James Seymour

SEYMOUR, JAMES, an indispensable member of the great Kent elevens before the War, was born at Brightling, in Sussex, on October 25, 1879, and died at Marden on September 30, aged 50. He played for Kent through long residence at Pembury. Like Humphreys, whose name is inevitably associated with his own, he never rose to the highest standard of representative cricket for in his day that standard was very high but as a county player he was in the highest class. In August during any of Kent's halcyon years, when room had to be found for so many great amateur players, it must have been almost impossible to decide on what actually was Kent's best team, but Seymour could never be left out. He was not a classic batsman--even in those days his stance was too modern--but he possessed many strokes both skilful and attractive. His flash past cover-point was a thing of special delight, and if he did not always appear sure of himself in playing fast bowling, he was a wonderfully watchful player of the ball on a turning wicket. As a slip fieldsman he ranked withthe greatest in that position, the combination of Huish, Seymour, J. R. Mason, R. N. R. Blaker, and K. L. Hutchings behind the wicket being one difficult to surpass. Whilst fielding there he caught six South Africans in an innings at Canterbury in 1904. He never took part in a Test and appeared in only three Gentlemen v. Players matches, in the first of which--at the Oval in 1913--he made 80 in his second innings. In 1900 he was engaged to play for the London County Cricket Club and an innings of 66 not out which he made in that year for Kent Club and Ground against Gravesend gained for him the offer of a place on the ground staff at Tonbridge. There he developed his skill considerably through the coaching of the late Capt. W. McCanlis. His first season as a regular of the Kent team was in 1902 and from then until 1927 he was a regular member of the side. When in 1906 Kent won the County Championship, he scored 1,096 runs and was the leading professional batsman of the eleven and in 1913 he had a great season, finishing up with an aggregate of 2,088 runs and an average of 38. He scored fifty-three centuries during his career and twice made a three-figure innings in each innings of a match--against Worcestershire at Maidstone in 1904 and against Essex at Leyton in 1923. He played a great innings against Hampshire at Tonbridge in 1907, his 204 setting up a new record for Kent, and twice subsequently again exceeded the second hundred, scoring 218 not out v. Essex at Leyton in 1911 and 214 against the same county at Tunbridge Wells three years later. Only Woolley and Hardinge have played more three-figure innings for Kent and in all matches for the county, including those in the American tour of 1903, he scored 27,064 runs with an average of 32. His benefit was against Hampshire at Canterbury in 1920, and arising from it was the case--brought to the House of Lord's--that established the right of the cricket benefit, unless guaranteed by contract, to be free from tax. After he had dropped out of first-class cricket he accepted an engagement as coach at Epsom College. He was brother of John Seymour who played for Sussex.

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