Frank Mann

MANN, FRANCIS THOMAS, who died suddenly on October 6, aged 76, was among the most forceful batsmen in the history of cricket. In the Malvern XI from 1904 to 1907, he was captain in the last year. Going up to Cambridge, he played in the University matches of 1909, 1910 and 1911 without achieving anything of note. Though he played Association football at Malvern, he gained a Rugby Blue as a forward in 1910.

In 1909 "Frank" Mann began his association with Middlesex, for whom he played till 1931. He soon became celebrated for his powerful stroke-play, and particularly for his tremendous driving. Once against Yorkshire he drove the ball four times onto the roof of the Pavilion at Lord's. At Trent Bridge in 1925 he helped Middlesex to score 502, the highest fourth-innings total in the County Championship, and beat Nottinghamshire by four wickets. His contribution amounted to 101, he and E. Hendren (200) hitting off the last 271 runs in three and a quarter hours without being parted.

Altogether Mann scored 14,182 runs at an average of 23.67 and brought off 165 catches, most of them at mid-off where he was an eminently safe fieldsman. The biggest of his eight three-figure innings was 194 from the Warwickshire bowling at Edgbaston in 1926. His best season for Middlesex was that of 1922, when he hit 935 runs, average 24.60.

A highly popular personality on and off the field, he captained Middlesex from 1921 to 1928, also acting as honorary secretary for most of that time, and he led them to the County Championship in the first season. He captained England in South Africa in 1922-23; one of his sons, F. G. Mann, also a Cambridge and Middlesex cricketer, followed suit 26 years later. Frank Mann represented Players against Gentlemen in fourteen matches between 1914 and 1930, distinguishing himself at Scarborough in 1922 by hitting 82 and 100. In 1930 he served as a member of the Test Selection Committee. As an officer in the Scots Guards during the First World War, he was three times wounded and three times mentioned in dispatches.

© John Wisden & Co