Pooley's tale givena timely retelling

An 1873 scandal reminds us that betting misdeeds are nothing new

The Hansie Cronje case is by no means the first of its kind in cricket. In 1817 Marylebone Cricket Club kicked bookmakers out of Lord's over match-fixing allegations, and only slightly more recently Surrey suspended Edward Pooley for allegedly throwing a game in order to win a bet.

Pooley, a batsman-wicketkeeper, was a colourful, charming rogue who was only 5ft 6in tall. But in 1873 he was dismissed after Surrey had lost to Yorkshire at Sheffield by eight wickets in under two days.

Pooley was sacked amid rumours of gambling and his story has now been told in a biography by the Surrey scorer, Keith Booth.

According to one report, Pooley claimed he had backed himself and team-mate Henry Jupp to score more runs than the Yorkshire pair of Andrew Greenwood and Ephraim Lockwood. Pooley scored the most runs and champagne was consumed at breakfast on the second day.

Sadly, the whispering went on for the rest of that day and the situation was not helped by Pooley's non-appearance on the field, no doubt due to the effects of the bubbly. It was alleged that he had thrown the match for £50 and he was dismissed for the remainder of the season.

Booth has unearthed a letter written by Pooley to the Surrey committee in which he lists his version of events.

"I understand I am charged with three things," he wrote. "First, that I did not try to win the match; second, that I did so because I had bets against my side; third, that I used abusive language to the captain."

He pleaded guilty to this last, but on the others he explained: "...the first of these charges, I do assure you was owing to my being unwell on the morning of the second innings and being thoroughly out of sorts and I most positively deny... intentionally giving any advantage to the other side.

"As regards the bet, I took one bet of five shillings (25 pence) to half a crown (12.5 pence) that five Yorkshire players did not get 70 runs. I backed Mr Boult against Hall and myself against the same player for half a crown; R Humphrey and Jupp against Lockwood and Emmett for the same amount and T Humphrey against A Hill, so according to my bets the imputation is that I sold the match for half a crown."

And he ends by saying: "I ask you now gentlemen if you will kindly reconsider a judgement that takes the bread out of my mouth and family... It is impossible for me to enter any new business with confidence or credit with a cloud hanging over me."

Booth concludes that "the probability is that the bets were on the first innings, that Pooley won, that a bottle of champagne was involved on the second morning which was not unconnected with his being abusive to the captain and not taking the field after lunch."

The author says no evidence has been uncovered of a £50 bet against Surrey winning the match. The committee kept Pooley hanging on for a further three months before formally reinstating him in February 1874, but only after he had apologised for his behaviour.

His Own Enemy, The Rise and Fall of Edward Pooley by Keith Booth (Belmont Books, 6 Kingswood Drive, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5NB; £13.50 inclusive of p&p).

Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor