December 24, 1885, Wilsden, Yorkshire. Died: October 23, 1942 (Aged 56)
Right-hand bat, Wicketkeeper
Unknown. YCCC Cap No. 42.
BATTING AND FIELDING AVERAGES
Arthur Dolphin was the Yorkshire wicket-keeper between 1905 and 1927. He succeeded David Hunter as stumper and became a key part of 8 Championship winning Yorkshire sides. He also played first-class cricket for the Marylebone Cricket Club.
Dolphin played for Wilsden Britannia in the Bradford League aged 14 and became the first player from that league to represent Yorkshire when he made his county debut aged 19 in 1905. He secured the gloves on a permanent basis from the 2010 season.
He kept to some of the legendary bowlers of the game including Rhodes, Hirst, Drake, Booth and Kilner with a minimum of fuss. Herbert Sutcliffe wrote about Dolphin: "His quick brain and exceptionally keen eyesight were responsible for disposing of large numbers of batsmen from chances which many keepers would have missed without even affecting their reputations."
Nearly a third of his dismissals were stumpings. He played in an era when the skills of pure keeping, often standing up to medium paced bowlers on uncovered, rain affected wickets, were prized above batting skills. His lack of runs probably hampered his chances of Test Match cricket and his one Test match came in 1920-21 in the 4th Test against Australia. He played in an era dominated by Herbert Strudwick of Surrey whom many still think is the greatest keeper to have ever played the game.
Strudwick said of Dolphin: “He stood with his right leg a little further back. This helped him take the ball that is going from leg to off which Rhodes and Kilner served up on sticky wickets, so giving him a quicker sweep to the wicket. In my opinion Dolphin moves the balls more quickly than any other keeper.”
He was once injured when he fell of a dressing room chair at Lord’s, broke his wrist and missed the rest of the season.
As a batsman he often defended well in a crisis, and perhaps his best performance was against Essex at Leyton in 1919, the season of two-day matches; he scored 62 not out, and with E. Smith put on 103 for the last wicket, so saving their side from following-on when Yorkshire were in danger.
One of his most notable feats behind the stumps was against Hampshire at Leeds in 1921, a match which provided a genuine sensation. Hampshire declared at 456 for two wickets, Dolphin having conceded only two byes.
His benefit match in 1922 against Kent in Leeds raised £1,891 and he hit the winning runs, after scoring 20 or the 24 required to win, to secure victory by ten wickets. He suffered from sciatica in the latter part of his career.
He served alongside his county colleagues. Roy Kilner and Major Booth, with the Leeds Pals during World War I but returned to Yorkshire's ranks in 1919 and enjoyed his most successful season with the gloves claiming 82 dismissals in the first post-war summer.
After retiring as a player, Dolphin became a popular and well respected cricket umpire for a decade and officiated in 6 Tests. He was noted for never wearing a hat, not even on the hottest summer days.
Arthur Dolphin died at his home in Bradford on October 24 in his 56th year.
JMB October 2010