Frank Townsend


TOWNSEND, MR. FRANK, died in King's College Hospital after an operation, on December 25. Mr. Townsend's death--he had long been in failing health--brought back recollections of the great days of Gloucestershire cricket. There has never been anything quite like those old matches at Clifton and Cheltenham. Many fine players helped the Graces to take Gloucestershire to the top of the tree and Frank Townsend was one of the best of them--a fine, free hitting bat, an untiring field, and on occasions a useful bowler with his lobs. An original member of the county club he took part in the first county match, against Surrey at Bristol, in 1870, and he went on playing for over twenty seasons. During all that time he kept up his form so well that so late as 1888 he scored 66 and 92 against the Australians at Clifton. His highest score was 136 against Sussex at Cheltenham in 1873. He was as keen and enthusiastic a cricketer as the Graces themselves, and devoted to W. G. Not long after his retirement he had the satisfaction of seeing his son, Charles Townsend, do great things for Gloucestershire, but, except in 1895, not for anything like such a successful side as the old eleven. It is worth remembering that, beginning in 1870, Gloucestershire did not lose a match at home till the first Australian team beat them at Clifton in 1878. Frank Townsend was picked by the Surrey committee for Gentlemen against Players at the Oval in 1874 and in his first innings made 59--the top score for his side. Naturally anxious to do himself justice he played with unusual caution against some splendid bowling by Allen Hill--then at his very best. Frank Townsend was born on October 17, 1847, being a year and three months older than W. G. Grace.

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