History – Clearing Trafalgar Square End

Only three times in the History of Cricket at North Marine Road has a ball been hit out of the Ground, clean over the houses and into Trafalgar Square.

The three “big hitters” were:

  • C.I. Thornton in 1875
  • G.F. Wells-Cole in 1901
  • C.G. Pepper in 1945

There are one or two conflicting stories about exactly where the ball crossed into the square in each case but it is generally accepted that all three did. Many others have claimed the feat but some have hit chimney pots and others gone through the gap.

In his biography Lord Hawke stated: At Scarborough I was in the field to the biggest hit I ever saw C.I.Thornton make. Buns helped himself to 107 runs in just over an hour. His mightiest slog was from the Pavilion end when he drove the ball straight over the screen, so high that it hit a chimney on the roof of one of the houses outside the ground.

This report was confirmed in a letter to the Scarborough Mercury published in 1921 from Fredrick Andrews who became Headmaster of the Quaker School at Ackworth and witnessed it as a Scarborough player on the field at the time.

G.F. Cole –Wells is the least well known of the three although his reputation was widespread around Lincolnshire. He played for Lincolnshire, MCC and I Zingari.

In August 1901 playing as a guest for Scarborough against Gentlemen of Yorkshire, he made 387 runs in four and a half hours. Included was the six into Trafalgar Square. The hit was witnessed by Harry Leadbetter, one of Scarborough’s best left-handed batsmen, who reported in a newspaper article that Wells-Cole made an on drive which rose six or seven feet over the house tops with a clear drop into the Square. Harry Leadbetter also witnessed the Thornton six and claimed the Wells-Cole six was higher and bigger.

The third of the big hitters is Ces Pepper, an Australian all-rounder who played for the Australian Services against Levison-Gowers XI in September 1945. In the match he scored 168 runs in the Services first innings and took six wickets over two innings as they won by an innings.

When the big hit came Eric Hollies was the bowler and Keith Miller was batting at the other end. According to Pepper Arthur Wood who was keeping wicket bet him a bottle of whisky that he could not hit one over the houses.