Obituary

Thomas Case

ESPNcricinfo staff

CASE, MR. Thomas (Rugby and Oxford University), born at Liverpool, July 14, 1844, died at Falmouth on October 31. Giving up the game at twenty-four he was only a name to the present generation of cricketers, but in his young days he was a first-rate batsman. He was in the Rugby eleven in 1862 and 1863, the school being at that time very rich in cricket talent. Going up to Oxford he gained his Blue as a Freshman and was in R. A. H. Mitchell's winning teams at Lord's in 1864-5. Owing to a damaged hand--injured at Southgate two days earlier--he could not play in the University match in 1866, but he reappeared in the finely-contested game won by Cambridge by five wickets--in the following year. He did not do much in his three matches against Cambridge, his scores being 13 and 5, 17 and 25, and 24 and 19. While at Rugby he hit up an innings of 170 against the Anomalies.

Mr. Case was associated with Middlesex in the earliest days of the County Club, appearing on and off from 1864 to 1868. For Middlesex in 1864 he made his highest score in first-class cricket, and in connection with the feat an interesting story may be recalled. Middlesex met the M.C.C. twice and in the first match--at Lord's they were bowled out by Wootton and Jimmy Grundy for 20, suffering defeat in the end by five wickets. The second match came a week later at the Cattle Market Ground at Islington and R. A. FitzGerald, though he changed over to the Middlesex team himself, naturally chose the M.C.C. eleven. According to old Tom Hearne he gave no thought to change bowling, feeling sure from what had happened at Lord's that Grundy and Wootton would do all that was necessary. He was rudely disillusioned. Middlesex scored 411, made the M.C.C. follow on, and won the game in a single innings. Tom Hearne got 125 and Mr. Case 116. As he said to me years afterwards in telling the story of the two matches, Tom Hearne had no fear of Grundy away from Lord's, where in those far-off days the most harmless looking ball might end up as a dead shooter.

All through his long life Mr. Case was a prominent figure at Oxford, being Professor of Moral Philosophy and President of Corpus Christi College. He had been both Treasurer and President of the Oxford University C.C., and his history of the Club in The Jubilee Book of Cricket was a contribution of the first importance. In an exhaustive notice of him in The Times it was said that his death would be mourned by innumerable pupils of all ages. His eldest son, Mr. T. B. Case, was in the Winchester eleven in 1887-9 and in the Oxford eleven in 1891 and 1892. Another son--Mr. W. S. Case. who died in 1922--also played for Winchester.

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