Maurice Allom

ALLOM, MAURICE JAMES CARRICK, who died on April 8, 1995, aged 89, achieved cricketing glory at Christchurch in January 1930 when he became the first man to take a hat-trick on Test debut -- and four wickets in five balls. He bowled Stewart Dempster with the second ball of his eighth over in Test cricket, then dismissed Tom Lowry, Ken James and Ted Badcock with the last three deliveries, reducing New Zealand to 21 for seven in their first ever Test match. Allom only played four further Tests, all overseas, but he was a highly effective amateur swing and seam bowler.

Being almost 6ft 6in, he had the height to make the ball come sharply off the pitch; he regularly dismissed good players and sometimes frightened them. Alf Gover recalled Arthur Carr, the Nottinghamshire captain, complaining to Percy Fender, leading Surrey, when he was flattened by an Allom bouncer: "This is no way to play cricket, Percy." Carr had Larwood and Voce on his side at the time. Allom was a Cambridge Blue in 1927 and 1928 and played regularly for Surrey at first, but his appearances were gradually limited by the demands of his family business.

His record speaks of quality: 179 matches and 605 wickets at 23.62. He was a skilful saxophonist who played with Fred Elizalde's band in the 1920s, and wrote two jolly books, The Book of the Two Maurices and The Two Maurices Again, with his friend and namesake Maurice Turnbull. Privately, he had a great sense of fun. This was less obvious when he found himself president of MCC in 1970, the year of the crisis over the South African tour, eventually called off after Government pressure. He followed this with eight less turbulent years as president of Surrey.

© John Wisden & Co