William John Fairservice
May 16, 1881, Nunhead, London
June 26, 1971, Canterbury, Kent, (aged 90y 41d)
Right hand bat
Right arm medium, Right arm offbreak
William John Fairservice, who died on June 26, aged 90, played as a professional off-break bowler of medium pace for Kent from 1902 to 1921. In normal circumstances, he could well have achieved greater fame; but, with such noted bowlers as Colin Blythe and Frank Woolley as team-mates, his opportunities were limited. Not till after the First World War, indeed, did he command a regular place in the county side and the only season in which he took 100 wickets was that of 1920. That summer he dismissed 113 batsmen at a cost of 17.46 runs apiece, showing his ability on rain-affected pitches by earning match-figures of 10 wickets for 58 runs against Surrey at Blackheath and nine wickets for 62 runs against Worcestershire at Tonbridge.
His first victim in first-class cricket was no less a person than Dr. W. G. Grace, whom he bowled twice in a match with M.C.C. at Lord's in 1903, and altogether he took 750 wickets at an average cost of 25.64 runs and brought off 112 catches. He was also a useful tail end batsman, averaging 15.23 for 4,920 runs. For a few years after leaving Kent, he played for Northumberland and then coached at Tonbridge, Malvern and Lancing before becoming scorer to Kent Second XI, a position he occupied till he retired at the age of 87. When over 80, he often bowled in the nets at King's School, Canterbury, where his son, who played for Kent, was sports master.
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