Stanley Christopherson

CHRISTOPHERSON, MR. STANLEY, President of M.C.C. from 1939 to 1946, the longest period anyone has held that office, died in a London nursing home on April 6, aged 87. Born at Blackheath on November 11, 1861, he earned fame as one of the best fast bowlers in the middle'eighties. He was educated at Uppingham, where the celebrated H. H. Stephenson was coach. Although a splendid teacher of batting, Stephenson possessed rather lax ideas on the matter of bowling, but Christopherson's methods were beyond suspicion. Christopherson took a fairly long run, made full use of his height in bringing the ball well over and, with a natural swing, acquired a lot of pace. For a fast bowler he kept an accurate length and could send down a formidable yorker. He played a good deal for Kent for five seasons from 1883, but strained his arm in 1886 and took little active part in important cricket after 1887.

Altogether he appeared for Kent in fifty matches and against Surrey at The Oval in 1883 took eight wickets for 41. A year later his reputation was so well established that he played for Gentlemen against Players at Lord's, and Australians at The Oval, while at Lord's he was capped for England against Australia, who on that occasion suffered defeat in a single innings. For the Gentlemen against Australia's very powerful batting side, he dismissed eight men for 78 and at Canterbury, when Kent were the only county that summer to beat the Australians, he sent down in the second innings 19 overs for 12 runs and three wickets.

That season Christopherson figured in a remarkable match at Aston Lower Grounds, Birmingham, between An Eleven of England and the Australians. The pitch, quite bare of grass, was alleged to have been watered overnight. In these circumstances four hours of actual cricket sufficed, the Englishmen making 82 and 26 and the Australians 76 and 33 for six wickets. Spofforth took 14 wickets--seven in the second innings for three runs. Christopherson did not bowl in the first innings, but in the second disposed of Alec Bannerman, Percy McDonnell, Blackham and Spofforth in nine overs and one ball for 10 runs.

Stanley Christopherson was one of ten sons who, with their father, used at various periods in the'seventies and'eighties to form a family cricket eleven and play certain matches, mostly against schools in the Blackheath district. A man of great personal charm he was in his young days extremely good looking.

During the difficult war years, M.C.C. could not have possessed a better man as President. He was a big figure in the City of London and from 1943-45 was temporary chairman of the Midland Bank, yet despite the calls of business, he went to Lord's on most days and rarely missed a Committee meeting. In all walks of life he always played the game.

© John Wisden & Co