Fred Martin

Frederick Martin, the Kent bowler, was born at Dartford, on October 12th, 1861, and has been associated all his life with his native county. As long ago as May, 1882, he was tried for the Colts of Kent against the County Eleven at Gravesend, but though he made a single appearance for the county in 1885, it was not until 1886 that he first came prominently before the public. In that year he took in half-a-dozen county matches twenty-nine wickets for less than 10 runs each, and from that time he has been a regular member of the county team. In the first-class county matches in 1888 he took sixty wickets at a cost of 11.12 each; in 1889 eighty-one wickets for 13.61; and in 1890 eighty-eight wickets for 14.40. In this latter year he put the seal on his reputation. In the absence of Briggs and Peel he was selected to play for England against Australia at the Oval, and the choice could scarcely have been more abundantly justified, his performance of taking twelve wickets at a cost of 102 runs having much to do with the victory of the English team. Against the Australians in 1890, indeed, he was peculiarly successful, taking in all fifty-six wickets for just over eleven runs each. In the season of 1891 he was again brilliantly effective for Kent, his record in the first-class county matches being ninety-eight wickets for an average of 13.10. There cannot be two opinions that among the left-handed bowlers of the present day Martin holds one of the highest places. With a high and very easy delivery, he bowls rather over than under medium pace. The extreme accuracy of his length makes him difficult to hit on even the best of wickets, and when the ground helps him he breaks back in a way that baffles the strongest batsmen. His claims to distinction as a cricketer rest almost entirely upon his bowling, but he has of late improved in the field, and though in no sense a good batsman, he occasionally makes a few runs. Personally, he is among the most popular of professional players.

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