John Thomas Brown
John Thomas Brown
August 20, 1869, Great Driffield, Yorkshire. Died: November 4, 1904 (Aged 35)
Right-hand bat, Leg-break
Unknown. YCCC Cap No. 17.
Jack, Steathdy John, JT
Scoring 140 to win the deciding 5th Test at Melbourne in 1895
BATTING AND FIELDING AVERAGES
John, or ‘Jack’ as he was known, was one of the best players Yorkshire has ever produced. When 19-years-old he was recommended to Perthshire by Louis Hall who had seen him play for Driffield. It was believed that the cold damp Scottish summers led to Brown’s later health problems.
He made his Yorkshire debut in 1889 but his progress was delayed by chronic rheumatism, but by 1893 he had passed a thousand runs for the first time and was a firm fixture in the Yorkshire 1st Team and from then on he was a pivotal member of the side.
Short in stature, but very strongly built, he was a batsman who could get runs under all conditions of weather and wicket. His best stroke was the late cut and was a fearsome player of the short ball, particularly during the latter half of his career, although, as is often the case, his best shot was also the one which saw him lose his wicket most often so he limited himself to more orthodox play.
His career highlight was on 6 March 1895 at Melbourne when he and Albert Ward won the deciding 5th Test Match with the series level at 2-2. The Englishmen had 297 to get in the last innings and were reduced to 28-2 Ward and Brown put on 210 runs for the 3rd wicket leading to an English victory by 6 wickets. Brown made a chanceless 140.
Brown made 163 in the Gentlemen and Players match at Lord’s in 1900. The players chased 501 runs to win and won by 2 wickets. Brown batted for nearly five hours and was the highest score achieved for the Players against the Gentlemen at Lord’s.
Playing for Yorkshire against the Australians at Bradford in 1899 he made 84 and 167. His biggest scores were 311 for Yorkshire against Sussex at Sheffield in 1897 and 300 for Yorkshire against Derbyshire at Chesterfield in 1898. In that knock against Derbyshire Brown and Tunnicliffe scored 554 together for the first wicket which was a record partnership in first-class cricket. At Lords in 1896 for Yorkshire against Middlesex, Brown and Tunnicliffe added 139 for the 1st wicket in the first innings and then in the 2nd innings added an unbroken 147.
Brown was a fine fielder at point or cover and bowled ‘innocent’ looking leg-breaks which enabled him to take a hat-trick against Derbyshire in 1896. In all, he took 195 wickets for Yorkshire.
Brown was a quiet, pleasant-mannered man, and did not lack the sense of humour proverbially characteristic of Yorkshire cricketers. His benefit match was attended by 40,000 at Leeds, in 1901, was the biggest thing of the kind ever known prior to George Hirst’s benefit at the same ground last year. Lord Hawke said that Brown had ‘more of an eye to his figures than the rest of us,’ but perhaps this was because he had appreciated that his career and life would be shorter than most.
On the third day of the match against Leicestershire at Bradford in May 1904 he arrived at Leeds station to catch the train but found himself so unwell and out of breath that he had to return home. On 19 July he resigned from the Yorkshire team and died at Dr. Kingscote"s Medical Home in London, on the night of November 4, of congestion of the brain and heart failure.
JMB October 2010