James Cranston

MR. JAMES CRANSTON, so well known years ago as a member of the Gloucestershire Eleven, died at Bristol on December 10th. Though his career in first-class matches had for some time been over, Mr. Cranston was a comparatively young man-not quite forty-six. He was born on January 9th, 1859, and played first for Gloucestershire in 1876. In his early days he was an extremely fine field, as well as a good bat. After the season of 1883 he left Bristol, and except for a few appearances for Warwickshire- the county of his birth-nothing more was seen of him till 1889, when he returned to his old place in the Gloucestershire team. Owing to greatly increased weight, his old brilliancy in the field had quite left him, but he was a better bat than ever. Indeed, in 1889 and 1890 he was one of the best left-handed players before the public. Unfortunately, however, his renewed connection with Gloucestershire soon ended. He was seized with a fit during a match in 1891, and although he recovered, he did not after that year take part in county cricket again till 1899 when he played four times, these being his last appearances. His greatest distinction in the cricket field came to him in 1890, when, owing to some difficulties in making up the side, the Surrey committee offered him a place in the England Eleven against Australia at the Oval. The match-played from first to last on a pitch ruined by rain-was a memorable one, England winning, after a tremendous finish, by two wickets. As a batsman, Mr. Cranston proved quite worthy of the honour conferred on him. He only made 16 and 15, but his defence under very trying conditions against the bowling of Turner and Ferris, was masterly. In the last innings, in which England went in to get 95, he and Maurice turned the fortunes of the game after the four best wickets had fallen for 32 runs. Mr. Cranston played a very stubborn game, while Read hit, Turner"s break-coming, of course, the reverse way-seeming to cause far less trouble to him than it did to any of the right-handed batsmen. He and Maurice Read took the score to 83, and looked like finishing the match, but four more wickets were lost before the end was reached. In 1890 Mr. Cranston had a brilliant season for Gloucestershire, being very close to Mr. W. G. Grace, both in aggregate of runs and average. The two batsmen were mainly instrumental in winning a wonderful match against Yorkshire at Dewsbury. Gloucestershire were 137 behind on the first innings, and when they went in for the second time three wickets were lost for 19. At this point Mr. Cranston joined his captain, and by flawless cricket 188 runs were added to the score in two hours and twenty minutes. Mr. Cranston made in all 152-the highest innings he ever played in a big match. Gloucestershire won the game by 84 runs. Earlier in the same season he scored 101 against Yorkshire at Bristol, but in that match Gloucestershire suffered defeat by eight wickets. Strong defence and powerful driving were the chief characteristics of Mr. Cranston"s batting. Few left-handed men have ever played with such uniformly straight bat.

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