June 1, 1907, On that day history, was created in Cricket. Just imagine ! One slow left arm orthodox bowler captured all 10 wickets of Northamptonshire in the first innings and followed it up with seven wickets in the second innings. This bowler grabbed total 17 wickets in a day. That most illustrious of cricketers, of course, was Kent and England’s Colin Blythe. He was also known as Charlie Blythe.
Colin Blythe, the slow left arm orthodox was born on May 30, 1879, in Deptford , London. Pictures show Blyth as a slim, pale-faced fellow with a shy smile. In fact, Colin was known to all Kent as Charlie. The young Mancunian urchin Neville Cardus worshipped his arts from afar and presumed Blyth a patrician public schoolboy.
Blythe first played for Kent in 1899, and in a stunning start took a wicket with his very first ball in first-class cricket. From then on, he was firmly established in the Kent eleven, and with 100 wickets in his first full season showed exceptional talent.
On that test, Kent batted first and scored 254. Northants came in to bat. Blythe, his fingers itching at the very sight of the wicket, opened the bowling from the pavilion end. The fourth ball had wicketkeeper-opener Walter Buswell leaning forward. The batsman was beaten in the flight, overbalanced, and Huish whipped off the bails. The following ball reared up and took the shoulder of the bat of Charlie Pool and was caught by Fielder running in from the point. After that, no one could play Blythe. The Northants managed to reach ‘decent’ scores of 60 and 39 that day. Blythe took 17 wickets.
The following week the Northampton Independent published a cartoon with Blythe on a monument, ball in left hand, right hand on hip, with the Northants team kneeling in a circle at the foot in submission, heads bowed or looking rather sheepishly. The caption is “Bowing the Knee to Blythe.”
In 1907, Blythe took 26 wickets in three tests against South Africa, including 15 for 99 in the second Test at Headingley. But, his 17 for 48 against Northamptonshire in a day still stands as best bowling in the County Championship.
In late 1908, Blythe’s imaginative skill reached perhaps its highest point ever: in a period of hot weather and dry pitches, Blythe, without the aid of Fielder, still won match after match. He showed that no matter how well set a batsman looked, he was capable of deceiving them and gaining vital wickets. In 1909, again aided by many rain-affected pitches, Blythe took over 200 wickets and at Edgbaston, took 11 wickets to win the First Test against Australia.