Lionel Palairet

PALAIRET, MR. LIONEL CHARLES HAMILTON, a famous batsman with a singularly graceful style who played for Oxford University, Somerset and England, died on March 27. Somerset by close association--he received his early education at a school at Clevedon--he was born on May 27, 1870 at Grange-over-sands in Lancashire. It was rather curious that, while above all remembered for his graceful and virile batting, he achieved a remarkable bowling performance at the age of ten when in a school match he took seven wickets with consecutive balls. Proceeding to Repton, he was in the eleven there in 1886 and the three following seasons, being captain in 1888 and 1889. In his last year he had a batting average of 29 and took fifty-six wickets for a little more than 12 runs apiece. Going up to Oxford in the autumn of 1889 he sprang into prominence as soon as he appeared by his strikingly beautiful and effortless batting. He played four times in the Varsity match ( 1890-1893) and was captain in the last two years. The most interesting part of Lionel Palairet's history, however, consisted in his career with Somerset, for whom he first played in 1890. The county had not attained first-class rank at that time, but the following season they were admitted to the County Championship. Palairet that season scored 560 runs, with an average of 31, and in 1892 he ranked as one of the great batsmen of the day by scoring 1,343 runs with an average of 31 and appearing for Gentlemen against Players at Lord's. Late in August he and H. T. Hewett--a formidable opening pair--put up a record opening partnership of 346 runs against Yorkshire at Taunton. The two batsmen were together only three hours and a half. Right up to 1907 Palairet--if not always able to play a great deal--remained a leading member of the Somerset eleven. He never went to Australia but played twice for England in 1902. Those games were two of the most thrilling Test Matches in history, Australia winning at Manchester by three runs and England getting home at the Oval by one wicket. In first-class games Palairet hit twenty-seven centuries, his highest innings being 292 against Hampshire in 1896. His best season was that of 1901 when he scored 1,906 runs with an average of 57; he and L. C. Braund made 222 for the first Somerset wicket in the second innings against Yorkshire at Leeds, Palairet obtaining 173. That was a remarkable match, Somerset, going in a second time 238 behind, hitting up a score of 630 and beating Yorkshire by 279 runs. Palairet's cricket for Somerset will never be forgotten. His drives into the river and the churchyard at Taunton are still remembered by those who had the good fortune to see him in such form. He had almost every good quality as a batsman; combining strong defence with fine cutting and driving on either side of the wicket he always shaped in classic style. Essentially a forward player he was handicapped on a soft pitch, but under any conditions he made the off drive in a manner few have approached and no one has surpassed. He represented Oxford in the Three Miles, and played Association football for Combined Universities, London, and Corinthians. In addition he was at one period an ardent follower of hounds. He was president of the Somerset County Cricket Club in 1929.

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