The way we were

A PICTURE OF THIS SPORTING LIFE AT THE TURN OF THE LAST CENTURY
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The Independent Online

In the long history of cricket's most adventurous batsmen, none has matched Gilbert Jessop of Gloucestershire, Cambridge University, London County and England. Known as "The Croucher" because of his curious stance, he scored his 53 centuries at a rate of more than 80 runs an hour and made 1,000 runs in a season 14 times and 2,000 in 1900, when he took 104 wickets as well. Also in that year while playing for Gloucestershire against Yorkshire at Bradford, this exceptional all-rounder scored a century before lunch in both innings, a feat which has never been repeated.

In the long history of cricket's most adventurous batsmen, none has matched Gilbert Jessop of Gloucestershire, Cambridge University, London County and England. Known as "The Croucher" because of his curious stance, he scored his 53 centuries at a rate of more than 80 runs an hour and made 1,000 runs in a season 14 times and 2,000 in 1900, when he took 104 wickets as well. Also in that year while playing for Gloucestershire against Yorkshire at Bradford, this exceptional all-rounder scored a century before lunch in both innings, a feat which has never been repeated.

THE PIONEERING events in the establishment of motor racing were the James Gordon Bennett Trophy races, named after the American owner of the New York Herald . The event took the form of a race between nations, with elimination trials held to determine the drivers and cars to represent each country. The first race, held on public roads with pedestrians and farm animals at risk, was staged in 1900 between Paris and Lyons and was won by a French driver in a Panhard at an average speed of 38.6mph. The last race was held in 1905 and was succeeded by the French Grand Prix.

IN SPITE OF an enthusiastic bid by Athens to hold the Olympic Games in perpetuity, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who had revived the Games, refused. So Paris was given the Olympics of 1900. The athletics events were held on the turf of the Racing Club de France in the Bois de Boulogne where the trees got in the way of the field events. The Games lasted from 20 May to 28 October amid great confusion, no one seeming to know exactly where the other events were being held. Charlotte Cooper, of Britain, became the first woman Olympic champion by winning the tennis tournament.

ALTHOUGH Aston Villa had been Football League champions four times and FA Cup winners three times, they failed to reach the Cup final of 1900, which was between Bury and Southampton, who were the first southern team to appear since the Old Etonians 17 years before. Curiously, earlier in the year financial problems had taken Bury to the brink of closure, but Lord Derby organised and opened a bazaar "to relieve the club from debt and thereby ensure its continution as an organisation of the first class". They beat Southampton 4-0 before a crowd of 68,945 at Crystal Palace.

THE FIRST men's tennis challenge match between countries was played in 1900. The United States met the British Isles at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston. Dwight Davis, the rich father of a Harvard student who played in the first match, donated a trophy. Hence the Davis Cup and the growth of tennis as an international game. Davis's intention was to foster good relations between countries through sport (not an altogether successful ambition). The United States beat Britain 3-0 but one match was unfinished. Britain gained revenge by winning from 1903 to 1906.

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