Michael Richard Barton
October 14, 1914, East Dereham, Norfolk
July 01, 2006 (aged 91y 260d)
Right hand Bat
Winchester College; Oxford University
Michael Barton's career can be divided into distinct halves, bisected neatly by the war. Between 1935 and 1937 he appeared 28 times for Oxford University, winning Blues in 1936 and 1937. When he left university his first-class career appeared over - he joined Dunlop and played his cricket for Norfolk. But in the post-war years Surrey were struggling for a captain and Errol Holmes, who led them in 1947, approached Barton and asked him to share the role with him. "It was extraordinary really," Barton reflected. "I was only playing occasional club cricket and I'd never captained a side in my life." A sceptical dressing room was won over by his quiet charm and three hundreds in his first four matches, and Surrey ended one victory short of winning the title. Barton took over in sole charge in 1949, and in 1950 they won their first Championship since 1914. Stuart Surridge took over the captaincy in 1952 as Surrey began their extraordinary run of titles while Barton slipped quietly back into the shadows. He played one final time for Surrey, against his old university in 1954, scoring an unbeaten 58 from No. 9. He became a commodity trader in the City, retaining his links with Surrey and becoming their president in 1983.
Of his captaincy Wisden wrote: "Barton had considerable batting ability but was a dreamy captain. He was as unobtrusive as Gower. He fielded in the slips, and the picture lingers of him meandering down the pitch after each over and of his rule of thumb bowling changes. Starting in the field at 11.30 he used to take off his No. 2 opening bowler, usually Parker or Surridge, at 11.55 and his No. 1, Alec Bedser, at 12.15."
Batting & Fielding