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Dr W G Grace was Victorian England’s most famous cricketer

Posted in Historical articles, History, Sport, Sporting Heroes on Tuesday, 30 April 2013

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This edited article about W G Grace originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 236 published on 23 July 1966.

W G Grace, picture, image, illustration

W G Grace at the wicket by Richard Hook

William Gilbert Grace, born on July 18, 1848, became one of the greatest cricketers of all time. Although he qualified as a doctor, his whole life was devoted to cricket.

He came from a famous cricketing family. His father, also a doctor, was a well-known player, and his two brothers both played for Gloucestershire and England.

W. G. Grace was in the team which in 1880 played the first Test Match against Australia, and he subsequently captained the England eleven in all the Tests until 1899.

An unrivalled batsman, Grace scored 54,000 runs between 1863 and 1900, his best single total being 344 (out of 546) for the M.C.C. against Kent in 1876.

His total of 126 three-figure innings in first-class cricket remained a record until it was beaten by Jack Hobbs in 1925. Grace also passed the double century on ten occasions; three times his score in a single innings was a triple century; and on three occasions he made a century in both innings of a match.

Besides being a superb batsman, Grace was an outstanding bowler. During his career he took a total of 2,800 wickets, and in each of seven seasons took over 100 wickets. Once, in an innings against Oxford University, he took all ten wickets.

On another occasion, Grace and his spaniel defeated the St. George’s Club, Bristol. The Club batted, Grace bowled, and the spaniel “fielded”. When Grace went in to bat, nothing could move him.

Over six feet tall and with a long, black beard, Grace was always an impressive figure at the wicket. He died on October 23, 1915.

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