BATSMAN OF THE YEAR - 1893

Andrew Stoddart

MR. Andrew Ernest Stoddart was, we believe, born at South Shields on March 11, 1863, a year earlier than the date that has generally been given. The county of Durham can thus boast one of the most brilliant exponents of Cricket and Rugby football the world has yet seen. Famous cricketers as a rule take to the game very early in life, but Stoddart is a notable exception, for though no doubt he played more or less as a boy, he did not go in seriously for cricket till 1885, in which year he became associated with the Hampstead Club. His connection with that body, which was the means of bringing him before the cricket public, has never been broken, and even now he assists the club whenever he is free from important engagements. During July and the early part of August, 1885, he played no fewer than five innings of a hundred or more for the Hampstead team, and his performances having been brought under the notice of the Middlesex executive, he played his first match for the county against Yorkshire at Sheffield on the 17th of August. On that occasion he only scored 3 and 21, but a few days later he made it clear that Middlesex had found a prize, an innings of 79 that he played at Trent Bridge against Nottingham leaving no doubt as to the exceptional nature of his powers. His career from 1885 to the present time is too familiar to cricket readers to need any detailed comment. Like other batsmen, he may have been more successful one year than another, but his position among the great players of the day has been unassailable. In the season of 1892 he was seen at his best, scoring 1,403 runs in 47 innings, with an average of 31.8. Two especially fine innings that he played were his 130 for Middlesex against Notts, at Lord's, and 91 against Surrey at the Oval. The highest score he has ever made in a first-class match was 215 not out for Middlesex against Lancashire, at Old Trafford, in 1891, and one of his finest performances was in the Centenary match at Lord's in 1887, when he scored 151 for England against the M.C.C., he and Arthur Shrewsbury putting on 266 together for the first wicket. To him moreover belongs the honour of having made the highest individual score on record -- 485 for the Hampstead Club against the Stoics in August, 1886. At the present day there are few batsmen as good as Stoddart, and certainly none more attractive to look at. He continually gets runs under conditions that find most batsmen at fault, his play both on slow and fiery wickets being quite exceptional. Stoddart has often proved himself a good change bowler, while in the field there are few men at once so brilliant and so safe. We need not here discuss his qualities as a football player, but, though he is now rather past his best, he was by general consent the finest three-quarter back of his day. Stoddart paid his first visit to Australia as a member of Mr. G. F. Vernon's team in the autumn of 1887, and staying behind to play football with Shaw and Shrewsbury's combination, entirely missed the English cricket season of 1888. In the autumn of 1891 he went to the Colonies again with Lord Sheffield's team.

© John Wisden & Co