WICKET-KEEPER OF THE YEAR - 1891

Henry Wood

HENRY WOOD, the Surrey wicket-keeper, belongs by birth to the county of Kent, having, been born at Dartford on December 14, 1855, the same year in which both Blackham and Pilling came into the world. While quite a boy Wood earned distinction as a cricketer, playing for Dartford School when only eleven years of age, and afterwards figuring with success in many local matches. It was as a member of the Kent eleven that he was introduced to public cricket, representing his native county against Hampshire at Southampton in June, 1876. In a somewhat intermittent fashion he kept up his connection with Kent cricket, appearing in 1878, and twice in 1881, but being absent from all the county's engagements in 1879 and 1880. In the winter of 1881 he accepted an appointment to take charge of the Streatham Club ground, and it was this engagement that enabled him to qualify by residence for Surrey. He made his first appearance for his adopted county in 1884, since which time he has been a regular member of the eleven, rendering brilliant service to the county both behind the wicket and with the bat. When he first gained a place in the team he was certainly not a high-class wicket-keeper, but constant practice in the best company did great things for him, and during the last two or three years he has been quite in the front rank. The crowning point of his career was reached in the season of 1888, when the Surrey Committee selected him to keep wicket for England against Australia at the Oval. With Pilling and Sherwin both available, the action of the Surrey Committee was to some extent experimental, but Wood certainly proved himself fully equal to his position. His one drawback is the fact that his hands are somewhat easily knocked up. At least, if this be not the case, he is peculiarly unlucky in having his fingers injured. In the winter of 1888-9 he was a member of the English team that toured in South Africa, and the trip had somewhat unfortunate results for him, the glare of the sun at the Cape affecting his eyesight so much that he went through the English season of 1889 under obvious disadvantages.

© John Wisden & Co