1886 – 1965
Who was Bill Hitch?
A Lancastrian, Hitch was bowling for a club in Cambridgeshire when he was spotted by Surrey's batsman Tom Hayward and recommended to The Oval. From his debut in 1907, he quickly established himself as one of the fastest bowlers in first-class cricket, and his rumbustious lower-order batting and general enthusiasm made him a favourite with the crowds. In 1908 he took 58 wickets including 13 in a remarkably heavy win against Kent at the Oval, but it was not until the latter part of 1910 that Hitch entered the public eye. His aggressive hitting brought him such innings as 74 against Middlesex on a difficult wicket, whilst at Northampton he made 54 and took 9 for 101 - bowling unchanged with Razor Smith throughout both innings apart from one over. However, it was Hitch's brilliant close catching that garnered the critics' attention and helped Smith to a bag of wickets unrivalled for Surrey except by Tom Richardson in his great days between 1893 and 1897.
In the abnormally dry summer of 1911, Hitch was the third-highest wicket-taker in England but it was generally felt he should have done better and was not as accurate as a top-class bowler should be. Nonetheless, Hitch toured Australia in 1911-12 and played for England both then and during the 1912 Triangular Tournament. He also played Tests against Warwick Armstrong's all-conquering Australian cricket team both home and away in 1920-21 and 1921. But in seven matches Hitch took only 11 wickets, and his most notable achievement was an innings of 51 in just 40 minutes at The Oval in 1921.
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on July 23, 2013