridge, and hit up a score of 101 in a little over an hour. In the season of 1920 he remained stationary, doing nothing out of the common either as bowler or batsman for Cambridge, and proving a decidedly expensive bowler for Sussex. However, in the following year he made a distinct advance. It is true that the seventy-seven wickets he took for Sussex in county matches cost him over thirty runs each, but his fielding was brilliant in the extreme. He was described on all hands as the best mid-off in England. Still, his real prominence in the cricket world really dates from the season of 1922, when he succeeded H. L. Wilson as captain of the Sussex eleven. Sussex did not have by any means a good year, losing sixteen county matches and winning only eleven, but their cricket was always interesting, the fielding, thanks very largely to Gilligan's stimulating example, being worked up to an extraordinarily high pitch of excellence. Bowling in far more consistent form than he had ever shown before, Arthur Gilligan took 116 wickets in county matches with an average of 17.25. He was picked for Gentlemen against Players at Lord's, and on the first day of the match helped to make the Gentlemen's fielding more brilliant than it had been for years. At the end of the season he had the further distinction of playing for England against Yorkshire--the Champion County--at the Oval, and bowled very finely, taking three wickets for 42 runs and five for 66. Given a place in the M. C. C.'s team for South Africa, he rose to the occasion as a batsman when a special effort was needed, helping Russell in the stand that practically gave the Englishmen the last Test Match, and with it the Rubber. What he did last season will be fresh in everybody's remembrance. It is not claimed for Arthur Gilligan, by even his warmest admirers, that he can be classed among great fast bowlers, but he is a very good one, combining with the right temperament and tireless energy just the extra bit of pace that to many batsmen is so distasteful. With his varied gifts as a cricketer he seems to have every chance of playing in Test matches at home.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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