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On this day, 23 October 1915, the world lost one of its most famous cricketers.
William Gilbert (W. G.) Grace towered over other players, both physically and on the scoresheet. His first-class cricket career spanned 44 seasons, from 1865 until 1908. He is pictured here playing in a friendly match in July 1913, at the ripe old age of 65 (Davis Sporting Collection (PXE 653, vol. 10, no. 59), Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales).
Reporting on the death of W. G. Grace, Sydney’s Referee newspaper described him as the ‘world’s greatest cricketer’. In first-class cricket he made 126 centuries (including 13 double centuries), and on three occasions he scored centuries in both innings of a match. He captained two English teams on Australian tours, the first in 1873-74 and the other in 1891-92.
1915 is remembered as a sad year in cricket. The cricketing public mourned not only W. G. Grace that year, but former England captain A. E. Stoddart and Australian batting legend Victor Trumper as well. This is not to mention the many first-class cricketers who lost their lives at Gallipoli and in other battles of World War I.