William Lillywhite in 1835

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William Lillywhite by JC Anderson

Week 9 of lockdown: Last Friday morning cricket could not be played because of issues around cricket teas and changing rooms. By 4pm though the third umpire had overruled the decision and cricket could be played from Saturday, July 11. As yet however we still await guidance as to how the game is to be Covid safe.

So this week we look all the way back to August 1835. At this time Rye Cricket Club had moved to The Salts to play cricket, as the construction of a wall protected the Salts from a twice daily inundation. Cricket had previously been played at Camber Castle, and subsequently on Gibbets Marsh, but this had been lost with the construction of the railway.

In August 1835 another key figure in the history of the game of cricket played at The Salts.
Frederick William Lilywhite (13 June 1792 – 21 August 1854) was an English first-class cricketer during the game’s roundarm era. One of the main protagonists in the legalisation of roundarm, he was one of the most successful bowlers of his era. His status is borne out by his nickname – The Nonpareil.

Lillywhite’s known first-class career spanned the 1825 to 1853 seasons, and he played for Sussex County Cricket Club as well as the Marylebone Cricket Club, and also represented Surrey, Hampshire, and Middlesex in the period before the formation of the current county clubs.

Detailed bowling figures for many of his matches are not known but he took 1,576 wickets in 237 matches, and took 155 five-wicket-hauls and 55 ten-wicket-hauls. He was an original member of William Clarke’s All-England Eleven. Part of a cricketing dynasty, he was the father of John Lillywhite and Fred Lillywhite, and uncle of James Lillywhite.

Lillywhite’s cricket in the 1833 season was reduced to only six first-class appearances, though he took thirty-seven wickets. He continued to occupy his time with further appearances at West Sussex v East Sussex games. He took thirty-eight wickets in 1834 and forty-two more in 1835.

Lillywhite’s success was now leading to further controversy of the status of roundarm bowling, and he was becoming well known throughout the country. The MCC had altered the laws twice during the early years of Lillywhite’s career with regards to what height the bowler could raise his arm.

That year the MCC governing body, in light of the growing success of roundarm bowling by Lillywhite and fellow Sussex player Jem Broadbridge, modified the playing rules to officially legalise roundarm bowling. Thus the game he played at Rye was in the midst of the development of the modern game of cricket.

Aug 3 & 4 at Rye in Sussex against Beckley with 6 players from Benenden

1st Inns 2nd Inns
J.Wenman c Sawyer 18 b Lillywhite 32
W,Blackwell b Lillywhite 2 c Sawyer 3
T.Nash b Richardson 11 LBW Lillywhite 9
T.Blackwell c Sawyer 5 b Lillywhite 0
G.Mills Snr c Edwards 23 b Lillywhite 5
G.Mills Jnr b Lillywhite 7 c Tutt 2
S.Coppinger Run Out 1 b Richardson 2
R.Dunk c Mauser 1 Not Out 8
G.Tolhurst b Lillywhite 9 b Lillywhite 3
C.Coppinger b Lillywhite 0 b Lillywhite 0
T.Ashdown Not Out 4 b Lillywhite 2
Extras Byes 10 Wides 3 Byes 9 Wides 13 22
Total 94 Total 88

Rye with Lillywhite, Thwaites, Sawyer & Best
1st Inns 2nd Inns
Tutt b Nash 22 Run Out 1
Best b Mills 0 c Blackwell 8
T.Edwards b Mills 2 c Tolhurst 2
E.Thwaites b Mills 48 Not Out 2
W.Lillywhite c Nash 10
Mauser b Blackwell 12 b Mills 12
Sawyer b Dunk 8
Gilbert Not Out 4
W.Richardson b Mills 2 b Wenman 0
Chatterton c Coppinger 7
S.Baker b Mills 0 Not Out 0
Byes 17 Wides 16 No balls 1 Byes 6 Wides 3

Total 149 Total 34
Rye Won by 5 Wickets.

The two teams met again over August 13 / 14 at Beckley, where Rye won by 5 runs, with Lillywhite taking 6 wickets. Lilywhite’s third son, Fred, was to become a cricket legend as well, organising the first cricket tour to USA in 1859, and establishing the Lillywhite sports shop in London.

[Background information from Wikipedia]

Image Credits: John Corbet Anderson / Public Domain .

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