John Herbert King
April 16, 1871, Lutterworth, Leicestershire
November 18, 1946, Denbigh, Wales, (aged 75y 216d)
Left hand Bat
Left arm Medium
John King's career extended more than 30 seasons, and even when he finally retire at the age of 54, he continued his association with the game as a first-class umpire for another 11 years. He was a good player of fast bowling, and one who improved with age. He scored two double hundreds - the first in 1914 when 43, the second in 1923 aged 52. He was also a canny legspinner (he took over 1200 wickets) who varied his pace from slow to brisk medium. In his one Test - against Australia in 1909 when 38 - he rather strangely opened the bowling, taking 1 for 99 but having Ransford and Trumper dropped in the same over. In that match he scored 60 in the first innings and was then was unceremoniously dumped after that one outing. In 1906 he was given out `hit the ball twice' against Surrey at The Oval when he stopped the ball rolling into his stumps, and then tried to run a single, the last such dismissal in England.
Martin Williamson (April 2004)
John Herbert King, one of the best left-handed players of his day, died on November 21, aged 75. Born on April 16, 1871, he first appeared for Leicestershire in 1895, but did not assist the side regularly until 1899. As a batsman he displayed much confidence against fast bowling, being particularly effective in cutting and driving. A slow or medium-paced bowler, with a puzzling flight and good length, he required careful watching, while his slip fielding often reached a high standard. In first-class cricket he made over 25,000 runs and took more than 1,200 wickets; in 1912 his aggregates were 1,074, average 22.85, and 130 average 17.63. In the match against Northamptonshire at Leicester in 1913 he made 111 in the first innings and 100 not out in the second. A year later he carried out his bat for 227 against Worcestershire, and in the game with Hampshire at Leicester in 1923, when fifty-two years of age, he scored 205. He may be said to have been unlucky not to have appeared for England in more than one Test--that against Australia at Lord's in 1909, when he scored 60 and 4 and took only one wicket when opening the bowling with George Hirst. Perhaps his best performance was for the Players at Lord's in 1904. Substitute for J. T. Tyldesley, injured, because, as a member of the ground staff, he was at hand when the game was due to start, he played two great innings, 104 and 109 not out, the only instance of a professional making two separate 100's in this match at Lord's, as R. E. Foster and K. S. Duleepsinhji did for the Gentlemen. Two years later at The Oval for the Players he scored 89 not out and 88 and took two wickets. Among his best bowling feats were eight wickets for 17 runs (including seven without the cost of a run in twenty balls) against Yorkshire in 1911, and two hat-tricks--against Sussex at Hove in 1903, and against Somerset at Weston-super-Mare in 1920.
An unusual experience befell King at The Oval in May 1906 when playing against Surrey. Having hit the ball a second time in defence of his wicket, he ran, and on appeal was given out hit the ball twice. For some years he was a first-class umpire
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding
Umpire & Referee