William ('Dick') Attewell

ATTEWELL, WILLIAM ( Dick) born at Keyworth on June 12, 1861, died at Long Eaton, after a long illness, on June 11, one day before completing his 66th year. A right-handed medium-paced bowler of exceptiona1 accuracy in length, he had his first opportunity to play for the county of his birth in 1881. This was the year there occurred the Nottingham Schism, Alfred Shaw, Arthur Shrewsbury, William Barnes, Fred Morley, and James Selby refusing to comply with their engagement to play throughout the season unless the same arrangement were extended to Wilfred Flowers and William Scotton. The committee maintained their refusal to accede to the demand of those famous players, but five of them appeared in the county eleven towards the end of the season. Shaw and Shrewsbury, however, remained absent after the first match. Attewell consequently strengthened the attack during this unfortunate period, playing in eight matches and taking thirty-five wickets at a cost of a little over 18 runs each. One performance stood out as exceptionally good--thirteen wickets falling to him at Brighton for 134 runs. The trouble being over next season, Attewell had to wait until Morley's health failed and then, for sixteen seasons, remained a regular member of the side, while, after giving up the game in 1900, he officiated as an umpire for several years. Altogether, in first-class cricket in England, Attewell took 1,861 wickets for about 15½ runs apiece. For the M.C.C. at Worcester in 1883 he took all of the Worcestershire wickets in the second innings. He used to mix his pace with varying flight and spin, but, like Alfred Shaw, he was renowned chiefly for a perfect length. As a batsman, Attewell often rendered useful service, and once scored 200. This occurred when he and William Gunn (who scored 219 not out), made a stand that produced 419 runs for the M.C.C. against Northumberland at Lord's in 1887. Ten years later, for Nottinghamshire, against Kent, he made 102. Attewell also did good work in the field, usually at cover-point. Among his best performances with the ball, that at Trent Bridge against Sussex in 1886, when he took nine wickets for 23 runs, deserves special mention. On eight occasions he dismissed eight men in an innings. He could bowl his accurate length for long spells without tiring, and against Sussex at Trent Bridge in 1887 twenty-six overs from him yielded only six runs, while in another match--against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham a year later--he bowled twenty four overs for five runs and three wickets. Attewell took part in three tours to Australia, going out with Alfred Shaw's team in the winter of 1884, with G. F. Vernon's side three years later, and again with Lord Sheffield's side in 1891-92. He did best with the ball on his second visit, taking fifty-three wickets for 11 runs each in important matches. At Melbourne he excelled against the sixth Australian team that had visited England, taking twelve of their wickets for 48 runs, and on the same ground directly afterwards, against Victoria, he took eleven wickets for 58. Against Australia, also at Melbourne, eight wickets fell to him for 55 runs. He received two benefits. In 1898 the Notts Committee gave him half the proceeds of the game with Surrey at Trent Bridge, and, although the match was ruined by rain, he received about £1,000 as the subscription lists were well filled. Five years later the M.C.C. allotted him the Middlesex v. Somerset match at Lord's, where excellent attendances were recorded on the first two days.

© John Wisden & Co