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On 21st May 1827 at Harefield Common, near Rickmansworth, farmer Francis Trumper and his sheepdog, ‘Cooper’, challenged ‘two gentlemen of Middlesex’ to a game of cricket, and defeated them. Cooper, the sheepdog, was a poor batsman, as was to be expected, but the day was won by his agility in the field.
Trumper and Cooper batted first and made 31, with the dog scoring only 3. The two county cricketers expected to improve on this total without difficulty, but were confounded by Cooper’s speed in the covers and elsewhere. According to the next day’s Times:
The dog always stood near the master when he was going to bowl, and the moment the ball was hit he started off after it, and, on his masters running up to the wicket, the dog would carry the ball in his mouth and get it into the master’s hand with such wonderful quickness that the gentlemen found it very difficult to get a run even from a very long hit.
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