CRICKETER OF THE YEAR 1915

Donald Knight

MR. DONALD JOHN KNIGHT was born in Surrey on the 12th of May, 1894. There are some happily-gifted cricketers who from early boyhood seem marked out for distinction. To this select band Mr. Knight unquestionably belongs. He was a born batsman. Before going to Malvern he had at two preparatory schools given proof of exceptional ability. At Homefield School, Sutton, when only ten years of age, he had an average of 84, and in the following season his average was over 70. He then went to the Rev. H. V. Snowden's school in the Isle of Thanet, Hildersham House, where in his last year he obtained the wonderful average for eleven innings of 159. In those days, too, he was a very successful bowler. Great things were naturaly expected of him when at fourteen he went to Malvern, and it is only the truth to say that he more than realised the highest hopes. Getting his place at once he was in the eleven for five years, scoring during that time, in College matches alone, nearly 2,800 runs, with an average of 44. He was captain for two years. Among many fine performances at Malvern two may be picked out as the best. He played an innings of 211 against a strong side, captained by H. K. Foster, and in the following year he set up a record for the College by scoring two 100's--112 and 133 not out--against the Old Malvernians. He was so obviously a Surrey batsman of the future that no time was lost in giving him a chance at the Oval. As a boy of fifteen he played for Surrey's second eleven, scoring over 50 against Berkshire, and at the beginning of the next season he took part in the annual trial match. In September, 1911, he was introduced to first-class cricket, playing for Surrey against Somerset in the last county match of the season at the Oval. Quite at home in his new surroundings he scored 44, playing with perfect confidence for an hour and a half. Mr. Knight's doings during the last three years will be so familiar to all who follow cricket that they need not be dwelt upon at any length. After a good season at Malvern he stepped into the Surrey eleven in August, 1912, and played in nine matches. No exceptional success rewarded him, but in getting 57 against Essex at the Oval he showed that he could hit on a slow wicket. In 1913 he met with nothing but success. He finished up his career at Malvern with an average of 63, and, on taking his place in the Surrey eleven, played an innings of 90 against Notts at the Oval on the August Bank Holiday. But for this match he would, for the fourth time, have played for the Public Schools at Lord's. Last season Mr. Knight was right in the front rank. Easily the best bat in the Oxford eleven, he had the satisfaction of making the highest score in the University match, and for Surrey he improved greatly on his previous doings, getting among other good scores a splendid 105 against Kent at Blackheath. As a batsman he is very good to look at--always easy and graceful in style. Like most of our young players he is especially strong on the on-side, making a large proportion of his runs in front of short leg, but he is also master of a beautiful cut. His off-drive is clean and hard, but he is rather sparing in the use of it. When he first played for Surrey he was tried with no great success as a slip fieldsman, but last summer he found his true vocation at deep third man and in the long field. Soon after the War broke out he joined the 28th London Regiment (Artists).

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