Thomas Scott (cricketer)

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Thomas Scott (1766 – 5 November 1799) was an English cricketer who played for Hampshire at the time of the Hambledon Club. He was a specialist batsman who may have been a regular opener, but it is not known if he was right or left-handed.

Cricket Team sport played with bats and balls

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 20-metre (22-yard) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each player. Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground. When ten players have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches. They communicate with two off-field scorers who record the match's statistical information.

Hampshire county cricket teams have been traced back to the 18th century but the county's involvement in cricket goes back much further than that. Given that the first definite mention of cricket anywhere in the world is dated c.1550 in Guildford, in neighbouring Surrey, it is almost certain that the game had reached Hampshire by the 16th century.

The Hambledon Club was a social club that is famous for its organisation of 18th century cricket matches. By the late 1770s it was the foremost cricket club in England.


Life and career

Born 1766 at Alton, Hampshire, the earliest known mention of Scott was when he played for Odiham & Alton against Farnham at the Holt Pound ground in Farnham on Friday 30 July 1784. [1] David Harris was in the same team. Scott was only 17 or 18 at this time.

Alton, Hampshire town in Hampshire, England

Alton is a market town and civil parish in Hampshire, England, near the source of the River Wey. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 17,816.

David Harris (English cricketer) English cricketer, born 1755

David Harris was an English professional cricketer who played first-class cricket from 1782 to 1798.

In John Nyren's The Cricketers of my Time, Scott is listed among the author's "most eminent players in the Hambledon Club when it was in its glory". The period of this list is unquestionably limited to the latter years of Hambledon's existence (i.e., from about 1785) but it nevertheless indicates the esteem in which Scott was held as a player.

John Nyren was an English cricketer and author. Nyren made 16 known appearances in first-class cricket from 1787 to 1817. Latterly, he achieved lasting fame as the author of The Cricketers of My Time, which was first published in 1832 as a serial in a periodical called The Town; and was then included in The Young Cricketer's Tutor, published in 1833 by Effingham Wilson of London. Nyren's collaborator in the work was Charles Cowden Clarke.

As Ashley Mote points out, [2] Nyren includes Scott in his most eminent list but otherwise does not mention him at all. The earliest biographical information about Scott is provided by Arthur Haygarth, [3] who describes Scott as a "very successful batsman indeed for the Hambledon Club, for several seasons". Haygarth believed that Scott was by trade a glover in Alton, his home village.

Ashley Mote is a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South East England from 2004 to 2009. Elected representing the UK Independence Party, he became a non-inscrit one month into his term after UKIP withdrew the whip from him due to investigation into his expenses.

Arthur Haygarth was a noted amateur cricketer who became one of cricket's most significant historians. He played first-class cricket for the Marylebone Cricket Club and Sussex between 1844 and 1861, as well as numerous other invitational and representative teams including an England XI and a pre-county Middlesex. A right-handed bat, Haygarth played 136 games now regarded as first-class, scoring 3,042 runs and taking 19 wickets with his part-time bowling. He was educated at Harrow, which had established a rich tradition as a proving ground for cricketers. He served on many MCC committees and was elected a life member in 1864.

Scott's tombstone was standing in Alton churchyard in 1857. It confirms his date of death and that he was then 33 years old; his parents were called Thomas and Sarah. The cause of death is unknown.

As Haygarth says, Scott's early death was unusual among the eminent Georgian cricketers, most of whom lived to an old age. Certainly of noted Hambledon players, Scott and Noah Mann (who died in a tragic accident) are the only ones to have died young.

Noah Mann was a famous English cricketer who played for the Hambledon Club.

In important matches, Scott made 32 appearances from his known debut in August 1789 to his last recorded match in August 1798.

His best individual performance was in the All-England v Hampshire match at Lord's Old Ground (Dorset Square) on 30 and 31 August 1790. After a very strong All-England had scored 177, Scott opened the Hampshire innings and made 43 in a total of 165. All-England were then dismissed by Harris, who took at least 6 wickets, for just 66. Scott and Jack Small scored the 79 needed and Hampshire won by 10 wickets. Scott made his career highest score of 44* in the process. Arthur Haygarth was very impressed by the Scott/Small partnership and wrote: "Perhaps in no other match has a side gone in for as many as 79 runs to win, and obtain them with out losing a wicket". [4]

Scott was a prolific player in the early 1790s and it is noticeable that he appeared very occasionally after the 1794 season. The cause of his untimely death is unknown but it is conceivable that he became ill in 1795 and this limited his prowess.

In Scott's final innings in 1798 he was bowled out by John Tufton, whose career also ended that season due to an early death in 1799.

Senior cricket career record

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  1. G B Buckley, Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket, re the 1784 season
  2. The Glory Days of Cricket, p.133
  3. Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826), p.242-243
  4. Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826), p.108

Further reading