Top centuries at Elizabeth College Field – #6 J V Blad

‘Captain J V Blad – the terror of Victoria’       

By Rob Batiste in his concluding series           30th July 2022         Guernsey Press

THE Elizabeth College register is full of talented sporting siblings. In terms of cricket, there have been the Bissons – Alan and John; the Hunters – John and Neil; the La Masuriers – John and Paul; the de Figueiredos – Mike and Phil; the Mocklers – Edward and Frank; the de Haaffs – Mike and Phil; to name the standouts. But in terms of pure performance no siblings can match the Blad boys – John and Carl – the star duo of the immediate pre-First World War years.

In 1914, between them the pair were to rack up a remarkable 442 runs in the two games against Victoria College. In Jersey, John, the elder of the two, would score a still inter-collegiate record 209 not out, his brother and opening partner missing out. But when the two sides gathered a second time, on 6 July 1914 at the Kings Road ground, both Blads cashed in and scored centuries to rub the noses of the Jersey bowlers into the dirt. Nobody is alive to judge the relative merits of these two innings.

Carl got to three figures first, but as John was to finished undefeated on 129 and having previously netted that double-century in the sister isle, he is the focus of this final chapter. To score 338 runs against the same Victoria bowlers and not be dismissed is an achievement that, surely, will never be surpassed. Twelve months earlier John had shown glimpses of what lay in store for Victoria in 1914, his final year at Elizabeth, scoring a vital 35 at the top of the order in a low scoring affair won by the home team. Inter-collegiate cricket was proving a major draw, spectators fully encircling the ground and ‘among these interested spectators were seen his Excellency, the Lieutenant-Governor, the Bailiff and the Principals’. More than likely the distinguished present would have got to meet the Blads’ mother, Annie, who tenanted the original Beau Sejour House, demolished in the 1970s to make way for the leisure centre. Given the size of the Beau Sejour estate, certainly, the Yokohama-born Blad boys of Danish stock had plenty of space to practice their cricket. Years later, and after both brothers had fought, and in John’s case, just about survived, the First World War, they both returned home to Guernsey and Carl was to play a notable role in island cricket, captaining the Guernsey Island Cricket Club and becoming its president. As for John, he received a cricketer’s send-off when he died in September 1941 and was buried at Castel Church. He was only 45 and had long suffered the effects of severe wounds sustained at the Somme in 1916.

His Press obituary referred to Guernsey ‘losing one of its finest and most talented sportsmen ever’ and along with his brother Carl, ‘were the terror of Victoria College students at both football and cricket’. His funeral where, intriguingly, only one member of the Blad family – his mother – was present, was timed for 6.30pm to represent close of play. The Rev. Waterbury, who conducted the service and GlCC members who were out in force, paid the following tribute: ‘When the One Great Scorer writes against his name, He’ll not write that he won or lost, but that he played the game’.

‘Great stand by Brothers Blad – Elizabethans register 43rd win’

THE opening stages of this game were reported in Saturday’s First Edition. The luncheon interval was taken with the score at 125 for the loss of no wicket (J V Blad not out 57, C E Blad not out 56).

The innings was resumed at 2.40 before a greatly increased attendance. Hogshaw bowled from the pavilion end to J V Blad, who got a short single, his brother sending to the off boundary with the last ball of the over. Grimshaw went on at the top end, a single resulting. Both brothers were playing delightful cricket and showing every confidence. Despite an expensive over Hogshaw was kept on, a single to J V off him sent up the 150. At this stage runs came freely and C E lifted Hogshaw out of the ground – the first six. Guiton came on for Grimshaw at the Vauquiedor end. Play had brightened considerably and C E Blad again drove Hogshaw for six. Mossop, bowling from the pavilion end, had C E Blad in difficulties with a ball which completely beat the bat and just missed the bails.

The second century went up at the end of two and a half hours’ batting, and with a four to the off, C E Blad completed his century. At 210 the great partnership came to an end for C E Blad – in attempting to drive Mossop out of the ground, he was smartly stumped by Rundle. It was not till after lunch that ‘C E’ gave of his best, batting brilliantly with the greatest of freedom. In his score were 12 fours and two sixes. Trotter came in but before scoring he gave an easy return to the bowler. J V with a single then completed his century and with a four sent up the 220.

Collings opened his account with a short single, but at seven he should have been caught by Rundle at mid-off. The error was not expensive for Buck bowled him in the next over for nine. Forty, the Elizabethan captain, joined J V Blad who got a great six off Mossop. At 20 minutes to four Forty declared the innings closed at 267 for the loss of three wickets, J V Blad being not out 129 and G H Forty not out 13. J V Blad had batted excellently and had made not one bad stroke. In his score were 17 fours and one six. When the Elizabethans went out to field at 3.45 the sun shone brilliantly and the attendance was greatly augmented. There was never any question of Victoria winning and when the match closed at 5.30pm they were restricted to 153. The tea interval followed the fall of the last Jersey wicket and although the Elizabethans had won on the first innings it was decided to play on until 6.45pm as originally arranged. With the result beyond doubt the serious aspect of the game went and Victoria went in for hitting. knocking up 88 for the loss of three wickets.

Elizabeth College innings

J V Blad        not out                             129

C E Blad       st Rundle b Mossop         104

P F Trotter    c and b Mossop                 0

E d’A Collings          b Buck                    9

G H Forty     not out                             13

Extras                                                  12

Total (for 3 wkts dec)                           267