Sir John Berry Hobbs

Jack Hobbs holds two records that will almost certainly never be beaten, unless the setup of first class cricket changes dramatically. He scored more runs and more centuries than any other batsman. He scored 199 (197 in some books, see note) first class centuries and over 60000 runs. He was the dominant batsman in English cricket for at least 10 years. It is worth bearing in mind that he lost 4 full summers due to the First World War and was injured so missed most of the 1921 season, and Warwick Armstrong's all conquering tourists. Another aspect of Hobbs' career was the luck he had at Surrey with his opening partners. When he first started, he partnered Tom Hayward, and later his regular partner was Andrew Sandham. Sandham's fugures in themselves are impressive, but he could find no way into the England team and was always in "the Master's" shadow. In fact in games for Surrey, Sandham scored more runs than Hobbs during the span of Sandham's career, though Hobbs of course missed many games through England appearances. Hobbs scored 10 centuries in a season when he was 48!!! His record of 16 tons in a season stood until the summer of sunshine, 1947 when Compton and Edrich re-wrote so many records. I think it was Denis Compton who surpassed Hobbs' achievement.

Season by Season Summary Year I NO HS RUNS AVGE 100 50 1905 54 3 155 1317 25.82 2 4 1906 53 6 162* 1913 40.70 4 10 1907 63 6 166* 2135 37.45 4 15 1907/8 22 1 115 876 41.71 2 6 1908 53 2 161 1904 37.33 6 7 1909 54 2 205 2114 40.65 6 7 1909/10 18 1 187 1124 66.11 3 7 1910 63 3 133 1982 33.03 3 14 1911 60 3 154* 2376 41.68 4 13 1911/2 19 1 187 943 55.47 3 2 1912 60 6 111 2042 37.81 3 14 1913 57 5 164 2605 50.09 9 12 1913/4 22 2 170 1489 74.45 5 8 1914 48 2 226 2697 58.63 11 6 1919 49 6 205* 2594 60.33 8 14 1920 50 2 215 2827 58.90 11 13 1920/1 19 1 131 924 51.33 4 1 1921 6 2 172* 312 78.00 1 1 1922 46 5 168 2552 62.24 10 9 1923 59 4 136 2087 37.95 5 8 1924 43 7 211 2094 58.17 6 10 1924/5 17 1 154 865 54.06 3 5 1925 48 5 266* 3024 70.33 16 5 1926 41 3 316* 2949 77.61 10 12 1927 32 1 150 1641 52.94 7 5 1928 38 7 200* 2542 82.00 12 10 1928/9 18 1 142 962 56.59 2 7 1929 39 5 204 2263 66.55 10 8 1930 43 2 146* 2103 51.29 5 14 1930/1 12 1 144* 593 53.90 2 3 1931 49 6 153 2418 56.23 10 7 1932 35 4 161* 1764 56.90 5 9 1933 18 0 221 1105 61.38 6 3 1934 18 1 116 624 36.70 1 4

TOTAL 1325 107 316* 61760 50.70 199 273

Tests 102 7 211 5410 56.94 County C 860 69 316* 38737 48.97 Players 79 5 266* 4050 54.72 (v Gentlemen)

Bowlers who dismissed him most often:

25 JWHT Douglas; 15 G Dennett, GG MacCaulay, W Rhodes, TG Wass; 14 J Newman; 13 CWL Parker, JC White, FE Woolley.

Hobbs was 51 when he retired from the first class game.

These figures include the games played for Vizzy's touring XI in 1930/1. There is some debate about the standard of these matches. The Association of Cricket Statisticians has published guides as to which matches are/are not recognised as being first class.

For Surrey, Hobbs scored 18.1% of the total runs scored, for England this figure was 18.2%, clearly emphasising his importance to his side. In a similar vein, he top scored in 27% of all his first class innings. He was at his most dominant between 1919 and 1922, when he top scored in 64 out of 170 innings (37.65%) and in 1922, he actually made the highest score in 21 innings out of 46.

(Thanks : The Association of Cricket Statisticians)

-- More on Jack Hobbs, from David Liverman --

Jack Hobbs is a strong candidate for the greatest batsman ever, with a career that was interupted by the first world war, but still resulted in 197 centuries. Although growing up in Cambridge, he played for Surrey, and became the consumate opening batsman, with a solid defence and a powerful attacking game, showing mastery of most strokes. He was known as one of the best runners between the wickets in the game, especially with his regular opening partners, Hayward and Sandham for Surrey; Rhodes and Sutcliffe for England. He was remarkable in his ability to play high quality bowling on bad pitches, especially Australian sticky wickets. He was also a splendid fielder, running out many from his favoured position in the covers, and a respectable fast- medium change bowler.

"He had all the gifts of a great batsman. They included the qualities of understanding and sensitivity to a degree that made him unique. Others scored faster; hit the ball harder; more obviously murdered bowling. no one else, though, ever batted with more consumate skill than his, which was based essentially on an infallible sympathy with the bowled ball. Although he could improvise with quite impish virtuosity, it is no exaggeration to say that frequently- even generally- the spectator felt that the stroke he played seemed so natural as to be inevitable- or as if a choreographer had designed it as the rhythmically and poetically logical consequence of the bowler's delvery."

(From "Jack Hobbs - profile of 'the Master'" by John Arlott, Published by John Murray, 1981)

(Thanks : John Liverman)

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