Cricket: gentlemen, players, and bodyline.

RGS History

In the first half of the twentieth century, cricket laid claim to being the national sport. For a start, it was longer established than any other team spectator sport (though horse racing was far longer established). It was also played across all of England and Wales, as well as being surprisingly popular in Scotland and, even, parts of Ireland. It was also played by all classes. Before the Great War, WG Grace had been the most famous sportsman in Britain. Between the wars, the most famous cricketer would be Jack Hobbs, seen above with his long time opening partner, Herbert Sutcliffe.

Hobbs was a professional. One of the things that made cricket unusual between the wars was that it was both a professional and amateur sport at the highest level. That did not mean equality. Gentlemen, as the amateurs were known were inevitably those whose socio-economic status enabled them to…

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