Arthur Mold

ESPNcricinfo staff

MOLD, ARTHUR, died, after a long illness, on April 29, at Middleton Cheney, near Banbury, his native village, where he had resided since his retirement. Arthur Mold had been out of first-class cricket for nearly twenty years, but he remained fresh in the memory of all who follow the game at all closely. He was one of the deadliest fast bowlers of his day, but right through his career the fairness of his delivery formed the subject of lively discussion. This may be said without doing him the smallest injustice. Born in Northamptonshire on May 30, 1865, he came out for his native county, but quickly qualified for Lancashire by residence. He gained a place in the Lancashire eleven in 1889, and remained associated with the team till he gave up public play. Season after season he met with brilliant success, keeping at his best till 1895 or 1896. After that he began to decline, but he was still a bowler to be feared. Even while he was at the height of his fame his delivery was, in private, spoken of in strong terms by many famous batsmen, but nothing happened till 1900, when in the Notts and Lancashire match at Trent Bridge, he was no-balled by James Phillips, and sent down only one over in the whole game.

A little later the county captains took up the question of unfair bowling, and at their famous meeting Mold's delivery was condemned by 11 votes to 1. The climax came when at Manchester in July,1901, in the Lancashire and Somerset match, Mold was no-balled by James Phillips sixteen times in ten overs. Mold played for England against Australia at Lord's, the Oval, and Manchester in 1893, but he was never picked for a tour in Australia. It has been urged in some quarters that Mold was an ill-used man, and that there was no ground for the severe criticisms passed upon him. I should say, on the other hand, that he was extremely lucky to bowl for so many seasons before being no-balled. To pretend that a perfectly fair bowler could have been condemned as he was is absurd. I happen to know that a famous batsman who played against him in his Northamptonshire days said : " If he is fair he is the best bowler in England, but I think he is a worse thrower than ever Crossland was." This opinion--expressed before Mold had been seen in a first-class match--and the vote of the county captains towards the close of his career, surely dispose of the notion that Mold was unjustly attacked. He did wonders for Lancashire, but personally I always thought he was in a false position.-S.H.P

© John Wisden & Co