WICKET-KEEPER OF THE YEAR - 1891

Richard Pilling

Richard Pilling was born at Bedford on July 5, 1855, and, so far as we are aware, it was not until many years later that he became associated with Lancashire-the only county with which he has had any cricket connection. His first appearance in the Lancashire eleven dates back to the season of 1877, and the present writer can well recollect being immensely struck with the work done behind the wicket by the then almost unknown player in a match at Maidstone between Lancashire and Kent. His appearance for Lancashire was very happily timed, as, with Mr. E. Jackson so often prevented by business reasons from playing, the northern county might have been left without a first-class wicket-keeper. Almost from the first time he was seen in the Lancashire team it was felt that a great wicket-keeper had arisen, and he at once sprang into the front rank. From August, 1877, down to the end of the season of 1889 he was a regular member of the Lancashire eleven, and several pages of WISDEN might easily be filled with a record of his doings. For all the hard work he has done in the cricket field, Pilling has never been constitutionally robust, and we believe that the serious illness which kept him out of the cricket field in 1890 originated in a severe cold which he caught during the winter when taking part in a football match. At the end of the summer he journeyed to Australia for the benefit of his health, leaving in the same steamer that took a large proportion of the Australian team. Much might be said about Pilling's special excellence as a wicket-keeper, but we will content ourselves by expressing a very strong opinion that during the last twelve years he has had no superior but Blackham. His style may be described as the perfection of neatness and rapidity, without the least unnecessary show. Pilling visited Australia with Shaw and Shrewsbury's team in 1881-2, and went out again under the same auspices in the winter of 1887-8, and it is to be feared that much of his subsequent ill-health dates from a sunstroke that he suffered during the former of these trips. As a batsman Pilling has an excellent style, and has often done capital work for his county. Personally no professional cricketer is held in higher regard than the Lancashire wicket-keeper.

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