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Full name William Williams
Born April 12, 1861
Died April 14, 1951, Hampton Wick, Middlesex (aged 90 years 2 days)
Major teams Middlesex
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Legbreak
Fielding position Wicketkeeper
Billy Williams, who died at his home at Hampton Wick on April 14, aged 90, was a fine allround sportsman. Born on April 12, 1860, he was a member of MCC from 1900. In the seasons of 1885 and 1886 he appeared as wicketkeeper for Middlesex, and after an absence of 14 years returned to the county side as a bowler of legbreaks, playing occasionally till 1905. During the winter of 1896-97 he toured the West Indies with Mr. Arthur Priestley's team and, with 67 wickets at an average cost of 9.62, finished second in the bowling averages to A. E. Stoddart. He often assisted MCC and was credited with taking 100 or more wickets a season in all matches for 55 years. In his last summer as a player, he turned out at the age of 74 for MCC against the House of Lords and, after dismissing Lord Dalkeith, Lord Tennyson and Major L. George for 16 runs, was presented by the Marylebone Club with the ball. A good story is told of when, at the age of 65, he visited the West Indies during the tour of the Hon. F. S. G. Calthorpe's M.C.C. team in 1925-26. In Georgetown he challenged a West Indian friend against whom he played 30 years before to a single-wicket match for £25 a side. Winning the toss, Williams severely punished his opponent's bowling, completed a century and declared. Then, with a googly, he bowled his exhausted victim first ball.
Apart from his cricket, Williams, as he was known to everyone for many years, was celebrated as the man who, in the early part of the century when a member of the Middlesex County Rugby Union Committee, ended a long search for a suitable site for a National Rugby Union ground by discovering a cabbage field of 10 acres which has since developed into the famous Twickenham enclosure. For a long time the ground, later extended by 18 acres, was known to Rugby football followers as "Billy Williams's cabbage patch." Formerly a player for the Harlequins RFC, he was a Rugby referee for 21 years. An honorary member of the Wimbledon Park Golf Club, he played a daily round until his last illness, and was a regular attendant at Lord's and at Rugby matches in the London area, particularly Richmond.
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