CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1901

TL Taylor

MR. T. L. TAYLOR, to whom the season of 1900 brought such an enormous increase of reputation, was born at Headingley on the 25th of May, 1878, but curiously enough never played cricket at Leeds until he appeared on the Headingley Ground last August against Middlesex. Two years ago, however, he used to play for Scarborough. He first became known in the cricket world while he was at school at Uppingham, and it may be added here, that he was the last famous batsman who learnt the art of batting under the eye of H. H. Stepheson, that famous coach dying in December, 1896, only a few months after Taylor had left school. The young cricketer was in the Uppingham eleven in 1894, 1895, and 1896, and was captain of the side the last two years. He earned a big reputation at Uppingham both as batsman and wicket-keeper, and in 1896 was the most successful Public School bat of the year, with the wonderful average of 84. It was naturally expected that on going up to Cambridge he would at once get his blue, but a wicket-keeper was not wanted- E. H. Bray being in residence-and he did not play nearly well enough to be picked for batting alone. However, his chance came in the season of 1898, when he received his colours from the hands of his old school fellow C. E. M. Wilson-like himself, curiously enough, a Yorkshireman. Taylor did not do much as a batsman for Cambridge in 1898, having the very poor average of fourteen; but he played a beautiful innings of 70 against Oxford at Lord's, and proved that his school reputation as a batsman had been fairly earned. In 1899 he made a great advance for Cambridge, scoring 343 runs in eight matches with an average of 26. He again played finely in the University match, scoring 52 not out in the second innings, but his great triumph was gained against the Australians, his innings of 110, with Jones, Noble, Howell and Charles McLeod bowling at him, being as nearly as possible perfect. Unfortunately he was hurt in the second innings and had to retire from the match. His form for Cambridge was so good that he was invited, after the University match, to play for Yorkshire, his first appearance for the county being against Leicestershire, at Sheffield, on July 17. He was quite successful, his innings of 42 being spoken of in very high terms. Room was only found for him in the Yorkshire team in two other county matches, in one of which-against Notts at Bradford-he had to keep wicket, but he played against the M. C. C. in the first match of the Scarborough Festival and scored 41. Altogether he scored in four matches for the county 125 runs. This was very fair form, but it certainly did not suggest the great things he did for Yorkshire last summer. In 1900 he was a vastly better cricketer than he had ever been before, and both for Cambridge and his county he proved to demonstration that he was one of the most improved amateur batsmen of the year. His doings for both elevens are described in detail in another part of the Almanack and there is no need here to go at any length into figures, but it may be mentioned that in first-class matches he scored 1,461 runs with an average of 39. As a batsman, Mr. Taylor has many fine qualities, not the least of them being a remarkable power of getting runs on slow and difficult wickets. On this he gave convincing evidence last summer against Surrey at the Oval and Sussex at Brighton. His style is neat and finished to a degree and his driving clean and powerful. As a wicket-keeper he is much above the average, but he probably does not regret that when playing for Yorkshire he is able to give all his attention to batting without having his hands knocked about behind the stumps. As regards other sports than cricket, he is fond of hockey and golf, but is no lover of football. He played the Rugby game once or twice while he was at Uppingham but was so much hacked that he quickly decided to give it up.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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