Tales from the Boundary
Unusual Essex Cricket Christian Names
A feature of Essex cricketers that I have noticed is the occurrence of unusual Christian names. Here are a few you may or may not know.
Steriker - S. N. Hare made his debut in 1921 against Derbyshire. After dismissing Derbyshire cheaply, Essex were struggling when Hare joined Douglas with 8 wickets down. The pair added 251 before Hare went for 98, and Essex won by an innings, with Douglas scoring 210 not out and taking 9 for 47 and 2 for 0 – a staggering all-round performance. Hare played two more games in 1921 and there his career ended.
Trayton - T. G. Grinter played only a handful of games for Essex, but he was crucial in enabling Tom Pearce to play regularly for Essex, as Pearce worked for Grinter's wine merchants.
Claude - two examples:
Claude Buckenham was a fast bowler good enough to play 4 Tests in South Africa (taking 21 wickets). He was also primarily responsible with Bert Tremlin for Essex's win over the Australians in 1905.
Claude Ashton was one of three brothers who captained Cambridge in successive years from 1919; he played 89 times for Essex during the inter-war period with success, and he was also a fine soccer player, gaining a full cap for England despite being an amateur. He was killed in a flying accident in 1942.
Harding - H. I. ('Sailor') Young was a left arm seam bowler capped by England in 1899 (12 wickets in 2 Tests).
Holcombe - For 2 years in the mid-1930s H. D. ('Hopper') Read was considered to be the fastest bowler in the country apart from Larwood. In 1934 at Brentwood he destroyed the Surrey batting - Hobbs included - with 7 for 35, and at Huddersfield in 1935 Read and Nichols shot Yorkshire out for 31 (Read 6 for 11). Read also played one Test in 1935 against South Africa and his first class career ended that year.
Augustus - A. B. ('Joe') Hipkin was a left arm spinner who flattered to deceive, taking 116 wickets in 1924 but thereafter falling away. Despite this Wisden's obituary says he did excellent work as a bowler, besides being “a capital fieldsman and useful batsman.”
Jesse – Charles Jesse Kortright was generally regarded as the fastest bowler of his day, a view confirmed by F. S. Jackson in the 1944 Wisden. Indeed, some would have it that he was the fastest bowler ever. The best Kortright story concerns an over he bowled to W. G. Grace. The first ball was caught behind off a thin edge. Essex appealed, Grace glared at the umpire who shook his head. The next ball hit Grace on the pads plumb in front. Again, the appeal, the glare and a shake of the head. Kortright then went 10 yards past his mark, turned and hurtled in. The ball, a perfect yorker, shattered the off and middle stumps. Grace surveyed the wreckage and walked slowly away, while Kortright called out: ”Surely you're not going, Doctor? The leg stump's still standing!”