Phil Mead

CHARLES PHILIP MEAD was born on the 9th March, 1887. In other circumstances the now famous left-handed batsman might have been a member of the Surrey eleven. He was engaged on the staff on the Oval, he drifted away to Hampshire and during the two years he was qualifying was allowed by courtesy to play against the Australians at Southampton in 1905. His first appearance for his adopted county was full of promise, a score of 41 not out against Cotter in form showing that even thus early in his career he could play the fastest bowling. His reputation, however, dates from 1906. Duly qualified by residence, he appeared against Yorkshire in the May of that year, and caused quite a sensation by scoring 60 and 109. Good judges who saw the match did not hesitate to express the opinion that a left-handed batsman of first-rate ability had come forward. It so happened, however, that during the remainder of the season Mead did not do much. He made 132 against the West Indians, but his average in county matches was only 23. During the next two seasons he showed a steady improvement, and in 1909 he had quite a brilliant year, his aggregate of runs in county matches being 1,352, and his average, with only one three-figure innings to help him, 37. He finished tenth among the batsmen of the season, and firmly established his position. In 1910 he held his ground fairly well, and had his first chance in representative as distinct from purely county matches, playing for England against Kent at the Oval. Inasmuch as he scored 63, his selection was amply justified. Last season, as everyone knows, he went far ahead of everything he had previously done, and on results was only second to C. B. Fry. A badly damaged hand stopped him for a few weeks, but when once in form he did great things in match after match, his success culminating with a great innings of 233 for Players against Gentlemen at Scarborough, and 101 for England against Warwickshire at the Oval. Even though Kinneir had been picked, he could not be left out of the M.C.C.'s team for Australia. By reason of a slight crouch in his position at the wicket, Mead is not such a good batsman to look at as Woolley, but he is far more watchful than the Kent player, and therefore vastly stronger in defence. He has a fine cut, and his on-side hitting, as he showed in many innings last summer, and especially at Scarborough, is powerful to a degree. Endowed with excellent physique, he never knows what it is to have any sense of fatigue when he is batting. His ambition is to win such a place among left-handed bastmen in England, as Clem Hill had held for years past in Australia. Apart from his batting, he is a capital field in the slips or anywhere else he may be placed.

© John Wisden & Co