C. B. Fry: King of Sport
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Charles Burgess Fry, known as C. B. Fry was an English polymath; an outstanding sportsman, politician, diplomat, academic, teacher, writer, editor and publisher, who is best remembered for his career as a cricketer. Fry's achievements on the sporting field included representing England at both cricket and football, an F.A. Cup Final appearance for Southampton F.C. and equalling the then world record for the long jump. But he was much more than a sportsman. He won a major scholarship to Oxford, where his friends numbered Max Beerbohm, Hilaire Belloc, and F.E. Smith. He wrote several books, including an autobiography and a novel, and he was one of the most successful journalists of his day. He was a friend of many prominent Labour and Liberal politicians, but flirted with Fascism, meeting Hitler in 1934. He tried out for Hollywood, represented India at the League of Nations, and stood for Parliament three times.
Although C.B.’s tactics, and Woolley’s bowling, had given England a comfortable lead, some of their advantage was lost as soon as the second innings got under way. With only 7 runs on the board, Rhodes was bowled by Whitty with one ball and Spooner was well caught off the next, putting the next batsman, Fry, under acute pressure. Not only was the bowler on a hattrick but the wicket was difficult, the light was poor and, for the second time in the match, he was booed to the crease. When he faced
through the bemused leg field, he overbalanced, and after the sort of sword-dance which would have won a prize at a Highland Games, dislodged a teetering bail. In the evening, Fry and Cardus discussed the dismissal with Bradman, with C.B. expressing regret that Worthington had suffered a long run of bad luck. He had been injured for much of the tour and, when he finally appeared set for a big score (having made 44), he had the misfortune to tread on his own wicket – dislodging a single bail.
fine living. For example, not only did he treat one of John Arlott’s female friends to a magnificent dinner, but he did the same for Arlott himself. Similarly, Clifford Bax was one of his regular guests at Brown’s Hotel, and Christopher Hollis was once entertained there – although their post-dinner conversation was an unusual one: As we sat after the meal in the lounge there was an elderly gentleman who inserted himself into our conversation. As a result, when a round of drinks was ordered he
fence of the pavilion. It was, if I may say so, a very fast straight good-length ball on a very fast wicket, and most batsmen would have had to hurry to play it safely with a straight bat. To me the stroke was a revelation of an entirely new technique only possible to a player with a quickness of eye, a nicety of poise, a surety of foot and a control of hand far superior to the best English practice. Thanks to Ranji’s undefeated 137, Sussex amassed 487. The Oxford batsmen were undaunted,
Oxford, Elizabeth Hopkinson, and her failure to return his affections may have added to the pressures that he felt and, in the process, contributed to his breakdown. At the time the university had rigid rules governing the circumstances in which the relatively small number of women students could mix with their male counterparts. For example, if a female undergraduate knew a man at Oxford and was invited to his rooms, she could accept the invitation but had to be accompanied by a chaperone