1870 English cricket season

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The 1870 English cricket season was in many ways a bridge between two eras of the game, and in a summer comparable for hot and dry weather to 1887, 1911, 1976 or 1995,[1] saw W.G. Grace for the second of three successive years establish a record run aggregate, late-blooming slow bowler James Southerton become the first bowler to take 200 first-class wickets in a season and the first use of the heavy roller at Lord’s. Although the heavy roller had been patented several decades earlier, its use was never seriously considered by MCC management despite many protests over the danger posed by the Lord’s pitch where extremely frequent “shooters” alternated with balls that “flew”[2] over the batsman’s head. These dangerous pitches were viewed as a symbol of virility by many amateur batsmen, however; though when remembering one of W.G.’s finest innings – 66 on one of the roughest Lord’s pitches against a very strong Yorkshire attack[3] against Yorkshire[4] – fast bowlers Freeman and Emmett wondered how the champion was not maimed or killed outright.[5]

An unfortunate accident to George Summers which led to his death from head injuries four days after being hit by a sharply rising ball from John Platts that had struck a loose pebble[2] showed that in its first year the heavy roller had not radically altered the Lord’s pitch; though it was to do so from the following season[6]

A number of thrilling finishes occurred, most famously the University Match where a hat-trick by Frank Cobden gave Cambridge the match when Oxford looked certain to win.

Playing record (by county)[7][edit]

County Played Won Lost Drawn
Gloucestershire 2 2 0 0
Hampshire 2 0 2 0
Kent 8 2 6 0
Lancashire 4 3 1 0
Middlesex 2 1 1 0
Nottinghamshire 6 3 2 1
Surrey 14 5 9 0
Sussex 4 2 2 0
Yorkshire 6 5 0 1
[a]

Leading batsmen (qualification 15 innings)[edit]

1870 English season leading batsmen[8]
Name Team Matches Innings Not outs Runs Highest score Average 100s 50s
WG Grace Gloucestershire
MCC
21 38 5 1808 215 54.78 5 9
Richard Daft Nottinghamshire 9 15 4 565 117 51.36 1 3
Isaac Walker MCC
Middlesex
13 25 3 820 179 37.27 1 4
William Yardley Cambridge University
Kent
MCC
13 25 1 643 100 26.79 1 4
Cuthbert Ottaway Kent
Cambridge University
9 18 2 427 69 26.68 0 4

Leading bowlers (qualification 800 balls)[edit]

1870 English season leading bowlers[9]
Name Team Balls bowled Runs conceded Wickets taken Average Best bowling 5 wickets
in innings
10 wickets
in match
George Freeman Yorkshire 1930 484 68 7.11 8/43 9 4
Frank Farrands MCC 856 281 28 10.03 6/23 4 2
Jem Shaw Nottinghamshire 3302 990 97 10.20 7/30 11 4
Walter Anstead Surrey 1063 424 39 10.87 6/27 4 1
Edgar Willsher Kent 3675 1062 84 12.64 7/22 9 2

Events[edit]

  • 2–4 June: Gloucestershire CCC played its initial first-class match v. Surrey at Durdham Downs, near Bristol.
  • 15 June: George Summers, during the MCC v Nottinghamshire match at Lord’s, is hit on the temple and dies four days later. It is generally thought that Summers should have been taken to hospital rather than ride a bumpy train to Nottingham.[2]
  • 27, 28 June: "Cobden's Match". William Yardley scores the first century in the University Match, which Cambridge won by two runs after a hat-trick by Cobden when Oxford needed only three runs
  • 29 August: James Southerton becomes the first bowler to take 200 wickets in an English season when he takes his first wicket in Surrey’s last match against Yorkshire[10]
  • 4 November: Formation of Derbyshire CCC at a meeting in the Guildhall, Derby.

External sources[edit]

Notes[edit]

a Cambridgeshire, though still regarded in 1870 as first-class, played no inter-county matches

References[edit]

  1. ^ England and Wales Seasonal Precipitation Data
  2. ^ a b c Death on a Summer’s Day
  3. ^ Rae, Simon; W. G. Grace: A Life; pp. 88-89 ISBN
  4. ^ Marylebone Cricket Club v Yorkshire in 1870
  5. ^ The Memorial biography of W.G. Grace
  6. ^ Baily’s Magazine of Sports and Pastimes, Volume 20 (1871); p. 286
  7. ^ Wynne-Thomas, Peter; The Rigby A-Z of Cricket Records; p. 53 ISBN 072701868X
  8. ^ First Class Batting in England in 1870
  9. ^ First Class Bowling in England in 1870
  10. ^ Surrey v Yorkshire in 1870

Annual reviews[edit]