BUTT, HARRY RIGDEN, born at Sands End, Fulham, on December 27, 1865, died at Hastings on December 21, a few days before completing his 63rd year
BUTT, HARRY RIGDEN, born at Sands End, Fulham, on December 27, 1865, died at Hastings on December 21, a few days before completing his 63rd year. He first played for Sussex in 1890, and remained a regular member of the county side until 1912. In the following year he secured a place in the list of first-class umpires. While playing for Sussex, Butt was responsible for the dismissal of 1,202 batsmen, catching 927 behind the wicket, and stumping 274. He also made one catch while fielding at slip. In his first season for Sussex, when playing against Cambridge University at Brighton, he allowed only one bye while the University hit up a total of 703 for nine wickets. In four consecutive games, all at Hove in 1895, he allowed only six byes whilst 1,938 runs were being made. His best season as a batsman was in 1900, when he scored 652 runs for an average of 27. A year later he made his highest score in first class cricket--96 v. Worcestershire at Hove. When he carried out his bat for 74 against Cambridge University, at Cambridge in 1908, he and George Cox added 156 for the last wicket. Short of stature, but very quick on his feet, Butt excelled more in catching than in stumping. His hands, unlike those of some of the most famous wicket-keepers-- Blackham, Pilling, Lyttelton, McGregor, and Strudwick--were badly knocked about, but he maintained his form year after year in remarkable fashion, and he possessed an unsurpassed reputation for fairness. Against Somerset at Brighton in 1900 he made eight catches, and in the game with Kent at Tonbridge in 1899, when Bland took all to wickets, Butt brought off four catches in each innings. In four other matches, all for Sussex, he made six catches in a single innings. In 1894 he represented the Players against the Gentlemen at Hastings, and in 1895-6 toured South Africa as a member of Lord Hawke's team. As wicket-keeper for Sussex he followed Harry Phillips, and he was succeeded by G. B. Street, who early in 1924 met with a fatal accident when motor-cycling. As an umpire Butt ranked very high. He was quiet, but very firm, and was generally respected. Eloquent testimony to the great esteem in which cricketers held him was shown by the action of the First Class County captains at their meeting on December 10. On learning that Butt, owing to illness, did not offer himself for appointment for next season's matches, they asked the secretary of the M.C.C. to write to Butt on their behalf to express their deep regret at the cause of his retirement. He had been a member of the M.C.C.'s ground-staff since 1894, and had been accorded two benefits-- Sussex v. Yorkshire at Hove in 1900 and Middlesex v. Sussex at Lord's in 1928.