by Derek Carlaw
with statistics by John Winnifrith
Part One: 1806-1914
Part Two: 1919-1939
The first two parts of a mammoth A to Z of Kent Cricketers, the results of research stretching back more than ten years, are now available for viewing on the ACS website.
Part One covers the 524 cricketers who made their debut for Kent in first-class or ‘important’ cricket between 1806 and 1914. Each entry includes a summary – in some cases an in-depth summary – of their playing careers as well as biographical details, including where appropriate details of their education, employment, family, war service, wills etc.
Entries vary in length from a half-a-dozen lines to over 4,000 words. Surprisingly, many Kentish greats of the late 19th and early 20th centuries have no biographer; while not ignoring the lesser lights who make up the majority, the A to Z attempts at least partially to fill this gap.
Of the 524 players involved, 397 played fewer than five matches, 158 of whom were ‘one-match wonders’. But on the assumption that the chances are that anyone, or almost anyone, who got into a county side was quite a good cricketer, performances in school, university, club or Second Eleven cricket are not neglected.
Among those who had distinguished careers outside cricket are academics, bankers, brewers, churchmen, doctors, lawyers, politicians, soldiers and the odd sailor, as well as a few notable for other reasons: a nephew of Jane Austen, the father of HG Wells, the scorer of the first goal in an FA Cup Final, a diabolo champion, and at least one burglar.
The ‘one-match wonders’ include the Inglis brothers, who as boys dodged shot and shell during the siege of Lucknow, the schoolmaster Arthur Hoare, who amassed 302 in six and a half hours against Tonbridge School, his namesake the rich and scandalous Charles Hoare, who left his wife and five children for a teenage girl eventually transformed into the fearsome Mrs CB Fry, and the Sixth Earl of Aboyne, who managed to appear for the Players against the Gentlemen because he had bet on them. There is also a certain William Gilbert Grace.
A revised and expanded edition with statistics and clickable links contents page was issued in April 2020.
Part Two, also published in April 2020, covers the 92 players who made their debuts for Kent between 1919 and 1939. In an era dominated by Yorkshire, Kent could reasonably claim to be the most successful of the southern counties – despite endeavouring to follow a policy of fielding at least three amateurs in every match, against the prevailing trend towards professionalism.
Both volumes are available on this website in pdf formats, via these links: