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Full name Harry Robert Murrell
Born November 19, 1879, Hounslow, Middlesex
Died August 15, 1952, West Wickham, Kent (aged 72 years 270 days)
Major teams Kent, Middlesex
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Left-arm bowler
Fielding position Wicketkeeper
Joe Murrell, who died at his home at West Wickham, Kent, on August 15, aged 71, was for forty-six years associated with Middlesex, first as wicket-keeper and afterwards as scorer. Born at Hounslow, Middlesex, on November 19, 1880, Joe Murrell as he was always known, began his first-class career with Kent, playing for them in twenty-seven matches between 1899 and 1905. As Fred Huish was then in his prime, Murrell found the opportunity to keep wicket on only six occasions during that period, but he caught seventeen batsmen and stumped three. He took part in the tie between Kent and Surrey at The Oval in 1905, of which match Lord Harris, in his History of Kent County Cricket, wrote: To show the coolness of some of our team, when the match was a tie and Smith skied the ball to Murrell - at third man - the latter quietly rubbed his hands on his trousers and then caught it, while I am told that Blythe said, before the ball was in Murrell's hands, `This is the first tie-match I have ever played in!'
The following season Murrell joined Middlesex, and he retained his place in the county side until 1926. In that time he helped in the dismissal of 749 batsmen for the county. A first-class wicket-keeper, specially good on the leg-side because he was left-handed, he would undoubtedly have gained higher honours had he not been contemporary with E. J. Smith and H. Strudwick. Twice he helped Middlesex to win the County Championship, in 1920 and 1921, and of him Wisden of the time said: In Murrell, Middlesex had one of the best of wicket-keepers--never estimated at quite his real value.
His best performance was when, in 1926, he dismissed six batsmen in the second innings of Gloucestershire at Bristol, catching four and stumping two. Sir Pelham Warner, the former Middlesex captain, paid a high tribute to Murrell's loyalty, judgement and advice in critical situations, particularly when in 1920 Middlesex beat Kent at Canterbury by four runs and Yorkshire at Bradford by five runs. A fast-footed, tall and lean right-handed batsman, Murrell could hit extremely hard. For M.C.C. and Ground against Kent in 1905, he scored 67 out of 89 in forty minutes, and, going in No.9 for Middlesex at Leeds in 1906, he punished the Yorkshire bowling for 63 in just over an hour.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
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