John Brown

JOHN THOMAS BROWN died at Dr. Kingscote"s Medical Home in London, on the night of November 4th, of congestion of the brain and heart failure. A statement appeared a few days before his death that there were hopes of his recovery from the heart trouble which in May terminated his cricket career, but other complications set in, and despite all that medical skill could do for him, the Yorkshire batsman passed away. As he was only in his thirty-sixth year-he was born at Driffield, on August 20th, 1869-he might, under happier circumstances, have gone on playing for a good many seasons to come. Still, during the time he was before the public he did enough to earn a place among the best cricketers Yorkshire has ever produced. He came out in 1889, and from the first showed such promise that no doubt was felt as to his ultimate success. Bad health checked him for a time, but in 1893 he firmly established his position, and henceforward, allowing for the variations of form to which all batsmen are subject, he was, till his health broke down, one of the mainstays of the Yorkshire eleven. Even so recently as 1903 he stood second to Geroge Hirst in the Yorkshire averages in county matches. Short in stature, but very strongly built, he was a batsman who could get runs under all conditions of weather and wicket. He was an all-round hitter, but his best stroke was his late cut. Few batsmen since Tom Humphrey"s time have been able to score with greater certainty from the short ball pitched on, or just outside, the off-stump. About half-way through his career he developed a wonderful faculty for pulling,but this so often cost him his wicket that he to a large extent gave it up and returned to the ways of orthodoxy. Neat and finished in style, he was, whether he scored fast or slowly, an excellent bat to look at. Of his performances for Yorkshire and other teams it would be easy to write at great length. Having regard to the surrounding circumstances, his greatest day in the cricket-field was, beyond all question, March 6th, 1895, when, at Melbourne, he and Albert Ward won the fifth and conquering Test Match for the first of the two elevens that Mr. Stoddart captained in Australia. The Englishmen had 297 to get in the last innings, and after the second wicket had fallen for 28, Stoddart himself being out from the first ball bowled on the final morning, Ward and Brown put on 210 runs together. Their partnership settled the matter, and in the end England won by six wickets. Brown made 140, and all the reports of the match agreed in stating that his innings was absolutely free from fault. Only those who have seen the Australians fight out a Test game can fully realise the merit of such a display. If he had done nothing else, that one innings would have been sufficient to give Brown a place in cricket history. All through the tour he was a great success in Australia, and Mr. Stoddart certainly made a mistake in not taking him out with his second team in 1897. One of the best innings Brown, ever played at home was his 163 in the Gentlemenand Players" match at Lord"s in 1900, when the Players, though they had to make 501 runs, won by two wickets. Brown was batting for four hours and three-quarters, and only gave one chance. His innings remains the highest ever obtained for the Players against the Gentlemen at Lord"s. For Yorkshire against the Australians, at Bradford, in 1899, he made 84 and 167. His biggest scores were 311 for Yorkshire against Sussex at Sheffield, in 1897, and 300 for Yorkshire against Derbyshire at Chesterfield, in 1898. On the latter occasion he and Tunnicliffe scored 554 together for the first wicket-a record partnership in first-class cricket. At Lord"s in 1896 for Yorkshire against Middlesex, he and Tunnicliffe did an extraordinary thing, making 139 for the first wicket in the first innings, and afterwards winning the game by scoring 147 together without being separated. Brown only played twice for England against Australia in this Country-at Lord"s and Manchester, in 1896. At Lord"s he had a considerable share in winning the match for England, batting with great skill for 36 in the last innings, after a heavy shower in the morning had spoilt the wicket. Personally, Brown was a quiet, pleasant-mannered man, and did not lack the sense of humour proverbially characteristic of Yorkshire cricketers. His benefit match at Leeds, in 1901, was the biggest thing of the kind ever known prior to George Hirst"s benefit at the same ground last year.

The following list of Brown"s best performances in company with Tunnicliffe for the first wicket will be read with interest. It will be seen that the two batsmen scored a hundred or more runs together on nineteen occasions for Yorkshire.

*Signifies without a separation being effected.

554,Brown (300) and Tunnicliffe (243), v. Derbyshire, at Chesterfield

(A record for any wicket in great matches. On the first day Brown and Tunnicliffe scored 503 without being separated, the former making 270 not out, and the latter 214 not out).
378,Brown (311) and Tunnicliffe (147), v. Susssex, at Sheffield (At the time a record for the first wicket in first class cricket, but a month later exceeded by one run by Abel and Brockwell, who made 379 together v. Hampshire, at the Oval). 1897
152,Brown (80) and Tunnicliffe (85), v. Middlesex, at Lord"s 1899
148,Brown (81) and Tunnicliffe (67), v. Hampshire, at Hull 1900
147*,Brown (81*) and Tunnicliffe (63*), v. Middlesex, at Lord"s (In the second innings, winning the match by ten wickets). 1896
142,Brown (72) and Tunnicliffe (62), v. Leicestershire, at Sheffield 1895
139,Brown (203) and Tunnicliffe (62), v. Middlesex, at Lord"s (In the first innings. In the last stage of the match they scored 147 together without being separated, winning the game for their side by ten wickets). 1896
139,Brown (131) and Tunnicliffe (79), v. Leicestershire, at Leicester 1896
138*,Brown (85*) and Tunnicliffe (51*), v. Hampshire, at Southampton

(Winning the match by ten wickets).
133,Brown (150) and Tunnicliffe (47), v. Sussex, at Brighton 1898
132,Brown (96) and Tunnicliffe (79), v. Middlesex, at Lord"s 1900
131,Brown (192) and Tunnicliffe (58), v. Derbyshire, at Derby 1899
121,Brown (71) and Tunnicliffe (58), v. Derbyshire, at Glossop 1901
119,Brown (100) and Tunnicliffe (66), v. M. C. C. and Ground, at Scarborough 1898
119,Brown (84) and (36), v. Australians, at Bradford 1899
115,Brown (51) and Tunnicliffe (105), v. Notts, at Hull 1902
113,Brown (61) and Tunnicliffe (145), v. Derbyshire, at Huddersfield 1901
112,Brown (75) and Tunnicliffe (36), v. Leicestershire, at Leicester 1903
107*,Brown (53*) and Tunnicliffe (24*), v. Sussex, at Brighton 1901

In 1894, at the Oval, Brown and Chatterton made 202 runs together for the first wicket of North v. South, Brown"s score being 101, and his partner"s 89.

Brown was one of the few batsmen who have scored over 10,000 runs for Yorkshire.

© John Wisden & Co