Bob Thoms      

Full name Robert Arthur Thoms

Born May 19, 1826, Marylebone, London

Died June 10, 1903, Regent's Park, London (aged 77 years 22 days)

Major teams Marylebone Cricket Club

Other Umpire

Robert Arthur Thoms
Batting and fielding averages
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 Ct St
First-class 3 5 1 17 17 4.25 0 0 1 0
Bowling averages
Mat Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
First-class 3 - - - - - - - - - - -
Career statistics
First-class debut Over 36 v Under 36 at Lord's, Jul 29-31, 1850 scorecard
Last First-class Yorkshire XI v All England Eleven at Sheffield, May 12-14, 1851 scorecard
Umpiring statistics
Test debut England v Australia at The Oval, Sep 6-8, 1880 scorecard
Last Test England v Australia at The Oval, Aug 28-29, 1882 scorecard
Test matches 2
Test statistics

Bob Thoms was a highly-respected umpire who stood in England's first two Tests at The Oval in 1880 and 1882, the pinnacle of a career which extended over 37 years. At the time of his death The Times described him as "the most famous umpire the game has known". He was widely respected and was renowned for his knowledge of the game and its players. As a youth he had wanted to be a player but trials with William Clarke's All England side were unproductive and so he turned to officiating. He was closely linked to the formation and early years of Middlesex
Martin Williamson


For some time before he passed away on June 10 there had been such very bad accounts for Bob Thom's health that no one was at all surprised when the announcement of his death appeared in the papers. It had been known for some months there was no chance of his recovery, but less than two months before his death he had so much to say about cricket and his mind was still so bright that it did not seem as if the end were quite so near. He broke up very rapidly at the finish, and died after one final rally. In him there has gone a remarkable and interesting personality. No one had a more thorough knowledge of cricket, or could speak with greater authority about all the leading players of the last sixty years. Ambitious of being a public cricketer himself, he came out at Lord's when Fuller Pilch was the best bat in England, and it was his privilege to watch the triumphs of George Parr, Hayward, Carpenter, Richard Daft, Jupp, Tom Humphrey, E. M. Grace, W. G. Grace, and all the other great run-getters down to Ranjitsinhji and C. B. Fry. Even in the season of 1902 he saw Victor Trumper bat at the Hastings Festival, and complimented him on his splendid innings of 120 against the South of England. Thoms always looked at cricket with the eyes of a young man, and was quite free from the fault--so common among men who live to a great age--of thinking that all the good things belonged to the past. This freshness of mind prevented his talk about cricket from ever becoming prosy or flat. In his last years as an umpire--he gave up after the season of 1900--he was just as enthusiastic in his praise of fine work with bat or ball as he would have been forty years ago. To Middlesex cricket, with which he was closely associated from the formation of the county club in the sixties, he was always devoted, and nothing cheered him up more in his last illness than visits from Mr. V. E. Walker and Mr. A. J. Webbe. He was never tired of referring to the Middlesex eleven in the days when V. E. Walker was captain, and was very proud of the fact that he stood umpire in every first class match played on the old Cattle Market ground at Islington. Right up to the end he had a singularly retentive memory, and when in congenial company he would tell numberless stories about the Walkers, C. F. Buller, and A. W. T. Daniel. In those distant days, of course, the modern system had not been adopted, and each county always appointed its own umpire.

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Sep 18, 1880

Bob Thoms

Bob Thoms

© Martin Williamson