Dr. Conan Doyle on Cricket
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Dr. Conan Doyle on Cricket is an article published in the Flintshire Observer on 2 november 1899, quoting an excerpt of a speech by Arthur Conan Doyle during the Prize of Victoria Park Cricket Association.
Dr. Conan Doyle on Cricket
Dr. A. Conan Doyle presented the other night the cups and medals in connection with the competitions of the Victoria-park Cricket Association. In the course of his speech he said that it was only in times of national excitement, such as we were now experiencing, that we found the true value of the love for games which ran in our veins. We were the one free country of Europe, and it was our duty to keep ourselves fit, as we were compelled to do so. "Talk about calling out the reserves," he continued, "why, they had only commenced to call them out; the real reserves were the lovers of sport, the yachtsman, the rider to hounds, the cricketer, the football player — in a word, you a I." If England were in a hole we should have to trust to our sporting men to pull her out. The State had thought it right, to attend to the mind of the child, and they had only got to extend the principle by looking after the physical welfare of the country it they wished to keep the nation at the head. He was told that they were going to have changes in the game, discussions on the subject has appeared in a sporting newspaper, but he was certainly opposed to them. Firstly there were the suggestions as to the size of the wicket, and so forth, bat the actual material should, he though, never be altered; once begin to intermeddle and there would be no end. He never stood in front of the wickets but thought them too big; never went on to bowl without regarding them as too small. After a dry season we always heard this complaint and cry for changes. Then as to other suggested alterations, the running out of boundaries would be all very well if the matches were played, say, on Salisbury Plain, but worse than useless elsewhere, and as to the proposal re "l.b.w." it would give larger discretion to the umpires, and they already suffered enough in country matches from that direction. Why, with that rule in force, some village teams, with their umpire, could beat England. He suggested that to obviate the number of drawn matches in two and three-day fixtures, where any game was not played out, it should be decided on the first innings — a voice : "No" — though some argued that this might induce slow play. Then, as to the manliness of the game; he did not like to see players when hurt wriggling about and cutting extraordinary capers; they did not do so in the old days, when the wickets were more dangerous, but used to stoop and rub their hands in the dust. He was afraid he had bored them, but asked them to excuse him if he had done so.