Obituary

Arthur Jones

JONES, ARTHUR OWEN, died on December 21, at his brother's house at Dunstable. He played in a few matches for Notts at the beginning of the past season, but his condition was very bad, and his friends knew he would not be able to go on for long. During the summer he spent some time at a sanatorium in the New Forest, but nothing could be done for him, consumption being too far advanced. He went home, given up as incurable, and the end came as a release from his sufferings.

Born on August 16, 1872, Mr. Jones played his first match for Notts against Lancashire at Trent Bridge in 1892. Helping Notts to a victory by six wickets, he at once gave proof of his brilliant qualities as a cricketer. The match was a remarkable one. Notts -- a great side that season -- had 222 to get to win. As he had made 17 not out in the first innings, Jones was selected to go in with Shrewsbury, and between them the two batsmen scored 75 for the first wicket, putting their side on the high road to victory. They might have done more, but a brilliant run out ended the partnership.

Jones was then up at Cambridge, but he only played once against Oxford at Lord's, being on the winning side in 1893. He was rather slow to develop as a batsman, his full powers being, perhaps, first revealed in a superb innings of 98 in the Whit-Monday match between Notts and Surrey in 1896. Richard Daft said of that innings that he had never seen anyone play Tom Richardson so well. Jones's great days began three years later, and from 1899 to 1907 he was, except in one season, at his very best. In the winter of 1907-8, when in Australia as a captain of the M.C.C.'s team, he had a severe illness, from the effects of which he perhaps never wholly recovered. However, he was able to resume his career in England in 1908, and continued to play as much cricket as ever. Early in the season of 1913 he contracted a violent chill, playing on a bitterly cold afternoon at Manchester. This kept him out of the field for more than two months, and no doubt brought on the illness which ended in his premature death.

It is essentially as a Notts cricketer that Mr. Jones will be remembered. Nearly all his best work was done for his county. He only played five times for England against Australia in this country, and when he paid his first visit to Australia as a member of Mr. MacLaren's team in 1901-2, he failed to do himself justice as a batsman. Always rather eager and impetuous, he had not quite the right temperament for Test match cricket. All through his career his fielding was even finer than his batting.

Indeed it may be claimed for him that a better all-round fieldsman has never been seen. Unequalled in his favourite position in the slips -- a sort of short third man -- he was almost as brilliant in the deep field, and in the England v. Australia match at Birmingham in 1909 he made a catch at short-leg that has become historical. As an orthodox slip fieldsman he was seen at his highest pitch in the England v. Australia match at Trent Bridge in 1905, and the Gentlemen v. Players match at Lord's in 1907. He succeeded Mr. J. A. Dixon as captain of the Notts team in 1900, and held that position until he had to give up cricket last summer. Under his leadership Notts won the county championship in 1907.

As a batsman he was essentially a brilliant player, his hitting on the off-side being wonderfully fine. His position at the wicket, with legs wide apart and both knees bent, was rather cramped and ungainly, but once the ball had left the bowler's hand all awkwardness vanished. In hitting he was always free and graceful. He and Iremonger put up the hundred together for the first Notts wicket 24 times. In his young days Mr. Jones excelled in Rugby football, and of late years, in connection with that game, he was, by general consent, one of the best of referees.

© John Wisden & Co