Percy Perrin

MR. PERCY A. PERRIN.-The best batsman in the Essex eleven has one thing in common with Mr. Spooner, his first county match having afforded convincing evidence of his class. Apart from this one fact, the two cricketers could hardly have arrived at the same goal by roads wider apart. Spooner had all the advantage of skilled coaching at a public school, whereas Perrin learnt his batting amid the very different surroundings of club cricket at Tottenham. Such, however, is the force of natural ability, that when the opportunity came, Perrin was almost as well prepared as Spooner three years later to make the most of it. He made his first appearance for Essex in a match against Surrey, at the Oval, in May, 1896, being at that time just under twenty years of age. No more trying occasion could have been selected for his dèbut, inasmuch as he had to face Tom Richardson-then at the height of his powers, and the terror of nearly all the best batsmen both in England and Australia. Perrin was bowled by Richardson in both innings, but at his second attempt he made 52 runs in such style as to delight everyone who saw him play. Those who knew most about him in local cricket felt certain he was good enough for the Essex eleven, but they were, perhaps, hardly prepared for such immediate success. Perrin soon confirmed this form by playing other fine innings, his highest being 139 against Warwickshire, and he finished up second in the Essex averages at the end of the season, only H. G. Owen being above him. In those early days of his career he was essentially a forward player, and to be seen to real advantage he required a fast wicket. Experience soon taught him that something more was needed for county cricket, and without losing any of his hitting power he gradually mastered the art of back play and became one of the great batsmen of the day. He has never looked back, every season since 1896 having happily found him in form. A record of his big scores for Essex would fill a page of this volume. With great advantages of height and reach, Perrin has a method of batting in which it would be difficult to point out a fault. He does everything so easily that in watching him one is more conscious of style than of strength. The men whose fate it is to field at mid-off and long-off when he is getting a hundred, appreciate most keenly the tremendous force of his driving. Among English batsmen at the present time there is no cleaner hitter. In virtue of his batting he ought, before this, to have played for England against Australia, but, as regards representative matches, there is one thing that stands in his way. He has no brilliant qualities as a fieldsman. He holds the catches that come his way, but he cannot make opportunities for himself. Rather slow on his feet, he seems to lack entirely the born fieldsman's power of anticipating the direction of a hit, and, though his positive mistakes are few, he rarely or never does anything out of the common. But for this one deficiency he would be worth a place in any eleven in the world. He was born on the 26th May, 1876.

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