PATTERSON, MR. WILLIAM HARRY, almost a life-long figure in Kent cricket, died on May 3, aged 87. An exceptionally sound and skilful batsman, he could produce his best form without previous practice in first-class cricket. For many years, owing to the calls on his time as a solicitor, he got practically no county cricket until late in the season, but then he was as likely as anyone to make a big score. He was elected captain of Kent for the second half of the season four times. Playing with a very straight bat and watching the ball carefully, he surpassed most of his amateur contemporaries on the sticky turf so often experienced in the days before pitches underwent over-elaborate preparation.
Born at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, on March 11, 1859, Harry Patterson, after some years at school in Ramsgate, gained a place in the Harrow eleven, and, proceeding to Oxford, played a big part in a victory over Cambridge by 135 runs in 1881. The Light Blues, very strong with three Studds and A. G. Steel, were expected to gain a fourth consecutive victory, but the Oxford fast bowler, A. H. Evans, took thirteen wickets for ten runs apiece. His second effort came after Patterson, going in first, played so admirably for five hours, despite having a finger broken, that he carried out his bat for 107. Besides this heroic display, Patterson gave further help. Early in the innings C. F. H. Leslie played a ball back to A. F. J. Ford, who, over six feet in height, reached up, took it with one hand, and threw the ball up. Leslie walked towards the pavilion, but Patterson, not satisfied that it was a catch, appealed to Farrands, the umpire, who decided in favour of the batsman. Leslie raised a score of 8 to 70.
During twenty years, from 1880, Patterson made 6,902 runs for Kent, and in three seasons his average exceeded 40, the best being 49 in 1885. His highest innings was 181 against Somerset at Taunton in 1896; he and Lord Harris--who scored 119--put on 220 for the second wicket. Patterson shared in another stand of 220 against Somerset at Taunton two years later, when he made 111 and Alec Hearne 112, while against Gloucestershire at Gravesend in 1898 he and J. R. Mason (152) added 213 for the third wicket. He appeared for Gentlemen against Players four times in the eighties, and took part in Kent's victory over the Australians at Canterbury in 1884, the only success by a county against the touring teams of that season and 1882. At the time of Patterson's death, F. A. MacKinnon, Stanley Christopherson, M. C. Kemp and Alec Hearne were survivors of that triumphant eleven. Often serving on the M.C.C. Committee--first in 1893--he for some years was an auditor. After being Kent President he became a Vice-President and Trustee of the county club, retaining these offices until the end.