A tribute, 1939

The late Lord Hawke

Since the history of cricket was first written, there have been chapters in which certain men have been outstanding figures. Another chapter seems to have closed with the death of Lord Hawke, who was certainly one of the most prominent in his day. Besides being a great cricketer in the highest sense of the word, he was an administrator who not only aimed at the general welfare of the game, but sought to preserve in it an untarnished ethical code. To him cricket was more that a game. It was a philosophy that coloured his dealings with people and things. His anxiety that English cricket should not fall below the high standard that he thought it should maintain led him to give expression to the wish that the Captain of England should always be an amateur. He was unfairly misrepresented of holding this view, as after Hammond changed his status to that of amateur, he gave it as his opinion that a wise selection had been made when the Selection Committee appointed Hammond Captain of England.

His cricket career is a well known matter of history. It may not, however, be generally known how the strength of the character was tested when, as a young man on leaving Cambridge, he undertook the responsibility of captaining the Yorkshire side, composed at that time of elements that were not entirely harmonious. Owing to his tact, judgment and integrity, he moulded the Eleven into the best, and probably the most united county cricket team in England. He regarded Yorkshire as his home by adoption and wherever he went he hailed Yorkshiremen as his friends. He always played to win, but whatever the game, he was a generous opponent and never harbored resentment. The writer recollects running him out when Cambridge University were playing Surrey at the Oval-- a bad run out--the offence was forgiven but it is doubtful if it was forgotten.

Through the long and anxious years during the Great War, Lord Hawke was president of M.C.C. The ground was being used for Military purposes, training and recreation. Problems frequently arose, and he was the greatest help in giving wise counsel towards their solution. After the War he followed Lord Harris as Treasurer of M.C.C. and only resigned shortly before his death. Like Lord Harris, he was devoted to the M.C.C. and believed that the well-being of cricket depended on the allegiance given to the club by its members, by the county clubs, and by the judicial impartial administration of its Committee.

Lord Hawke was a member of the I. Zingari Committee, and in recent years many of its meetings were held at his house in Belgrave Square, where the Committee had the privilege of accepting his hospitality--a great experience. It has been said that candidates for election had a better chance of being selected after luncheon than before.

And so has passed a kind and loyal friend, and one who has contributed much that is valuable to our national game.

© John Wisden & Co