Obituary

George Longman

ESPNcricinfo staff

LONGMAN, MR. GEORGE HENRY, died on August 19, aged 86. An enthusiastic cricketer, he retained a close interest in the game until the end of his life. At Eton he was in the XI for four years, 1868 to 1871; captain in his last year. At Cambridge, Longman got his blue as a Freshman and played against Oxford four times from 1872 to 1875. With a score of 80 he helped to beat Oxford by an innings and 166 runs in his first University match. Longman and A.S. Tabor, another Eton Freshman, put up the hundred for the first wicket, then a record for this engagement.

Mr. Longman writing about" My Years at Cambridge" in the 1929 Wisden said regarding that match--"An ardent Oxonian was sitting in the pavilion and up to him came another Oxonian with the eager question: ' Well, how is it going?' ' Going,' replied his friend, 'there are two -- little freshmen in, and they've got the 100 up without a wicket.'" Oxford were very strong at that time and in the three following years, twice as Cambridge captain, Longman was on the losing side.

Longman played for the Gentlemen at Lord's in 1875 and on subsequent occasions- he was an excellent batsman, possessing beautiful style. Very keen on fielding, he enjoyed the reputation of having greatly improved this important part of the game at Cambridge. No doubt he was influenced in this effort by the fact that in his first match for Eton at Lord's he was run out twice, while his big performances for Cambridge came to a similar end- How good he was in the field may be imagined from the following description given in Wisden of the catch which dismissed Allan Hill, the Yorkshire fast bowler, in the Gentlemen and Players match at Prince's in 1876- " The innings was ended at long-field-on by 'the catch of the season' made by Mr. Longman, who was then fielding at deep long off, close up to the people in front of the new road in course of formation- With body bent back over some of the visitors, and right arm extended still farther over, he caught and held the ball with that right hand in such grand style that a roar of admiring cheers rang out, and all who witnessed it agreed it was the finest catch they had seen that season- It was hard lines for Hill to suffer defeat from so fine a drive but his consolation must be he suffered from a catch in a thousand." Longman himself described how " A. P. Lucas and I both went for it. I called out ' Mine' just in time to prevent a collision. The ball came fairly into my right hand."

After leaving the University he played cricket for Hampshire for some years. He joined the Surrey Club in 1894, became president in 1926, a position he held for three years, after which he exchanged offices with Mr. H. D. G. Leveson Gower, and remained honorary treasurer until his death, which came in his sleep. He played golf on the previous day.

© John Wisden & Co