August 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th (1870)

The Canterbury week

The week of all weeks in the cricketing season is this, annually held in August on the St. Lawrence ground at Canterbury. As a Cricket County gathering of all classes, from Peer to Peasant, it never had an equal, and as a Cricket week played out by the most eminent Amateurs and Professionals in the country, it is far away beyond rivalry. There have been weeks of finer weather, but otherwise none so successful as the week of 1869. As to the cricket, Fuller Pilch (a good authority), stated he never saw better cricket played on that ground. As to the company, never was the attendance so large on a second day as on the Tuesday, or so brilliant, gay, and numerous on a Thursday (the day of the week), as on those days last year; indeed, it is a fact that up to Thursday evening of last season's week, more admission money had been taken at the gate than had been taken during the whole six days, of any previous week, and this too despite there was only one really fine, bright enjoyable day; but as that day was the day (Thursday), it atoned for the bitter, cold strong wind that blew, and the drenching showers that fell on the other days.

THE WICKETS had been assiduously attended to and carefully prepared under the superintendence of Mr. W. de C. Baker, the Hon. Sec., and faultless wickets on the Saturday preceding the week they were, but a wet Sunday made dead Wickets for Monday. After that day the ground dried rapidly, and better wickets for hitting were never played on. Indeed, Royston, the umpire, stated he never saw such good wickets at Canterbury nor better anywhere. The following was

  • Commence on Monday with NORTH v. SOUTH OF England.
  • Continue with GENTLEMEN OF M. C. C. v. COUNTY OF Kent.
  • Conclude with GENTLEMEN OF Kent v. I Zingari.

An excellent bill of fare this, and one, despite the weather, productive of some as fine cricket as could well be played. Space (or rather want of it) compels condensation of the comments on the week's cricket, and must be an excuse for the brevity of the following notices.

THE BOWLING first demands a few words. On the Monday, the South commenced the bowling with 6 overs for one run and a wicket. When they retired to luncheon, WILLSHER had bowled 28 overs (19 maidens) for 18 runs and 2 wickets, and Mr. W. Grace finished off that innings by bowling 6 balls for 4 runs and 3 wickets. J. C. SHAW commenced the North bowling in sensational form by bowling Mr. W. G. Grace and Mr. G. F. Grace before a run was scored, and when Jupp was caught out at leg, and three bats like the two Grace's and Jupp were down with no run scored for the south, the surprise and commotion was indeed great (13 balls only had then been bowled). J. C. Shaw was in splendid from that day, his 2 hours' work with the ball having resulted in the following effective bit of bowling:--

37-130198--(4 bowled)

SILCOCK at one time bowled 10 overs for one run Southerton's 6 wickets in the North's 2nd innings was creditable, seeing he was kept on a long time, and his slows had to contend against a strong wind blowing across the wickets. Mr. Harvey Fellows was very successful, as his 29 overs for 24 runs and 6 wickets attest. Mr. W. Grace had 11 wickets in the two matches, but Mr. Alfred Lubbock's 11 overs (8 maidens) for 8 runs and a wicket was as neat a bit of amateur bowling as any trundled during the week.

THE BATTING, after the first day, thoroughly mastered the bowling, as many as 1678 runs having been scored during the 5 days and few hours' cricket. Mr. W. Grace's 96 and 127 were capital antidotes to his 0 on the Monday. His 127 was the highest individual score of the week. His 96, made in one hour and 35 minutes, was hit from some of the best bowling in England, and was a grand display of fine judgement in placing the ball, clean, powerful hitting, and rapid scoring. JUPP'S 63 not outwas played without giving a chance, and for skilled defence, really fine hitting and true cricket, this 63 was (in the opinion of many good judges) the A1 bit of the week's batting. Mr. Lubbock's 22 on the Monday, against the trimming bowling of the North men, was indeed a masterly display of scientific defence. Summers's 40 was as cautiously played as it was a clever innings, the light on the Monday evening when he was in being more suggestive of lighting the gas than playing cricket. Mr. Mitchell's 28 not out, when scarce able to move through an accident, was an exhibition of painful pluck and fine science worthy more extended praise than we have space to give for it; and Pooley's 20, and Price's hard hitting 31 and 19, were praiseworthy batting feats. Mr. Green's 65, hit in one hour and 28 minutes, included some big hitting--one drive sent the ball flying high over a tree, another drove the ball out of the field, and a third hit sent the 5½ Oz. of leather skimming over one of the tents. Mr. Green finished his innings with three 4's. Mr. Ottaway's 51 was a promising display of careful batting and good all round hitting. Mr. Thornton was in form; his 18 included three 4's, and his 44 as many as nine 4's. On the Thursday, Mr. Thornton sent a ball, bowled by Mr. Grace, high over one of the highest trees on the ground; and on the Friday, Mr. Thornton not only drove a ball to about 40 yards from the entrance gate in the next field, but he hit four 4's from one over of Mr. V. E. Walker's. In contrast to all this, Silcock was 12 minutes at the wickets for his 0.

THE FIELDING of Mr. Hornby, Mr. Thornton, Mr. Ottaway, Mr. I. D. Walker, Mr. Lubbock, Mr. Green, Mr. V. E. Walker, Mr. Tennent, Summers, Jupp, Wild, Wootton (at slip), and the two wicket-keepers, Pooley and Plumb, was at times very fine; the wicket-keeping of the two P.'s giving especial pleasure to the on-lookers; but as the week wore on the fielding lost character.

© John Wisden & Co