BATSMAN OF THE YEAR - 1893

Herbert Hewett

MR. Herbert Tremenheere Hewett was born at Norton Court, near Taunton, on May 25, 1864, and is thus just over six years older than Mr. Palairet. The early career of the cricketer who is now beyond a doubt the finest left-handed batsman in England did not give much promise of future greatness. Though he gained a place in the Harrow eleven in 1882 and 1883, he did very little in either year against Eton at Lord's, and, going up to Oxford, he did not get his Blue until 1886. His solitary appearance in the University match was not marked by success, his two innings resulting in 0 and 7; but early in the season of 1886 he showed signs of the brilliant hitting which has since made him famous, scoring 44 against Lancashire at Oxford, and 77 against the same county at Old Trafford. No doubt he would have had a good chance of retaining his place in the University eleven in 1887, but an injury to his hand caused that season, so far as he was concerned, to be almost a blank. His reputation rests entirely on his doings for Somerset. He played his first match for the county in August, 1884, and, after a lot of good work, he scored in 1890, 543 runs with an average of 38.11. Somerset that season played eight second-class county matches and won them all, a record which was followed at the secretaries' meeting at Lord's in December by a well-deserved promotion to the front rank. How thoroughly that promotion has been justified by subsequent events need not here be said. As captain of the eleven Hewett had a most important share in the development of the county. In 1891 he did not do anything great as a batsman, averaging only 18.10, with an aggregate of 388 runs, but in 1892 he sprang at one bound to the very top of the tree. For his county he scored 1,047 runs, with the splendid average of 40.7, while in first-class matches he made 1,407 runs -- the highest aggregate of the year -- and averaged 35.7, coming forth on the list, behind Shrewsbury, W. H. Patterson, and Stanley Scott. The most remarkable of his many brilliant innings was his 201 for Somerset against Yorkshire at Taunton, when he and Palairet, by scoring 346 together for the first wicket, established a new record in first-class matches. How Hewett may compare with the famous Australians, William Bruce and H. Moses, we cannot say, but his superiority over all other left-handed batsmen in this country does not admit of question. Like most left-handers, he plays his own game, with no very strict regard for orthodox rules, and it is a long time since we have had so fearless and daring a hitter. Bad and good wickets seemed to come pretty well alike to him last summer, and the way in which he demoralised the bowlers recalled the most brilliant feats of the great Australian hitters, Percy M'Donnell, Massie, and Bonnor. Even a bowler so experienced and generally imperturbable as Watson confessed that he did not know where to pitch for him. Had it been necessary last August to put a representative England eleven into the field, Hewett would undoubtedly have been given a place.

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