Hubert Doggart Tribute

HUBERT DOGGART 18 July 1925 – 16 February 2018

AVE ATQUE VALE

A celebration of Hubert's life will be held in Chichester Cathedral, on Friday 27th April, at 2pm. Donations may be made to Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation

There are some pieces that you wish that you never had to write and this is one of them. When Bill Allen phoned with the news of Hubert’s passing, it brought, along with the great feeling of sadness, memories of other telephone calls, Emails, hand-written letters and conversations in person with a real man of cricket.

Cricket was only a part of an extraordinary life but ever-present in his thoughts. I chose the above photograph to remember him by instead of a more formal portrait because it seemed to sum up everything about the force of nature that Hubert was. It shows him at the Book of the Year Awards Dinner at his beloved Lord’s in 2014, where he was the keynote speaker. Now, when Hubert was a speaker at any occasion, he simply took over the whole proceedings but no one ever complained. Vic Marks, who as Chairman of BOTY judges was in nominal charge, was as delighted, as is obvious above, as were all present when Hubert embarked on one of his wide-ranging essays on all things cricket.

Later that year, still as a stripling of 89, Hubert enthralled a December’s afternoon audience with a tour de force of reminiscences and tales of heroes and villains, although no one was ever really a villain in Hubert’s eyes. He gave a complete display of erudition, self-deprecation, good humour that enraptured the entire audience. It was Keith Summerfield who said that “it brought back the halcyon days of The Cricket Society” and Hubert, as a past President was perhaps the most diligent and courteous man to ever occupy that post.

There will be other more complete obituaries with details of his prodigious cricketing and educational career but this is a time for a more personal view. I, like most who met Hubert, will be experiencing a sense of personal loss and feel that they have lost a friend. Hubert’s life was more than touched with personal tragedy but even as he entered his tenth decade, he was ever-ready to defend his contemporaries who were not around to defend themselves and to uphold the values of cricket. It is sad that he didn’t get to complete another century but his innings of 92 was worth far more than many other hundreds.

 

Some statistics from Keith Walmsley:

 

As we say farewell to our longtime President, among all the other tributes we can look here at a few of the facts and figures of his distinguished career.

  • Leaving aside one innings from the underarm days, he still holds the record for the highest score ever made on first-class debut by an Englishman – a score of 215* in his first innings, for Cambridge University v Lancashire at Fenner’s in May 1948. He added 52 runs in his next innings. Only five cricketers worldwide (and no other Englishmen) have scored more than his tally of 267 runs before losing his wicket for the first time.
  • His two Tests for England were played in 1950 when he was still an undergraduate at Cambridge, just a few weeks before he captained his University against Oxford. In his four Test innings he was dismissed twice each by Ramadhin and Valentine - no disgrace for any batsman in that memorable summer.
  • When he made his highest first-class score (219* for Cambridge University v Essex at Fenner’s in May 1949), he shared in an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 429 with John Dewes – at the time the English record for that wicket, not surpassed until 1974.
  • He ended the 1960 season with 9995 first-class runs, as well as 198 catches. He reappeared in two final matches in 1961, in which he scored the five runs needed to reach 10,000 but was only able to add one to his tally of catches. In all he ended with 10,054 runs at an average of 31.51, with 20 centuries.
  • It is easily forgotten that in his earlier years he was also a successful off-spin bowler. The first innings in which he bowled (for Cambridge in 1948) was against his own county, when he dismissed George Cox, Don Smith and James Langridge in taking 3-21 in the innings. When he recorded his best-ever analysis of 4-50 for the Free Foresters against Cambridge University in 1951, one of his victims was another Sussex star, David Sheppard. In his career as a whole he took 60 first-class wickets at an average of 34.28.
  • Both his father (AG, or Graham, Doggart) and his son (SJG, Simon) played first-class cricket for Cambridge University and, in Graham’s case, Middlesex. His brother AP (Peter) and his uncle JH (James) were also first-class cricketers, the former for Sussex and the latter for Cambridge University.

His death came at the venerable age of 92 years and 213 days. Only ten England Test cricketers have been longer-lived. At the time he was England’s senior Test cricketer, measured by the length of time since his Test debut. That title now passes to Middlesex’s Alan Moss, whose debut was also against West Indies, on the 1953/54 tour in the Caribbean.

 

First-class career 10,054 runs at 31.51 with 20 centuries and 50 half-centuries

                         60 Wickets at 34.28 Best Bowling 4/50

                         199 Catches