Obituary

Percy Jones

JONES, MR. SAMUEL PERCY, who died at Auckland, New Zealand, on July 14, in his 90th year, was then the oldest Test cricketer and the last survivor of the side which beat England in the 'Ashes' Test Match at The Oval in 1882, Australia's first victory in England.

Educated at Sydney Grammar School and Sydney University, he toured England four times, in 1882, 1886, 1888 and 1890. A sound batsman with good defence, he was also a brilliant fieldsman and useful change bowler. Before he reached the age of 20, he made a century for New South Wales against Victoria. His most successful tour was that of 1886, when he finished second in the averages and made 151 at The Oval against the Gentlemen, a feat for which he was presented in the Committee Room at Lord's with a gold watch and chain as a souvenir from Australian friends. In twelve Test Matches against England he scored 428 runs with an average of 21.40.

Having settled in Queensland, Jones toured New Zealand with that State's team in 1896-97. In 1904 he went to live in New Zealand. playing for Auckland in 1904-5 and 1905-6. He afterwards paid only one brief visit to Australia and he never saw Bradman bat.

During the 1882 Oval Test, Jones was concerned in an incident which caused great controversy. In the Australian second innings Murdoch played a ball to leg and with Jones, his partner, ran a single. The Hon. A. Lyttelton, the English wicket-keeper, chased the ball and returned it to the striker's end, where Dr. W. G. Grace, who had moved up from slip, took it. Jones, apparently thinking the ball was dead, moved out of his ground to pat the soft pitch, and Grace put down the wicket, the umpire giving Jones out. Several of the Australians felt very bitter about Grace's action, and many people thought that the ball should have been considered dead, since it had settled in the hands of Grace, who might for the moment have been considered to be in the position of wicket-keeper. Others maintained that Grace's action was quite justified and within the law and spirit of cricket.

That the affair left Jones without ill-will was illustrated a few years before his death. Of W. G. Grace, whom he described as a great sportsman and cricketer, he said: "I never saw him leave alone any ball outside the off stump. He either cut or drove them."

He liked to recall his early days in cricket, comparing the comparatively meagre expenses then allowed in inter-Colonial cricket with those received by modern players. "Yet," he said, "1 am game to wager that we had more real enjoyment during those times than the financed ones have to-day. Twice daily we practised, with no restrictions as to 'a modest quencher.' I shall always remember breakfasting at Magdalen College before our first match of the 1882 tour. Champagne cup was sent round with monotonous regularity, with old Oxford Ale as a sort of topper to the function."

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