Harry Huggins

HUGGINS, HARRY J., a Gloucestershire professional from 1901 to 1921, died on November 19 at Stroud, aged 65. He started when G. L. Jessop made the Western county an attraction wherever they played, and some of his remarkable performances with the ball helped in victories over presumably more powerful sides. Born at Oxford in 1877, Huggins was 24 when his residential qualification enabled him to appear in county cricket, and, taking 63 wickets, he at once showed his value, but was expensive. Relying less on swerve, he concentrated on length and spin next season, with such good results that his medium-paced bowling, gathering pace from the turf, brought startling results in two matches. At Hove in May, in the Sussex first innings he bowled 21 overs and 5 balls, 15 maidens, for 17 runs and 7 wickets--a grand achievement that paved the way to a substantial victory. He also clean bowled Ranjitsinhji in the second innings, and formed a strong contrast to Fred Roberts, the last left-hander, who claimed in the match seven wickets for 57. In August, at Worcester, Huggins returned figures almost as good--21.1-8-37-7.

Two years later, 1904, he surpassed these efforts in the August Bank Holiday match at Bristol by taking nine Sussex wickets for 34 runs in 26 overs and 2 balls--15 maidens. If less successful in the second innings, he again bowled C. B. Fry, so repeating one deadly ball bowled at Hove in May, when his match record showed ten wickets for 132 runs. In that first innings at Bristol, Huggins clean bowled eight men and caught his other victim from a return. No wonder that the Sussex captain described Huggins as equal to any bowler that Sussex played against during that summer. Fry spoke from personal experience, besides critical observation from the pavilion. George Dennett then had succeeded Roberts as the stock left-handed bowler, and to his clever slows the speed of Huggins proved a most valuable foil, quite apart from the ability of the faster bowler to dismiss the best batsmen. Unfortunately Huggins put on weight for a middle-height man and his brilliant days grew infrequent. His full record in first-class cricket, 584 wickets at 29.03 runs apiece, showed clearly that he often proved expensive.

As a batsman also he was fitful. He looked like developing into a great all-rounder when in 1904 at Nottingham he contributed 53 to the highest total made by any county that season, 636; Jessop hit 206 and Gloucestershire won in a single innings. But his rise in the batting order did not last, and his best year, 1906, brought him no more than 465 runs, average 22.14 in county matches, with 91 his best display. His record in sixteen seasons totalled 4,375 runs, average 14.43. After retirement as a player he scored for the county during several seasons. For over forty years he was associated with the Stroud club, for whom his ability as a forcing batsman brought many runs.

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