Frank Cobden

COBDEN, MR. FRANK CARROLL, Who died at Capel Curig, North Wales, on December 7, was the hero of perhaps the most sensational piece of bowling in the history of cricket.

In the Oxford and Cambridge match of 1870, Oxford, set 179 runs to win, had made 175 for the loss of seven batsmen and thus, with three wickets to fall, wanted only four runs for victory when Cobden began the over which will be for ever memorable. The first ball was hit by F. H. Hill for a single, the stroke being one which would certainly have sent the ball to the boundary had it not been brilliantly fielded by mid-wicket--as to whether this was mid-off or mid-on even those taking part in the match differ. S. E. Butler was caught off the second ball, T. H. Belcher bowled by the third, and W. A. Stewart by the fourth, with the result that Cambridge snatched an extraordinary victory by two runs.

Born at Lambley, Nottinghamshire, on October 14, 1849, Mr. Cobden was in the Harrow XI. in 1866, and in the match against Eton, which Harrow won by an innings and 136 runs, he took five wickets for 37 and three for 10, or eight wickets in all for 47 runs. In the same match, W. B. Money ( Harrow), afterwards captain at Cambridge, in the year Cobden accomplished his memorable bowling feat, performed the hat trick. Included in the Eton Eleven on that occasion was C. I. Thornton, the famous hitter, who in the first innings scored 46 not out. Before going to Harrow in 1864, Cobden was at Brighton College (1860-1863) and at Highgate School (1863-1864). He left School early, and going up to Trinity College, Cambridge, was given his Blue in 1870 and in the two following years taking, on the occasion of his great triumph, eight wickets for 76 runs. He was an excellent fast round-arm bowler and very straight, spoken of 60 years ago as one of the best who has appeared in any eleven and described as being a better bowler at school than at any time afterwards. He stood nearly 6ft. high, and weighed 12st. He generally fielded at mid-on and was a free and powerful hitter.

© John Wisden & Co