Maurice Tompkin

TOMPKIN, MAURICE, who died in a Leicester hospital on September 27, aged 37, was one of the best and most popular cricketers ever to play for Leicestershire, for whom he was senior professional. He underwent an internal operation a week before his death. A tall, polished batsman specially strong in driving, Tompkin was also a first-rate deep fieldsman. George Geary discovered him in junior cricket and he first played for the county in 1938, since when he hit in all first-class matches 19,927 runs, average 31.83.

In every season except the last after the War, during which he served in the Royal Air Force, he completed 1,000 runs and in 1955 enjoyed the best summer of his career, scoring 2,190 runs, average 37.11, including an innings of 115 for the Players at Lord's. In the same match C. H. Palmer, his county captain, hit 154 for the Gentlemen. That form earned Tompkin a place in the M.C.C. "A" Team which toured Pakistan the following winter, but on his return he complained of pains in the back and abdomen and, thus handicapped, he made only 635 runs last season.

Of his 31 centuries, 29 were obtained for Leicestershire, the highest being 186 against Pakistan at Leicester in 1954. To him also belonged the distinction, against Middlesex at Leicester in 1952, of reaching a century in each innings of a match, a feat achieved by only four other Leicestershire players. He received as his benefit the game with Lancashire at Leicester in 1954. Not a ball was bowled, but fortunately Tompkin had insured the match. An Association footballer of class, he appeared as inside or outside-right for Leicester City, Bury and Huddersfield Town.

© John Wisden & Co