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Lob bowling

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Title: Lob bowling  
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Subject: Digby Jephson, Bowling (cricket), Cricket deliveries, Percy Fender, Glossary of cricket terms
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Lob bowling

In cricket, Lob bowling is a largely disused style of bowling. It became illegal under Law 24.1 to use underarm bowling without prior agreement before the match.

The last regular bowler of lobs in international cricket was First World War and he bowled under arm bowling with a lower trajectory than most earlier lob bowlers, imparting great spin to the ball with constant variation of pace as well.

"The Lobster" Jephson as caricatured by Spy in Vanity Fair, May 1902

Others famous "lobsters" include Digby Jephson. As an underarm bowler he had an action a little like setting a wood in crown green bowling.

It was used in the game in the 19th Century, where trajectory was the most important consideration. Lob bowlers, both right and left-handed, sometimes attempted 'donkey drops', pitching the ball on the stumps from as great a height as possible, preferably with the ball descending behind the batsman standing at the crease.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a story about a similar style of bowling called The Story Of Spedegue's Dropper[1]

Today the laws pertaining to the bowling of "beamers" would be likely to render that kind of bowling illegal, and it would probably be deemed a no ball. In accordance with Law 42.6b(ii), a slow ball, that passes the batsman's shoulder height on the full is a no ball (a fast ball can not pass above the waist on the full (Law 42.6b(i))).

Charles Palmer (1919-2005), who played for Worcestershire and Leicestershire, sometimes used donkey-drops to good effect.

Lob bowling is still sometimes found in village cricket; these deliveries are known as donkey-drops. More usually these are over-arm deliveries ; but round-arm is also possible and would more closely approximate a traditional lob.


  1. ^ Conan Doyle, Arthur (1928). The Story Of Spedegue's Dropper. Lightning Source Inc.  


  • Scyld Berry (April 1987). "Lobs - Past and Future?". Cricinfo. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 

See also

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