Obituaries in 1899

MR. C. B. CURTIS, who died in January, was an old Essex cricketer who frequently assisted the County when the headquarters were at Brentwood. He is described as having been a good steady bat and a useful bowler. While digging in his garden at Bexley he injured his leg. Blood-poisoning set in, and this, in conjunction with pneumonia, caused his death.

EDWIN MILLS, the Notts and Surrey player, died on January 26th. He was born on the 6th of March, 1857, and was thus nearly 42 years of age. At the outset of his career Mills was regarded as an all-round cricketer of great promise, but he never fulfilled the hopes that had been formed of him. Like William Attewell and C. Shore , the left-handed bowler who has for years past done such great things for Norfolk, Mills came to the front during the strike of the leading Notts players in 1881 . He did well for Notts that season, taking 32 wickets in eight matches and scoring 197 runs with an average of 15, but he did not prove good enough to keep his place in the eleven when the chief Notts players had made up their differences with the Committee. He afterwards took an engagement at the Oval and qualified for Surrey by residence, but here again, though he made some appearances in county matches, he fell short of the standard demanded. He was a left-handed bowler of medium pace, and a very hard hitter. He was associated with Barnes in a wonderful finish at Lord"s, in a match between Notts and the M. C. C. in June, 1882 . Notts went in the second afternoon at ten minutes past five to get 164 to win. and it was arranged to play on till half-past seven if there was a chance of finishing, and afterwards to go on still later if the light remained fit for cricket. Notts lost seven wickets for 54 runs and the match seemed all over. However, on Mills becoming Barnes"s partner, 99 runs were added before Mills was bowled. In the end Notts won by one wicket, the match finishing in semi-darkness at eight minutes to eight.

MR. L. J. PAICE, a well-known local cricketer, shot himself in a railway carriage at Epsom, on January 12th, and died in Guy"s Hospital, on January 28th. He was 39 years of age.

MR. J. M. DOLPHIN died on the 3rd of February. He was born at South Repps, in Norkfolk, September 6th, 1837. He had a short career as a cricketer, but Mr. Haygarth describes him as having been a fine, powerful hitter. He was in the Marlborongh eleven against Rugby at Lord"s in 1856 , and afterwards went up to Oxford and got into the eleven. He was a fast round-arm bowler, and once in 1860 for Sixteen Undergraduates of Oxford against England at Lord"s he bowled 64 balls for 4 runs. In the same match he scored one and 62. He played against Cambridge in 1860 .

GEORGE DAVIDSON.-Derbyshire cricket sustained a heavy blow in the death from pneumonia on Wednesday morning, February 8th, of George Davidson . For some years he had been the best all-round man in the team, and, with the exception of William Storer, the county has never produced a player of finer powers. By reason of his superiority as a bowler, he was of greater use on the side than even Chatterton. Born on June 29, 1866, he was just in his prime, but for the illness which-following on influenza-had such a sad termination, he might have assisted Derbyshire for a good many seasons to come. Had he been associated with a stronger county, it is likely that he would have enjoyed a still more brilliant career, the fact of being so often on the beaten side having naturally a somewhat depressing effect on his cricket. It is a fair criticism to say that, though never quite the cricketer one would choose for England against Australia, he only fell a little below the highest class. He reached his best in the season of 1895 , when he was the only man in first-class matches to score over a thousand runs and take over a hundred wickets. To be quite exact, he made that year 1,296 runs, with an average of 28, and took 138 wickets at a cost of less than 17 runs each. Derbyshire had, perhaps, a stronger all-round eleven in 1895 than at any time before or since, and so well did they play that, though bad weather robbed them of victories over Surrey and Lancashire, they came out fifth among the counties. Davidson did much of his best work that year in county matches, being fourth in the batting averages and top in bowling. As a batsman he fared even better for Derbyshire in 1896 , when, against Lancashire at Old Trafford, he scored 274-the highest innings of his life. In 1898 with very little assistance, he bowled finely for the county, but his batting fell below its best standard: A man of barely medium height, Davidson had an appearance that suggested great strength both of muscles and constitution. As a batsman he combined hit and defence in no common degree, and his fast bowling was marked by a really wonderful accuracy of pitch.

LORD JUSTICE CHITTY died on February 15th, in his 71st year. He was born in London on the 28th of May, 1828. Though far better known in connection with rowing than cricket Lord Justice Chitty was in the Eton eleven, and was a double Blue at Oxford, playing in the eleven as well as rowing in the eight. As a cricketer he owed his reputation almost entirely to his fine wicket-keeping, for, according to Mr. Haygarth"s notice of him in Scores and Biographies, he had little merit as a batsman beyond steadiness. He gave up public cricket about 1851 . At Eton he excelled at football, being captain of the field in 1846.

JAMES BRIGGS, who died on February 18th, at the age of 61, was the father of the famous Lancashire player, John Briggs. A native of Notts, he left Sutton-in-Ashfield and settled in Lancashire some little time before his famous son was born.

WILLIAM BARNES. One of the best cricketers of this generation, passed away on Friday, Match 24th, William Barnes , after lying seriously ill for three weeks, dying at his home at Mansfield Woodhouse. Born on May 27th, 1852, he was still a comparatively young man. His career in the Notts eleven was exceptionally brilliant, and extended over a long period of time. He first found a place in the team in 1875 , and did not play his last county match till 1894 . His powers were then obviously on the wane, and in seven matches he only scored 137 runs. What a great player he was at his best no one who takes any interest in cricket will need to be told. It may indeed be questioned whether Notts ever possessed a more valuable man, for over and above his splendid powers as a batsman he was for many seasons one of the best change bowlers in England. He did not all at once jump to the top of the tree, but his position as one of the leading batsmen of his day was firmly established in 1880 , and from that time till 1892 he kept his place in the front rank, appearing regularly for Players against Gentlemen at Lord"s and the Oval, and on many occasions representing England against Australia. He took part at the Oval in 1880 in the first England and Australia match ever played in this country, and he was a member of the unhappy team that two years later lost the memorable seven runs match on the same ground.

It was not until after 1882 that it became the custom for the Australians to play three matches against England, and during the tours of 1884 , 1886 , 1888 , and 1890 Barnes was nearly always one of our picked eleven. He proved an invaluable partner to Shrewsbury in the 1886 match at Lord"s, and contributed in a large degree to England"s single innings at the Oval in 1888 . He first went out to Australia with the Hon. Ivo Bligh"s eleven in the winter of 1882-83 , but did not during that trip play in any way up to his English reputation. However, in subsequent visits to the Colonies with two of Shaw and Shrewsbury"s teams he made ample amends for his previous failure, batting so finely that he once beat Shrewsbury in the eleven-a-side averages. To do that, as he himself expressed it, he had to play better than he had ever played before. Of his performances for Notts as a batsman a column could be written without by any means exhausting the subject. Not so patient as Shrewsbury or so finished in style as Gunn, he was yet on his good days in quite the same class as those famous players. His method having been mainly formed against bowlers of the modern school, he was especially strong on the off-side. No one could hit harder or better than he did between cover-point and mid-off. He was essentially a punishing player, and liked to keep things moving.

Once in the course of conversation at Lord"s he said that some careful batsmen-he was referring especially to Mr. A. P. Lucas-were content to play just the same strict game when they had made a hundred runs as when they first went to the wickets, but that he himself always wanted to do something more than that. It may be that by acting on this principle he sometimes cut his innings short, but the spectators at Lord"s, Trent Bridge, and elsewhere reaped the benefit in nearly always seeing a bright attractive display when he was in form. Though he played scores of bigger innings for Notts he rarely did anything finer, all things considered, than when he and Gunn practically won the Bank holiday match against Surrey at the Oval in 1892 . Lohmann and Lockwood were bowling their best on a far from perfect wicket and the cricket shown by Gunn and Barnes during a partnership of over an hour and a quarter will never be forgotten by anyone who was so fortunate as to be present. On both sides it was, indeed, a battle of giants.

E. GREGORY who died at Sydney, New South Wales, on the 22nd of April, was the father of the famous Australian batsman, S. E. Gregory, and brother of David Gregory, who captained the first Australian eleven in England in 1878 . He was an excellent player in the early days of Australian cricket, and in the latter part of his life was custodian of the Association ground at Sydney.

THOMAS LORD died on the 22nd day of April.

THE DUKE OF BEAUFORT, who died on the 30th of April at the age of 75, was President of Gloucestershire from the foundation of the County Club till the day of his death.

MR. R. P. SMITH.-The death occured at his residence Staunton Grange, Newark, on Monday May 1st, of Mr. R. P. Stevens , better known to the last generation of cricketers as R. P. Smith , captain of the Derbyshire Eleven. Mr. Smith was a native of Sawley, Derbyshire, and in his early days gained distinction in various branches of sport, being an excellent football player, oarsman, and hurdle racer. He was also one of the best shots in Derbyshire, and a bold rider to hounds. It was as a cricketer, however, that his great reputation was made. He appeared for Derbyshire in the first match ever played by the county, namely, that against Lancashire in 1871 . On that occasion he made 17 runs, and it is a curious fact that he was the third Derbyshire player taking part in that match who died within nine months, the other two being Mr. John Smith and Platts. Mr. R. P. Smith was the hero of many fine performances for Derbyshire, being a splendid batsman and a brilliant field at point, in which position he made many catches off Mycroft"s bowling. He was at his best in 1875 , when, in addition to heading the Derbyshire"s averages, he had the honour of taking part in some of the representative matches of the year, and met with conspicuous success. As a batsman he depended chiefly on back play, and never appeared to make the most of his reach. He watched the ball very closely, and had many fine strokes on the off side. As a captain he was somewhat lacking in judgment, but there can be no two opinions as to the value of his services to Derbyshire cricket at a time when the county was none too rich in high class batsmen. The one thing that possibly stood in the way of his achieving the highest distinction was a somewhat indolent temperament. About the time of his retirement from the captaincy, fourteen or fifteen years back, he came into a big fortune, and settled down to the life of a country gentleman in Notts, taking the name of Stevens. He had, at the time of his death, just completed his fiftieth year.

MR. A. R. BENNETT died in the second week in May, at the age of thirty. For several seasons he was the crack bowler of the Notts Castle Club, and on various occasions he appeared in the Notts eleven. He was a slow right handed bowler whose leg breaks proved highly effective in club cricket. The Notts professionals thought highly of him, and there is little doubt that it would have been to the benefit of the county if he had played more often than he did. He had the disadvantage, however, of being no batsman and not much of a field. His health had completely broken down some months before his death.

MR. J. A. GIBBS, who died in May, learned his cricket at Eton, and appeared occasionally in the Somerset eleven. He played a great deal of club cricket in Surrey, and went to India with Lord Hawke"s team in 1892-93 . He was the author of Improvement of Cricket Grounds published in 1895 .

THE REV. J. H. KIRWAN died on the 13th of June at a very advanced age. He played his first match at Lord"s for Eton against Harrow in 1834 . Mr. Kirwan"s name will live in cricket history if only by reason of one performance. In the match between the M. C. C. and Eton on the 9th July, 1835 , he bowled down all the ten wickets in the M. C. C."s second innings. After leaving Eton he went up to Cambridge, and in a match between the Town and University on the 24th of May, 1836 , he took fifteen of the Town Club"s wickets-all being bowled down. He took six wickets in the first innings and nine in the second. He was in the Cambridge eleven, but was unable to play against Oxford at Lord"s in 1836 . He was a round arm bowler of tremendous pace, with a very low delivery which, Mr. Haygarth says, approached a jerk but was allowed.

MR. MARTIN RILEY died in June, aged 48. Though never reaching the front rank, Mr. Riley was in his day an extremely good free hitting batsman. He was at his best about the end of the 70"s and appeared occasionally in the Yorkshire eleven.

MR. F. W. OLIVER died on the 9th of July.

JOHN J. SMITH who died, after a long and painful illness, on the 13th of July was the official scorer to the Gloucestershire eleven from the earliest days of the County Club. He was a man of genial nature, and was a familiar figure not only at Bristol but on all grounds where the Gloucestershire eleven appeared. He died at the age of 55.

MR. CHARLES GORDON who died on the 27th of July was in his 85th year, having been born on the 25th of December, 1814. He never took part in first-class cricket, but for several years he was the crack batsman of the once famous Clapton Club. In 1843 , in a match between Clapton and the M. C. C., he played an innings of 110 against the bowling of Hillyer and Dean. His name will be found in Scores and Biographies for upwards of twenty seasons. He was a hard working field in various positions, and a slow round arm bowler.

MR. J. CARTWRIGHT died on the 23rd of September.

MR. JOHN DUNCAN, who died in September was a well-known cricketer in Scotland in the 60"s.

JOHN SHILTON, the Warwickshire bowler, died in September at the early age of 42. He was born on September 18th, 1857. Though his career was cut short by a breakdown in health, Shilton will always be remembered as one of the players who did most to bring the Warwickshire eleven to the front. At his best he was a first rate left handed bowler, slow to medium pace. Bowling with a high and very easy action, he combined plenty of spin with accuracy of pitch, and during his early years in the Warwickshire eleven he was brilliantly successful. Apart from his bowling, he was a very useful bat. When his health failed, through severe attacks of asthma and bronchitis, he was sent out to South Africa, but no permanent cure could be effected, and when he came home again his cricket career was obviously over. Shilton was personally quite a character, but though he had his faults, this is not the place in which to dwell upon them. By birth a Yorkshireman, he was first seen at Lord"s in 1883 for the Colts of the North against the Colts of the South. He took six wickets for 20 runs, but his success was overshadowed by that of G. P. Harrison , who in the second innings of the southern team, took nine wickets-all clean bowled-for 14 runs.

DR. ALEXANDER WALLACE, who died on October 1st, at the age of 70, played for Winchester against both Harrow and Eton, and played for Oxford against Cambridge in 1851 .

THE REV. T. A. ANSON died on October 7th, at an advanced age. Mr. Anson , who played his first match at Lord"s for Eton against Harrow in 1835 , was one of the great amateur wicket-keepers of his day. Mr. Haygarth records that with the left hand alone in the Gentlemen v. Players match in 1843 he stumped G. Butler from on of Alfred Mynn"s shooters. As a batsman his style was very ugly, but on the whole he scored well. It was, however, entirely as a wicket-keeper that he earned his fame. After leaving Eton, he went up to Cambridge and kept wicket for the eleven as long as he stayed at the University.

MR. EDWARD MAY DEWING died on October 29th, at the age of seventy-six. As may be supposed Mr. Dewing"s cricket belonged to a now somewhat distant past. He played for Harrow in 1839 , 40-41 , and was in the Cambridge eleven from 1842 to 1845 inclusive. Both at Harrow and Cambridge he was captain during his last two years in the eleven. At Lord"s in 1845 he made one appearance for Gentlemen against Players.

SIR JAMES KIRKPATRICK who died in November, at the age of 58, was in his young days a good bowler, winning many a match for the Civil service. He was still better known, however, in connection with Association Football.

THE REV. ARTHUR TROSSE FORTESCUE died in November. Born in 1846, Mr. Fortescue was one of the best bats of his day at Oxford. He played in the University match in 1868 , 1869 and 1870 , and was thus contemporary with Pauncefote, Ottaway, and W. H. Hadow, all of whom have passed away. At the time of his death, he was vicar of Hinton and Six Hills, Lincolnshire. In the autumn of 1886, he formed one of the team of English amateurs taken out to America by Mr. E. J. Sanders, but did not meet with any great amount of success, scoring only 164 runs in eleven innings. Mr. Fortescue was famous at Oxford for his finished style of batting and brilliant cutting.

MR. H. TURNER, who for more than twenty years was official scorer to the Yorkshire County Club, died in December at the age of sixty-three. He was ill for many months, and for a considerable time it was known that he could not recover. A man of very quiet, modest demeanour, Mr. Turner made many friends during his various wanderings with the Yorkshire eleven.

CAPT. C. A. K. PECHELL, who soon after the outbreak of the War in South Africa was killed at Mafeking, was a member of the Eton Eleven in 1888. He will be remembered as one of the slowest left-handed bowlers ever seen at Lord"s.

The following deaths occured in 1898, but did not appear in last year"s Wisden.

THE REV. T. P. GARNIER died on March 21st, 1898, having just entered upon his 58th year. He was born at Longford in Derbyshire, on February 22nd, 1841. He first played for Oxford against Cambridge at Lord"s in 1861 , and was one of the best bats of his day at Oxford, his style being particularly finished and attractive. He Scored not out 0 and 21 against Cambridge in 1861 , and 0 and 21 in 1862 . His brother E. S. Garnier was in the Oxford eleven in 1872-73 , and his father, the late Dean of Lincoln, was a double Blue at oxford, taking part in the first University Boatrace, and also playing for the eleven.

EDWIN STEPHENSON, the once famous Yorkshire wicket-keeper, died in July, 1898. Born on the 5th of June, 1832, he had just entered his 67th year. Though he had dropped out of the recollection of present day cricketers, Stephenson was in his time a very noted player, keeping wicket for Yorkshire before George Pinder was heard of, and sharing the honours of many a match in the "60"s with George Anderson , Roger Iddison, Slinn , Hodgson , Rowbotham and George Atkinson . Over and above his skill as a wicket-keeper he was a good hard hitting bat, and was perhaps as safe a run-getter as anyone in the Yorkshire team of those days except Anderson, Rowbotham and Iddison. He was a member of the first English team that visited Australia, under H. H. Stephenson"s captaincy, in 1861-62 . It should be mentioned that though he was always spoken of as Edward Stephenson his christian name was Edwin. In his later days he unfortunately fell into very poor circumstances.

MR. ROBIN LUBBOCK died on December 28th, 1898, from the effects of an accident in the hunting field two or three days before. A son of the once famous batsman Mr. Alfred Lubbock, Robin Lubbock , who at the time of his death was only 19 years of age, appeared for Eton against Harrow at Lord"s in 1896 and 1897 . In the former year he played an innings of 56, and while in with H. C. Pilkington helped to put on 141 runs for the second wicket. He headed the Eton batting in 1896 , scoring 388 runs with an average of 48, but in the following season he somehow never got into form only averaging 15 for Eton with an aggregate of 211 runs. Against Harrow at Lord"s he scored 27 and 13. Though a keen cricketer, he was still more devoted to fox hunting. A touching tribute to him was written by an old school fellow, and is to be found in his father"s book of Eton Memories.

© John Wisden & Co