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Full name John Henry Parsons
Born May 30, 1890, Headington, Oxfordshire
Died February 2, 1981, Plymouth, Devon (aged 90 years 248 days)
Major teams Europeans (India), Warwickshire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium
Canon J. H. Parsons, the former Warwickshire cricketer who also achieved distinction in the Army and in the Church, died peacefully at Plymouth on February 2, at the age of 90. His early years were spent in Oxford, where his father was chef at Brasenose College and captained the City cricket club. When the family moved to Coventry, Jack Parsons went to Bablake School, joined the Humber car firm and made his 2nd XI debut for Warwickshire in 1910. A double-century secured him a place in the 1st XI and in the Championship-winning side of 1911.
In 1913 he carried his bat for 161 against Gloucestershire and won selection for the Players where 'he batted' (wrote The Times) 'with perfect confidence' in the company of Hobbs, Hendren and Woolley in opposition to Spooner, Fry, Warner and Jessop. He would, said Wisden in 1915, 'go straight to the top of the tree'.
Parsons had a distinguished war as a cavalry officer, winning the Military Cross and being almost the lone survivor of the cavalry charge at Huj which secured Jerusalem. He liked soldiering, and peacetime found him (after a few weeks with Warwickshire in 1919) serving in the Indian Army, where his only cricket was occasional appearances for the Europeans in the Quadrangular Tournament - taking 20 of his 80 first-class wickets in one week.
Professional cricket reclaimed him in 1923 and for the next dozen years he was a major figure in the county side, reserving his best performances for matches against the tourists and having a purple patch of 400 runs in a week in July 1925. He regularly appeared for the Players and, after his ordination, for the Gentlemen. But the England 'cap' from which he was not too far removed in 1914 eluded him despite much agitation in his favour from the Press. Even as late as 1931, after 190 against the New Zealanders, he had his claimants.
Parsons served three incumbencies, principally Liskeard from 1939 to 1959. He returned to active service as a senior chaplain in the Second World War and made his last half-century as late as 1960 when, at the age of 70, he scored 65 in 43 minutes off a public school 1st XI attack.
A seriousness of purpose ran through Parsons' life, demanding from him qualities
of excellence. It was a philosophy reflected in his cricket. The off-drive, in which he delighted, was played with grace, harmony and elegance. Life was there to be lived and the cricket ball to be attacked: this he did to the tune of 17,969 first-class runs and 38 centuries. With his death the ranks of
Edwardian cricketers are appreciably thinned.
Gerald Howat, Wisden Cricket Monthly
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