James Phillips

PHILLIPS, JAMES, who was born at Port Adelaide in South Australia on September 1, 1860, and died at Burnaby, Vancouver, on April 21, will be remembered more for his work as an umpire than for anything he accomplished as a player. To Phillips more than anyone else is due the credit for stumping out throwing in first-class cricket. Going out to Australia to act as umpire with A. E. Stoddart's team in 1897-98, he twice no-balled Ernest Jones, the fast bowler, whose delivery when visiting this country with Harry Trott's team in 1896 was condemned as unfair, and the courageous action of Phillips found many imitators. throwing on English cricket grounds had for a long time been allowed to go on unchecked but in 1898 C. B. Fry was no-balled by West at Trent Bridge, by Phillips himself at Brighton and by Sherwin at Lord's, while a new Warwickshire bowler, Hopkins, came under the ban of Titchmarsh at Tonbridge. A storm of controversy was aroused after F. R. Spofforth, in a letter to the Sporting Life in 1897, suggested that the best way would be to legalise throwing and in one season it would bring about its own cure. However, as a result of Phillips' example, speedy and satisfactory action was taken by the captains of the first-class counties who at a meeting at Lord's in December, 1900 arrived at an agreement to deal strongly with the matter in the following summer. Then, in a match between Lancashire and Somerset at Old Trafford, Phillips no-balled Mold sixteen times. A strong agitation was got up on Mold's behalf but owing to the fact that the Lancashire fast bowler had been condemned as unfair by the county captains at their famous meeting--by a majority of eleven to one--this was systematically ignored. The M.C.C. Committee in the following December issued a circular to all the County secretaries in which was expressed the hope that the County Cricket Executives would, in future, decline to play bowlers with doubtful deliveries. Thereafter English bowling was more uniformly fair and above suspicion than in any season during the previous twenty-five years and, eventually, throwing practically disappeared.

Phillips was a good medium-pace bowler, a fairly useful batsman and a smart field at cover-point. He came to England in 1888 and joined the ground staff at Lord's, appearingfor Middlesexbetween 1890and 1898and for many years journeying between England and Australia. For a time he was engaged as coach at Chistchurch, in New Zealand, and whilst there played an innings of 110 not out for Canterbury v. Wellington in 1898-9. In the course of his career with Middlesex, Phillips made 1,091 runs and took 216 wickets for just over 22 runs each. Among his bowling feats were: seven wickets for 20 runs ( Victoria v. New South Wales at Melbourne in 1890-1); thirteen for 117 ( Middlesex v. Sussex at Lord's in 1895), and thirteen for 187 ( Middlesex v. Gloucestershire on the same ground in 1896). In the course of a week's cricket for M.C.C. at Lord's in 1888 he took sixteen of Scarborough's twenty wickets and dismissed four Notts Castle men in four balls. His benefit match was Middlesex v. Australians at Lord's in 1899.

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