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Full name William Richard Hillyer
Born March 5, 1813, Leybourne, Kent
Died January 8, 1861, Maidstone, Kent (aged 47 years 309 days)
Major teams Cambridge Town Club, Kent, Surrey
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Legbreak
|First-class debut||England v Kent XI at Lord's, Jul 27-28, 1835 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Surrey v Kent at The Oval, Aug 29-31, 1853 scorecard|
William Hillyer was one of the best bowlers who ever played for Kent, which conveys much considering the number of great bowlers that that county has possessed. A son of an innkeeper he was born at Leybourne, in Kent, on March 5, 1813, and commenced his cricketing career with Town Mailing, when that famous club could oppose the rest of Kent. He developed into one of the greatest bowlers of his period and for many years he and William Lillywhite competed for the premier title. Hillyer was a medium-paced leg-break bowler with a shuffling approach to the bowling crease and an easy delivery and, whether `rough or smooth, wet or dry, sand or mud, he could put a ball on a sixpence'. For 20 seasons, from 1834 until 1853, he was the principal bowler of the famous `Old Kent Eleven' and obtained 514 wickets for them in 89 matches, and had bowling analyses been recorded and preserved his total of wickets would have been greatly increased. He obtained eight wickets or more in an innings on eleven occasions, and 13 wickets or more in a match on fourteen occasions. A brilliant close to the wicket fielder, generally in slips, he made many wonderful catches off the bowling of Alfred Mynn. Hillyer was a useful batsman- 'an obstinate clumsy sticker'; his highest score in a match of note was 83 for MCC and Ground v Oxford University, at Oxford, in 1847. He was engaged at Lord's for several years, from 1839 until 1851, as a practice bowler. His name will be found in Gentlemen v Players matches from 1838 to 1851. He suffered greatly, in the latter part of his career, with rheumatism and in 1855 he fell, breaking his thumb, and was compelled to retire and act as umpire. In 1858 Surrey awarded him a benefit match, which realised over £300, helping him through his long and
painful illness prior to his death at Maidstone on January 8, 1861.
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