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Full name John William Hitch
Born May 7, 1886, Radcliffe, Lancashire
Died July 7, 1965, Rumney, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales (aged 79 years 61 days)
Major teams England, Surrey
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm fast
Other Umpire, Coach
|Test debut||Australia v England at Melbourne, Dec 30, 1911 - Jan 3, 1912 scorecard|
|Last Test||England v Australia at The Oval, Aug 13-16, 1921 scorecard|
|Test debut||India v England at Mumbai, Dec 15-18, 1933 scorecard|
|Last Test||England v South Africa at Leeds, Jul 13-16, 1935 scorecard|
Bill Hitch - known to his followers at The Oval as Billitch - was famous for his unusual, hopping run-up. On his day he was genuinely fast - he once sent a bail flying 55 yards - a lusty lower-order hitter who love nothing more than launching balls out of The Oval, and, in the era before protective clothing, a brilliant and fearless short-leg fielder. He started his career in Cambridgeshire before being spotted by Tom Hayward and signed by Surrey. He toured Australia twice with MCC - in 1911-12 and 1920-21 - without any real success, and his seven Test appearances did not do justice to his ability. In his final Test, against Australia at The Oval in 1921, he cracked 51 in 40 minutes. His best season for Surrey was in 1913 when he took 174 wickets at 18.55. But his hitting is what entertained the crowds. In 1919 at Trent Bridge he hammered 74 in 35 minutes; in 1913 he scored 53 and 68 for the Players against the Gentlemen, including seven sixes; in his benefit match in 1921 he bludgeoned 71 in 50 minutes against Kent. After leaving Surrey he played at Tormorden in the Lancashire League for four seasons, taking 289 wickets at 11.62. He later coached Glamorgan before taking a position with a south Wales company - he continued playing for the works side until he was 60.
Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1914
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