Tom Emmett

TOM EMMETT died suddenly on June 30th, in his 63rd year. He had long ago dropped out of the public gaze, his connection with the Yorkshire eleven ending in 1888, but he had assuredly not been forgotten. There was never a more popular professional, his cheery nature, and the inexhaustible energy with which he played the game, making him a prime favourite wherever he went. His closing days were, unhappily, rather clouded, but on this point there is no need to dwell. He was, perhaps, the only instance of a great fast bowler who was skilful enough to remain effective after he had lost his pace. Those who only saw him bowl in the latter part of his career, when his main object was to get catches on the off side, can have no idea of what he was like when he first won fame in the cricket field. His speed for five or six years was tremendous, and every now and then he would send down an unplayable ball that pitched on the leg stump and broke back nearly the width of the wicket. Born in September, 1841, he was rather late in coming forward, being a man of nearly twenty-five when he first found a place in the Yorkshire team. Once discovered, however, he jumped almost immediately to the top of the tree, playing for England against Surrey and Sussex in Tom Lockyer"s benefit match at the Oval, in 1867-his second season. A still greater bowler-the late George Freeman-was getting to his best at the same time, and from 1867 to 1871 inclusive, the two men did wonderful things together. How they would have fared on the more carefully prepared wickets of these days is a question difficult to answer. The important point is that under the conditions prevailing in their own time they were irresistible. It is quite safe to say that a more deadly pair of purely fast bowlers never played on the same side. After 1871 business took Freeman away from first-class cricket, but Emmett found another excellent Colleague in Allen Hill, and in later years he shared Yorkshire"s bowling with Ulyett, Bates, Peate, and Peel. As time went on his pace left him, and he became the clever, dodgy bowler-full of devices and untiring in effort-whom men still young well remember. The charm of Emmett as a cricketer lay in his keen and obvious enjoyment of the game. No day was too long for him, and up to the end he played with the eagerness of a schoolboy. He was full of humour, and numberless good stories are told about him. He went to Australia three times, and was the mainstay in bowling for Lord Harris"s team in 1878-79. During the first of his three visits he took part at Melbourne, in March, 1877, in the first match in which the Australians ever met an English eleven on even terms. Charles Bannerman scored 165, and the Australians won by 45 runs. No one in this country had any idea in those days of what Australian cricket would become, but Emmett, on his return home, spoke very highly of the Colonial bowling.


6for7 Yorkshire v. Surrey, at Sheffield 1867
6"13 Yorkshire v. Lancashire, at Holbeck 1868
9"34 Yorkshire v. Notts., at Dewsbury 1868
9"23 Yorkshire v. Cambridgeshire, at Hunslet 1869
8"31 Yorkshire v. Notts., at Sheffield 1871
4"8North v. South, at Huddersfield 1875
8"54North v. South, at Hull 1875
6"14 England v. 22 of South Australia, at Adelaide 1876-77
8"46 Yorkshire v. Gloucestershire, at Clifton 1877
8"16 Yorkshire v. M. C. C. and Ground, at Scarboro" 1877
5"3 Yorkshire v. Gents" of Scotland, at Edinboro" 1878
6"12 Yorkshire v. Derbyshire, at Sheffield 1878
7"9 Yorkshire v. Sussex, at Brighton 1878
8"51 England v. Gloucestershire, at the Oval 1878
9"45 England v. 18 of South Australia, at Adelaide 1878-79
8"47 England v. New South Wales, at Sydney 1878-79
4"9 Yorkshire v. Surrey, at Hull 1879
14"36 England v. 22 of Canada, at Toronto 1879
8"22 Yorkshire v. Surrey, at the Oval 1881
5"10 Yorkshire v. Australians, at Bradford 1882
8"52 Yorkshire v. M. C. C. and Ground, at Scarboro" 1882
8"39Mr. C. I. Thornton"s XI. v. Cambridge University, at Cambridge 1884
8"32 Yorkshire v. Sussex, at Huddersfield 1884
7"20 Yorkshire v. Derbyshire, at Derby 1884

In the match between Yorkshire and Surrey, at the Oval, in 1881, Emmett, at one time in the second innings of Surrey, took five wickets in three overs without a run being made from him.

In July, 1868, Emmett and the late George Freeman, playing for Yorkshire, at Holbeck, dismissed Lancashire for totals of 30 and 34. Emmett"s analyses were 2 for 11 and 6 for 13; Freeman"s 8 for 11 and 4 for 12.

Emmett bowled in 22 matches for the Players against the Gentlemen, delivering 2,399 balls for 1,128 runs and 38 wickets, average 29.68.

In all matches for Yorkshire he obtained 1,269 wickets at a cost of 12.68 runs apiece.

© John Wisden & Co