Henry Martyn

MARTYN, MR. HENRY, born at Lifton, Devon on July 16, 1877, died at Dawlish on August 8. In style and execution he was one of the finest wicket-keepers ever seen in first-class cricket. Tall, and possessed of long arms and a beautiful pair of hands, he almost invariably stood close up to the fastest bowlers, and, even so, made singularly few mistakes. Going up to Oxford from Exeter Grammar School, he played in the Freshmen's match in 1897. He was in the Oxford eleven in 1899 and 1900, and then it was obvious that a great wicket-keeper had been discovered. In 1900 he enjoyed the distinction of playing for the Gentlemen at Lord's, in the match in which R. E. Foster, his captain, scored 102 not out and 136, and the Players, set to make 501 in the last innings, won by two wickets. He played his first match for Somerset in 1901, and was a regular member of the county eleven until 1906. After that he played only one more match for Somerset, when in fulfilment of a long-standing promise he turned out in 1908 in Braund's benefit match against Surrey at Bath. He did great work for Somerset, developing into a very good batsman, but his chief claims to remembrance rested on his appearances for the Gentlemen against the Players at Lord's. He was in the team in 1903, 1905 and 1906, and on this last occasion stood up to W. Brearley and N. A. Knox when those two famous fast bowlers were really terrifying in their pace. Bowling quite so fast as that of Knox had not been seen in a Gentlemen and Players match since C.J. Kortright appeared in 1898. Martyn had no hand in the disposal of any of the Players, but he kept wicket magnificently, taking Knox's bowling on the first afternoon with the ease and certainty of a Blackham or a Pilling. Splendid wicket-keeper though he was, Martyn never had the good fortune to play in a Test match, Lilley, of Warwickshire, being in his prime when the Australians were here in 1902 and 1905. In his two inter-University matches he scored 27 and 9 not out in 1899, and 94 and 35 a year later. In making his 94, he hit sixteen 4's, reached 50 in twenty-five minutes, and with J. W. F. Crawfurd added 60 in twenty minutes. When Somerset followed-on against the Australians at Bath in 1905, he made some splendid on-drives in scoring 130 not out; he and Braund obtained 146 for the first wicket in an hour and a half. Before beginning to assist Somerset, Martyn had played for both Devon and Cornwall.

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