Tibby Cotter

Last updated

Tibby Cotter
Tibby Cotter c1905.jpg
Personal information
Born3 December 1883
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died31 October 1917 (aged 33)
Beersheba, Ottoman Palestine
Height173 cm (5 ft 8 in)
BattingRight-hand bat
BowlingRight-arm fast
International information
National side
Career statistics
Competition Tests First-class
Runs scored4572484
Batting average 13.0516.89
Top score4582
Balls bowled463319565
Wickets 89442
Bowling average 28.6424.27
5 wickets in innings 731
10 wickets in match04
Best bowling7/1487/15
Catches/stumpings 8/061/0
Military career
AllegianceFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Service/branchFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australian Army
Years of service1915-17
Rank Trooper
Unit 12th Light Horse Regiment, Australian Expeditionary Force
Battles/wars First World War

Albert "Tibby" Cotter (3 December 1883 – 31 October 1917) was an Australian cricketer who played in 21 Tests between 1904 and 1912 (89 wickets, average 28.64), and 115 first-class matches between 1901 and 1914 (including 123 wickets, average 23.45 for New South Wales).


He served with the First AIF, and was killed in action in the mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba.


The sixth and youngest son of John Henry Cotter, (1839–1922) [1] and Margaret Hay Cotter (1850–1936), née Pattison, [2] Albert Cotter was born on 3 December 1883 in Sydney. He died in action, at Beersheba on 31 October 1917. One of his brothers, John, had been killed in action, at Broodseinde, Belgium, three weeks earlier, on 4 October 1917. Two other brothers, Arthur Dale (1877–1921), and Edwin (1880–1929) died in railway accidents. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


Fast bowler

Although only 5'8" (173 cm) tall — the same height as Harold Larwood — he was arguably the best fast bowler through the first decade of the 20th century, [8] [9] he had a reputation for breaking stumps. Early moving film of his action clearly shows a slinging action that was to cause controversy in England.

"Terror" Cotter

While regarded as the fastest of his era in Australia (his pace saw him nicknamed "'Terror' Cotter" by English fans) he did not always have the control to back it up, hitting W.G.Grace on the body with a full toss on his first tour of England.

Test Cricket

He took eight or more wickets in a match four times from his 21 Tests, and his strike rate of 52.0 precisely matches that of Dennis Lillee. [10]

1912 Dispute

In February 1912, Cotter was one of the "Bix Six" — the other five were Warwick Armstrong, Hanson Carter, Clem Hill, Vernon Ransford, and Victor Trumper — each of whom, separately, declared themselves unavailable for selection in the Australian team to play against both England and South Africa in the Tri-Nation Cricket Tournament in Eangland, in May 1912. [11] [12] [13] [14]

End of career

Following the events of 1912, he never played for Australia again.

Tibby Cotter ACotter.jpg
Tibby Cotter

Best performances

Some of his best bowling performances were:

Military service

Cotter joined the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in April 1915, aged 31. The enlistment of a former sporting champion was seen as powerful publicity for the AIF recruiting campaign.

Despite having no great riding ability, he was accepted into the 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment; he took a late part in the Gallipoli campaign. Later he transferred to the 12th Light Horse and was commended for his “fine work under heavy fire” during the second battle of Gaza. The official history remarked: “he behaved in action as a man without fear”. He declined promotion.

Whilst serving in the AIF, he participated in a unique Australia vs. England "Test Match" played in 1917 between two teams made up from the Australian and British troops stationed in Palestine. [19] [20] [21] [22]


On 31 October 1917 the 4th Light Horse Brigade, of which the 12th Regiment was part, captured Beersheba by a brilliant cavalry-style charge. Although Cotter was there as a stretcher-bearer, he actually took part in the charge itself, and "was shot from the saddle during a mounted charge on a Turkish position": [23]

"Cotter was killed in a mounted charge on Beersheba at dusk on the 31/10/17. Early next morning, together with Trooper O'Rourke of our troop, I was detailed to collect saddlery and personal effects. We were surprised to find Cotter amongst our casualties, knowing he had been detailed for that day as a stretcher bearer. It seems he had changed places with another Light Horseman because he wanted to be in the mounted charge." — "Ex-Trooper", The Crookwell Gazette, 1 March 1933. [24]

At the end of the charge, as troops dismounted to engage the enemy, a Turk shot Cotter dead at close range. [25] [26]


See also


  1. Deaths: Cotter, The Sydney Morning Herald (18 December 1922) p. 8.
  2. Mrs. M. H. Cotter, The Sydney Morning Herald (2 October 1936) p. 18.
  3. Railway Fatality, The (Lismore) Northern Star (1 June 1921) p. 5
  4. Deaths: Cotter, The Sydney Morning Herald (1 June 1921) p. 10
  5. Fall From Train: Man Killed, The Sydney Morning Herald (2 December 1929), p. 12
  6. Deaths; Cotter, The Sydney Morning Herald (3 December 1929), p. 12
  7. Mr. Edwin Cotter, The Sydney Morning Herald (7 December 1929), p. 21.
  8. Cricket Gossip, The (Melbourne) Leader (1 December 1917), p. 21.
  9. Cricket: A. Cotter Killed in Action: Sydney Fast Bowler's Career, The Referee (21 November 1917), p. 12.
  10. Records: Test Matches: Bowling Records: Best Career Strike Rate, espncricinfo.com.
  11. Cricket, The Barrier Miner (27 February 1912), p. 2.
  12. Board of Control and Players, The Weekly Times (24 February 1912), p. 22
  13. "Rebellious Six": Last Hope Gone, The Tamworth Daily Observer (27 February 1912), p. 2.
  14. The Cricketers' Dispute—A Summing Up, The Sydney Daily Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (28 February 1912) p. 26, p. 27.
  15. Inter-State Cricket, The Queensland Times (5 April 1904), p. 2.
  16. The Cricketers, The Barrier Miner (7 August 1905) p. 2.
  17. Third Test Match, The Age (5 July 1909) p. 5.
  18. Cricket: The Play, The Sydney Morning Herald (1 May 1911) p. 5.
  19. All out for Four: War-Time Test Match, The Crookwell Gazette (22 February 1933) p. 1.
  20. Letter to the Editor from "Cricket Follower", The Crookwell Gazette (1 March 1933), p. 4.
  21. Tibby Cotter, The Crookwell Gazette (1 March 1933), p. 4: A letter to the Editor from "Ex-Trooper" in response to "Cricket Follower's" letter a week earlier.
  22. An Interesting Snapshot, Sydney Mail (9 February 1921) p. 14.
  23. Single, C.V. (July/August 1918) "Albert Cotter—An Appreciation", The Morvada Magazine. p. 42.
  24. Australian War Memorial Collection: P02279.003: "The dead bodies of Australian soldiers killed in the charge on Beersheba lie in a row on the ground" — Cotter's body is marked with an "X" in the photograph.
  25. Bonnell, M. (31 October 2017) "Albert 'Tibby' Cotter: The Australian Test star who died on the battlefield", The Sydney Morning Herald.
  26. Overington, C. (28 October 2017) "Equal to the Test", The Weekend Australian.
  27. It remained in the Cotter family until it was sold in 1952, following the death of Albert's eldest brother, William Henry (1874–1850).
  28. Albert Cotter Memorial, The Sydney Morning Herald (21 January 1919), p. 8
  29. V. Trumper and Albert Cotter, The Referee (29 January 1919), p. 9.
  30. Centenary Commemoration with Tibby Cotter Round, Cricket NSW (24 October 2017).

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