Cricketer of the Year - 1903

Pinky Burnup

C. J. BURNUP, so fine a batsman in 1902 that he might without any detriment to the side have played for England, was born on the 21st of November, 1875. He learnt most of his cricket at Malvern and, without making any great reputation, did well at school, coming out third in batting in his last season there- 1894. Among his colleagues in the Malvern eleven that year were R. E. Foster, H. G. Marriott, and G. H. Simpson, now Simpson-Hayward. Going up to Cambridge, Burnup, though he scored 20 and 41 in the Freshmen"s match, did not in 1895 secure a place in the University eleven, being indeed afforded only one trial in a first-class match. However, a good many people who saw him play his innings of 66 not out in the Zingari"s jubilee match at Lord"s felt that the Cambridge captain- W. G. Druce-was making a mistake in not giving him his Blue, and subsequent events soon showed that they were perfectly correct in their judgment. In 1896 Burnup was the most successful bat at Cambridge, scoring 666 runs in nine matches and, without a single three-figure innings to help him, standing first for a strong side with the splendid average of 44. He scored 80 and 11 against Oxford at Lord"s, but was on the losing side, Oxford, with 330 to get in the last innings, winning in most brilliant fashion by four wickets. This was the match in which the Cambridge eleven came in for such severe criticism, on account of E. B. Shine, acting under the orders of Frank Mitchell, his captain, bowling three balls-two of them no-balls-to the boundary, to prevent Oxford following on. Time has since justified Frank Mitchell in the course he took, as in 1900 the law as to the follow-on, which had previously been modified by extending the 80 runs to 120 in three-day matches, took its present form, the option resting with the side which leads by 150 runs. From 1896 Burnup has never looked back, holding his place amongst the best amateur batsmen of the day. At Cambridge he never again had such a fine record as in his first year in the eleven, but he was third in batting in 1897, with an average of 32, and first in 1898 with an aggregate of 521, and an average of just under 29. In 1897 he made 0 and 58 against Oxford at Lord"s, and was in the winning team, but his last experience of the University match was disappointing, as in 1898 he only made 15 and 8 and Oxford won by nine wickets. In the meantime he had firmly established himself in the Kent eleven. In 1896 he did fairly well in county matches, but his triumph came against the Australians in the Canterbury Week, when he scored 101 and 17. He has stated in print that Jones"s bowling in that match was yards faster than anything he had ever faced before. One need not dwell at length on his doings in the cricket field during the last six years, as they will be familiar to all who follow the game. The highest and in some respects the most remarkable innings he has ever played in big matches was 200 for Kent against Lancashire, at Old Trafford, on Whit Monday, 1900. In that great display of batting the pace of his run-getting varied so much that he took nearly two hours and a half to get his first 50, and scored his last fifty in forty minutes. It is a strange circumstance that Burnup has never yet appeared for Gentlemen against Players at Lord"s. The M.C.C. committee rightly set great store on fielding, and they might have been expected to do honour to a cricketer whose work in the out-field is every bit as fine as his batting. He has not suffered the same neglect at the Oval, a ground on which he has nearly always shown his finest form. In 1900 he made there, against the Players, 5 and 123. Burnup is a versatile batsman with many ways of scoring, and he can get runs on all sorts of wickets. He will be captain of the Kent eleven in 1903, having accepted the post that J. R. Mason has unfortunately found himself compelled to give up.

© John Wisden & Co