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Thread: The Stuff Legends Are Made Of - The Doctor & The Don !

  1. #1
    SJS
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    The Stuff Legends Are Made Of - The Doctor & The Don !

    The Good Doctor

    No Legend is made of nothing and the legend of WG Grace is the best story in cricket, the best story in sport, and, in its own uncomplicated way, the best story of nineteenth century England......

    The story is illuminated by the bright light that plays around its principal character, so that in his day and for long afterwards his countrymen saw a picture of him which was clearer and vivider than that of any other public figure in England. No one but Queen Victoria herself, and perhaps Mr Gladstone, would have been more easily recognisable throughout the land...

    Railway porters frankly abandoned their barrowloads of luggage to shake his hand and he never refused you his hand, howsoever grubby, if you were bold enough to ask....

    CB Fry's headmaster at Repton was once mistaken for WG by a porter at Nottingham station. It was a proud moment in his modest life....

    The legend fills in the background with strong brush strokes of its own. It recounts, with an appreciative smile, that on some county grounds you could see the notice :
    'Admission threepence : if Dr WG plays, admission sixpence'

    It states categorically and picturesquely, that he provided half the bricks in more than half the pavillions in England. It tells you how .... hundreds of hansom cabs would go rattling down St John's Wood Road when it was known that he was at the wicket; and when he celeberated his jubilee, a quarter century later, the crowds at Lord's were thicker than ever....

    Great Western trains would humbly wait for him at Paddington Station, while he talked to a friend.....

    Sometimes a legendary figure looms so large, that the man himself is lost. Already those who sayu that sort of a thing will be muttering about the WG myth, or even myths, thereby implying a) that WG never existed and b) that this was highly to his discredit....

    The legend is so large that young people think of WG, if they think at all, as a figure, heroic but shadowy...who could not compete in cricket today...

    He did not invent the game and, indeed, the heroes of Hambledon lived long before him. Giants like Alfred Mynn and Fuller Pilch had had their day by the time WG's had begun....

    Because he was such a wonder, a nonesuch, a champion - The Champion - and because he was for them a jolly symbol of the sportsman, the countryman, of everything that went with the green turf and a kindly sun - the British gave him their hearts.

    They even loved his lack of modesty which could say, " Yes, I think Arthur is the second best bat in the country".

    He had a simplicity that was not to be pitied, a simplicity that every Englishman of his day admired and loved.

    When the time came to find an inscription for the great memorial(to WG) gate at Lord's there was difficulty in choosing.

    The poets sent in their verses and the scholars their Greek or Latin elegiacs but set against that jovial jove -like figure, all of them seemed woefully inadequate.

    Suddenly the phrase came to Sir Stanley Jackson....

    Not a question was raised, not a word was said against it, and so the gate bears the simple inscription that all cricket lovers know :

    TO THE MEMORY OF
    WILLIAM GILBERT GRACE
    THE GREAT CRICKETER


    to be continued...
    Last edited by SJS; 19-07-2005 at 02:00 AM.

  2. #2
    Cricket Web Staff Member archie mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJS
    The Good Doctor

    No Legend is made of nothing and the legend of WG Grace is the best story in cricket, the best story in sport, and, in its own uncomplicated way, the best story of nineteenth century England......

    The story is illuminated by the bright light that plays around its principal character, so that in his day and for long afterwards his countrymen saw a picture of him which was clearer and vivider than that of any other public figure in England. No one but Queen Victoria herself, and perhaps Mr Gladstone, would have been more easily recognisable throughout the land...

    Railway porters frankly abandoned their barrowloads of luggage to shake his hand and he never refused you his hand, howsoever grubby, if you were bold enough to ask....

    CB Fry's headmaster at Repton was once mistaken for WG by a porter at Nottingham station. It was a proud moment in his modest life....


    The legend fills in the background with strong brush strokes of its own. It recounts, with an appreciative smile, that on some county grounds you could see the notice :
    'Admission threepence : if Dr WG plays, admission sixpence'

    It states categorically and picturesquely, that he provided half the bricks in more than half the pavillions in England. It tells you how .... hundreds of hansom cabs would go rattling down St John's Wood Road when it was known that he was at the wicket; and when he celeberated his jubilee, a quarter century later, the crowds at Lord's were thicker than ever....

    Great Western trains would humbly wait for him at Paddington Station, while he talked to a friend.....

    Sometimes a legendary figure looms so large, that the man himself is lost. Already those who sayu that sort of a thing will be muttering about the WG myth, or even myths, thereby implying a) that WG never existed and b) that this was highly to his discredit....

    The legend is so large that young people think of WG, if they think at all, as a figure, heroic but shadowy...who could not compete in cricket today...

    He did not invent the game and, indeed, the heroes of Hambledon lived long before him. Giants like Alfred Mynn and Fuller Pilch had had their day by the time WG's had begun....

    Because he was such a wonder, a nonesuch, a champion - The Champion - and because he was for them a jolly symbol of the sportsman, the countryman, of everything that went with the green turf and a kindly sun - the British gave him their hearts.

    They even loved his lack of modesty which could say, " Yes, I think Arthur is the second best bat in the country".

    He had a simplicity that was not to be pitied, a simplicity that every Englishman of his day admired and loved.

    When the time came to find an inscription for the great memorial(to WG) gate at Lord's there was difficulty in choosing.

    The poets sent in their verses and the scholars their Greek or Latin elegiacs but set against that jovial jove -like figure, all of them seemed woefully inadequate.

    Suddenly the phrase came to Sir Stanley Jackson....

    Not a question was raised, not a word was said against it, and so the gate bears the simple inscription that all cricket lovers know :

    TO THE MEMORY OF
    WILLIAM GILBERT GRACE
    THE GREAT CRICKETER


    to be continued...

    I only have one thing to say about this piece of writing MAGNIFICENT

    The Arthur refered to is Arthur Shrewsbury, the great professional batsman. When asked who he thought was the 2nd best batsman in England WG said 'Give me Arthur'

  3. #3
    SJS
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    Quote Originally Posted by archie mac
    I only have one thing to say about this piece of writing MAGNIFICENT

    The Arthur refered to is Arthur Shrewsbury, the great professional batsman. When asked who he thought was the 2nd best batsman in England WG said 'Give me Arthur'
    I have to agree with you. Its is a beautiful piece though not put here in its entirety.

    I have to admit, sadly, that the author is not yours truly

    The words are of AA Thomson. I have just edited it to keep it to size.

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    Anecdotes about WG # 1

    WG never ceased to be a countryman. Sporting dogs would refuse to leave him. Turf would grow for him as it would not grow for the ordinary groundsman. Even the reprehensible story of the wild duck at Fenner's becomes less reprehensible when it falls into the category of a country story.

    While WG was bowling to Fred Wilson, of Cambridge, a skein of wild duck came streaking across the summer sky.

    "By jove!' Exclaimed WG, 'Look at those ducks !'

    The batsman peered into the eye of the sun, resumed his stance completely dazzled and was clean bowled.

    The tale is quoted as an example of WG's amusing smartness or, alternatively, his abominable tendency towards sharp practice. Neither example is correct.


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    Anecdote about WG # 2

    W.G. Grace
    Had hair all over his face
    Lord! How the people cheered
    When a ball got lost in his beard.

    Edmund Clerihew Bentley

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    Anecdotes about WG # 3

    In the middle of WG's wonderful week in August 1876, an awe stricken Tom Emmett heard from the Notts players that WG, riding on the crest of his 344 at Canterbury, had not let the bat sleep in his hands.

    Gritting his teeth, Tom muttered, " A'fore we'd let him do that to us, we'd shooit him !"

    But in the next game WG made 318 not out and prctically drove the Yorkshire bowlers to mutiny, and at the same time he drove Tom to rueful head shaking: Its Grace before meat, Grace after meat, Grace all day and I reckon it'll be Grace tomorrow"

    Of the manner in which WG meted out the punishment he murmured just as ruefully," The better I places 'em, the better he pastes 'em !"

    Anecdote # 4

    Returning to London after his visit to Edinburgh to recieve his LRCP , WG overtook Tom Emmett, walking along St John's Wood Road.

    "Is it all right, sir ?" asked Tom.

    "Yes its all right Tom. I've got my diploma" said WG

    MCC won the toss and when Yorkshire came out to field, WG slashed furiously and the ball hit Tom , fielding at cover point, full blast in the midriff, bowling hin over like a ninepin. There he lay clutching the ball and gazing at the sky.

    "Are you hurt Tom" demanded WG

    Tom slowly arose, turned his backside towards the doctor exhibiting a large green moon on the seat of his trousers and said, " No, but I've got my diploma !"



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