Players of the past

Great Stanmore Players of the past.

By Sir Pelham Warner, MBE

CRICKET would appear to have been firmly established as the National Game during the " ’thirties and ’forties" of the last century when many clubs came into existence. And now the Stanmore Cricket Club have "got their 100 and I send you my congratulations with my best wishes for the future. Mr. Kenneth Chapman has asked me to give my recollections of some of the most famous of the players who have represented the Club, and I gladly do so, the names suggested being the Rev. Vernon Royle, G. L. Jessop, D. W. Carr and J. Daniell.
I never played with or saw Royle play, but I knew him well, as my elder boy was at his school, Stanmore Park, and I have heard tell of his prowess as a cricketer. He was at Rossall and Brasenose College, Oxford, and played in the University match in 1875-76 and later for Lancashire. He was also one of Lord Harris’s team to Australia in 1878-79.

He will always be remembered for his brilliant fielding at cover point. He was ambidextrous, very quick on his feet, with a smart return, and a dead sure catch. A remark of Tom Emmett’s, the famous Yorkshire cricketer, is worth recalling, "Woa, mate, there’s a policeman," he said when his partner called him for a short run. Royle played for the Gentlemen v. The Players at Lord’s in 1882. He died on 1st May, 1929 at the age of 75.

G. L. Jessop is one of the immortal names in the game. He was described by a Philadelphian newspaper as "the human catapult, who wrecks the roofs of distant towns when set in his assault," when touring in the United States in 1897 and no more remarkable hitter has ever lived. His power in the drive was terrific, but he was also a magnificent cutter, and in this respect he was the superior by far of all other men who have been described as hitters. It was difficult, indeed, to place the field for him when he got going. No batsman, even the most defensive, ever watched the ball more closely. Bending low over his bat, he was called " the Croucher."

His most historic innings was at the Oval for England v. Australia in 1902 when he scored 104 out of 139 in an hour and a quarter, hitting a 5 and seventeen 4’s, England winning by one wicket. No such daring and aggressive batsman was ever more consistent in his scoring. He was also in his early days a very fast bowler, and one of the greatest fieldsman at cover, or extra cover, there has ever been.

Jessop was in the Cambridge Eleven of 1896, 1897, 1898 and 1899 (captain), played for Gloucestershire from 1894 until 1914, being captain from 1900-1913 and was a first choice for Gentlemen v. Players. He played on eighteen occasions for England in the days when only Australia – and, from 1897 South Africa – were considered worthy of Test match status.

Jessop was a great personality and drew tremendous crowds, for he was the fastest scorer cricket has ever known. His highest score, 286 against Sussex at Hove in 1903, was made in 175 minutes, and he reached 200 in two hours. In 1897 he scored 101 against Yorkshire, at Harrogate, in forty minutes. He could dominate or eliminate the time factor in any game.

Gloucestershire may well be proud of the fact that they have given to the world of cricket three imperishable names, Grace, Jessop and Hammond.

D. W. Carr holds a record which is unique in the history of cricket, for he is the only man who has played for England in a Test match in his first year in first-class cricket. This was at the Oval in 1909 in which season he also represented the Gentlemen v. The Players both at Lord’s and the Oval.

When he was at Brasenose College, Oxford, he was a medium pace bowler, but after seeing B. J. T. Bosanquet, the inventor of the googlie, he practised this type of bowling, and became one of the finest exponents of it. He was accurate in length and direction, and on any pitch which gave him the least help could be very effective. He was a master at Stanmore Park and was not, therefore, available for County matches until August, but when he played for Kent from l909-1914, in that short period he obtained 334 wickets for 16.84 runs each. He died on 23rd March, 1950, at the age of seventy-eight.

J. Daniell was in the Clifton Eleven and played three years 1899 1900 l901 for Cambridge. He was a very fine fieldsman on the off-side and in the deep, and a useful determined fighting batsman, who was captain of Somerset for several years. He got a 100 per cent. out of any side he captained, and woe betide the man who was at all slack or listless in the field! A fine judge of the game, he was a member of the Test Match Selection Committee in 1921. He was even more renowned as a Rugby footballer than as a cricketer, being one of the greatest forwards of his time.