Gilbert Laird Jessop
was an English cricket player, often reckoned to have been the fastest run-scorer cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...
has ever known, he was Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 1898.
Gilbert Laird Osborne Jessop, son 1906-1990
Osman Walter Temple Jessop, brother 1878-1914
Hylton Jessop, cousin 1868-1924
Walter Hylton Jessop, nephew 1899-1960
O.W.T. Jessop, H. Jessop and W.H. Jessop all played cricket for Gloucestershire
Nicknamed "The Croucher" because of his unusual hunched stance at the crease and though a stocky build at 5'7" and 11 stone, Jessop remained a fast bowler through his career. He was also a powerful driver, cutter and hooker. The Fifth Test
Test cricket is the longest form of the sport of cricket. Test matches are played between national representative teams with "Test status", as determined by the International Cricket Council , with four innings played between two teams of 11 players over a period of up to a maximum five days...
at The Oval
The Kia Oval, still commonly referred to by its original name of The Oval, is an international cricket ground in Kennington, in the London Borough of Lambeth. In the past it was also sometimes called the Kennington Oval...
in August 1902, known as "Jessop's match", highlighed Jessop's ability to play quickly. England had an unlikely one-wicket victory against a quality Australian side who set England 263 to win in the fourth innings. Jessop came to the crease with England at 48 for 5. He scored his first 50 runs in 43 minutes and reached his century in 75 minutes. He was eventually dismissed after 77 minutes for 104, which included 17 fours and an all-run five. Many of the fours had well cleared the boundary, but the laws of cricket in 1902 meant that to obtain six runs the ball had to be hit out of the ground. One of these "fours" was caught on the players' balcony. A newspaper managed to keep a detailed record of his innings, which shows that Jessop reached his hundred off 76 balls - one of the fastest Test centuries of all time.
A genuine all-rounder, in his early days he was a bowler of considerable pace. He could maintain great stamina; however, he suffered a back strain in his debut Test from being over-bowled which plagued his career. (Frith, 2007) Jessop was also a quick fielder, giving Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire County Cricket Club is one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh national cricket structure, representing the historic county of Gloucestershire. Its limited overs team is called the Gloucestershire Gladiators....
a reputation for strength in the field. His fielding was a matter of great pride to him. In his early days he fielded at cover-point; later he specialised in the position of extra mid-off.
He first played for Gloucestershire in 1894, and a short innings of 30 against the deadly bowling of Mold and Briggs
Johnny Briggs was a left arm spin bowler for Lancashire County Cricket Club between 1879 and 1900 who still stands as the second-highest wicket-taker in the county's history after Brian Statham...
was seen as indicating a promising player. In 1897 when Jessop did the "double" of 1000 runs and 100 wickets, Wisden
made him a Cricketer of the Year in 1898, while two years later his two innings against Yorkshire
Yorkshire County Cricket Club represents the historic county of Yorkshire as one of the 18 major county clubs which make up the English and Welsh domestic cricket structure....
Bradford lies at the heart of the City of Bradford, a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, in Northern England. It is situated in the foothills of the Pennines, west of Leeds, and northwest of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897...
both featured scored a century before lunch, making 104 in the first innings in forty minutes and 139 in the second, again reaching his hundred in under an hour.
Jessop went up to Christ's College, Cambridge
Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge.With a reputation for high academic standards, Christ's College averaged top place in the Tompkins Table from 1980-2000 . In 2011, Christ's was placed sixth.-College history:...
in 1896, intending to study for the priesthood, although this was not to materialise as he left without taking a degree. He played for the Cambridge University side for four seasons, being captain in the last (1899). In the 1897 Varsity match
A varsity match is a sporting fixture between two university rivals; in its original and most common form, it is used to describe meetings between Oxford University and Cambridge University.-Popular British and Irish Varsity matches:*University of Oxford v...
he took six wickets for 65 in the first innings; in 1898 he took six wickets for 126 in the first innings.
After two moderate years - despite a Test debut in 1899 - Jessop in 1900 took over as captain and secretary of Gloucestershire and had his finest year, scoring 2210 runs and taking 104 wickets including a career-best 8 for 29 against Essex. The following year, whilst he lost his pace and his bowling declined to fewer than thirty wickets, his batting improved further, whilst 1902 was highlighted by his the Fifth Test efforts at the Oval.
In 1903, Jessop played the highest innings of his career - 286 in 180 minutes against Sussex
Sussex county cricket teams have been traced back to the 17th century but the county's involvement in cricket goes back much further than that. Sussex, jointly with Kent, is the birthplace of the sport...
- and for the rest of the decade, as well as being captain of Gloucestershire, he was their batting mainstay, though after 1901 he could rarely bowl at a quick pace. Despite a major injury in 1909 keeping him off the field for over two months, Jessop continued to be a major force as a batsman until he relinquished the secretaryship of Gloucestershire in 1912. In his last two seasons he was not always available and showed only modest form, and, at the age of 45, did not play again when cricket resumed after World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...
Among his 53 centuries were five of more than 200: 286 out of 335 in 175 minutes for Gloucestershire against Sussex at Brighton, 1903 (he and J. H. Board adding 320 for the sixth wicket); 240 out of 337 in 200 minutes for Gloucestershire v. Sussex at Bristol, 1907; 234 out of 346 in 155 minutes for Gloucestershire v. Somerset at Bristol, 1905; 233 out of 318 in 150 minutes for An England XI v. Yorkshire at Lord's, 1901; and 206 out of 317 in 150 minutes for Gloucestershire v. Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, 1904 (cricinfo.com).
Besides his cricketing ability, Jessop was an allround athlete of note. He got his Blue as a hockey
Field Hockey, or Hockey, is a team sport in which a team of players attempts to score goals by hitting, pushing or flicking a ball into an opposing team's goal using sticks...
In many team sports which involve scoring goals, a goalkeeper is a designated player charged with directly preventing the opposing team from scoring by intercepting shots at goal...
, but fell ill and could not play in the University match. He came near getting an Association football Blue and played for The Casuals as half-back or goalkeeper. He also appeared as a wing-threequarter for Gloucester R.F.C. He would have played billiards for Cambridge against Oxford, but was gated and could not take part. In one week he made two breaks of over 150. He could run the 100 yards in 10.2 seconds and frequently entered for sports meetings. A scratch golfer, he took part in the Amateur Championship in 1914, was Secretary of the Cricketers' Golfing Society and for some years Secretary of the Edgware Club (cricinfo.com).
In 1916 whilst serving in the Lincolnshire Regiment, suffering from severe lumbago Jessop was sent to a clinic in Bath The Radiant Heat Treatment ' involved dousing with total immersion for 30 minutes at a temperature of 210-310 degrees F'. The patient was placed in an up-ended coffin like structure and steamed up. If he became too uncomfortable he could raise the lid and get out . By some 'accident' the catch fell, the attendant had gone away and Jessop was unable to summon assistance. When he was eventually rescued his heart had been seriously damaged by this terrible ordeal. In a matter of minutes the sporting life of one of the greatest athletes had come to an abrupt end.
For the next 39 years Jessop was to lead a life of very limited activity. In November 1917 he was invalided out of the Army. He was able to make his living from journalism and compiled his biography: The Cricketers Log. In 1924 he took up an appointment as Secretary of Edgware Golf Club, a position he held until 1936 when the land was sold for housing development.
In 1936 Jessop moved to the Vicarage of Fordington St George, Dorchester, Dorset to live with his son. It was here that he died on May 11, 1955.
The younger Jessop, Clerk in Holy Orders, also called Gilbert played cricket for Weymouth College, Christ's College Cambridge, the MCC, Hampshire, Cambridgeshire and Dorset.
- Richie Benaud
Richard "Richie" Benaud OBE is a former Australian cricketer who, since his retirement from international cricket in 1964, has become a highly regarded commentator on the game....
: "Perhaps the best one-day player to have ever lived and never played that form of cricket."
- Sir Jack Hobbs: "He was undoubtedly the most consistently fast scorer I have seen. He was a big hitter, too, and it was difficult to bowl a ball from which he could not score. He made me glad that I was not a bowler. Gilbert Jessop certainly drew the crowds, too, even more than Bradman, I should say."
Jessop also played soccer for Gloucester A.F.C.
Gloucester City Association Football Club is an English semi-professional association football club currently based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in South West England, via groundshare agreement....
and Cheltenham Town F.C.
Cheltenham Town Football Club is an English football club playing in League Two, the fourth tier of English football. Founded in 1887, the team has played at four different grounds, namely Agg-Gardner's Recreation Ground, Carter's Field and now the Abbey Business Stadium, although it is more...