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Thread: A word on Tom Emmett

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    International Debutant neville cardus's Avatar
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    A word on Tom Emmett

    It is unlikely that even a game so renowned for its characters as cricket has ever known one quite like Tom Emmett. There was never a situation for which he did not have a funny remark and scarcely a day that he did not live to the fullest. From career's beginning to career's end, he put every beat of his genial heart into the game, and the game was all the fuller for it.

    Although of unnaturally erubescent aspect, Emmett had about him that venerable nature which comes more from moral fibre than mere D.N.A.. He was as great as he was great-hearted, a man with clownish tendencies but never merely a clown; he was a cricketer first and foremost, and a very fine one at that. He captained his beloved Yorkshire from 1878 to 1882 and numbered amongst the finest bowlers in England from 1866 to his retirement decades later. A left-arm quickie of destructive malice, a batsman in much the same vein and a fielder as enthusiastic (if not as skilled) as Jonty Rhodes, he served both county and country with distinction. There was but one allround cricketer whose claims were greater than his, and that was W.G. Grace.

    Emmett and Grace, it has often been said, presided over their epoch's cricketing realm just as Gladstone and Disraeli, at the same time, lorded over the House of Commons. As the statesmen faced up from across the dispatch boxes, so the cricketers did, too, from across the wicket. Their encounters are the stuff of legend and will doubtless be recalled with as much affection centuries from now as they were when their protagonists still walked the Earth. I'll recount a few myself over the next few days.
    Last edited by neville cardus; 29-12-2007 at 04:38 PM.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Emmett, one of only two cricketers I've never heard so much as one bad word about (Wilfred Rhodes the other) in the Yorkshire members' area.

    That is, of those who I have also heard a good word about.

    In a county of love-hate-relationship characters, Emmett is a rare case.
    Last edited by Richard; 29-12-2007 at 04:44 PM.
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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    He was certainly a big character in the History of YCCC. As a kid, and someone who prefered the older cricket to post-war cricket, it was interesting reading so much about him.
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    International Debutant neville cardus's Avatar
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    Go on. Spin us a yarn.


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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neville cardus View Post
    Go on. Spin us a yarn.
    Travelling as I do, I have very little of my cricket books surrounding me and even if I did Id probably do the story a disservice compared to the research you put in.

    One interesting snippet on Emmett though,

    He named a ball that pitched on leg and hit off stump 'Sosteneuter'. A ball so good as to being capable of dismissing WG first ball.

    Mystery surrounded the origins of this word and its application to cricket. Some suspect it has origins in the Italian word Sostenuto.

    As far as I know, Emmett never fully disclosed why he used this name for that ball and when asked why he called it such he showed his laid back comedic manner by generally answering "What else would you call it?"

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    International Debutant neville cardus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughy View Post
    Travelling as I do, I have very little of my cricket books surrounding me and even if I did Id probably do the story a disservice compared to the research you put in.
    Oh dear. Am I that obvious?

    One interesting snippet on Emmett though,
    He named a ball that pitched on leg and hit off stump 'Sosteneuter'. A ball so good as to being capable of dismissing WG first ball.
    W.G. refers to it thus: "His best ball was one pitching between the legs and the wicket, with sufficient break and rise to hit the off bail. More than once he bowled me with that ball when I was well set and had scored heavily, and I left the wicket believing a similar ball would always beat me or anyone."

    Mystery surrounded the origins of this word and its application to cricket.
    A.A. Thomson, for what it's worth, calls it "a strange word, meaning, I take it, 'humdinger' or 'sockdologher'".

    Some suspect it has origins in the Italian word Sostenuto.
    One of the reasons why I post these historical items is in the hope that someone will come to the party and teach me something new. With this little snippet, that hope is fulfilled.

    As far as I know, Emmett never fully disclosed why he used this name for that ball and when asked why he called it such he showed his laid back comedic manner by generally answering "What else would you call it?"
    Thanks, mate.
    Last edited by neville cardus; 30-12-2007 at 10:26 AM.

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    For reference, the bulk of that (mainly the Sostenuto part) is taken from a letter to the Times from 1919 by Mr. W.A. Marshall

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Perm's Avatar
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    What an amazing FC record this guy has, truly astonishing. What was the reasoning behind him not being picked for the 1880 home Test against Australia? I would've thought, barring injury, he'd have been a certainty given his exploits in his England's last Test before that game. 7/68 from 26 is pretty damn awesome.

    I did notice something else though, entirely unrelated to Emmett. In this Test, bowling in the fourth innings, George Ulyett was said to have gone at an RPO of 13.50, despite him conceeding 9 runs from his single over. I realise that the overs back then were only four balls, but it still seems odd.
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    International Debutant neville cardus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughy View Post
    For reference, the bulk of that (mainly the Sostenuto part) is taken from a letter to the Times from 1919 by Mr. W.A. Marshall
    Thanks. I was going to ask. I take it that you picked it out of an anthology?

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neville cardus View Post
    Thanks. I was going to ask. I take it that you picked it out of an anthology?
    Pretty much

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    International Debutant neville cardus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perm View Post
    What an amazing FC record this guy has, truly astonishing. What was the reasoning behind him not being picked for the 1880 home Test against Australia? I would've thought, barring injury, he'd have been a certainty given his exploits in his England's last Test before that game. 7/68 from 26 is pretty damn awesome.
    He, along with three others from the 1878/79 tour, refused to accept the invitation to play in that Test after the fallout from the Sydney Riot.

    I did notice something else though, entirely unrelated to Emmett. In this Test, bowling in the fourth innings, George Ulyett was said to have gone at an RPO of 13.50, despite him conceeding 9 runs from his single over. I realise that the overs back then were only four balls, but it still seems odd.
    Doubtless they work it out on the basis of a six-ball over so as to bridge the gap of time and make the olden R.P.Os more easily comparable with today's.

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perm View Post
    What an amazing FC record this guy has, truly astonishing. What was the reasoning behind him not being picked for the 1880 home Test against Australia? I would've thought, barring injury, he'd have been a certainty given his exploits in his England's last Test before that game. 7/68 from 26 is pretty damn awesome.

    Despite being a fine and destructive bowler, he could (even on his best days) be wildly inaccurate and bowl a number of wides amongst the unplayable stuff.
    Last edited by Goughy; 29-12-2007 at 08:19 PM.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neville cardus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Perm View Post
    I did notice something else though, entirely unrelated to Emmett. In this Test, bowling in the fourth innings, George Ulyett was said to have gone at an RPO of 13.50, despite him conceeding 9 runs from his single over. I realise that the overs back then were only four balls, but it still seems odd.
    Doubtless they work it out on the basis of a six-ball over so as to bridge the gap of time and make the olden R.P.Os more easily comparable with today's.
    Yeah, they do. "Economy-rate" has come to mean "runs per six balls", not "runs per over". The same is done with the more recent case of eight-ball overs, as well as the older four-ball ones.

    Witness how player profiles at all main historical-cricket-statistics websites now give number of deliveries rather than number of overs bowled by bowlers.

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    Cricket Web Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughy View Post
    For reference, the bulk of that (mainly the Sostenuto part) is taken from a letter to the Times from 1919 by Mr. W.A. Marshall
    What does sostenuto translate as? Google suggests supported/sustained, that doesn't seem quite descriptive enough, though!
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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Pickup View Post
    What does sostenuto translate as? Google suggests supported/sustained, that doesn't seem quite descriptive enough, though!
    Its interesting and obviously people had a different idea on what was witty back then

    Emmett was supposedly a relatively musical man and sostenuto describes a note that is to be held steady to its full length.

    This was seen to be taken and applied to a ball that sustained 'its wickedness to the very end'
    Last edited by Goughy; 30-12-2007 at 06:02 AM.

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