In the second of this series of posts about two albums of photographs recently acquired by the Trust we look at the game in 1908 between teams captained by H.H. the Jam of Nawanagar (K.S. Ranjitsinhji) and Dr. W. G. Grace
When K.S. Ranjitsinhji returned to England early in 1908, his circumstances had changed since his previous visit in 1904. The intervening years had seen him become the ruler of the Indian state of Nawanagar. His health had suffered and in 1907 he contracted typhoid from which although he recovered well, his doctor reported to Percy Fitzgerald, the British Resident for the state that Ranjitsinhji needed a year in England to recover and thus it was that he returned.
As somewhere suitable for his Princely requirements, it was reported in the press that “Ranjitsinhji’s new home in Sussex is very attractively situated. Shillinglee Park, a mid-eighteenth century property, which he has taken for twelve months from Earl Winterton, MP, It contains 6,000 acres in a ring fence. The forest scenery is particularly lovely.” Meanwhile, for the period of Ranji’s tenancy, the Earl, having been unwell spent some time in Biarritz, before joining his recently widowed mother who, at the time was living in Bristol.
The House at Shillinglee Park
It also benefited from the fact that the estate contained its own cricket ground, situated by the western side of the mansion between the wooded walks and the gardens, in a high position and commanding a magnificent view on all sides, where Ranji would be able to practice before resuming his career with Sussex. To this end he arranged to hire the services of Walter Lees of Surrey, Ted Arnold of Worcestershire and Sam Hargreave of Warwickshire to come to Shillinglee for six weeks in the early spring to bowl to him. He also hoped to organise the odd Country House game against teams raised by some of his old cricketing friends where he could also provide Princely hospitality.
The Cricket Ground at Shillinglee Park
One such match was played in May as a twelve a side game against a side raised by Dr. W.G. Grace and one of the members of Grace’s team was Dick Bell shown here, in this photograph, possibly taken by George Beldam, with his camera.
Both sides included a number of established cricketers complemented with various knowns and unknowns all, no doubt, keen if not necessarily competent players; just the correct sort of mix for a few days’ hospitality and partying. I am reminded of the founding of the Gloucestershire Gipsies in 1922 when one of the requirements for membership was that they should be the sort of people who would be “acceptable guests in the average country house” No doubt that both Shillinglee itself and Ranji’s parties were more than average with the guests being transported around the estate in one of Ranji’s five Lanchester motors!
About to depart for the cricket
The game took place over three days from the 18th to the 20th of May and resulted in a win for Ranji’s team, now styled H.H. the Jam of Nawanagar’s XII in recognition of his new status, by 43 runs. Of the early season practice bowlers only Hargreave remained and he was joined by, amongst others, his Warwickshire colleagues Frank Field and wicket-keeper Dick Lilley. Lilley was well known to the Prince and was an old friend, having played with him for England in Test Matches against Australia between 1896 and 1902. He was also reckoned, at least by the correspondent for the Halifax Evening Courier, to have been one of the best game shots in the Midlands so the “abundance of pheasants and partridges” would have appealed to his non-cricket interests. Field had been a mainstay of the Warwickshire bowling attack since before the turn of the century and would continue to represent his county until after the Great War. Also in his XII was another old friend and England colleague, Archie MacLaren who for the duration of the Prince’s visit had rented a house at Northchapel, adjoining the estate to act as his Private Secretary. Other established cricketers were George Beldam of Middlesex who, as well as playing the game was a pioneer of action photography in sport and George Brann, Ranji’s former Sussex colleague. Also a noted amateur footballer, Brann had played three times for England between 1886 and 1891.
One other player with first-class experience was Arthur Priestley. Member of Parliament for Grantham he was also known to Lilley. In his only first-class game in England for MCC in 1895 Priestley had been caught by the ‘keeper for just two runs off the bowling of Sydney Santall in a game against Warwickshire. He was much better known as a cricket tourist and went on early trips to the West Indies in the winters of 1894/95 with R.S. Lucas’s XI and in 1896/97 where he took his own team and where some of the games were classified as first-class. He also toured North America in 1899 with Ranjitsinhji’s XI and 1901 with B.J.T. Bosanquet’s XI, as well as Australia in 1898 with A.E. Stoddart’s XI where he appeared in minor matches.
Priestley was MP for Grantham between 1900 and 1919
Writing after the game in his regular column for the Birmingham Evening Despatch, Lilley says of Priestley that he is “a whole-hearted enthusiast of the game as it is possible to wish. It is many years since I first saw him on the cricket field and [he] is playing wonderfully well even now.”
The name of A.F. Somerset appears as a member of the side. Sussex boasted two players of that name. They were father Arthur William Fitzroy Somerset and his son, Arthur Plantagenet Fitzroy Somerset, both from Worthing. At the time of the match, Arthur senior was aged 52 and Arthur junior eighteen. It would seem likely that it was one of them although on 20th May, the final day of the game they are both on record as playing for an MCC Eleven against Christ’s Hospital at Horsham.
Along with the Prince, the final members of the side were H.S. Tuke, K.S. Harisinhji and a Dr. Bailey.
Henry Scott Tuke was an established artist, a member of the Newlyn School who had exhibited at the Royal Academy and whilst he was better known for his paintings of seascapes mainly in and around the Cornish coast, he was also a portrait artist and, indeed, during his time at Shillinglee produced the iconic portrait of W.G. Grace wearing Ranji’s turban as well as a portrait of his fellow team member George Beldam.
The Artist The Portraits
According to Bell, in the notes made in his albums, Harisinhji was the A.D.C. to Ranji and Bell shows him here posing with Grace.
The twelfth and final member of the team is recorded as Dr. Bailey.
The village of Chiddingfold is situated just two or three miles to the north of Shillinglee Park. Resident there was twenty-eight year old Lionel Sawyers Bailey, the village GP. The West Surrey Times in its edition of 24th October 1908 carries a report of the Annual Dinner of the Chiddingfold Cricket Club and amongst the awards was “a handsome silver cup” given for the best batting average. The winner, for the second year in succession was a Dr. Bailey. Whilst there is no specific evidence to confirm that the local GP was either the winner of the cup or even the final member of Ranji’s team, I would suggest both to be strong possibilities.
As for the Doctor’s team, there was a similar mixture of participants.
Charles de Trafford, pictured below on Grace’s left, had played one season as a twenty-year old for Lancashire at Old Trafford in 1884 where his father owned the ground, but was better known for his time at Leicestershire where he played and captained them from 1894 to 1906. His cricket thereafter was mainly for MCC and in minor matches although he did play again for Leicestershire in a number of games in 1913. Also pictured below is Lionel Wells who had played occasional games for Middlesex between 1898 and 1905. He was the older brother of Cyril Wells the Surrey and Middlesex cricketer and England Rugby international
K.S. Harisinhji, W.G. Grace, C.E. deTrafford, L.S. Wells
There were other established cricketers in Grace’s team.
Percy de Paravicini had played for Cambridge University and Middlesex but now in his mid-forties was playing for Buckinghamshire. Better known as a batsman, he also bowled occasional slow right round-arm. He was a noted footballer, and had been in the Old Etonians team when they defeated Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup Final in 1882.In the following year he made three appearances for the England side.
Reginald Crawford had played for Leicestershire since 1901 and would continue to do so until 1911. The older brother of Surrey and England’s J.N. Crawford, he was an all-rounder who bowled fast medium.
Sussex born Richard Kenward, had appeared for Derbyshire during the 1899 season whilst living and working in Burton-on-Trent, “learning the brewing business“ according to Press reports at the time and was now back in his native county having also spent time in South Africa as a member of the Imperial Yeomanry during the Boer War. He had made a few appearances for Sussex alongside Ranji in 1902. He had also played the occasional game for London County, for whom he would later that year appear alongside Grace and Grace’s son, Charlie against his own club side, Norwood. Other London County players who appeared in that game and were part of the twelve at Shillinglee were A Sims and the Norwood captain, Francis Robarts
Appearing on the scorecard published in Cricket – a Weekly Record of the Game on 21 May 1908 is C.B. Staples. He is actually C.V.G. “Cyril” Staples.
Australian born Cyril Staples was a well-known club cricketer for the Barnes Club in London. A wicket-keeper, also capable of entertaining batting, he had played the odd match for Grace’s London County XI and three first-class games for teams raised by the Doctor. A report of a match in 1906 in which he played for Grace’s XI against Cambridge University said that “he kept wicket splendidly” and that it was “a great loss to the game that his business precludes him from playing regularly in any but club cricket.” and his name had even been mentioned for a place in the England XI to play South Africa in 1907.
Another man with Buckinghamshire connections was William Frederick Lowndes. Captain of the County Club, he came from a family with a distinguished history; a forebear had been Secretary to the Treasury during the reign of William and Mary. He was well known in the Chesham area as a supporter of local causes. Douglas Miller in his “A History of Bucks County Cricket Club” says of him that he was “a considerable benefactor, rebuilding slum cottages and subsequently giving Lowndes Park to the town.” He listed hunting, golf, lawn tennis and rackets amongst his sporting interests, as well as cricket. Another of the many “gentleman cricketers” of the era, he had also played with Grace for London County in both First-Class and minor matches.
As with Ranji’s side, Grace also numbered a medical man in his team, Dr. Hyslop.
As a tool for research purposes, the Internet can be a fascinating but time consuming source of information.
Doctor Theophilus Bulkeley Hyslop had graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1886 and in 1888 joined the staff of the Bethlem Hospital in London, a hospital treating patients with what we might today call a bipolar disorder, where in 1898 he became Resident Physician and Medical Superintendent until his retirement in 1911. In his early years at the Hospital one of the members of its Board of Governors was Daniel Hack Tuke (1827–1895) who was the father of the aforementioned Henry Scott Tuke.
A biography describes him as someone who was “a keen athlete, pole jumper, and played cricket, tennis and golf. He composed music, sculpted and painted, exhibiting three times at the Royal Academy.” So quite an impressive character. More importantly, at the time his home was in the village of Chilworth, just thirteen miles to the north of Shillinglee. So, as with Dr. Bailey in Ranji’s team, no direct evidence to identify him as the final member of the twelve, but batting at No. 9 and with a first innings score of one and a second innings duck, I would suggest a strong possibility.
As to the game itself, the scores were reported the following week in the magazine Cricket – a Weekly Record of the Game and are reproduced below. Although no bowling analyses were published, it has been possible to retrieve some detail from reports in various newspapers and magazines.
For instance in Ranji’s first innings WG and Crawford bowled unchanged with WG taking 6-41 and Crawford 5-18 and in Grace’s second innings Field’s seven wickets cost him just 14 runs.