Edward Sprott

SPROT, MR. EDWARD MARK, an all-round sportsman of much ability, died on October 8 at his home at Farnham, Surrey, aged 75. Born in Scotland and educated at Harrow he made a name in Army cricket before playing first for Hampshire in 1898 and in company with many noted soldiers (among them Captain E. G. Wynyard, Major R. M. Poore, Colonel J. G. Grieg--giving their rank at that time), he helped to raise Hampshire to such a good standard that during his captaincy they reached fifth place in the county championship. He held the reins from 1903 until 1914, and under his lead Hampshire invariably played attractive cricket with enterprise and enthusiasm. Himself a fine free hitter with zest for the forcing game, Captain Sprot, for a man of medium physique put plenty of power into his strokes, made in free style that meant quick run-getting when he was at the crease.

In first-class cricket he scored 12,251 runs, including 13 hundreds, averaging 28.55 an innings, and with slowish bowling took 54 wickets, besides holding 208 catches. Clearly a valuable man for any county, and as captain in 1918 at Southampton he aroused admiration and astonishment by declaring the innings closed when Hampshire, with a wicket to fall, were 24 behind their visitors, Northamptonshire, at lunch time on the third day, after rain had hindered the progress of the match. By this action he saved the interval between the innings and he soon put on Phillip Mead, little known as a bowler. Six wickets for 18 runs fell to Mead's left-hand slows. Hampshire wanted no more than 86 runs for victory and when A. C. Johnston was out at three, Sprot hit up 62 in less than an hour, two 6's and eight 4's being characteristic of his determined aggression. Alec Bowell was the watchful partner in gaining a victory which Wisden described as without parallel, which makes a unique incident in the history of the game. Sprot saw the possibility of victory by dismissing the opposition on a drying pitch and went for runs with the success described--a splendid example of dynamic cricket which Sir Stanley Jackson's Committee has asked for in first-class cricket of the future.

When serving with the Shropshire Light Infantry in 1899 Sprot, with Colonel J. Spens, won The Army Rackets Challenge Cup. An admirable golf player, a sure shot and clever fisherman, Sprot found billiards the most fascinating indoor recreation, and on a strange table in Cairo he won a 200 up game from the opening left by his opponent on starting the play.

© John Wisden & Co