Obituary

Joseph McCormick

MCCORMICK, JOSEPH, THE REV. CANON, Rector of St. James's, Piccadilly, died in London on April the 9th. Born in Liverpool on October the 29th, 1834, he was thus in his 80th year. Canon McCormick's fame as a cricketer belongs, of course, to a day long gone by. He ranked among the best men of his generation, and would undoubtedly have earned a bigger name if he could have spared more time for the game. A man of great height and strength -- he stood considerably over six feet -- he was a fine, punishing batsman of the forward school, Scores and Biographies describing him, when he played his first match at Lord's, for Cambridge University against the M. C. C., in 1854, as one of the hardest hitters seen up to that time.

He was also an excellent slow round arm bowler, very deceptive with plenty of spin from leg. As a bowler he no doubt learned much at Cambridge from the once-famous William Buttress, upon whose style he largely modelled his own. Canon McCormick was in the Cambridge eleven in 1854 and 1856, being captain in the latter year. He ought to have played in 1855, but could not stay in London for the match. Oxford won by an innings and eight runs in 1854, but in 1856, thanks to Joseph Makinson's all-round cricket, Cambridge won by three wickets. Canon McCormick did not do much in the two matches. His scores were 0, 12, 5, and 0.

He only appeared once for Gentlemen against Players, taking part in the 1857 match at Lord's, made memorable by Reginald Hankey's innings of 70. After leaving Cambridge and going into the Church, Canon McCormick could not find time for much cricket, but in the Canterbury Weeks of 1866-7-8 he proved that he retained all his old skill, both as bowler and batsman. In 1866, for the Zingari against the Gentlemen of the South, playing under the name of J. Cambridge, he had the satisfaction of bowling out W. G. Grace, and in 1868, for North of the Thames against South of the Thames, he played the innings of his life, scoring 137 against the bowling of Willsher, James Lillywhite and R. Lipscomb.

Up to the end of his life he retained a keen interest in cricket, being always seen at Lord's at the University match. In Wisden's Almanack for 1895 he wrote, under the nom de plume of "An old Cambridge Captain", a most interesting article on Cricketers Past and Present; and to the issue for 1913 he contributed some recollections of John Wisden. Apart from his cricket he had great athletic powers. He was in the Cambridge boat in 1856, and, on the testimony of his sons and others competent to speak on the point, he was a wonderful boxer.

© John Wisden & Co