Punch, June 21, 1905


The following sensible and temperate remarks are to appear in one of the Silly Season issues of the Spectator:—

“. . . . is, in a word, this—How far should an athlete permit himself to be carried away by his feelings? Unless he throws himself whole-heartedly into his sport he is, of course, useless. But there is, in our opinion, a limit, beyond which a true sportsman should not pass. Our readers will perhaps remember the case of the jockey who was alleged to have struck the horse of a rival two severe blows on the head during the race for the Grand Prix. Another unpleasant incident occurred during the Australians’ second innings in the Third Test Match. Trumper, who had then scored ninety-eight, was shaping at one of Rhodes’ deliveries, when Lilley, who was standing up to the slow bowler, stretched out a hand, and, seizing the New South Wales representative by the leg, drew him sharply away in the direction of the umpire. The result was that the Australian ‘star’ was clean bowled. As this was probably the direct cause of the Cornstalks’ defeat by five wickets, it is not to be wondered at that some little feeling was aroused in the ranks of our visitors. Professional cycling has also suffered from the prevailing taint. We can make allowances for excitement, but we cannot but condemn the act of ‘Jimmy’ Pillingshot, who, when riding a neck-and-neck race with ‘Bobby’ Bradshaw, of Leeds, produced a pistol loaded with swan-shot, and riddled his rival’s back tyre. It is time that the sporting public definitely set its face against these practices. Something might be done by way of starting the campaign if all athletes were compelled to leave their guns, bludgeons, tomahawks, and other weapons in the cloak-room before the race or match, as the case might be. In this way, though damage to a certain extent could still be done with the instruments required for the particular sport, much unpleasantness would be averted. But such reforms, though they may alleviate, will not cure. In the main, the matter must be left in the hands of the athletes themselves, to whose good feeling and love for fair play . . . .”




Unsigned article as printed; credited to P. G. Wodehouse in the Index to Vol. 128 of Punch.