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Hockey Player Rating
- An angry reprimand
- evaluation: an appraisal of the value of something; "he set a high valuation on friendship"
- evaluation: act of ascertaining or fixing the value or worth of
- standing or position on a scale
The "Croucher" (so named for his somewhat odd stance) was one of the most exciting players of his, or any era. A fast bowler good enough to be selected for England purely in this role, a superlative cover fielder, Jessop is best remembered for his thrilling batsmanship. To quote HS Altham "no cricketer that has ever lived hit the ball so often, so fast and with such a bewildering variety of strokes". By no means a big man at 5'7" and 11 stone, he was a powerful driver, fierce cutter and hooker, but could also play delicate late cuts and glances. In his best innings he scored at rates of close to 100 runs/hour. He debuted for his native county, Gloucestershire at the age of 20, and arrived at the wicket to save a hat trick by striking his first delivery in county cricket for 4. His great innings included 286 in less than 3 hours, 157 runs in an hour against the West Indian team of 1900, and famously, the century that won the Oval Test of 1902. Going in with England 48/5 he made 104 out of 139 in 75 minutes, taking England to an improbable victory. Originally a fast bowler, he strained his back when overbowled in his first Test match in 1899, and afterwards was less effective. As a fielder, the power and accuracy of his returns from cover combined with fleetness of foot made him the undisputed master of that position prior to the Great War. Named after WG Grace, he eventually followed him as captain of Gloucestershire, and later club secretary. Originally a school teacher, Jessop married an Australian met on the boat returning from the 1901-2 tour (his son later played for Hampshire), and in later years moved to London where he wrote and was secretary to a golf club. Due to poor health he retired young, but lived to over 80. David Liverman Wisden obituary Gilbert Laird Jessop, who died at St. George's Vicarage, Dorchester, on May 11, aged 80, was famed as the most remarkable hitter cricket has ever produced. He had lived with the Rev. Gilbert Jessop, his only child, from 1936 till his death. Born at Cheltenham on May 19, 1874, he enjoyed a memorable career in first-class cricket which, dating from 1894 to the start of the First World War, extended over twenty years. There have been batsmen who hit the ball even harder than Jessop, notably C. I. Thornton and the two Australians, George Bonnor and Jack Lyons, but no one who did so more often or who, in match after match, scored as rapidly. Where Jessop surpassed all other hitters was in the allround nature of his scoring. At his best, he could make runs from any ball, however good it might be. Although only 5ft 7ins in height, he bent low as he shaped to play, a method which earned him the sobriquet of The Croucher. Extraordinarily quick on his feet, he was ready to hit firm-footed if the ball were pitched well up and equally, when it was of shorter length, to dash down the pitch and drive. When executing leg-side strokes, he almost lay down and swept round with the bat practically horizontal, putting great power behind the ball as, thanks to strong, supple wrists, he also did when bringing off the square cut. Lightness of foot allied to wonderful sight made it possible for him to run out to the fastest bowlers of his time -- Richardson and Mold -- and at the peak of his form pull or straight-drive them with almost unerring certainty. No one ever approached him in this particular feat; indeed, nobody else could have attempted it with reasonable hope of success. At times Jessop sacrificed his wicket through trying to hit before he got a true sight of the ball or judged the pace of the turf and, not unnaturally in view of the liberties he took with good length bowling, the ball which kept low often dismissed him. A batsman with such marvellous gifts that in half an hour he might win a game seemingly lost, he was a wonderful personality on the field and the idol of spectators who always love a fearless batsman. Jessop's claims to distinction were not limited to the brilliancy of his run-getting. For a number of years he ranked high as a fast bowler and for a man of his pace he showed surprising stamina. Far more remarkable than his bowling, however, was his fielding, which might fairly be termed as phenomenal as his hitting and which was a matter of great pride to him. No hit proved too hard for him to stop and his gathering and returning of the ball approached perfection. In his early days he fielded at cover-point; later he specialised in the position of extra mid-off, standing so deep that with almost anyone else a run would have been a certainty. Jessop's presence deterred the boldest of batsmen from making any attempt. In short, such a fine bowler and such a superb fieldsman was he that, even without his batting ability, he would have been worth a place in almost any team. A man of engaging manners, he was a charming companion and, like most truly great men, modest to a degree. First tried for Gloucestershire in 1894, Jessop
Transforming the Renegades
TRANSFORMING THE RENEGADES - Boss Brian Donovan tells it like it was It was at the end of the 89-90 season that Chieftains coach Mike Urquhart was offered a team in Scotland and departed from Riverside, his job with the Renegades only half done. I had a farewell drink with Mike and his wife Laura and what was discussed over that drink is what in fact happened. The team carried on producing good players. The start of our third season saw us without a professional coach and minus certain players over-age for our league, further were lost to the Chieftains squad. The under-16's side decided not to ice a team that season and Shane Walker came to us as manager and coach. Dawn Polson, who had been club secretary from the start, said it would be her last season due to other committments. Shane could not always spent time with the team, due to committments at work and all these things, coupled with a small league lowered the morale of the team - and it started to show on the amount of penalties we were picking up in our matches. BAD VIBES THAT YOU CANNOT HIDE At times, Jim, who was still bench coaching, was almost iving up, known that he had players out on the ice who were only giving 90 per cent. The team was in fact on a downward slide. At time it seemed they were only playing for a laugh. The rink management were also starting to regard the Renegades as bad news. About two months before the end of the season the long awaited promise of a new hockey coach arrived in the shape of Brad Doshan. I remember Jim saying that this guy was good, but was arrival in time to life the team's spirits? The last few games of the season were better, but a lot of work had to be done during the summer. At the end of the season we ended up with no manager, no club secretary and my company sponsorship ran out. The rink was seeking a meeting with us, in fact, we asked ourselves was it really worth trying to carry on? I personally wanted the team to ice this season, but was not prepared for my company's name to be linked with the sort of team Renegades had become. I know that Jim watned the team to ice by the fact that Lesley and I were invited over to his house one evening for a splendid meal prepared by Lyndsey - who is in fact the driving force behind Jim! We discussed the future of the club FOOD FOR THOUGHT The fact that Jim had players such as Karl Rogers, Mark Norfolk, Paul Ryman, Dave Greenland and Gary McGeorge - all who have since gone up to Chieftains - gave us food for thought. In my opinion a very under-rated player was Terry Bagley, our netminds who went to Sheffield Steelers - now returned. There are many other players, almost too numerous to mention, who have also moved on to higher leagues. It was probably because of these players, a having a few drinks, that Jim and I decided to 'go for it' this season. Our first priority was to seek a meeting with the rink management to clear the air. It was the first time I had met Mark Downes and fully expected to be read the riot act. We found Mark to be very understanding about the problems were were having and we walked out of that meeting knowing the rink would back us providing we kept our promises. TO BE CONTINUED