A.N. Hornby: The Boss

A.N. Hornby: The Boss

Albert Neilson Hornby (1847-1925) was a sporting legend, captaining England and Lancashire at cricket and England at rugby union. He was also a useful footballer, appearing for Blackburn Rovers, and was a keen boxer and hurdler. He regularly rode to hounds and was a decent shot. He went to Oxford University but lasted only a few weeks, preferring scorebooks to text books and neither did he fancy joining his father’s lucrative milling business, which was based in his home town of Blackburn. But academia and the commercial world’s losses were very much cricket’s gains and the man known as ‘Monkey’ for his diminutive size as a youngster and his hyper-active demeanour carved out one of the most durable careers in the game. For five decades he ruled the roost at Lancashire as player, captain, chairman and president – a long service record that will almost certainly never be replicated. In his heyday it was said that only the great W.G. Grace was his superior as a batsman and his captaincy skills were admired by friend and foe alike – even by the Australians! He was also a brilliant fielder. But he will probably be best remembered as the captain who lost to the Australians in the famous Oval Test of 1882; a defeat which gave birth to the Ashes. He also went down in cricketing folklore as one of the central figures in Francis Thompson’s poem ‘At Lord’s’. As a captain, he demanded the utmost loyalty from those who played under him and, in return, defended his players to the hilt, most notably when a number of Lancashire bowlers were accused of throwing. He was one of the central figures when a disputed umpiring decision led to the Sydney riot of 1879, and there were other occasions when he was not afraid to wade into a crowd of unruly spectators. Had he been alive today Hornby would have been the darling of the tabloids and in his lifetime in and around what was a Golden Age of cricket he was never far away from controversy and confrontation.

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Author
Publisher Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians
Release Date
ISBN 1908165278
Pages 122 pages
Rating 4/5 (75 users)

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