Sir Henry Plowden


PLOWDEN, SIR HENRY MEREDYTH, died at Ascot in January in his 80th year, having for some time been in failing health. He was born in Bengal on September 26, 1840. Sir Henry appeared in first-class cricket so long ago, and went out to India so early in his life, that his career belonged to a very distant part, but in his day he was a prominent figure at Fenner's and Lord's. He was in the Harrow eleven in 1858, and in the Cambridge eleven from 1860 to 1863, inclusive, being captain in his last two years. His fame as a cricketer, though he was quite a useful bat, rested on his slow bowling, his off-break--not by any means so common a gift in the early'60's as it became in later years--proving deadly on slow wickets. He had pleasant recollections of all his big matches at Lord's except the last. Thanks largely to his bowling Harrow beat Eton in one innings in 1858--he took three wickets for 29 runs and six for 49--and Cambridge beat Oxford in 1860, 1861, and 1862. Fortune changed in 1863 when Oxford won by eight wickets, but Sir Henry always contended that winning the toss went far towards losing the game. Three innings and a bit were completed on the first day under very difficult conditions, but the pitch had improved when Oxford went on batting the next morning with about 60 to get. F. G. Inge, who is, I believe, still alive, quickly settled the matter by hitting up 48 not out. Sir Henry was very proud of his eleven in 1862--by far the best Cambridge side of those days--and in Mr. W. J. Ford's book he wrote most entertainingly about the various players. The side which included the Hon. C. G. Lyttleton (now Lord Cobham). A. W. T. Daniel, Robert Lang, the Hon. T. de Grey, M. T. Martin, H. W. Salter, W. Bury, and Clement Booth had not a weak point, and against Oxford at Lord's Lang's fast bowling was irresistible. Cambridge played seven matches that year and won five of them. They were beaten by Buttress's bowling in their opening game against the professionals engaged at Fenner's. After leaving Cambridge Henry Plowden played a little for Hampshire in 1865 and then his career in first-class cricket ended. Taking his B.A. at Cambridge in 1863 he was called to the Bar in 1866 and not long afterwards he went to India. He was Government Advocate at Lahore 1870-77 and Judge of the Chief Court in the Punjab from 1877 to 1894. On his return to England he was as keenly interested as ever in cricket--more especially Harrow and Cambridge cricket--and right on till 1914 he was a constant attendant at Lord's. I never met Sir Henry but he very kindly put me in the way of getting some valuable information about John Wisden for the Almanack of 1913. For Cambridge against Oxford he took in 1860 six wickets for 29 runs and two for 15; in 1861 he met with no success and had 34 runs scored from him; in 1862 he took one wicket for 11 runs and two for 38; and in 1863--the only time he was on the losing side--seven wickets for 25 runs and one wicket for 37. He never appeared for Gentlemen v. Players.

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