Thomas William Garrett
July 26, 1858, Wollongong, New South Wales
August 06, 1943, Warrawee, Sydney, New South Wales, (aged 85y 11d)
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Thomas William Garrett, the oldest surviving Australian Test player, died at Sydney on August 6, aged 85. A very fine hard-wicket bowler, a capital field, and a punishing if not dependable batsman, he took part in the two matches against James Lillywhite's all-professional team in March and April 1877, after which he came to England with first Australian team in 1878, and also in 1882 and 1886. Thus he served under three different captains--David Gregory, W. L. Murdoch and H. J. H. Scott. When Australia in March 1877 won by 45 runs what years after was styled the first Test match he scored 19 not out and 0, and took two wickets for 81, while in the return, which Lillywhite's team won by four wickets, he scored 12 and 18 but earned no success with the ball. Really his first experience of meeting the full strength of England was in the historic 1882 encounter at the Oval where Australia won by seven runs, but his share in The Ashes triumph was small--12 runs for once out and one wicket for 32 runs.
The 1878 team altogether played as touring side for fourteen months. Opening with a series of matches in Australia, they went through the season in England, then followed with a trip to America, while a second series of games in Australia concluded the enterprise before the side disbanded. The huge programme of seventy-seven engagements was gone through by practically eleven men, for Midwinter, who they hoped would assist them regularly in England, had signed an agreement with Gloucestershire, and, after appearing for the Australians on a few occasions, was carried off from Lord's to the Oval by W. G. Grace and J. A. Bush, and he did not take the field again as a member of the touring side. For that combination in England Garrett claimed 38 wickets for 10 runs apiece in eleven-a-side games--twenty of the fixtures were against odds. His record during the fourteen months in all matches showed 291 wickets for 5 runs each.
Four years later--1882--when contests with 18's and 22's no longer figured on the programme arranged for the Australians, Garrett took 128 wickets for under 14 runs apiece, and in 1886 his record was 123 wickets for something over 18 runs each. Possessed of a nice easy action, he made good use of his height--nearly six feet--and so came fast off the pitch. He bowled above medium-pace and under favourable conditions could turn the ball either way, while he sent down a very telling yorker, but got most of his wickets with the ball which pitched just outside the off-stump and went away slightly. On hard ground many good judges regarded him as more effective than Spofforth or Boyle.
In the 1878 tour he took ten Middlesex wickets at Lord's for 82 runs, and at Prince's he disposed of seven Players of England for 41 runs. Four years later among his best performances were seven Surrey wickets for 31 runs and twelve Kent wickets for 120, while in four matches which the Australians played with Yorkshire 27 wickets fell to him for 9 runs apiece. In 1886 his successes included seven wickets for 40 against Lord Sheffield's XI, seven for 47 in the first of two games with Gentlemen of England, seven for 84 against Yorkshire, and seven for 82 at Bradford against the Players. In nineteen matches for Australia against England he took 36 wickets and scored 340 runs.
During his three visits to England Garrett's highest innings was 59 against Northumberland in 1882; at Sydney in 1885 his 51 not out contributed largely to Australia beating England by six runs. In his 35th year, when the Sheffield Shield was instituted in 1892, he appeared for New South Wales in only seventeen competition matches, scoring 776 runs, highest innings 131, average 26.75 but taking only five wickets at the very high cost of 62 runs apiece.
Born at Woolongong, near Sydney, on July 26, 1858, Garrett was educated at Newington College, Sydney, and at Sydney University, where he earned distinction as a sprinter. A solicitor by profession, he held the position of Public Trustee in Sydney. On the occasion of his diamond wedding celebration on March 25, 1939, the M.C.C. sent him a congratulatory message on behalf of all cricketers in England, where he enjoyed great popularity, as he did in Australia.
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