Lumpy [Edward ] Stevens

Member of The Hundred

Lumpy [Edward ] Stevens
Birth and death
1735 - 1819
Profession details
Related place
Alistair Grant

Edward "Lumpy" Stevens (1735-1819) cricketer, generally regarded as the first great bowler in the game's history. Lumpy was a gardener, but his bowling prowess got him a job at Walton House, the estate of the fourth Earl of Tankerville. He was universally known by his nickname 'Lumpy' even on scorecards and reports, and was rarely called Stevens. His legendary nickname may have arisen because he was adept at choosing pitches to suit his subtle variations of pace, length and direction. In those days, it was the leading bowler on each side who chose the place where wickets would be pitched. A famous verse of the day goes: "For honest Lumpy did allow, He ne'er would pitch but o'er a brow". He probably began playing in first class matches in the mid-1750s when bowlers still 'trundled' the ball all along the ground. It's possible that Lumpy was the first to 'give the ball air', and was involved in that evolution of the game sometime before 1770. He made a careful study of flight and worked out variations in pace, length. In a match on 22nd -23rd May 1775 Lumpy beat the great Hambledon batsman John Small three times with the ball going clean through the two-stump wicket of the day. As a result of his protests, the patrons agreed that a third stump should be added.

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