## 1800's first-class cricket in England: bowlers

This is Part 4 in my series on 1800's cricket in England.

1 - data
2 - classification of matches
3 - filling in the gaps
4 - bowlers
5 - batsmen
6 - bowlers across eras
7 - batsmen across eras
8 - all-rounders (across eras)
9 - wicket-keepers

(Edit: My code at first counted "absent" as a nought not out. This has been fixed. All it does is decrease of new innings and not-out tallies.)

In this post I apply the method detailed in Part 3 to all first-class scorecards with missing data. But first I have to make a small confession — the method I've used is surely not the best one. The scorecards with missing data come in (mostly) two types. The earliest scorecards only credit bowlers with bowled dismissals, and do not record the runs conceded by bowlers (this is a typical example). Later scorecards give full credit to bowlers for their dismissals, but don't record the runs conceded (this is a typical example). There are also five matches where the runs conceded are recorded but bowlers aren't given credit for catches, etc.

The method in Part 3 dealt only with the first type of scorecard. With the second type of scorecard, you should be able to get better estimates of the bowling averages, since you have more data (namely, how many wickets each bowler took). But when I tried to apply a similar method to these scorecards (finding the average percentage of team runs conceded by bowlers who took 1 wicket, bowlers who took 2 wickets, etc.), I got results that were biased in favour of regular wicket-takers. The top 18 wicket-takers in the test dataset had estimates of bowling averages that were too low, with the errors ranging from 0,2% to almost 23%. The (justified) fudge factor used in the previous method makes the estimates even lower!

I don't know (yet?) how to fix this. There must surely be a better, more sophisticated model to estimate runs conceded — you shouldn't get worse results with more data! But since that's what's happening for me, I've instead ignored all the non-bowled dismissals for these scorecards, and applied the method used on the early scorecards. I've then scaled up the estimated runs conceded and estimated wickets so that the wicket tally matches reality.

So, onto the results! In the various tables that follow, I give the start and end years of the career, matches (these may not agree with the usual sources, since I exclude matches that weren't eleven-a-side), wickets, runs conceded, bowling average, +/- %; and then batting stats (for which we have complete data): innings, not-outs, runs, average.

Note 1: If there is a decimal comma in the wickets tally, then it is almost certainly an underestimate. How big an underestimate I don't know. In my test dataset, one bowler's estimated wicket tally was 47% below what it should have been. Despite this, the estimate of the average was only out by just over 7%. For other bowlers, the wickets estimate was within 2% of reality. The lesson here is not to rely on my wicket estimates.

Note 2: One of the columns is called +/- %. About 80% of the estimated averages should fall inside the estimated averages, plus or minus the given percent. If the bowler only ever had bowleds credited to him, this value is 10%.

The first table gives the leading bowlers of the 1800's in England by bowling average. Qualification (for this table and all that follow): 200 wickets.
`name          start end   mat wkts    runs    avg   +/- %   inns  no  runs  avgJ Cobbett     1826  1841  94  556,3   4598,7  8,3   9,7     162   16  1437  9,84FW Lillywhite 1825  1851  220 1599,8  14181,1 8,9   8,5     390   84  2203  7,20S Redgate     1830  1846  74  414,0   3775,2  9,1   8,0     133   23  957   8,70J Broadbridge 1814  1840  90  405,6   3699,7  9,1   9,9     163   21  2368  16,68J Bayley      1822  1850  81  358,7   3500,5  9,8   9,3     140   17  905   7,36G Freeman     1865  1880  44  288     2849,2  9,9   0,2     70    3   918   13,70WR Hillyer    1835  1853  216 1407,3  14061,5 10,0  7,1     386   62  2544  7,85J Wisden      1845  1863  175 1036,5  10356,9 10,0  3,4     305   29  4020  14,57T Nixon       1841  1859  50  250     2503,5  10,0  5,0     83    17  300   4,55A Mynn        1832  1859  200 1059,9  10940,1 10,3  7,0     372   24  4749  13,65`

Note that this doesn't mean that James Cobbett had the lowest average of the 1800's — if the estimate was particularly bad, it might be up around 10. This would still be one of the lowest ever, of course. Cobbett was a round-arm spin bowler.

Second on the table is William Lillywhite, a medium-pace round-arm bowler. His wicket tally is enormous.

Third is Samuel Redgate, a fast bowler who we can thank for batting pads, along with Alfred Mynn (tenth on the table). These two were the fastest bowlers of their day, but Mynn was also a pretty good batsman. They squared off against each other in the North v South game of 1836. Mynn had hurt his ankle before play started, but nevertheless batted at 5 in South's second innings. Redgate repeatedly hit Mynn on his unprotected legs, damaging them to the point where amputation was considered. In what must be one of the most courageous innings of all-time, Mynn struck an unbeaten century (the only century of his first-class career), before being sent to London for medical treatment. After this, batsmen started wearing leg guards. You can read about this innings in more detail here.

James Broadbridge comes in fifth. This average-estimating exercise is particularly useful for the Sussex round-armer — in the standard sources his average is given as 18,62. This very wrong figure is based on just 14 of his career wickets, which total over 400!

The ninth player in the table above is Thomas Nixon, a round-arm slow bowler whose first-class career comprised mostly matches for the MCC. You'll note that the +/- % figure is given as 5,0; this means that roughly half of his runs conceded came in matches where this was recorded. This gives us a useful check: we know that his average in these matches was 10,12. Since the estimated average is 10,0, it looks like the estimate is pretty good.

For what it's worth, the next table shows the leading bowlers by wickets taken. Since the amount of first-class cricket increased over the course of the 19th century, the top of the list is dominated by people who played close to 1900.
`name          start end   mat wkts    runs    avg   +/- %   inns  no  runs  avgWG Grace      1865  1899  732 2495    43960   17,62 0       1250  89  46792 40,30J Briggs      1879  1899  446 1907    29384   15,41 0       686   44  11593 18,06A Shaw        1864  1897  377 1881    23108,4 12,29 0,01    582   92  6244  12,74W Attewell    1881  1899  399 1809    27955   15,45 0       600   60  7577  14,03J Southerton  1854  1879  282 1674    24171   14,44 0       474   128 3136  9,06JT Hearne     1888  1899  258 1635    25986   15,89 0       390   118 3029  11,14R Peel        1882  1899  397 1606    25233   15,71 0       630   56  10837 18,88FW Lillywhite 1825  1851  220 1599,8  14181,1 8,86  8,5     390   84  2203  7,20GA Lohmann    1884  1896  256 1590    21968   13,82 0       371   36  6495  19,39T Emmett      1866  1888  405 1493    20081   13,45 0       664   87  8641  14,98`

WG rather stands out in this list. Not only did he take more than 500 more first-class wickets than anyone else in England in the 1800's, but he did it while averaging over 40 with the bat.

Lillywhite's wickets estimate is almost certainly low, and he should be at least one rank higher. He might deserve to he higher still, but we can't know for sure.

To have a look at some more early bowlers, here's a table with players ordered by the starting year of their careers.
`name             start end   mat wkts    runs    avg   +/- %   inns  no  runs  avgLord F Beauclerk 1801  1825  94  406,4   5106,9  12,6  10      172   14  4319  27,34W Lambert        1801  1817  62  318,1   3960,3  12,5  10      112   5   2961  27,67J Wells          1801  1815  44  271,1   3090,2  11,4  10      85    9   615   8,09TC Howard        1803  1828  81  462,3   5712,4  12,4  10      149   16  1454  10,93EH Budd          1803  1831  68  285,8   4200,8  14,7  10      119   9   2597  23,61W Ashby          1808  1830  37  209,5   2236,8  10,7  10      64    21  213   4,95J Broadbridge    1814  1840  90  405,6   3699,7  9,1   9,9     163   21  2368  16,68J Bayley         1822  1850  81  358,7   3500,5  9,8   9,3     140   17  905   7,36FW Lillywhite    1825  1851  220 1599,8  14181,1 8,9   8,5     390   84  2203  7,20W Clarke         1826  1855  129 714,1   7588,7  10,6  5,2     220   35  1966  10,63`

William Lambert was, along with Beauclerk, one of the stand-out all-rounders of the early 19th century. These two have similar averages, both for batting and bowling. The bowling average of around 12,5 is about typical for the era, which was very low-scoring. That should put a batting average of over 27 into some perspective. Lambert was, however, banned for life for match-fixing.

Lord Frederick Beauclerk is perhaps my favourite character in cricket history. Not only was he a Lord, a title sadly absent from modern English cricketers, but he was the golden boy of the first part of the 19th century (see his picture here). Not only was he an outstanding all-rounder, but he embodied the spirit of cricket so lacking in today's players. A clergyman, he claimed to make £600 a year from betting on cricket. He was unassuming when batting — (according to his Wikipedia article at least) he used to place an expensive watch on the middle stump. He was a "foul-mouthed, dishonest man who was one of the most hated figures in society ... he bought and sold matches as though they were lots at an auction".

You may have noticed that, along with the leading wicket-takers being from near 1900, the leading averages are mostly from around the second quarter of the century. Adjusting the bowling averages for era will be the subject of Part 6. A suivre !

If your favourite 19th century bowler with missing data has been omitted from the tables above, you can find him in the table below, which lists all bowlers whose averages needed some estimating. They are ordered by the starting year of their first-class careers.
`name               start end   mat wkts    runs    avg   +/- %   inns  no  runs  avgLord F Beauclerk   1801  1825  94  406,4   5106,9  12,6  10      172   14  4319  27,34W Lambert          1801  1817  62  318,1   3960,3  12,5  10      112   5   2961  27,67J Wells            1801  1815  44  271,1   3090,2  11,4  10      85    9   615   8,09TC Howard          1803  1828  81  462,3   5712,4  12,4  10      149   16  1454  10,93EH Budd            1803  1831  68  285,8   4200,8  14,7  10      119   9   2597  23,61W Ashby            1808  1830  37  209,5   2236,8  10,7  10      64    21  213   4,95J Broadbridge      1814  1840  90  405,6   3699,7  9,1   9,9     163   21  2368  16,68J Bayley           1822  1850  81  358,7   3500,5  9,8   9,3     140   17  905   7,36FW Lillywhite      1825  1851  220 1599,8  14181,1 8,9   8,5     390   84  2203  7,20W Clarke           1826  1855  129 714,1   7588,7  10,6  5,2     220   35  1966  10,63J Cobbett          1826  1841  94  556,3   4598,7  8,3   9,7     162   16  1437  9,84T Barker           1826  1845  70  241,0   2543,2  10,6  9,0     128   12  1236  10,66S Redgate          1830  1846  74  414,0   3775,2  9,1   8,0     133   23  957   8,70FH Hervey-Bathurst 1831  1861  83  310,7   3676,5  11,8  7,5     142   19  755   6,14A Mynn             1832  1859  200 1059,9  10940,1 10,3  7,0     372   24  4749  13,65WR Hillyer         1835  1853  216 1407,3  14061,5 10,0  7,1     386   62  2544  7,85J Dean             1835  1861  296 1118,8  13358,0 11,9  4,9     533   63  4794  10,20CG Taylor          1836  1859  122 292,0   3281,1  11,2  7,0     222   11  3020  14,31W Martingell       1839  1860  170 516,3   5722,1  11,1  3,5     290   45  2258  9,22T Nixon            1841  1859  50  250     2503,5  10,0  5,0     83    17  300   4,55D Day              1842  1852  41  204,2   2253,5  11,0  6,4     71    14  352   6,18J Wisden           1845  1863  175 1036,5  10356,9 10,0  3,4     305   29  4020  14,57T Sherman          1846  1870  78  322     3986,8  12,4  3,6     133   32  704   6,97RC Tinley          1847  1874  113 287     4239,1  14,8  0,5     191   23  1890  11,25J Lillywhite       1848  1873  178 223     2573,4  11,5  0,4     312   26  5084  17,78W Caffyn           1849  1873  180 564     7654,1  13,6  0,3     314   20  5405  18,38E Willsher         1850  1875  247 1209    15600,8 12,9  0,3     435   60  4699  12,53J Grundy           1850  1869  282 1063    13202,8 12,4  1,9     477   37  5600  12,73D Buchanan         1850  1881  56  359     5552,6  15,5  1,0     96    34  224   3,61T Sewell           1851  1868  149 315     6161,4  19,6  0,1     250   51  2422  12,17FP Miller          1851  1868  134 253     5129,4  20,3  0,5     230   20  3053  14,54T Hayward          1854  1872  108 237     3890,9  16,4  0,6     182   11  4487  26,24FR Reynolds        1854  1874  65  208     3530,6  17,0  1,4     106   26  444   5,55J Jackson          1855  1867  107 613     7132,8  11,6  0,1     176   30  1821  12,47VE Walker          1856  1877  135 328     5039,3  15,4  0,9     213   31  3186  17,51T Hearne           1857  1876  165 287     4120,0  14,4  0,4     277   19  4807  18,63GF Tarrant         1860  1869  63  365     4539,6  12,4  0,4     106   8   1467  14,97G Wootton          1861  1873  175 904     12080,3 13,4  0,2     282   61  2343  10,60RD Walker          1861  1877  113 318     5468,0  17,2  0,5     186   7   3521  19,67ID Walker          1862  1884  269 208     4634,8  22,3  0,2     466   39  10470 24,52A Shaw             1864  1897  377 1881    23108,4 12,3  0,0     582   92  6244  12,74G Freeman          1865  1880  44  288     2849,2  9,9   0,2     70    3   918   13,70F Morley           1871  1883  212 1184    15748,8 13,3  0,0     324   84  1292  5,38A Hill             1871  1883  188 722     10392,8 14,4  0,0     303   33  2346  8,69CT Studd           1879  1884  85  426     7427,5  17,4  0,2     145   23  3928  32,20`