David Harris (English cricketer)

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In taking my place at the wicket, I almost felt as if taking my ground in a duel... and my terrors were so much increased by the mock pity and sympathy of Hammond, Beldham, and others round the wicket, that when this mighty bowler, this Jupiter tonas, hurled his bolt at me, I shut my eyes in the intensity of my panic, and mechanically gave a random desperate blow, which, to my utter astonishment, was followed by a loud cry all over the ring of 'run, run'. – Playwright Lord Frederick Reynolds on facing Harris. [14]

Harris was highly rated by his contemporaries, especially John Nyren, who called him "the very best bowler; a bowler who, between any one and himself, comparison must fail". [15]

Nyren described Harris' style and technique in some detail. Harris began from an erect stance "like a soldier at drill" and raised the ball to his forehead before stepping forward. In his delivery stride, he brought the ball from under his arm "by a twist" and nearly as high as his armpit. With this action he would "push it, as it were, from him". Nyren says the speed of the delivery was "extraordinary" and that he could not understand how Harris managed to achieve such speed. [16]

Some line drawings of Harris and other players of the 1790s have survived. [17] Harris is shown in the characteristic pose described by Nyren as he began his action, standing erect with the ball raised over his head. [16] The ball when delivered was pitched very fast and accurately. Harris seems to have got "pace off the pitch" and Nyren has recorded that numerous batsmen received nasty injuries to their unprotected hands from balls that trapped their (ungloved) fingers against the bat handle. [18]

Like Thomas Boxall and the brothers Tom and Harry Walker, Harris used to practice his bowling in a barn during the winter. [19]

Personal life

Harris was born at Elvetham but moved when still a child to Crookham (now known as Crookham Village), where he lived for the rest of his life. [20] He never married and was a potter by trade. [15] [20]

Nyren, who knew Harris personally, described him as "a muscular, bony man, standing about five feet 9½ inches". [15] Nyren remarked on Harris' personality and looks by saying he had "a remarkably kind and gentle expression" and an "honest face". [15] Harris, said Nyren, was "a man of so strict a principle" and "such high honour". [16]

Harris suffered from gout in his later years and the sources have recorded how he would arrive at a game on crutches and then sit on a chair between deliveries. [20] He was unable to play after 1798 and "latterly, in fact, was quite a cripple". [20] He died in 1803 at Crookham and was buried at nearby Crondall, though no tombstone was erected. [20]

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References

  1. "Other matches played by David Harris (79)". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 6 October 2009.[ permanent dead link ]
  2. "Teams played for by David Harris". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  3. Waghorn, p.55.
  4. Waghorn, p.56.
  5. 1 2 Haygarth, p. 51.
  6. Haygarth, p.57–59.
  7. Waghorn, p. 64.
  8. Haygarth, p. 66.
  9. Haygarth, p. 68.
  10. Haygarth, p.81.
  11. Haygarth, p.108.
  12. Haygarth, p.140.
  13. Haygarth, p.243–244.
  14. Major, John S. (2007). More than a Game: the Story of Cricket's Early Years. London: HarperPress. p. 122. ISBN   978-0-00-718364-7.
  15. 1 2 3 4 Nyren, p.93.
  16. 1 2 3 Nyren, p.94.
  17. Mote, endpaper.
  18. Nyren, p.95.
  19. Pycroft, p.51 & 75.
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 Haygarth, p.52.

Bibliography

David Harris
David Harris (The Hambledon Men).jpg
Personal information
Full nameDavid Harris
Born1755
Elvetham, Hampshire, England
Died19 May 1803
Crookham Village, Hampshire, England
BattingLeft-handed
BowlingRight-arm fast
RoleBowler
Domestic team information
YearsTeam