John Raphael

S.H.P.

RAPHAEL, LIEUT. JOHN EDWARD (King's Royal Rifles and A.D.C. to the G.O.C. of a Division), born at Brussels April 30, 1882; died of wounds June 11. Merchant Taylors, 1898, etc.: captain two years; Oxford v. Cambridge 1903-4-5. Surrey XI, 1903, etc., and captain for a time in 1904. Member of M.C.C., since 1906.

The news that John Raphael was dead caused sorrow to a very wide circle of friends. Though he never gained quite the place as a batsman that his deeds as a school-boy had suggested, he was in the cricket field and still more in the world of Rugby football a distinct personality. Everything he did created more than ordinary interest, his popularity as a man, apart from his ability, counting for much. At Merchant Taylors he had a brilliant record. He was in the eleven for five years-- 1897 to 1901. In 1898 as a boy of sixteen he headed the batting with an average of 23 and, being quite a good school bowler, took 32 wickets at a cost of less than nine runs each. Thenceforward his school career was one long success. He was third in batting in 1899--average 27--and first in bowling with 51 wickets for just under 15 runs each. Then in 1900 he had a great season. At the top of the list both in batting and bowling he scored 962 runs with an average of 43, and took 68 wickets. His highest innings was 152 not out. He finished up at school in 1901 with nothing short of a triumph. Again first in batting he scored 1,397 runs with an average of 69, and as a bowler he was second, 76 wickets falling to him. He and J. Dennis made 326 together without being parted against Kennington Park, their scores being 175 not out and 135 not out respectively. Naturally great things were expected of Raphael when he went up to Oxford, but as a cricketer he began with a set-back. From some cause, after making 47 not out in the Freshmen's match, in 1902, he showed such poor form that he never had any chance of gaining his blue. As a matter of fact he was not tried in a single first-class match. In 1903 his prospects while Oxford played at home were equally dismal. However he got on well for Surrey against Oxford at the Oval, and was given a trial for the University against Sussex at Brighton. Seizing his opportunity he played a fine innings of 65, when no one else could do much against the Sussex bowlers, and two days before the match with Cambridge at Lord's Mr. Findlay gave him his colours. As in the case of Lord George Scott for Oxford and late Eustace Crawley for Cambridge in 1887, the last choice proved the batting success of his side. Raphael scored 130 on the first day and laid the foundation of Oxford's victory. His innings did not start well, but it was brilliant in its later stages. In the drawnmatchof 1904 Raphael only made 12 and 25 against Cambridge, but in the sensational match the following year--won in brilliant style by Cambridge after it had at one point seemed any odds against them--he played perhaps the best innings of his life. With a score of 99 he only failed by a single run to rival Yardley's feat of getting two hundreds in the University match. In Surrey cricket Raphael never became a power, but he often played well for the county and when--as the last of various captains--he took charge of the team in 1904 he proved quite a capable leader. Raphael's weakness as a batsman was that he relied too exclusively upon forward play. His method--at any rate when he had to contend against first-rate bowling--demanded an easy wicket. His bowling seemed to leave him after his school days.

At the game of Rugby football Raphael earned much distinction as a three-quarter back, playing for England in nine matches--against Scotland and against Wales in 1902, 1905, and 1906; against Ireland in 1902; and against New Zealand and France in 1906. A beautiful kick, a brilliant field, and possessed of a good turn of speed, he was a fine natural player, even if his special qualities did not always make for success as one of a line of four three-quarters in international encounters. He accomplished great things for the Old Merchant Taylors, and gaining his blue as a Freshman at Oxford in 1901, not only appeared for his University against Cambridge on four occasions, but only once failed to secure a try.

In a bye-election at Croydon he stood as Liberal candidate but did not succeed in entering Parliament.

© John Wisden & Co