William Gilbert Grace was an England amateur cricketer who was important in the development of sport and is widely considered one of the best of its greatest player. It was more than 150 years since WG Grace was born, but there are other ways of measuring how distance him is in time. But one thing was cleared that no one still alive, not even Jim Swanton. Eight decades have conceded since Grace died, yet he dogs us still, demanding our awareness at regular intervals.
Right-handed as both batsman and bowler, Grace subjugated the sport during his career.
His methodological innovations and enormous authority left a lasting legacy. An outstanding all-rounder, he excelled at all the essential skills of batting, bowling, and fielding, but it is for his batting that he is most famous. He is held to have invented modern batsmanship. Usually opening the innings, he was mainly accepted for his mastery of all strokes, and his level of proficiency was said by modern reviewers to be unique. He captained the teams he played for at all levels because of his skill and tactical sharpness.
The figures of his career are alone plenty to explain why – more than 54,000 first-class runs (there are at least two unusual versions of the precise number, so let’s leave it at that) spread across 44 seasons, including 839 in just eight days of 1876, when he hit a couple of triple-centuries, and only one other batsman managed to top a thousand runs in the entire season; a thousand in May in 1895, when he was nearly 47; and 2800-odd wickets estimate less than 18 runs apiece. I suppose we might speculate why his bowling average wasn’t even more inspiring, given the ropey pitches on which Dr. Grace played. No current cricketer would deign to turn out on them, which makes his batting all the more amazing and comparisons with Bradman or anyone since quite meaningless.
Grace was eligible as a medical practitioner in 1979. Because of his profession of health, he was known as a Doctor. He was the all-rounder of the sports he was playing Football for Wanderers; in the later life, he urbanized enthusiasm for golf, lawn bowls, and curling.
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W. G. Grace was born in Downend, close to Bristol, on 18 July 1848 at his parents’ residence, Downend House, and was baptized at the confined Church on 8 August. He was called Gilbert in the family circle, apart from by his mother who called him Willie, but or else he was generally known by his initials W.G. His parents were Henry Mills Grace and Martha (nee Pocock), who were wedded in Bristol on Thursday, 3 November 1831 and lived absent their lives at Downend, where Henry Grace was the home GP. Downend is next to Mangotsfield and, although it is now a village of Bristol, it was then “a distinct community bordered by landscape” and about four miles from Bristol. Henry and Martha Grace had nine children in all: “the same number as Victoria and Albert – and in every deference, they were the typical Victorian family“. Grace was the eighth child in the family; he had three older brothers, as well as E.M., and four older sisters. Only Fred, born in 1850, was younger than W.G. His first schooling was with a Miss Trotman in Downend village and then with a Mr. Curtis of Winterbourne. Grace never went to university as his father was intent upon him pursue a medical career. Henry Grace found Mangotsfield Cricket Club in 1845 to represent quite a few neighboring villages as well as Downend.
Downend is next to Mangotsfield and, although it is now a town of Bristol, it was then “a distinct community bordered by landscape” and about four miles from Bristol. Henry and Martha Grace had nine children in all: “the same number as Victoria and Albert – and in every deference, they were the typical Victorian family”. Grace was the eighth child in the family; he had three older brothers, as well as E.M., and four older sisters. Only Fred, born in 1850, was younger than W.G. His first schooling was with a Miss Trotman in Downend village and then with a Mr. Curtis of Winterbourne. Grace never went to university as his father was intent upon him pursue a medical career. Henry Grace found Mangotsfield Cricket Club in 1845 to represent quite a few neighboring villages as well as Downend.
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In his first-class cricket career, he played cricket for MCC 1869-1904, Gloucestershire 1870-1899, and London County 1900-1904. He played 878 matches and scored 54,896 runs at average 39.55 in his first-class career. He scored 126 hundred and 254 fifties. His peak score is 344. He took 2,864 wickets and 887 catches in the first–class cricket career.
He made his Test debut against Australia on 6 September 1880, and the last match also against Australia on 1 June 1899. He played 22 Test matches in his career and scored 1,098 with the average of 32.29. He scored 2 hundred and 5 fifties. He took 9 wickets and 39 catches.
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Style and Technique
His batting style was so impressive. Before him, the player just would play either forward or back and make a specialty of a particular stroke. But Grace had made their own style of batting developing up to date techniques with both forward and back play into his range of strokes.
He initially bowled at a time after time fast medium pace but in the 1870s he increasingly adopted his slower style which utilized a leg break. He called his leg break a leg-tweener.
Grace was known as the outstanding fielder and unyielding thrower of the ball. He was the fielder of extra-mid off, long leg or cover point; later he was regularly at the point. He has known a fine thrower, a fast runner, and a safe catcher.
MCC determined to commemorate Grace’s life and career with a Memorial Biography, published in 1919. Its introduction begins with this passage:
Never was such a band of cricketers gathered for any tour as has assembled to do honor to the greatest of all players in the present Memorial Biography. That such a volume should go forth under the auspices of the Committee of MCC is in itself unique in the history of the game, and that such an array of cricketers, critics and enthusiasts should pay tribute to its finest exponent has no parallel in any other branch of sport. In itself, this presents a noble monument of what W. G. Grace was, a testimony to his prowess and his personality.
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