- John Willes (cricketer)
John Willes (born 1778 in Headcorn, Kent; died
5 August, 1852 in Staunton, Gloucester) was an English cricketer who, though he made only five known first-class appearances, had a significant impact on the game's history and development. Willes played for Kent county cricket teamsand was a fast underarm or, when he could get away with it, roundarm bowler.
As Arthur Haygarth says in "Scores & Biographies", John Willes was: "...the originator, or rather the reviver, of round-armed bowling, and is said (though his daughter has never heard of the fact) to have caught the idea from seeing his sister so deliver the ball to him in practice when he was unwell. The "Cricket Field", however, speaking through
William Beldham, states: "Willes was not the inventor of that kind of round bowling—he only revived what was forgotten or new to the young folk". Whether he bowled round in the present match (i.e., in 1806), cannot now be said, as this kind of delivery was not tolerated till about 1827, when it was permanently established by William Lillywhite, Jem Broadbridgeand Mr George T Knight. In the MCC v Kent match on 15 July1822, Mr Willes commenced playing for his county but, being "no-balled", he threw down the ball in high dudgeon, left the ground immediately, and (it is said) never played again. Mr Willes was also a great sportsman, and kept a pack of hounds at Sutton. This place, shortly before his death, he was obliged to leave, and he removed to Staunton, near Gloucester, where he died, "in fearfully reduced circumstances" on 5 August1852, aged 74. No tombstone has been erected to his memory".
In fact, as Beldham confirmed, roundarm bowling was first devised back in Hambledon days by the wily Tom Walker but he was barred from using it in matches by the patrons of the day, including
George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea.
After Willes quit the game, his cause was taken up by Knight in particular and the style was used to great effect by Lillywhite and Broadbridge who were generally considered the two best bowlers in England during the 1820s. Roundarm was the subject of trial matches in 1827 but not actually legalised until 1835, though in the meantime the umpires turned a blind eye.
So John Willes got what he wanted but at great personal cost in the loss of a good cricketing career.
* [http://www.cricketarchive.co.uk/Archive/Players/33/33887/33887.html CricketArchive]
* "Scores & Biographies, Volume 1" by
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
John Willes — may refer to:* John Willes (judge) (1685 1761), British Attorney General and Chief Justice of Common Pleas, also a Member of Parliament 1724 ndash;1737 * John Willes (1721 1784), British Member of Parliament 1746 ndash;1761 * John Willes… … Wikipedia
Roundarm bowling — In cricket, roundarm bowling is a style that was introduced in the early years of the 19th century to supersede underarm bowling. Its use fell into decline after 1864 when the current style of overarm bowling was legalised, although W G Grace… … Wikipedia
All-England Eleven — In cricket, the term All England Eleven has been used for various non international England teams since the 1739 English cricket season and it indicates that the Rest of England is playing against, say, MCC or an individual county side.Origin of… … Wikipedia
Overview of English cricket from 1816 to 1863 — This article presents an overview of English cricket from 1816 to 1863. For more detailed coverage of the period, see the series of season reviews in Category:English cricket seasons from 1816 to 1863. Although the article mentions some events in … Wikipedia
1801 to 1815 English cricket seasons — This article describes the 1801 to 1815 English cricket seasons which were badly hit by the Napoleonic War. Great Britain put enormous manpower and investment into the war effort and this meant that little of either was available for cricket.The… … Wikipedia
Underarm bowling — In cricket, underarm bowling is as old as the sport itself. Until the appearance of the roundarm style in the first half of the 19th Century, bowling was performed in the same way as in bowls, the ball being delivered with the hand below the… … Wikipedia
Ommanney — The names Ommanney and Ommaney are English, and may refer to one of the following: Contents 1 People with the surname 2 People with the given name 3 Places 4 Things … Wikipedia