In cricket, a player's bowling average is the number of runs they have conceded per wicket taken. The lower the bowling average is, the better the bowler is performing, it is one of a number of statistics used to compare bowlers used alongside the economy rate and the strike rate to judge the overall performance of a bowler. When a bowler has taken only a small number of wickets, their bowling average can be artificially high or low, unstable, with further wickets taken or runs conceded resulting in large changes to their bowling average. Due to this, qualification restrictions are applied when determining which players have the best bowling averages. After applying these criteria, George Lohmann holds the record for the lowest average in Test cricket, having claimed 112 wickets at an average of 10.75 runs per wicket. A cricketer's bowling average is calculated by dividing the numbers of runs they have conceded by the number of wickets they have taken; the number of runs conceded by a bowler is determined as the total number of runs that the opposing side have scored while the bowler was bowling, excluding any byes, leg byes, or penalty runs.
The bowler receives credit for any wickets taken during their bowling that are either bowled, hit wicket, leg before wicket or stumped. B o w l i n g a v e r a g e = R u n s c o n c e d e d W i c k e t s t a k e n A number of flaws have been identified for the statistic, most notable among these the fact that a bowler who has taken no wickets can not have a bowling average, as dividing by zero does not give a result; the effect of this is that the bowling average can not distinguish between a bowler who has taken no wickets and conceded one run, a bowler who has taken no wickets and conceded one hundred runs. The bowling average does not tend to give a true reflection of the bowler's ability when the number of wickets they have taken is small in comparison to the number of runs they have conceded. In his paper proposing an alternative method of judging batsmen and bowlers, Paul van Staden gives an example of this: Suppose a bowler has bowled a total of 80 balls, conceded 60 runs and has taken only 2 wickets so that..
30. If the bowler takes a wicket with the next ball bowled 20. Due to this, when establishing records for bowling averages, qualification criteria are set. For Test cricket, the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack sets this as 75 wickets, while ESPNcricinfo requires 2,000 deliveries. Similar restrictions are set for one-day cricket. A number of factors other than purely the ability level of the bowler have an effect on a player's bowling average. Most significant among these are the different eras; the bowling average tables in Test and first-class cricket are headed by players who competed in the nineteenth century, a period when pitches were uncovered and some were so badly looked after that they had rocks on them. The bowlers competing in the Howa Bowl, a competition played in South African during the apartheid-era, restricted to non-white players, during which time, according to Vincent Barnes: "Most of the wickets we played on were underprepared. For me, as a bowler, it was great." Other factors which provided an advantage to bowlers in that era was the lack of significant safety equipment.
Other variations are caused by frequent matches against stronger or weaker opposition, changes in the laws of cricket and the length of matches. Due to the varying qualifying restrictions placed on the records by different statisticians, the record for the lowest career bowling average can be different from publication to publication. In Test cricket, George Lohmann is listed as having the superior average by each of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, ESPNcricinfo and CricketArchive. Though all three use different restrictions, Lohmann's average of 10.75 is considered the best. If no qualification criteria were applied at all, three players—Wilf Barber, A. N. Hornby and Bruce Murray—would tie for the best average, all having claimed just one wicket in Test matches, without conceding any runs, thus averaging zero. ESPNcricinfo list Betty Wilson as having the best Women's Test cricket average with 11.80, while CricketArchive accept Mary Spear's average of 5.78. In One Day Internationals, the varying criteria set by ESPNcricinfo and CricketArchive result in different players being listed as holding the record.
ESPNcricinfo has the stricter restriction, requiring 1,000 deliveries: by this measure, Joel Garner is the record-holder, having claimed his wickets at an average of 18.84. By CricketArchive's more relaxed requirement of 400 deliveries, John Snow leads the way, with an average of 16.57. In women's One Day International cricket, Caroline Barrs tops the CricketArchive list with an average of 9.52, but by ESPNcricinfo's stricter guidelines, the record is instead held by Gill Smith's 12.53. The record is again split for the two websites for Twenty20 International cricket. George O'Brien's average of 8.20 holds the record using those criteri
Christopher Dennis Alexander Martin-Jenkins, MBE known as CMJ, was a British cricket journalist and a President of the MCC. He was the longest serving commentator for Test Match Special on BBC Radio, from 1973 until diagnosed with terminal cancer in January 2012. Christopher Martin-Jenkins was born at his grandmother's house in Peterborough, the second of three boys, his father, a Lieutenant Colonel in the army at the time, relocated the family to Glasgow where he was stationed. After demobilisation he returned to his job at the shipping firm Ellerman Lines where he subsequently became Chairman, his mother was a surgeon. He went to St Bede's prep school in Eastbourne and to Marlborough, he first played for the school team in 1962 under the captaincy of future Sussex Captain and chairman of the MCC, Mike Griffith. The following year, after becoming captain of the school cricket XI, Martin-Jenkins wrote to Brian Johnston asking him how to become a cricket commentator. Johnston invited him to Broadcasting House, took him out to lunch and told him to develop his ability and review his performance by practising his commentating skills by using a tape recorder.
That year he scored a valiant 99 in Marlborough's second innings in the annual fixture against Rugby School at Lord's, but despite this they still lost by 22 runs. He went to Fitzwilliam College, where he read modern history and graduated with a 2.1 in 1967. During his time at Cambridge he won two half-blues for rugby fives but never played for the University cricket first XI, although he narrowly missed out on gaining his blue after he was named 12th man for the 1967 Varsity match at Lord's, he skippered the Crusaders during 1966 and 1967 and was a successful captain of his college XI. He had a great talent for mimicry, which enabled him to progress to final auditions for the Cambridge University Footlights, where his performance was adjudicated by such luminaries as Germaine Greer, Eric Idle and Clive James, he played one Second XI Championship match for Surrey against Warwickshire at the Oval in 1971. Thereafter he appeared for the Sir Paul Getty XI in ten one-day games at Wormsley between 1992 and 2002, with a valedictory appearance, aged 61, against the Heartaches team run by Tim Rice in 2006.
Following his graduation in 1967 Martin-Jenkins joined The Cricketer magazine as deputy editor under EW Swanton. In March 1970 he left to join the BBC Radio Sports News department and subsequently commentated on his first match, a one-day international between England and Australia, in 1972, his last commentary, 40 years was for TMS on England's third Test against Pakistan in Dubai in February 2012. He joined the TMS team in 1973 and was appointed cricket correspondent in succession to Brian Johnston in 1973 and worked as cricket correspondent for the BBC, the Daily Telegraph and The Times. Mike Atherton replaced him as The Times Chief Cricket Correspondent on 1 May 2008 although CMJ continued contributing to the Times cricket pages, filing his last article on the death of Tony Greig on 31 December, the day prior to his own death, he was a BBC TV commentator for their cricket coverage between 1981 and 1985, before returning to radio. His Daily Telegraph obituarist wrote of his radio commentary that: "Nobody excelled him... in what he regarded as the first duty: that of giving a precise, well-informed and accurate account of every ball, bowled and every stroke, played."
Scyld Berry wrote: "What made him so good as a radio commentator, apart from his precise and unforced diction, was that he came closer than anyone to combining the knowledge of an expert with the enthusiasm of a student."By temperament conciliatory, he was involved in controversy. However, during a Test on England's 1989–90 tour of the West Indies he criticised the umpire Lloyd Barker, claiming that he had allowed himself to be pressurised by the West Indies captain, Viv Richards, into wrongly giving Rob Bailey out caught down the leg side. Barker threatened believing incorrectly that Martin-Jenkins had called him a cheat; the case was settled by the BBC without going to court. He was renowned among his broadcasting colleagues for a certain vagueness regarding practical matters. Jonathan Agnew described how on one occasion he arrived at Lord's for a match, due to be played on the other side of London at the Oval, he struggled with modern technology, once mistaking the television remote control in his hotel room for his mobile phone.
When attempting to email a report to his newspaper, he would press the Delete button rather than the Send button, causing him much consternation. Martin-Jenkins was the author of The Complete of Test Cricketers. Altogether he edited 25 books including The Wisden Book of County Cricket, he edited The Cricketer from 1980 and was President of the Cricket Society from 1998 to 2008. He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 New Year Honours, he was President of the MCC for a rare honour for a journalist. His time in office was a difficult one, as it coincided with the £400 million redevelopment plan for Lord's being dropped in favour of something better suited to the difficult economic situation; this led to an as yet unresolved split in the membership between those in favour of the new plan and those who still
Union of South Africa
The Union of South Africa is the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the Cape Colony, the Natal Colony, the Transvaal, the Orange River Colony, it included the territories that were a part of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State. Following the First World War, the Union of South Africa was granted the administration of South West Africa as a League of Nations mandate, it became treated in most respects as another province of the Union, but it never was formally annexed. Like Canada and Australia, the Union of South Africa was a self-governing autonomous dominion of the British Empire, its independence from the United Kingdom was confirmed in the Balfour Declaration 1926 and the Statute of Westminster 1931. It was governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with the Crown being represented by a governor-general; the Union came to an end with the enactment of the constitution of 1961, by which it became a republic and temporarily left the Commonwealth.
The Union of South Africa was a unitary state, rather than a federation like Canada and Australia, with each colony's parliaments being abolished and replaced with provincial councils. A bicameral parliament was created, consisting of the House of Assembly and Senate, with members of the parliament being elected by the country's white minority. During the course of the Union, the franchise changed on several occasions always to suit the needs of the government of the day. Parliamentary supremacy was a convention of the constitution, inherited from the United Kingdom. Owing to disagreements over where the Union's capital should be, a compromise was reached in which every province would be dealt a share of the benefits of the capital: the administration would be seated in Pretoria, Parliament would be in Cape Town, the Appellate Division would be in Bloemfontein. Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg were given financial compensation; the Union remained under the British Crown as a self-governing dominion of the British Empire.
With the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, the Union and other dominions became equal in status to the United Kingdom and it could no longer legislate on behalf of them. The Monarch was represented in South Africa by a Governor-General, while effective power was exercised by the Executive Council, headed by the Prime Minister. Louis Botha a Boer general, was appointed first Prime Minister of the Union, heading a coalition representing the white Afrikaner and English-speaking British diaspora communities. Prosecutions before courts were instituted in the name of the Crown and government officials served in the name of the Crown. An entrenched clause in the Constitution mentioned Dutch and English as official languages of the Union, but the meaning of Dutch was changed by the Official Languages of the Union Act, 1925 to include both Dutch and Afrikaans. Most English-speaking whites in South Africa supported the United Party of Jan Smuts, which favoured close relations with the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Unlike the Afrikaans-speaking National Party, which had held anti-British sentiments, was opposed to South Africa's intervention in the Second World War. Some Nationalist organisations, like the Ossewa Brandwag, were supportive of Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Most English-speaking South Africans were opposed to the creation of a republic, many of them voting "no" in the 5 October 1960 referendum, but due to the much larger number of Afrikaans-speaking voters, the referendum passed, leading to the establishment of a republic in 1961. The Afrikaner-dominated Government withdrew South Africa from the Commonwealth. Following the results of the referendum, some whites in Natal, which had an English-speaking majority, called for secession from the Union. Five years earlier, some 33,000 Natalians had signed the Natal Covenant in opposition to the plans for a republic. Subsequently, the National Party government had passed a Constitution that repealed the South Africa Act; the features of the Union were carried over with little change to the newly formed Republic.
The decision to transform from a Union to Republic was narrowly decided in the referendum. The decision together with the South African Government's insistence on adhering to its policy of apartheid resulted in South Africa's de facto expulsion from the Commonwealth of Nations; the South Africa Act dealt with race in two specific provisions. First it entrenched the liberal Cape Qualified Franchise system of the Cape Colony which operated free of any racial considerations; the Cape Prime Minister at the time, John X. Merriman, fought hard, but unsuccessfully, to extend this system of multi-racial franchise to the rest of South Africa. Second it made "native affairs" a matter for the national government; the practice therefore was to establish a Minister of Native Affairs. According to Stephen Howe, colonialism in some cases—most among white minorities in South Africa—meant that these violent settlers wanted to maintain more racial inequalities than the colonial empire found just. Several previous unsuccessful attempts to unite the colonies were made, with proposed political models ranging from unitary, to loosely federal.
Sir George Grey, the Governor of Cap
Sir Pelham Francis Warner and better known as Plum Warner or "the Grand Old Man" of English cricket, was a Test cricketer and cricket administrator. Warner was born in Port of Trinidad, his mother, Rosa Cadiz, was of his father of an English colonial family. He was educated at Harrison College, sent to England to Rugby School and Oriel College, Oxford; as a right-hand batsman, Warner played first-class cricket for Oxford University and England. He played 15 Test matches, captaining in 10 of them, with a record of won 4, lost 6, he succeeded in regaining The Ashes in 1903–04, winning the series against Australia 3–2. However he was less successful when he captained England on the tour of South Africa in 1905–06, suffering a resounding 1–4 defeat, the first time England had lost to South Africa in a Test match, he was to have captained England on the 1911–12 tour of Australia, but fell ill. He was unable to play in any of the Tests, with Johnny Douglas taking over the captaincy, he is the only batsman to carry his bat through the innings in his first Test match.
He was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1904 and in 1921, making him one of two to have received the honour twice. The second award marked his retirement as a county player after the 1920 season, in which he captained Middlesex to the County Championship title. In the mid-1920s he was Chairman of Selectors, in 1926 during industrial strife served as a Special Constable, he did not, play in another first-class fixture until 1926–27, when he captained a Marylebone Cricket Club side to Argentina, in which the four representative matches against the host nation were accorded first-class status. MCC scraped a win in the series with one match drawn, he played one more first-class match, in 1929 for the MCC against the Royal Navy. After retiring as a player, he became a tour manager, most notably on the infamous "Bodyline" tour of Australia in 1932–33, he was the chairman of the England Test selectors for several years in the 1930s. He became President of the Marylebone Cricket Club, he was knighted for his services to cricket in 1937.
Warner wrote extensively on cricket. He detailed his Ashes Tests and a history of Lord's Cricket Ground, he founded The Cricketer magazine. He was cricket correspondent of the Morning Post from 1921 to 1933, subsequently of the Daily Telegraph, he married Agnes in the summer of 1904 and had two sons and John, a daughter, Elizabeth. He died, aged 89, at West Sussex, his brother Aucher Warner not only captained the first combined West Indies side in the West Indies during the 1896–97 season but the first West Indian touring side to England in 1900. Marina Warner and mythographer, is his granddaughter. Media related to Pelham Warner at Wikimedia Commons Cricinfo page on Plum Warner which includes the obituary from the 1964 edition of Wisden Cricketer's Almanack The Golden Age of Cricket 1890–1914 by David Frith, ISBN 0-907853-50-1 Pelham Warner at CricketArchive Pelham Warner at ESPNcricinfo Lord's 1787–1945 ISBN 1-85145-112-9
A delivery or ball in cricket is a single action of bowling a cricket ball toward the batsman. During play of the game, a member of the fielding team is designated as the bowler, bowls deliveries toward the batsman. Six legal balls in a row constitutes an over, after which a different member of the fielding side takes over the role of bowler for the next over; the bowler delivers the ball from his or her end of the pitch toward the batsman standing at the opposite wicket at the other end of the pitch. Bowlers can be either right-handed; this approach to their delivery, in addition to their decision of bowling around the wicket or over the wicket, is knowledge of which the umpire and the batsman are to be made aware. Deliveries can be made by spin bowlers. Fast bowlers tend to make the ball either move off the pitch or move through the air, while spinners make the ball "turn" either toward a right-handed batsman or away from him; the ball can bounce at different distances from the batsman, this is called the length of the delivery.
It can range from a bouncer to a yorker. There are many different types of delivery; these deliveries vary by: technique, the hand the bowler bowls with, use of the fingers, use of the seam, how the ball is positioned in the hand, where the ball is pitched on the wicket, the speed of the ball, the tactical intent of the bowler. Leg spin deliveries and mirror equivalents for left arm unorthodox spin: Leg break Googly Topspinner Flipper Slider Flicker ball Off spin deliveries and mirror equivalents for left arm orthodox spin: Off break Doosra Arm ball Topspinner Carrom ball Teesra Fast bowling deliveries: Bouncer Inswinger Reverse swing Leg cutter Off cutter Outswinger Yorker Beamer Knuckleball Slower ball The variations in different types of delivery, as well as variations caused by directing the ball with differing line and length, are key weapons in a bowler's arsenal. Throughout an over, the bowler will choose a sequence of deliveries designed to attack the batsman's concentration and technique, in an effort to get him out.
The bowler varies the amount of loop and pace imparted to various deliveries to try to cause the batsman to misjudge and make a mistake. As the crease has a width, the bowler can change the angle from which he delivers to the batsman in an attempt to induce a misjudgement; the bowler decides what type of delivery to bowl next, without consultation or informing any other member of his team. Sometimes, the team captain will offer advice or issue a direct order regarding what deliveries to bowl, based on his observations of the batsman and the strategic state of the game. Another player who offers advice to the bowler is the wicket-keeper, since he has a unique view of the batsman and may be able to spot weaknesses of technique. Another piece of information important for the bowlers to consider prior to their deliveries is the state of pitch; the pitch is a natural ground and its state is subjected to variation over the course of the cricket, some of which are multi-day events such as test matches.
Spinners find an old pitch, one, used, more suitable to their deliveries rather than a fresh pitch, one that hasn't come under use as much such as a pitch at the start of the match. While a bowler, with the use of variations in his/her delivery aims to target the concentration of batsmen as well as their skill and technique of batting, anticipation of the delivery is crucial for the batsman, as emphasised by Jodi Richardson. Richardson reveals the world class batsman's dilemma while facing fast bowlers, stating that the time between the batsmen's anticipation of the trajectory of the ball and positioning themselves for the appropriate shot can be twice as long as the interval between the ball leaving the bowler's hand and reaching the batsman's crease. Side by side, Richardson alludes to the research undertaken by Dr. Sean Müller in Australia, funded by Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence; the results of the research demonstrated the importance of anticipation of the delivery for batsmen in cricket.
They revealed that experienced batsmen possessed a unique ability which enabled them to adjust their feet as well as their positioning on the crease accordingly based upon their reading of the body language and movements enacted by the bowler prior to the release of the ball. This foresight that batsmen use while on the crease is referred to as'advance information' by Richardson. Moreover, Müller's research outlined that the presence of this'advance information' was not as evident among the lesser skilled batsmen in comparison to the experienced ones. Underarm or lob bowling was the original cricket delivery style,but had died out before the 20th century, although it was used until 1910 by George Simpson-Hayward, remained a legal delivery type. On 1 February 1981, when Australia was playing New Zealand in a One Day International cricket match, New Zealand needed six runs to tie the match from the final ball. Greg Chappell, the Australian captain, ordered the bowler to bowl underarm, rolling the ball along the ground to prevent the Number 10 New Zealand batsman any chance of hitting a six from the last ball to tie the match.
After the game, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Rob Muldoon, described it as "the most disgusting incident I can recall in the history of cricket." At the time, underarm deliveries were legal, but as a direct result of the incident, underarm bowling was banned in limi
ESPNcricinfo is a sports news website for the game of cricket. The site features news, live coverage of cricket matches, StatsGuru, a database of historical matches and players from the 18th century to the present; as of March 2018, Sambit Bal was the editor. The site conceived in a pre-World Wide Web form in 1993 by Dr Simon King, was acquired in 2002 by the Wisden Group—publishers of several notable cricket magazines and the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack; as part of an eventual breakup of the Wisden Group, it was sold to ESPN, jointly owned by The Walt Disney Company and Hearst Corporation, in 2007. CricInfo was launched on 15 March 1993 by Dr Simon King, a British researcher at the University of Minnesota, with help from students and researchers at universities around the world; the site was reliant on contributions from fans around the world who spent hours compiling electronic scorecards and contributing them to CricInfo's comprehensive archive, as well as keying in live scores from games around the world using CricInfo's scoring software, "dougie".
In 2000, Cricinfo's estimated worth was $150 million. Cricinfo's significant growth in the 1990s made it an attractive site for investors during the peak of the dotcom boom, in 2000 it received $37 million worth of Satyam Infoway Ltd. shares in exchange for a 25% stake in the company. It used around $22m worth of the paper to pay off initial investors but only raised about £6 million by selling the remaining stock. While the site continued to attract more and more users and operated on a low cost base, its income was not enough to support a peak staff of 130 in nine countries, forcing redundancies. By late 2002 the company was making a monthly operating profit and was one of few independent sports sites to avoid collapse. However, the business was still servicing a large loan. Cricinfo was acquired by Paul Getty's Wisden Group, the publisher of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and The Wisden Cricketer, renamed Wisden Cricinfo; the Wisden brand were phased out in favor of Cricinfo for Wisden's online operations.
In December 2005, Wisden re-launched its discontinued Wisden Asia Cricket magazine as Cricinfo Magazine, a magazine dedicated to coverage of Indian cricket. The magazine published its last issue in July 2007. In 2006, revenue was reported to be £3m. In 2007, the Wisden Group began to be sold to other companies. In June 2007, ESPN Inc. announced. The acquisition was intended to help further expand Cricinfo by combining the site with ESPN's other web properties, including ESPN.com and ESPN Soccernet. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed; as of 2018, Sambit Bal is the Editor-in-Chief of ESPNcricinfo. In 2013, ESPNcricinfo.com celebrated its 20 anniversary of founding with a series of online features. The annual ESPNcricinfo Awards have become an popular event in the cricket calendar. ESPNcricinfo's popularity was further demonstrated on 24 February 2010, when the site could not handle the heavy traffic experienced after the great Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar broke the record for the highest individual male score in a One Day International match with 200*.
ESPNcricinfo contains various news, blogs and fantasy sports games. Among its most popular feature are its liveblogs of cricket matches, which includes a bevy of scorecard options, allowing readers to track such aspects of the game as wagon wheels and partnership breakdowns. For each match, the live scores are accompanied by a bulletin, which details the turning points of the match and some of the off-field events; the site used to offer Cricinfo 3D, a feature which utilizes a match's scoring data to generate a 3D animated simulation of a live match. Regular columns on ESPNcricinfo include "All Today's Yesterdays", an "On this day" column focusing on historical cricket events, "Quote Unquote", which features notable quotes from cricketers and cricket administrators. "Ask Steven" is another regular section on ESPNCricinfo. It is a Tuesday column. Among its most extensive feature is StatsGuru, a database created by Travis Basevi, containing statistics on players, teams, information about cricket boards, details of future tournaments, individual teams, records.
In May 2014, ESPNcricinfo launched CricIQ, an online test to challenge every fan’s cricket knowledge. The Cricket Monthly claims itself to be the world’s first digital-only cricket magazine; the first issue was dated August 2014. ESPNcricinfo History of the first decade of Cricinfo by Badri Seshadri, September 26, 2013 CricInfo – How it all began by Rohan Chandran, 2013, with an insiders view of the who and what and comments by other pioneers
Gentlemen v Players
Gentlemen v Players was a first-class cricket match held in England twice or more a year for well over a century. It was held between teams consisting of professionals; the difference between the two was defined by the English class structure of the time, with the Players deemed to be working-class wage-earners and the Gentlemen members of the middle and upper classes products of the English public school system. Whereas the Players were paid wages by their county clubs or fees by match organisers, the Gentlemen nominally claimed expenses; the whole subject of expenses was controversial and it was held that some leading amateurs were paid more for playing cricket than any professional. The inaugural fixture took place in 1806, with a return match the same year, but it was not continued in 1807 and, with cricket in decline during the Napoleonic Wars, it was not revived until 1819. Thereafter, it was played on a annual basis until 1962, with two or more games each season, it lacked repute in the middle years of the 19th century because the Gentlemen were outclassed but gained in prestige during the career of W. G. Grace as the matches became competitive.
The advent of Test cricket coupled with social change in the 20th century saw its importance decline in the aftermath of the Second World War. On 31 January 1963, the committee of the Marylebone Cricket Club agreed unanimously to abolish the concept of amateurism and all first-class cricketers became professional; the Gentlemen v Players fixture was by viewed as an anachronism and was discontinued. A substitute fixture was sought but never instituted as the limited overs Gillette Cup competition began in 1963. A total of 274 Gentlemen v Players matches were played from 1806 to 1962; the Players won 125 and the Gentlemen 68. There were one tie. At its height from the 1860s until 1914, the fixture was a prestigious one, though in terms of quality it fell far short of Test matches and of the rival North v. South fixture; until the 1860s, the Gentlemen teams were very weak compared with the professionals, on occasion the fixture had to be arranged on an odds basis, so that the Players eleven took on a greater number of Gentlemen.
The Gentlemen famously became competitive during the career of W. G. Grace, whose performances were so outstanding that the Gentlemen could enjoy some long-awaited success; the fixture confirmed the held view of an imbalance between amateur and professional in that amateurs tended to be batsmen first and foremost, hence there were few good amateur bowlers. The Players could nearly always field a strong bowling side; the game was played over three days on all but a handful of occasions throughout its history. The most frequent venue for the match was Lord's, but a number of other grounds were used, notably The Oval and Scarborough, it was at Scarborough that the last Gentlemen v Players game was played, in September 1962; the same format of amateurs playing professionals was used in a number of other fixtures, some of which were given first-class status, but these matches became less common after the beginning of the 20th century, the last such game was "Gentlemen of the South v Players of the South" in 1920, after which all first-class Gentlemen v Players matches were between teams known by those names.
The Gentlemen v Players series ended after the 1962 season, when the distinction between amateur and professional players was abolished. Charles Williams has described several reports on the subject which were submitted to MCC by its Amateur Status Standing Committee and, on 31 January 1963, the MCC committee unanimously agreed to abolish amateurism. Williams says a substitute fixture was sought but it was decided not to pursue this as the new Gillette Cup limited overs competition was beginning in 1963. There were contrasting views about the passing of Gentlemen v Players; some traditionalists like E. W. Swanton and the editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack "lamented the passing of an era" but social change had rendered the whole concept an anachronism and Fred Trueman spoke for many when he summarised amateurism as a "ludicrous business", "thankfully abolished" after the 1962 season; the inaugural fixture was a three-day match at the original Lord's ground from 7 to 9 July 1806. It was soon followed by the second, held on the same ground from 21 to 25 July.
In the first match, the Gentlemen played with two "given men" and these were the two outstanding professionals of the day, Billy Beldham and William Lambert. Lambert made a significant contribution with the bat and the Gentlemen won by an innings and 14 runs. For the return, the Gentlemen retained Lambert. Beldham played for the Players; the Gentlemen won a low-scoring game by 82 runs and Lambert was again a significant factor, although the leading amateur Lord Frederick Beauclerk made two good scores. A curiosity of these matches is that they featured the veteran professional Tom Walker and the rookie amateur John Willes; these are the two players both credited with devising the roundarm style of bowling, but there is no evidence to suggest they used roundarm in 1806. Described by H. S. Altham as the "most famous of all domestic matches", the fixture disappeared until 1819. Altham says he does not know why but the Napoleonic Wars must have been a factor as cricket was in decline from 1810 until after Waterloo in 1815.
In 1819, the amateurs lost by six wickets. There was only one run between the sides on first innings but the Gentlemen collapsed in the second against the bowling of Tom Howard and John Sherman to be all out