Since the Pavilion at Lord’s opened in 1890, many of cricket’s biggest hitters have tried to hit the ball over its roof.
Only one man has succeeded. Albert Edward Trott struck a ball from Monty Noble clear over the Pavilion roof while batting for MCC against the Australians on 31 July 1899. Trott, himself an Australian who had already played Tests for both the country of his birth and England, was a fine all-rounder who scored 1175 runs and took 237 wickets that season. Renowned as a big hitter, Trott had already struck the ironwork on one of the Pavilion turrets in May. Eyewitness reports described his historic hit as glancing off one of the chimney stacks on the roof before landing behind it in the garden of Pavilion attendant Philip Need. Not having cleared the Ground completely, the shot only counted four under the Laws of the time.
Despite modern advances in bat making, no one has so far matched Trott’s feat. He was known for using a heavier bat than his contemporaries, but by today’s standards his bat seems remarkably thin and light. Cobbett had been marketing its ‘Jubilee Gutta-Percha’ bat, made from English willow but named after a tree native to south-east Asia, since 1887. But by a cruel twist of fate, the firm had cancelled the bat’s annual full-page advert in Wisden that very year. Trott’s bat is now part of the MCC Museum collection.