Obituary

Alan Marshal

Marshal, Alan, (15th Battalion Australian Imperial Forces) who was born at Warwick, in Queensland, on June 12, 1883, died of enteric at Imtarfa Military Hospital, Malta, on July 23, after serving in Gallipoli. He was a cricketer of unfulfilled promise. He had it in him to be great, but somehow he missed the position that at one time seemed to be within his reach. A hitter of greater natural powers has seldom been seen. The son of a Lincolnshire man who had emigrated to Australia, he took to cricket while quite young, playing both at the South Brisbane State School and the Brisbane Grammar School.

He learned much through watching Boyle, McDonnell, S. P. Jones, and others, and at the early age of fourteen began to play in Grade cricket. Later he played for a time in Grade matches in Sydney, and had represented Queensland a few times before coming to England. He always showed distinct talent, his batting improving rapidly from the time he had the advantage of playing on turf wickets. On arriving in England he soon made his mark, his form being so good that before he had been here long he was asked to qualify for Surrey.

For London County in 1905 he made 2,752 runs with an average of 56.16 and took 118 wickets at a cost of 16.41 runs each, and in the corresponding fixtures of the following year his aggregates were 3,578 (average 76.12) and 167 (average 14.10) respectively. In ALL matches in 1906 he scored 4,350 runs, making fourteen hundreds, and took 210 wickets. Against Croydon he made 300 not out at the Crystal Palace, and 171 in the return: he also scored 245 v. Egypt at the Crystal Palace, and 219 v. Norbury at Norbury, and 204 not out v. Cyphers at the Palace. Having qualified by the necessary two years' residence, he duly appeared for the county. Everything suggested that Surrey had found a prize. At first, however, Marshal did not do himself full justice in his new surroundings.

In the seasons of 1907 he made over a thousand runs for Surrey, but there was a certain restraint in his play. For the moment he was feeling his way.

In 1908 he showed all that he could do. He had a splendid season for Surrey, scoring 1,884 runs with an average of 40 in all matches for the county and finishing second only to Hayward. Five times he exceeded the hundred, an innings of 108 against Middlesex at the Oval being a marvel of powerful driving. When the season ended his place among the great players of the day seemed assured. Apart from his batting, he was a good change bowler and in the field he had scarcely a superior. He could fill any place with credit and no catch, if reasonably possible,escaped his hands. The future looked bright indeed for him, but he never again reached the same level.

At the height of the season of 1909 the Surrey committee suspended him for a time and in the following year they terminated his engagement. Marshal returned to Queensland and played cricket there, but without doing anything exceptional. He sailed for Australia on September 12th, 1910, and on the day before his departure played a magnificent innings of 259 not out for Whitcomb Wanderers v. W. Jones' XI, at Action, hitting thirteen 6's and thirty-six 4's. Earlier in the season -- at Ashford (Middlesex) on July 7 -- he had taken all ten wickets in an innings for 28 runs for A. H. Marriott's XI v. Ashford. Marshal's hundreds in first-class cricket were as under:--

111 Surrey v. Worcestershire, at Worcester 1907
176 Surrey v. Worcestershire, at Worcester 1908
143 Surrey v. Northamptonshire, at Northampton 1908
103 Surrey v. Philadelphians, at the Oval 1908
108 Surrey v. Middlesex, at the Oval 1908
167 Surrey v. Kent, at the Oval 1908
110 Surrey v. Yorkshire, at the Oval 1909
106An Australian XI v. South Africans, at Brisbane 1910-11

In the second innings of Queensland v. New Zealand, at Brisbane, in December, 1913, he went in first and carried his bat through the innings for 66.

As a bowler he had two great successes for Surrey at the Oval in 1908, taking five wickets for 19 against Nottinghamshire in the August Bank-Holiday match, and in the match with Derbyshire at one period dismissing five men in thirteen balls without a run being made off him.

© John Wisden & Co