Edward Dillon

DILLON, MR. EDWARD WENTWORTH, whose death at the age of 60 occurred on April 26, was a brilliant left-handed batsman when at Rugby and Oxford University before doing splendid service for Kent, his county experiences extending altogether from 1900 to 1913. He practically finished his county career by his leading Kent to the championship, so repeating an achievement which stood to his name in 1909 and 1910. In this way Dillon surpassed the efforts of any of his Kent predecessors. In fact, not until C. H. B. Marsham succeeded J. R. Mason--an outstanding personality in the game for several years--did Kent first secure the honours in 1906. Yet Mason resumed as leader for the last month of the 1909 season, when Dillon stopped playing for business reasons--often a preventive of continuous cricket for him. These great cricketers had with them K. L. Hutchings--a superb batsman and fieldsman--the brothers S. H. and A. P. Day, Frank Woolley, Humphreys, Colin Blythe--taker of 178 wickets at 14 runs apiece--Arthur Fielder, Fred Huish and D. W. Carr.

Dillon earned early fame by heading the Rugby averages in 1899 and 1900, the second time with 56.36 for 620 runs and a highest innings of 157. He made 110 not out when 190 were hit off in two hours at Lord's and Marlborough were beaten by nine wickets within fifteen minutes of time. He also took six wickets for 84 runs with his slow left-hand bowling. Described in Wisden as the best school batsman of the year having also covered himself with glory for Kent--his average was 36.50 in eight innings-- Dillon maintained his form and seldom disappointed his side when returning to the game after an interval with little practice. A notable example of this was at the Oval in 1913 when he scored 135 in a vain attempt to save his county from defeat.

When he got his Blue as a freshman the University match was drawn, and his best effort was 143 against Somerset when Oxford were hopelessly placed. He proved very useful for Kent, being second in the averages to Mason, with 103 not out his highest score. Despite his fine displays for 85 and 59, Oxford lost at Lord's next year, S. H. Day, his Kent colleague, batting grandly for 117 not out and helping largely towards the Cambridge triumph. After being the chief batsman at Oxford in his second year, Dillon went into business and gave his spells of leisure to Kent cricket. His best years were 1905, average 48.51, and 1906, average 43.23, and he played many of his highest innings as opening batsman. The powerful Yorkshire attack suffered from Dillon's onslaught at Dewsbury in 1910, a grandly hit 138 starting Kent on the road to victory by nine wickets. In the return at Maidstone his vigorous 49 paved the way for a triumph by 178; Colin Blythe and Woolley bowled unchanged in both Yorkshire innings. Altogether in first-class cricket Dillon scored 10,353 runs, average 28.20.

Very free in style, Dillon used his long reach to the best advantage. Going in to meet the ball, he drove straight and to the off with great power and placed his forcing strokes skilfully. He made two tours abroad--to West Indies with B. J. T. Bosanquet's side in 1902 and next year with the Kent team to America.

Dillon took the highest honours in Rugby football. Developing into a splendid three-quarter when playing for Blackheath, he was capped against Scotland, Ireland and Wales in 1904 and next season against Wales.

© John Wisden & Co