February 13, 1898, Calcutta (now Kolkata), Bengal, India
June 17, 1979, Wealdside, South Weald, Essex, (aged 81y 124d)
Also Known As
Sir Hubert Ashton
Right hand bat
One of the inexplicable decisions of 1921 was the refusal by the Test selectors to try Hubert Ashton in the series against the powerful Australians. England used thirty players in those five Test matches, but overlooked Ashton, one of three brilliant games-playing brothers, despite his innings of 107 retired hurt in 140 minutes for Cambridge University before the second Test. Wisden recorded that 'it was the general opinion that up to this point of the season no-one had played McDonald so well'. He made 90 against Armstrong's men before the fifth Test, 75 at Eastbourne in MacLaren's famous victory over the touring team, and 65 for the South, but was destined never to play in a Test. Instead, he devoted his life to business (in the East for a number of years), playing for Essex when on leave and averaging 40 in first-class cricket, and then to public life.
Sir Hubert Ashton, MC, who died on June 17, aged 81, became Conservative MP for Chelmsford in 1950 and held his seat until 1964. During that time he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Lord Privy Seal, and the Home Secretary. In 1927 he married Dorothy, a sister of Labour party leader Hugh Gaitskell. His association with cricket was retained through 22 years as president of Essex from 1948, and the office of MCC president 1960-61, when the ICC had to deal with the difficulties of South Africa's withdrawal from the Commonwealth and automatic expulsion from the Conference. His energies were spread also to the activities of High Sheriff of Essex and Church Commissioner.
In a sense, though, the glittering days were immediately after the Great War, in which Ashton, straight from Winchester, had served in the Royal Field Artillery. In 1921 Cambridge were led at Lord's by Gilbert Ashton; in 1922 by Hubert; in 1923 by Claude, brother handing down to brother. After a duck in the 1920 Varsity match (b Robertson-Glasgow), Hubert made 118 in 1921 and 90 not out in 1922 (Chapman a century), both matches being won by an innings.
David Frith, Wisden Cricket Monthly
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