August 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th (1877)

The Canterbury week


THE TWO COUNTY BALLS appear to have been as numerously attended by the fair maids, matrons, and magnates of the county as heretofore; and THE OLD STAGERS drew to the little theatre as large, light-hearted, laughing audiences as they ever attracted since the theatricals of The O. S. were first played in the old theatre in 1842.

The cricket programme for The Week was:-- KENT AND GLOUCESTERSHIRE v. ENGLAND, GENTLEMEN OF M.C.C. v. THE COUNTY OF KENT, and GENTLEMEN OF KENT v. I ZINGARI; but committees propose and batsmen (aided by steamrolled wickets) dispose of these matters; and unprecedentedly large scoring not only prevented either of the two matches commenced being concluded, but wholly pushed the old I. Z. match out of the programme.

The wickets and grounds were as smooth as a carpet, for -- said The Kent Herald -- For months past industrious workmen had been busily engaged in preparing turf for the purposes of cricket; and the wickets were pitched upon turf as true as a billiard table.

MONDAY, THE FIRST DAY:-- BANK HOLIDAY was a superb day for cricket and its enjoyment; and the attendance up on the pleasant old ground at St. Lawrence was large. The week's cricket was set to commence with the unmeaning, uninteresting match entitled:--


But, as neither Mr. Hornby, Mr. I. D. Walker, Mr. Ridley, Mr. W. H. Hadow, Mr. Longman, Richard Daft, Jupp, Pinder, Pooley, H. Phillips, Oscroft, or Barlow played, the full strength of England was not opposed to the Eleven strong batting team of Amateurs of the two counties, who won choice of innings, and at a quarter to One (delay caused by holiday trains) the week's cricket was commenced by Mr. W. G. Grace and Mr. Gilbert batting for the combination to the bowling of Emmett and Alfred Shaw, the wicket being kept by J. G. Davey (of Lord's). Mr. W. Grace had made 9 (all the runs then scored) when he was captured at slip, His early retirement (said the Kent Herald) as usual meeting with hearty applause. But though the crack collapsed so suddenly, Mr. Gilbert stayed so effectively that he was four hours and fifty minutes at wickets, saw six men go, made 143 runs, and was not got out until 330 had been scored; then he was l b w to Shaw. His hits included seventeen 4's, four 3's, eleven 2's, and 41 singles; and (said The Kent Herald) Mr. Gilbert was very heartily cheered for his very fine cricket, and rightly so. That day's cricket ended with the Counties having lost Mr. W. Grace's, Mr. Gilbert's, Mr. Townsend's, Lord Harris's, Mr. Yardley's, Mr. F. Penn's, and Mr. G. F. Grace's wickets for 336 runs; Mr. Shaw and Mr. Kelcey each not out.

TUESDAY was another fine day. They resumed play at 11.35; at 10 minutes to 12 the innings was over for 345 runs made from 202 overs.

The England men commenced batting with Mr. A. P. Lucas and Mr. A. J. Webbe, neither of whom stayed in this their first innings at Canterbury, Mr. Lucas being had at point from the first ball bowled, and Mr. Webbe settled at the same place when but 13 runs had been scored. The Yorkshireman then had a turn with the bat; but when the score was 44 only, Greenwood was bowled by Mr. Kelcey with a ball that knocked the leg-stump many yards from the wicket. Ulyett stayed with Lockwood until the score was 93, when long-field settled him, whereupon Mr. H. R. Webbe went to wickets, and with Lockwood increased the score to 140, when Lockwood was had at mid-wicket for 63, six 4's being his principal hits. Young Mr. Webbe stayed until 209 had been scored; then a catch at point settled him for 52 -- an innings loudly applauded, of much promise, and that included six 4's. But few more runs were made; and at 4.20 a capital one-hand catch by Mr. Townsend settled Davey and finished the innings for 226 runs, made from 93 overs and 2 balls bowled by six different bowlers.

At 5 o'clock England followed on, the brothers Webbe starting the innings to the bowling of Mr. Kelcey and Mr. Absolom. The younger brother was well caught out at wicket with the score at l0; but the elder stayed and played splendidly, and, with Mr. Lucas, evidenced to the delighted spectators the high form University batting had attained in 1876. Bowlers were changed and changed in vain -- Mr. Kelcey bowled, Mr. Absolom bowled, Mr. W. Grace bowled, Mr. Gilbert bowled, Mr. G. F. Grace bowled, and Mr. Absolom bowled again; but at 5 minutes past 6 the 100 runs had been made. Then more bowling changes were tried, and at 121 one of Mr. Townsend's lobs bowled Mr. Lucas for 48, so many as 111 runs having been put on by the Oxford and Cambridge cracks since the fall of the first wicket. Lockwood then went in, but no more wickets fell that day, the stumps being pulled up with England's second innings in this form:--

MR. A. J. Weebe, not out 83. Lockwood, not out 16.

WEDNESDAY'S weather was truly splendid. They resumed cricket at a quarter to 12, and by a quarter to 4 the Englanders had added nearly 200 runs their Tuesday's runs. Mr. A. J. Webbe and Lockwood increased the score from the overnight's 159 to 204, when a catch at wicket settled Mr. Webbe for 109 -- a fine leg-hitting innings, made in 130 minutes by sixteen 4's, two 3's, eights 2's, and 23 singles; hearty deserved applause by all present -- including the outing eleven -- complimented Mr. Webbe on the completion of his innings. At 209 Lockwood was out for 36. All the other Yorkshiremen scored doubles; Emmett went in with the score at 251 for 5 wickets; he stayed, hitting freely, until the score had been increased by 102 runs; then he was had at cover point for 58, the score at 353 for 8 wickets, so many as 40 of Emmett's 58 having been made by fourers. The innings was over at a quarter to 4 for 355 runs, hit from 141 overs and one ball, bowled by 8 different bowlers.

The Counties' second innings was commenced at 5 minutes past 4; between then and 6.45 they had to score 237 runs to win. Mr. W. Grace and Mr. Yardley began the batting, to the bowling of Emmett and Alfred Shaw. They started the hitting at so clipping a pace that 40 runs were made in 20 minutes, and when Davey at wicket caught out Mr. Yardley he -- by five 4's, &c. -- had made 32 of the 52 runs then scored. Mr. W. Grace was then faced by another hard hitter and rapid scorer -- Mr. Townsend -- and again was the score so busily increased that by 5.30 the 100 was hoisted. Hill then bowled v. Alfred Shaw, and Morley v. Ulyett, but still the score rose, and when 152 runs were made Ulyett was tried again; that change settled Mr. Townsend for 28. Lord Harris then went in, and hit in Lord Harris's best form; he scored fast, the bowling was frequently changed, and runs were rapidly run up, but no wicket went down until Shaw was once more tried; he forthwith clean bowled Mr. W. Grace for 91 -- a fine innings made by a 6, a 5, ten 4's, a 3, eight 2's, and 21 singles. The very next ball delivered bowled Mr. Absolom, and so the third and fourth wickets fell at 178, and the look out for England was hopeful, but on Mr. Kelcey going to Lord Harris's aid so dashing an attempt was made by his lordship to push the score along and win that by 6.30 the 200 was up, a ringing cheer for the Counties greeting the appearance of the double hundred; then came England's turn, as at 202 cover-point settled Mr. Kelcey, and at 206 Ulyett bowled Lord Harris, who had played the game right well, and by punishing hitting made 38 of the 53 runs scored whilst he was batting, seven 4's making a fine show in his score. There were then 31 runs to score to win and 4 wickets to fall, and the excitement as to whether The Counties, England, or old Time would win being great -- excitement that was heightened as Alfred Shaw first bowled Mr. Penn and then Mr. G. F. Grace, the three last wickets down all falling at 206; but then 6.45 was at hand, the stumps were pulled up, and this great run-getting and grandly-contested match ended in A Draw, The Counties wanting 31 runs to win with 2 wickets to fall, their 206 runs having been made from 76 overs and 2 balls, bowled by 5 of the best professional bowlers of The North. Score:--

There were 14 different bowlers tried; 513 overs and one ball bowled; 38 wickets fell, and 1132 runs scored in this unfinished match, which makes the second of more than 1000 runs played in The Canterbury Weeks up at St. Lawrence; the other thousand runs' match being NORTH OF THE THAMES v. SOUTH OF THE THAMES, played in 1868, when 1018 runs were scored, Mr. W. G. Grace making 130 and 102 not out; the Rev. J. McCormick 137 and 27, and Mr. R. A. H. Mitchell 22 and 90.

THURSDAY (THE LADIES' DAY) was --as a ladies' day should be -- bright and beautiful; and the scene presented on the historically famous old ground must have been magnificent. The Kent Herald. stated:-- The attendance is said to have numbered 7000; and the effect of the charming costumes of the ladies made altogether a brilliant scene.The Sportsman chronicled the gathering this-wise:-- On the slope at the upper side of the ground, under the famous 'Tree,' the ladies mustered in greater force than ever, and at this spot the spectators were six and seven deep. Splendid weather, the large expanse of ground, in every part occupied by an appreciative assemblage, in which were some of the fairest and comeliest faces to be seen at any event during the cricket season. And Bell's Life remarked:- The ladies' day was very grand, nothing like it having been seen on any previous gathering: that brilliant display of Kentish grace, beauty, and fashion of which can only be seen, even at Canterbury, on the Thursday of 'THE WEEK.'

And so on, in those polite and pretty phrases so natural to cricket critics, did other special correspondents sing high praises of The Ladies' Day of 1876. The cricket played on that day commenced with the 12-a-side match:--


A marvellous run-getting match, which -- like its predecessor -- three days of splendid cricketing weather was insufficient to play out. Kent commenced the batting in this wonderful match at noon, and when the stumps were drawn at 10 minutes to 7 the Kent batsmen were still pegging away at the M.C.C. bowling. Mr. W. Yardley began his hitting when the score was at 41 for 2 wickets; he was bowled for 47 when the score was at 177 for 4 wickets. Young George Hearne(son of George) began his innings when the score stood at 256 for 6 wickets. When play ceased for the day, young George had made 51 not out. But Kent's hero on that ladies' day was Lord Harris, who went to wickets with the score at 70 runs for three wickets, stayed until 304 had been scored, and then was caught out at mid-off for 154 -- the longest score, wrote the chroniclers, the Kentish Captain has yet made in a first-class match. The hits made by Lord Harris were 28 singles, nine 2's, four 3's, and, twenty-four 4's, or 96 by fourers! so it can well be believed that his hitting was especially hard, as chronicled, and doubtless his innings was a brilliant display, for assuredly Lord Harris was never in finer hitting form than he was throughout the great scoring season -- 1876. That day of hard hitting closed with Kent having scored 453 runs and lost 10 wickets; George Hearne, not out 51; Henty, not out 6.

FRIDAY was as lovely as had been the Thursday, but the attendance was slack. Play was resumed at 10 to 12. In 10 minutes the innings was over, and young Hearne not out 57 -- an innings played so well as to earn him the applause of all on the ground, Mr. Grace and the other members of M.C.C. joining in encouraging the lad, who was also subsequently rewarded by the County Club. Nine M.C.C. bowlers were tried that innings. They bowled 195 overs and 2 balls for the 473 scored; so the quality of the bowling can be better imagined than described.

M.C.C. batting was commenced at 12.25; by 4.20 their innings was over for 144 runs. Mr. Lucas was bowled with the score at 13; Mr. Grace was caught out for 17 (all the runs then scored), and the innings was wound up by the lad.


Young George Hearne had, so far in the match, framed so well that he had scored 57 not out; caught out Mr. W. Grace for 17 runs and bowled the above rare bit of bowling; and considering he had only just turned his 20th year, it must be admitted a wonderfully good all round performance of the little lad's.

With the large lot of 329 runs to hit off ere they could make a start from Kent's first innings, the M.C.C. men commenced their follow on at 5 minutes to 5 with Mr. W. Grace and Mr. Lucas. With the score at 7 only Mr. Lucas was out, and the previously seeming hopeless task appeared still more hopeless; but then Mr. Grace started his wonderful hitting in such form, that he made 20 runs from two successive overs of Hearne's; had brought the score to 100 in 45 minutes; and when the stumps were drawn at 6.45 he (by hitting almost unexampled in its brilliant severity) had in 110 minutes raised the score to the following hopeful phase:--

MR. W. G. Gracenot out133
MR. A. P. Lucasc Thomson, b Hearne7
MR. H. N. Tennentc Penn, b Absolom12
MR. G. Birdb Foord Kelcey13
MR. L. S. Howellc Shaw, b Thornton30
MR. P. Crutchleynot out5
For 4 wickets217

(Mr. Grace and Mr. Howell had increased the score from 125 for 3 wickets, to 203 for 4.)

SATURDAY was the last day of the Week, and Mr. GRACE'S DAY; for on that day he completed the largest innings ever played for M.C.C., made three-fifths of the runs in the largest innings ever scored on the Canterbury ground, and had -- according to The Kent Herald -- completely settled the Kentish Twelve.

The day was intensely hot, and so was the hitting of the M.C.C. two -- Mr. W. Grace and Mr. Crutchley -- who resumed their innings at noon, and were not parted until late in the afternoon when they had increased the score by 227 runs! as Mr. Crutchley went to wickets with the score at 203, and was out for 84 with it at 430. There were then 5 wickets down at an average of 86 runs per wicket, and Mr. Grace as full of fine hitting as he had been at any phase of this great display, and he kept on hitting, scoring, and fagging the field until near the end, for he was not out until 546 runs had been scored, and play finally ceased when the score was at 557, nine wickets having then fallen. Then time was up for the Canterbury Week of 1876; and this stupendous run-getting match was drawn; 19 different bowlers having bowled therein; 1999 balls bowled; 1099 runs from the bat, and 75 extra scored, and 31 wickets having fallen.

Mr. W. Grace commenced M.C.C.'s second innings; he was 6 hours and 20 minutes at wickets, and had scored 344 runs out of the 540 booked, when he was caught out at mid-off, Bell's Life stating -- He scored those 344 runs without positively giving a chance. His hits consisted of 76 singles, twenty 2's, eight 3's, and fifty-one 4's (204 runs by fourers in one innings!). Score--

© John Wisden & Co