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Full name George Stuart Boyes
Born March 31, 1899, Southampton, Hampshire
Died February 11, 1973, Southampton, Hampshire (aged 73 years 317 days)
Major teams Hampshire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Slow left-arm orthodox
Stuart Boyes belonged to that uniquely English race of responsible, semi-feudal, senior professionals which barely survived the Second World War. He was spared the ravages that post sometimes imposed on its incumbents by a sense of humour which unfailingly defined the point where a game ended and life began. On the other hand cricket filled his fife. He was only 14 in 1913 when Alec Bowell took him to the Hampshire secretary to be engaged on the staff. He played for Hampshire in 1921, as an amateur, to 1939 as senior pro.; coached at Ampleforth from 1946 to 1963 and was back on the Southampton ground, sociably watching a match with his old colleagues, only a few months before he died. He was one of the steadiest slow left-arm bowlers, with a relaxed, excellently high action, and in his early days he spun the ball briskly. As he grew older his experience, knowledge of his opponents, accuracy and flight probably compensated for a lesser degree of turn. Sometimes his captain, Lord Tennyson, roused from his post-prandial doze at mid-off by lack of action, would grumble, `Spin the damned thing. Boyes, spin it.' 'I'm spinning it as hard as I can, my Lord,' was the answer as, bowling with his left hand, he snapped the fingers of his right, `but it won't turn on this.' In 18 years Boyes took 1472 wickets at 23.5 apiece, all but 57 of them for Hampshire. On a `turner' he could be a killer; he twice did the hat-trick and, in the Somerset first innings at Yeovil in 1938, took 9 for 57. As a batsman he shared in some valuable partnerships. Notably he helped Walter Livsey in the psychologically decisive 70 for the last wicket in that remarkable match against Warwickshire in 1922 when Hampshire, put out for 15 and asked to follow on, won by 155 runs. He was one of the first, if not the first, of the modern-type short-leg fieldsman. Lean, gracefully-poised, he stood extremely close to the bat for the offspin of Jack Newman or Charles Knott, the inswing of Alec Kennedy or 'Lofty' Herman. He watched eagerly, ducked late and calmly took some firm strokes off the bat when most men would have been taking cover: he had a career record of 500 catches.
Reproduced (in part) by courtesy of the '.4mpleforth Journal'
John Arlott, The Cricketer, May 1974