Albert ('Harold') Gilligan

GILLIGAN, ALBERT HERBERT HAROLD, A.F.C., who died on May 5, aged 81, was the youngest and the last survivor of three distinguished cricketing brothers. Frank, the eldest, captained Oxford and played for Essex, Arthur was a notable captain of Sussex and England. Harold was in the Dulwich XI for three years and captain in the last, 1915. In 1914 he made the highest score then recorded for the school, 190 v Bedford Grammar School. Coming into the Sussex side in 1919, he played for them continuously until 1931 and, after often captaining them in his brother's absence, was the official captain in 1930. In 1924-25 he was a member of S. B. Joel's unofficial side to South Africa, captained by the Hon. L. H. Tennyson, and in 1929-30, when his brother Arthur, after accepting an invitation to captain the MCC team to Australia and New Zealand, had to withdraw owing to ill-health, he was appointed to take his place.

One can pay him no higher compliment than to say that as a leader he was no less popular than his brother both with his own side and with the opposition: moreover he showed himself a shrewd captain on the field. This, though stronger than any previous English side in New Zealand, was still far short of an England side: it contained only three players who took part in the Tests in England in 1930. The captain himself had a good tour, batting particularly well in the preliminary matches in Australia. But it must be admitted that, taking his career as a whole, he was a disappointing batsman. A beautiful stylist, he would constantly through impetuously get out to a terrible stroke just when he seemed set for a big score and, though as time went on, with much help from Albert Relf, to whose coaching he admitted a great debt, he became sounder and more consistent, he never wholly cured himself of this fault.

His figures tell their own tale. His average for his career with Sussex was only 17, he made only one century, 143 v Derbyshire at Hove in 1929, and only in three seasons, 1923, 1927 and 1929, did he score 1,000 runs. His figures for 1923 must constitute some kind of record: in 70 innings he scored 1,186 runs with an average of 17.70 and a highest score of 68. At this period he was regularly opening the batting with Bowley. Apart from his batting he was one of the great cover-points of his day and in his early years did useful work as a slow leg-spinner. After the Second War he became active behind the scenes in Surrey cricket. He served on the Committee, was for a time Honorary Treasurer and later was a Vice-President. His daughter, Virginia, married Peter May.

© John Wisden & Co