CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1898

FG Bull

MR. F.G. BULL, the Essex slow bowler, was born on the 22nd April, 1876, and was little known to the general public till the season of 1896. It is true that he played in eight matches for Essex in 1895, but at that time he was scarcely ready for county cricket, and neither as bowler nor batsman did he meet with much success. He only scored 115 runs in thirteen innings and the fourteen wickets he took cost nearly 27 runs each. In 1896, however, he went at a bound to the front rank. So little was his bowling thought of at the beginning of the season that when the Australians played Essex at Leyton, in the middle of May, he only bowled nine overs in the two innings. Soon after that, however, his merits were recognised, and in match after match he did first-rate work, his great triumph coming in the return match with Surrey at Leyton, on the 6th and 7th of August. He took eleven wickets for 89 runs and was largely instrumental in gaining Essex a single inning's victory. Altogether in county matches he obtained 70 wickets at an average cost of considerably less than 16 runs each. Moreover, he met with brilliant success for Gentlemen against Players at the Oval, eight wickets falling to him in the Players' first innings for 94 runs. His doings for Essex during the past season are set out in details in the review of that county. He was more expensive than in the previous year, but the fact that he took over a hundred wickets in sixteen matches is sufficient proof that he must have bowled very finely. He began with a splendid performance against Surrey at the Oval and it was largely due to his efforts that Essex beat Lancashire at Leyton in August. Both these matches were played on hard, true wickets which gave him no assistance. It is indeed no flattery to say that on a good lively pitch Mr. Bull can get more spin on the ball than any other English-born slow bowler now before the public. After the season was over he went to America with Mr. P. F. Warner's team and was one of the successes of a very pleasant tour. As a batsman Mr. Bull is coming along, but it is to be hoped that he will not develop his run-getting at the expense of his bowling. Presuming he does not get over-worked there seems to be a very brilliant career before him.

© John Wisden & Co