Rory James Hamilton-Brown
September 03, 1987, Wellington Hospital, London
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
It might have been his double-barrelled name, his carefree approach to the game, his prominent cheekbones or the fact that he was handpicked to become - at 22 - Surrey's youngest captain for 138 years but life appeared too easy for Rory Hamilton-Brown. Then, the death of close friend Tom Maynard on a railway line near Wimbledon in June 2012 drew a cloud over his career that he never recovered from. A wrist injury forced him to retire aged just 27.
Following Maynard's death, it was unclear whether Hamilton-Brown would remain in cricket. He sought solace at his first county, Sussex, who he joined on a three-year contract for the 2013 season. Rewards did not come easily in his first two years, leaving him with a sizeable challenge to rediscover a fulfilling and successful career. But a wrist injury in the middle of the 2014 campaign required surgery and Hamilton-Brown was ultimately unable to recover.
A crisp-hitting middle-order batsman and steady offspin bowler Hamilton-Brown was a gifted cricketer who was tipped for international honours by those taken by his cavalier style. He was a controversial choice when Chris Adams, Surrey's coach, recruited him from Sussex to take charge. Faced with a dressing room packed with volatile and sceptical pros his first job was to win support. That he did with a steady first season and in 2011, Hamilton-Brown led Surrey to both the 40-over title and promotion to Division One of the Championship with a strong late-season surge.
That was enough to settle questions about his leadership. The captaincy did, by his own assessment, set his batting back a touch but he remained a positive strokemaker, ever keen to take the aggressive route. He blossomed as a limited-overs opener and was also starting to prosper in the middle-order in four-day cricket before tragic circumstances set him back.
Hamilton-Brown, another product of Millfield School, also played rugby union for Harlequins and England juniors. But cricket is where his pedigree lies. His godfather is Dennis Amiss and Hamilton-Brown has been associated with Surrey throughout his formative years. He made his Second XI debut in 2004 as a 16-year-old, scoring 84 against Sussex. Sensing limited opportunities in a Surrey side that was packed with gnarled seniors, Hamilton-Brown first moved to Sussex in 2008 where he grew under Adams' guidance before rejoining his mentor at Surrey.
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