Percival Albert Perrin
May 26, 1876, Abney Park, Stoke Newington, London
November 20, 1945, Hickling, Norfolk, (aged 69y 178d)
Right hand bat
Percival Albert Perrin, the famous Essex batsman, best known in recent years as a member of the Test selection committee of which he was elected chairman in 1939, died at his home at Hickling, Norfolk, on November 20, after a long illness, aged 69. Essentially a natural cricketer, Perrin improved his skill both in stroke play and defence until he became a very consistent scorer and a real personality whom spectators watched with interest and admiration. Without any training except honest knowledge of batting gained in club cricket at Tottenham, Perrin first appeared for Essex in 1896 when less than twenty years of age. No trial could have been more severe, for he faced at the Oval such notable bowlers as Tom Richardson, the fast bowler then at his best, Bill Lockwood and Tom Hayward--that season top of the Surrey bowling averages. In an uphill fight Perrin scored 52. Almost as a coincidence he finished his active cricket career with 51 against Oxford University at Colchester in 1928, when, 52 years old, he reappeared in the Essex side as captain, though he practically retired three years earlier.
Always reliable, he scored over a thousand runs in 18 different seasons, and altogether made 29,709 runs at an average of 35.96. He played 66 three-figure innings, four times making a century twice in a match, and in 1903 was credited with a hundred in three consecutive innings. Next year he dwarfed all his other efforts by putting together 343 not out, but a total of 597 at Chesterfield did not suffice to save Essex, Derbyshire, thanks to G. A. Olliviere (229 and 92), winning by nine wickets. Such was the force of his strokes, mainly drives, that there were 68 four's in that magnificent display, a remarkable achievement, for, by comparison, A. C. MacLaren hit no more than 62 fours in his record 424 made at Taunton in 1895.
Over six feet in height Percy Perrin, Peter to his intimate friends, largely relied on forward play until acquiring knowledge of the wiles of the best spin bowlers and then he used defensive back strokes with power enough to earn runs and continued to increase his value as a consistent batsmen of high quality. Regularly going in first wicket down, he often met the full brunt of a hostile attack. In that first season by making 50 when F. L. Fane and Carpenter failed he helped largely towards a six wickets victory over Yorkshire, the champion county. With his first century, 139 at Edgbaston, Perrin then made his aggregate the best for Essex, and only H. G. Owen, the captain, had a better average. Next to him as a dangerous opponent was Charles McGahey, also six feet tall, and the Essex Twins compelled respect from all county rivals. Both of powerful physique they kept fieldsmen in front of the wicket very busy and in matter of style Perrin was the superior. As proved when first tried in county cricket Perrin showed to special advantage against fast bowlers who often put three or four fieldsmen in the deep in the effort to check the Essex giant's driving. While his batting was of a quality often described as faultless, one defect in his cricket hindered his progress to representative cricket. Often he was described as the best batsman who never played for England and the explanation was--inability to field with any spark of speed. Heavy on his feet, he could not move quickly to the ball, and this deficiency, though he would hold any catch within his long reach, prevented him from ever appearing in a Test match or for Gentlemen against Players.
Of quiet, even retiring disposition, Percy Perrin possessed a keen knowledge of the game with clever appreciation of a player's ability. Of this merit advantage was taken by his election to the Selection Committee of which he became chairman in 1939 when Sir Pelham Warner resigned. With him were Brian A. Sellers, A. J. Holmes and M. J. Turnbull. The Glamorgan captain fell a war victim in August 1944, and, consequently, the Yorkshire and Sussex 1939 captains were the two survivors of the Committee when the visit from India was in preparation.
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