Albert Neilson Hornby
February 10, 1847, Brook House, Blackburn, Lancashire
December 17, 1925, Nantwich, Cheshire, (aged 78y 310d)
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Albert Hornby captained Lancashire for 20 years, and played for them for nearly 33. He and his opening partner, Dick Barlow were immortalised in verse by Francis Thomson ("O my Hornby and my Barlowe long ago"), and he provided an ideal attacking foil to Barlow's careful defence. A small man, he compensated for his lack of stature with an excess of energy and earned the nickname "Monkey" although his players always referred to him as "the Boss". A forceful front-foot player, who excelled in the off-drive, he was also a splendid field, and an inspirational captain. It is a measure of his importance to Lancashire's batting that between 1870 and 1881 he was the only player to reach a century for the club - and he did so seven times. In 1881 he topped the national averages, and his 1531 runs included three centuries.
Hornby's Test career was undistinguished - just 21 runs in six innings. He had great difficulty against Spofforth, losing his wicket to him in both innings in his debut Test on the 1878-79 Australian tour, and again at the Oval in 1882 (when he captained the side that lost by seven runs). In his final Test in 1884 he managed to avoid Spofforth, but still made only 0 and 4.
He was also a fine rugby player, representing England nine times and is one of only two men to have captained England at both sports. He was President of Lancashire for many years, and also sat on the MCC committee, AC MacLaren said of him: "no skipper was so genuinely appreciative of good work on the part of his men, or so fearless in his untiring efforts to win the game." His son, AH Hornby, also captained Lancashire.
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