The Spin | How one umpire’s war on throwing hounded a bowler out via 16 no balls

Jim Phillips could not stand crooked elbows in cricket and in 1901 Arthur Mold ended up bearing the brunt of his ire

It was in this week in 1898 that Ernest Jones became the first bowler in Test history to be no-balled for throwing, an early skirmish in a one-man war waged by James, Jim or Jem Phillips, Anglo-Australian cricketer, umpire and fighter against the crooked elbow, who once went two full decades without experiencing a winter only to break that run in the most emphatic way possible by giving up cricket and moving to Canada.

After his retirement Athletic News called Phillips a “zealot for purity” who “suffered from distorted vision, the result of prejudice and passion”. The Observer however described the no-ball call against Jones as “a courageous action [that] reverberated over two hemispheres”, and when news broke of his death in 1930 the Guardian wrote that he was “a man of fine physique, tall, broad, and powerful, most intelligent and fearless, as his career would suggest”. He was “the umpire who assisted so largely in stamping out throwing in first-class cricket” and “accomplished a really great work for the game”.

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