Obituary

Charles "Father" Marriott

MARRIOTT, CHARLES STOWELL, who died on October 13, aged 71, was one of the best leg-break and googly bowlers of his era. He learned his cricket in Ireland, where he was educated at St. Columba's, and gained a Blue at Cambridge in 1920 and 1921, meeting with remarkable success in the University matches. In 1920, when rain prevented play on the first two days, he took seven wickets for 69 runs and in the following season he played a leading part in a triumph for the Light Blues in an innings with 24 runs to spare by dismissing seven Oxford batsmen in the match for 111 runs.

In all first-class cricket he took 724 wickets at an average cost of 20.04 runs and his bowling skill so far exceeded his ability as a batsman that his victims exceeded his aggregate of runs by 169. Cunning flighting, allied to the ability to turn the ball sharply, made him a menace to batsmen even on good pitches and when the turf gave him help, he could be well-nigh unplayable. His action was high with a free, loose arm which he swung behind his back before delivery in a manner reminiscent of Colin Blythe. From 1919 to 1921 he appeared for Lancashire and when beginning a long association with Dulwich College as master-in-charge of cricket, he threw in his lot with Kent, whom he assisted during the school holidays from 1924 to 1937.

In his first season with the Southern county he distinguished himself by taking five wickets for 31 and six for 48 in the game with Lancashire at Dover and against Hampshire at Canterbury he returned figures of five for 66 and five for 44, and he achieved many other notable performances in later years.

He met with great success on the occasion of his one appearance in a Test match for England. That was at The Oval in 1933, when he so bewildered the batsmen that he took five wickets for 37 runs in the first innings and, with second innings figures of six for 59, hurried the West Indies to defeat by an innings and 17 runs -- a feat described by Wisden of the time as one of the best accomplished by a bowler when playing for England for the first time.

"Father" Marriott, as he was popularly known, engaged in two tours abroad. In 1924-25 he was a member of Lord -- then the Hon. Lionel--Tennyson's side in South Africa and in 1933-34 he went with D. R. Jardine's M.C.C. team to India, where, against Madras, he did the "hat-trick" for the only time in his first-class career. During the Second World War he served as an anti-aircraft gunner in the Home Guard.

© John Wisden & Co