Albert Edwin Trott
February 06, 1873, Abbotsford, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
July 30, 1914, Willesden Green, Middlesex, (aged 41y 174d)
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Right arm slow
From 'The Cricketer'
Rumbustious, ill-fated Albert Trott of Victoria, Australia, Middlesex and England was born 100 years ago on February 6, but the centenary passed all but unnoticed. This is not entirely surprising since Trott, who created many a vivid memory for opponents and spectators alike, was apt to be forgotten when it mattered most. The Australian selectors forgot him - or ignored him - when they picked their team for England in 1896, though only a year earlier he had burst into Test cricket with unparalleled force. He so far forgot himself in his benefit match in 1907 that he took four wickets in four balls and then the hat-trick, winding up proceedings foolishly early at a time when people were prepared to roll up in their thousands to pay cash tribute to a stalwart of county cricket - as long as the match lasted. And the forlorn, untended mound which is his grave at Willesden is the decisive pointer to the final neglect into which Albert Trott's name was to fall. His brother, G. H. S. (Harry), was already a powerful influence in Australian cricket when young Albert was given his colours and played in the last three Tests in Australia in 1894-95. He took 8 for 43 and scored 38 and 72, both not out, at Adelaide. At Sydney he batted only once and made 85, again undefeated; oddly, this time he had no chance to bowl. Then in the series climax at Melbourne his figures were rationalised with ten for twice out and one wicket for plenty. Still he stands highest in the batting averages for Australia v England with 102.5. And some would argue that this is not altogether such a freak or exaggeration as it seems. Whatever his loss of form in the next year, he should have been in Harry Trott's side to England; but he was not, and we shall never know the real reason. Instead, he came independently, encouraged by Jim Phillips, the umpire/talent scout; Middlesex were soon to be grateful. In 1899, the year he hit M. A. Noble over the Lord's pavilion, he passed 1000 runs and took 239 wickets. In 1900 he did much the same, and was acknowledged as just about the finest allround cricketer on earth. His batting was powerful, boisterous, and never quite as dependable after the monstrous blow off Noble. His massive hands held practically everything within reach. And his bowling, slung with a round-arm delivery, contained most of the arts. Warning against his fast ball was seldom sufficient insurance, and his slower ball had batsmen fanning at air. He actually played for England - on the tour of South Africa in 1898-99, when he left his mark with 17 wickets at less than twelve apiece in the two Test matches; but as the seasons went by, his body spread under the effects of ale - often taken along the boundary from admiring spectators - and from dropsy, which also induced melancholia. He became an umpire in 1910, but by 1914, living alone in digs, `Albatrott' had had enough. He wrote a will on the back of a laundry ticket, leaving his wardrobe and £4 in cash to the landlady. Then he shot himself. We are now passing through years that are dotted with centenaries of Golden Age cricketers. None of them was remotely comparable to Albert Edwin Trott.
David Frith, The Cricketer, March 1973
Albert Edwin Trott shot himself at his lodgings, Denbigh Road, Willesden Green, on July the 30th. He had been very ill for some time without hope of recovery and, finding the monotony of life in hospital intolerable, he thought a pistol shot the best way out. His death, in his 42nd year, was indeed a tragedy. At his best, Albert Trott was one of the greatest all-round men of his time. The misfortune was that he declined in skill so soon after reaching his highest point. There is nothing unkind in the statement that he ought to have had a much longer career. Born in Melbourne on the 6th of February, 1873, he sprang into fame by reason of his splendid cricket against Mr. Stoddart's England Eleven in the winter of 1894-5. At that time he was the most promising young cricketer in Australia. Against the Englishmen in eleven-a-side matches he scored 331 runs in nine innings and took 19 wickets. His greatest success was gained in the Test match at Adelaide in which he scored 38 and 72, both times not out, and took in the last innings of the game eight wickets for 43 runs. In the fourth Test match of the tour, played at Sydney, he scored 86 not out, but on a bad wicket his bowling was not required. It was taken for granted in this country that Albert Trott would come to England with the team captained by his brother in 1896 but, for some reason which has never been properly explained, he was not selected. Having been thus passed over by his own people, he came to England on his own account and, as everyone knows, qualified in due course for Middlesex. While qualifying for the county he played for the M. C. C., and in 1897 he had a record of 48 wickets for just over 14 runs each. In 1898 he began to play for Middlesex. Injuring his hand very badly in May, he lost a month's cricket and could not, when he started playing, do himself justice. However, when the injury had healed he lost no time in asserting himself, he and J. T. Hearne bowling in such irresistible form that in August Middlesex won eight matches out of nine and drew the other. In the whole season Trott took for Middlesex 102 wickets.
Following this good beginning, Trott went to the top of the tree, 1899 and 1900 being his greatest years. It would have been hard indeed in those two seasons to find a better all-round man. In first-class matches in 1899 he scored 1,175 runs and took 239 wickets, and in 1900 his figures came out at 1,337 runs and 211 wickets. Thanks to his bowling, his hard hitting, and brilliant fielding, and also his strong personality, he became for the time more popular at Lord's than any other professional. In those days his bowling was extraordinarily good and quite individual. Appreciably lower in delivery than most Australian bowlers, he had plenty of spin, but he depended less on break than upon an endless variety of pace. He rarely bowled two balls alike, and he could whip in his yorker at a tremendous speed. A long and very bright career seemed before him, but, unhappily, he soon began to fall off. Even in 1901, though he took 176 wickets, he was not quite the man he had been, and from that time he steadily declined. Becoming heavy and muscle-bound, he could no longer bowl the extra fast ball that had been so deadly, and batsmen ceased to fear him. In 1902-3-4 he still bowled well, but after 1904 he was only a shadow of his former self. In his benefit match against Somerset at Lord's on Whit-Monday, 1907, he came out with a last flash of greatness, taking four wickets in four balls, and finishing the game by doing the hat trick a second time in the same innings. This was a feat without precedent in first-class cricket. Trott played for Middlesex for the last time in 1910. His active career as a cricketer over, he became one of the county umpires, giving up the work early last season. His health was then so bad that he could go on no longer. One fact in Trott's career must not be forgotten. He was the only batsman who ever hit a ball over the present pavilion at Lord's. The great hit was made off Noble's bowling in a match between the M. C. C. and the Australians in 1899. Near the wicket, Trott was one of the best fieldsmen of his day, few catches that could be reached escaping his capacious hands. Appended are Trott's records in first-class cricket in England from 1898 to 1907.
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