Surrey at the Wicket
Surrey at the Wicket Surrey at the Wicket Surrey at the Wicket Surrey at the Wicket

Madrid: Privately printed by the author. 1888.

First edition. 8vo. 215x145mm. pp. [4], 160. Green half calf, green cloth boards, spine lettered in gilt and decorated in gilt at head and foot with a set of stumps crossed by a pair of cricket bats with two cricket balls. Some rubbing to corners and to joints and slight marking to covers. Internally in very good condition with a little foxing to the title page only. A nice copy of a scarce and rather eccentric book.

The English imagine that foreigners do not understand cricket. That is not quite true, but one cannot deny that almost all the countries where cricket is played seriously were once ruled from London. Which makes this little book genuinely surprising. Anthony Benitez de Lugo y de la Cantera was born in Havana in 1857 and in 1893 he was given the title of Marques de Santa Susana (in recognition, strangely, of charitable work carried out by his aunt Susana). Little is known about Anthony, but he may have travelled around the West Indies from Cuba where he would have seen cricket being played. Perhaps he spent time in England or had connections here because otherwise, why should he devoted so much time and effort to Surrey Country Cricket Club? The book is essentially a collection of statistics (nothing wrong with that of course - all cricket lovers are closest stattos): here is everything you could possibly want to know about the cricketers who played for Surrey between 1844 and 1887 (there is a later edition taking the statistics up to 1899) including, in many cases, their height. A true curiosity.