SPOFFORTH, Frederick Robert (1853-1926)

SPOFFORTH, Frederick Robert (1853-1926)
was born at Balmain, Sydney, on 9 September 1853, the son of a banker. He was educated at Eglinton College, Sydney, and was afterwards employed in the Bank of New South Wales. He came into notice as a member of the New South Wales eighteen in January 1874 when he took two wickets for 16 in a match against Grace's English eleven. He was a regular representative in the New South Wales team in intercolonial matches and in the December 1877 game went in second wicket down and made 25, the highest score in either innings in a low-scoring match. But though he batted comparatively well during the 1878 and 1880 Australian tours in England he henceforth concentrated on his bowling and established a great reputation. In 1878 he took 109 wickets at a cost of less than 12 runs a wicket, but was less successful in 1880, being kept out of several games by an injury. In 1882 he got 188 wickets for an average of just over 12 and had his most remarkable achievement in the 1882 test match at Lords, when for the first time England was beaten by Australia. England was set 85 runs to win, lost two wickets for 50, and the match appeared to be over. But Spofforth in the last 11 overs bowled 10 maidens, took four wickets for two runs, and the Australians won by seven runs. Altogether he took 14 wickets for 90 runs in this match. He was also very successful in the 1884 and 1886 tours. He represented New South Wales from 1874 to 1885 and Victoria from 1885 to 1887. In 1888 he settled in England, played for Derbyshire in 1889 and 1890, and in 1896 playing for M.C.C., though in his forty-third year, took eight wickets for 74 against Yorkshire. He played club cricket for Hampstead for some years after 1890 and secured a large number of wickets at a low cost. In England he went into business as a tea-merchant and was very successful. He revisited Australia on more than one occasion and retained his interest in the game to the end. He died at Surbiton, Surrey, on 4 June 1926. He was survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.
Spofforth was well over six feet in height, lean, and very strong. He began as a fast bowler though he did not have a very long run, and gradually quietened down to fast medium-pace with an occasional extra fast ball. He had a sharp break from the off and was able to disguise changes of pace. His bowling averages in first-class matches when the comparatively low scoring of the period is taken into account, do not suggest that he stood out from his fellows, but Lord Hawke who played first-class cricket for a great many years considered him to be the most difficult bowler he had ever played against. He is generally considered to have been the greatest bowler of his time, and it is difficult to select a bowler of any other time to place before him.
The Times, 5 June 1926; The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June 1926; J. Wisden, Cricketer's Almanack, 1927; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spofforth — /ˈspɒfəθ/ (say spofuhth) noun Frederick Robert ( the Demon , the Demon Bowler ), 1853–1926, Australian Test cricketer; noted as a bowler …  

  • Fred Spofforth — Infobox Historic Cricketer nationality = Australian country = Australia country abbrev = Aus name = Fred Spofforth picture = Fred Spofforth.jpg batting style = Right hand bat bowling style = Right arm fast tests = 18 test runs = 217 test bat avg …   Wikipedia

  • Fred Spofforth — Fiche d identité Nom complet Frederick Robert Spofforth Nationalité sportive Australie Date de naissance 9 septembre 1853 Date de décès …   Wikipédia en Français

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