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Full name Miles Howell
Born September 9, 1893, Thames Ditton, Surrey
Died February 23, 1976, Worplesdon, Surrey (aged 82 years 167 days)
Major teams Oxford University, Surrey
Batting style Right-hand bat
Education Repton; Oxford University
Miles Howell went up to Oxford after having a fine record as Captain of Repton in 1913, and at once made his blue safe by scoring 121 in the Freshmen's match and following this with 123 against Kent in his second match for the University. After serving through the war and being wounded, he returned to Oxford in 1919 and captained them at both cricket and football. He headed their batting averages with fine figures and in the' Varsity match played a great innings of 170. Cambridge were strong favourites, but when Oxford won the toss on a sodden ground and batted, Howell and Donald Knight made 70 for the first wicket. From then on wickets fell steadily until Frank Gilligan contributed a cheerful 70 at No. 8. Everything depended on Howell; he was in no position to take risks and his innings lasted five hours and forty minutes. He scored largely on the leg, which was inadequately guarded, and the slowness of the outfield can be gauged from the fact that he hit only three fours as against fifteen threes and sixty-six singles. It was probably fatigue from the amount of running this involved that caused him to be stumped when three short of the record. As in the second innings he threw out Brooke-Taylor brilliantly just when he looked like winning the match for Cambridge, he was largely responsible for Oxford's victory by 45 runs.
From 1920 to 1925 he played for Surrey whenever they could get him, though it usually meant that some pro whom other counties would have welcomed with open arms had to stand down for him. Apart from his batting, his brilliant out-fielding was a strong point in his favour. After 1925 his first-class cricket was largely confined to playing for the Free Foresters at Oxford, which he continued to do until 1939 with no apparent diminution of skill.
A small man, of the typical soccer forward's build, who always played in spectacles, he was a good defensive player, particularly strong on the leg-side, but he had all the strokes and was never dull to watch. Indeed in club cricket he would often bat brilliantly. Cricket was in his blood. His father and his uncle had both played for Surrey and his younger brother, John, who was killed in action in 1915, was regarded by good judges as a future England player.
Miles Howell played for The Corinthians and gained several Amateur International caps. Apart from his own achievements as a cricketer and footballer he deserves to be remembered for the wonderful work he did in getting both games going again on the right lines at Oxford in 1919.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Miles Howell turned out for a combined Oxford and Cambridge side against Glamorgan at Cardiff Arms Park in August 1922 under the pseudonym WG Osbourne. The identity of Osbourne remained a mystery for many years, and it was never explained why he used the pseudonym.
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