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Alfred Shaw (29 August 1842 – 16 January 1907) was an eminent Victorian
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bai ...

cricket
er and rugby footballer, who bowled the first ball in
Test cricket Test cricket is the form of the sport of cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wi ...
and was the first to take five wickets in a Test innings (5/35). He made two trips to North America and four to Australia, captaining the
English cricket team The England cricket team represents England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to ...
in four Test matches on the all-professional tour of Australia in 1881/82, where his side lost and drew two each. He was also, along with
James Lillywhite James Lillywhite (23 February 1842 – 25 October 1929) was an English Test Test(s), testing, or TEST may refer to: * Test (assessment), an educational assessment intended to measure the respondents' knowledge or other abilities Arts and ...

James Lillywhite
and
Arthur Shrewsbury Arthur Shrewsbury (11 April 1856 – 19 May 1903) was an English cricket Cricket is a bat-and-ball gameBat-and-ball may refer to: *Bat-and-ball games Bat-and-ball games (or safe haven games) are field games played by two opposing tea ...

Arthur Shrewsbury
, co-promoter of the tour. He also organised the first British Isles rugby tour to Australasia in 1888.


Career

Shaw was one of the few cricketers of his time whose Christian name was used more frequently than his initials. Standing only 5'6½" tall, he put on copious weight near the end of his career, when his naturally corpulent build was dramatically accentuated. It is unfortunate, therefore, that most photographs of him were taken so late in his cricketing life. A man of droopy aspect, bushed eyes, some classically Victorian facial hair and a belt nearer his breast than his substantial waist, he did not look the part of the era's finest medium-pacer, but there were few who questioned his credentials. Shaw's
first-class First class (or 1st class, Firstclass) generally implies a high level of service, importance or quality. Specific uses of the term include: Books and Comics * ''First Class'', List of Dandy comic strips, a comic strip in ''The Dandy'' (1983-1998 ...
career extended from 1864 to 1897, and most of his matches were for
Nottinghamshire Nottinghamshire (; abbreviated Notts.) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chamb ...
. He had the unusual distinction for a professional of frequently captaining that county, and this was vindicated when he took Notts to four successive Championships from 1883 to 1886. He was a natural leader with a powerful persona, but his connection with Notts all but ended after that last triumph. As his team-mates observed, the county went into rapid decline upon his departure. Sometime during Shaw's early career, he suggested that the creases should be made by whitewash and this was gradually adopted through the 1870s. The origin of creases is uncertain but they were in use at the beginning of the 18th century when they were created by scratching, the popping crease being 46 inches in front of the wicket at each end of the pitch. In the course of time, the scratches became cuts which were an inch deep and an inch wide. The cut was in use until the second half of the 19th century when whitewashing replaced it. A fervent champion of the professional cricketer's rights, Shaw did a lot of work in support of his contemporaries. He declined to tour with
WG Grace William Gilbert Grace (18 July 1848 – 23 October 1915) was an English amateur An amateur (; ; ) is generally considered a person who pursues a particular activity or field of study independently from their source of income. Amateurs and t ...

WG Grace
in 1873/74 because the professionals in the squad were to be afforded only second-class facilities. In 1881, he led a strike of Notts professionals, demanding a formal contract of employment to guarantee an automatic benefit at the end of an agreed playing period. The high-handed Nottinghamshire committee thought this absolute anarchy and, apparently justified in its feeling that an amateur skipper was the way to go, dropped every member of the offending faction from the side. There was eventually a reconciliation, however, and Shaw took on the capaincy once more. He was a remarkably accurate bowler, sending down more overs than he conceded runs in his entire career. A maiden over was more easily bowled then than it is now, as it comprised only four deliveries, but Shaw's unparalleled consistency in this regard scarcely dropped off when the five-ball over was launched in 1889. Nearly two-thirds of all the overs that he bowled were runless. Although he might by today's terms be called a seamer, back then Shaw was fundamentally a length bowler, holding a line on or just outside the off-stump: certainly, he often employed the off-theory, with as many as eight fielders patrolling the offside. His run-up was made up of six rapid, economical steps, but, according to the man himself, "I really used to bowl faster than people thought I did, and I could make the ball break both ways, but not much. In my opinion, length and variation of pace constitute the secret of successful bowling." However, although he was regarded almost universally as "the high priest of length", he and
Ted Peate Edmund Peate (2 March 1855 – 11 March 1900) was an English professional cricketer who played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the English cricket team. Overview Born on 2 March 1855 in Holbeck near Leeds in Yorkshire, Peate's career, whi ...

Ted Peate
together poured scorn all over suggestions that they were capable of "hitting the spot" with nearly every delivery (as was the common perception). Shaw's first-class bowling average is, by a quite substantial margin, the lowest of any bowler to have taken 2,000 or more wickets, but must be remembered that the pitches of the nineteenth century (particularly those at the start of his career) were far more bowler-friendly than they later became and are today. Still, this did not stop WG Grace from asserting that, between 1870 and 1880, Shaw was "perhaps the best bowler in England".Simon Wilde, ''Number One: The World's Best Batsmen and Bowlers'', Victor Gollancz, 1998, , p62. Certainly, he was supreme among slow bowlers. For many years he was on the MCC groundstaff. In 1874 he took all ten
wicket In cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bai ...

wicket
s for the club in a
first-class First class (or 1st class, Firstclass) generally implies a high level of service, importance or quality. Specific uses of the term include: Books and Comics * ''First Class'', List of Dandy comic strips, a comic strip in ''The Dandy'' (1983-1998 ...
innings An innings is one of the divisions of a cricket match during which one team takes its turn to batting (cricket), bat. Innings also means the period in which an individual player bats (acts as either striker or nonstriker). Innings, in cricket, a ...
. In 1875 (against the MCC this time), he returned bowling figures of seven for seven off 41.2
overs In cricket, an over consists of six consecutive legal delivery (cricket), deliveries bowling (cricket), bowled from one end of a cricket pitch to the player batting at the other end, almost always by a single bowler. A maiden over is an over in ...
,36 of them maidens. At the end of that 1876 season, Shaw went to Australia with James Lillywhite Junior's side. He is famous for having bowled the first-ever delivery in Test Match cricket (unscored off, of course) to
Charles Bannerman Charles Bannerman (3 July 1851 – 20 August 1930) was an English-born Australia cricket team, Australian cricketer. A right-handed batsman, he represented Australia in three Test cricket, Test matches between 1877 and 1879. At the domestic le ...
, who went on to score 165. On his debut, he took five wickets in the second innings. As a batsman, he became the first Test cricketer to be
stumped Stumped is a method of dismissal (cricket), dismissing a batsman in cricket, which involves the wicket-keeper putting down the wicket while the batsman is out of his Ground (cricket), ground. (The batsman leaves his ground when he has moved dow ...
; by
Jack Blackham John McCarthy Blackham (11 May 1854 – 28 December 1932) was a Test cricketer Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cri ...

Jack Blackham
off the bowling of Tom Kendall. Shaw played in seven of the first eight Test Matches, missing out in 1882 because, according to a 1902 interview with
Allan Steel Allan Gibson "AG" Steel (24 September 1858 – 15 June 1914) was a Lancashire County Cricket Club, Lancashire and English cricket team, England cricketer, who was reckoned by many in his day to be the equal of the legendary W G Grace. Biograph ...
, "he was not bowling quite at his best". Some, though, felt that his presence in the side that year might have turned the tide England's way and ruled out the birth of
The Ashes The Ashes is a Test cricket Test cricket is the form of the sport of cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is ...

The Ashes
. As it was, he never played another Test Match and thus finished his career at the highest level with twelve wickets at an uncharacteristically large average of 23.75. Shaw helped fellow cricketers
Andrew Stoddart Andrew Ernest Stoddart (11 March 1863 – 4 April 1915) was an English sportsman who played international cricket for England cricket team, England, and rugby union for England national rugby union team, England and the British and Irish Lions, ...
and Arthur Shrewsbury to organise what became recognised as the first British Lions
rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, close-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the Comparison of rugby league and rugby union, two codes of rugby f ...
tour of Australia and New Zealand 1888/89. The team played 55 matches, winning 27 of 35 rugby union games and 6 out of 18 matches played under Australian rules. After Shaw's first retirement, he became a renowned
umpire An umpire is an official An official is someone who holds an office (function or Mandate (politics), mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual Office, working space with it) in an organization or government and participates in the exe ...
, but perhaps his greatest playing achievements were still ahead of him. Along with his cricketing engagements under cricket-mad
Arthur Stanley, 5th Baron Sheffield Arthur Lyulph Stanley, 5th Baron Stanley of Alderley, (14 September 1875 – 22 August 1931), also 5th Baron Sheffield and 4th Baron Eddisbury, was an English nobility, nobleman and Governors of Victoria, Governor of Victoria from 1914 to 1920. ...
, he was employed to coach young Sussex cricketers, working part-time as a cricket coach at
Ardingly College Ardingly College () is an independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United St ...
. It did not go unnoticed that Shaw was still far better than most of the county's regular bowlers, thus, at the age of 52, Shaw returned to county cricket. In 1894, he bowled 422 overs for his new county, conceding just 516 runs and capturing 41 wickets. The following year, at Trent Bridge (when it was so cold that KS Ranjitsinhji kept his hands in his pockets and fielded the ball with his feet), Shaw bowled 100.1 five-ball overs as his former team accrued a gargantuan 726. He finally retired again two matches later, when Sussex drew against Middlesex, and only ever returned to the first-class scene in 1897 to play the Gentlemen of Philadelphia. He subsequently became a publican and died aged 64.


See also

*List of England cricketers who have taken five-wicket hauls on Test debut


References


Sources

*


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Shaw, Alfred 1842 births 1907 deaths All-England Eleven cricketers Cricketers who have taken five wickets on Test debut Cricketers who have taken ten wickets in an innings English cricket umpires England Test cricketers England Test cricket captains English cricketers English rugby union players Left-Handed v Right-Handed cricketers Marylebone Cricket Club cricketers Married v Single cricketers North v South cricketers Nottinghamshire cricketers Nottinghamshire cricket captains Over 30s v Under 30s cricketers Players cricketers Professionals of Marylebone Cricket Club cricketers People from Burton Joyce Players of the North cricketers Sussex cricketers United North of England Eleven cricketers A. W. Ridley's XI cricketers R. Daft's XI cricketers North of the Thames v South of the Thames cricketers