16th May 2020
Foxes Flashback - George Gill
16th May 1905 Record bowling performance
On 16th May, 1905, George Gill became the first Leicestershire bowler to take 9 wickets in an innings in a County Championship match, and therefore became the holder of the ‘best bowling in an innings’ record. Sadly for him it was bettered just two months later. Arthur Woodcock had previously taken 9 wickets, but that was in a non championship match against the MCC.
On this day at Edgbaston he bowled ‘fast, direct and on a good length’. The ball with which he dismissed the Warwickshire opener Baker, broke the stump. He finished the match by bowling Warwickshire’s last batsman, and Leicestershire won a tight match by just 9 runs. He bowled 63 overs in the match, and had figures of 13 for 157. As they finished the game a day early, he had a day off to prepare himself for the next match at Leicester against Yorkshire. Here he bowled 52 overs as Yorkshire built up a mammoth score of 515, during which George Hirst* scored 341, the record score for Yorkshire. Gill though took 6 for 172, an astonishing workload and performance for a fast bowler.
George Gill’s family came from Mountsorrel, but he started playing professionally on the south coast, and played for Dorset. For several years he was Professional at Bridgwater and played for Somerset, for whom he took over 200 wickets. He also played for London County, and perhaps it was CJB Wood (another London County player) who suggested he might return to his county of birth.
He had four good seasons with the county, and he could hit hard as well. He scored his only century in just 90 minutes against Sussex, though his attempts to ‘bounce out’ the great Ranji just failed and the match was drawn.
He then headed north and had Professional positions in Staffordshire and in the Lancashire League with Todmorden.
The Leicestershire team photos of the era often show him in a straw boater and wearing the blazer of another club. Very much ‘his own man’ I think.
* The bat used by Hirst to win the Oval Test of 1902 is in the ‘Charles Palmer’ dining room.
Richard Holdridge - Club Historian