Harry Butler Daft (5 April 1866 – 12 January 1945) was an English footballer who played for Notts County, with whom he won the FA Cup in 1894, as well as making five appearances as a left winger for the national side. He was also an accomplished cricketer, playing 200 first class matches for Nottinghamshire between 1885 and 1899.
|Full name||Harry Butler Daft|
|Date of birth||5 April 1866|
|Place of birth||Radcliffe-on-Trent, England|
|Date of death||12 January 1945(aged 78)|
|Place of death||England|
|Playing position||Outside left|
|pre 1888–1893||Notts County||101||(47)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Daft was born at Radcliffe-on-Trent and attended Trent College, before joining Notts County as an amateur, whilst at the same time being a member of the Corinthians club. At this time he also played for Nottingham Forest and Newark, before the advent of league football. On the inauguration of the Football League, he became more settled and in the inaugural season he played in 19 out of the 22 games played by County, scoring eight goals. At the end of the season, County's poor league form resulted in them finishing near the foot of the table and having to apply for re-election to the league.
In the following season, he played twice for England, against Wales on 15 March 1890 (won 3–1) and Scotland on 5 April (a 1–1 draw). In the league, he made 19 appearances with ten goals as County again finished near the bottom of the league table and needed to be re-elected.
1890–91 saw a considerable improvement in County's form, and they finished the league in third place. Daft only missed one league appearance, scoring six goals. His two goals against Burnley in the FA Cup helped County reach the final against Blackburn Rovers. In the final itself, played at the Kennington Oval on 21 March 1891, County were "a little overawed by the great occasion and especially by the FA Cup experience of Blackburn" who won 3–1.
Two weeks before the FA Cup Final, Daft played his fourth international match, against Ireland on 7 March 1891. Daft played at outside left and was amongst the scorers as England again won 6–1. This match was Tinsley Lindley's final appearance for England, and he marked the occasion with two goals.
In the 1891–92 league season, he missed only two matches scoring 13 goals as County finished the season eighth in the table. At the end of the season he was selected for what was to be his final appearance for England. In the match against Ireland Daft played at inside left and was awarded the captaincy of a team that comprised only professionals, five of whom were making their international debuts. Daft marked the occasion by scoring twice, either side of half-time, as England won 2–0.
On 19 November 1892 County defeated West Bromwich Albion 8–1 with Daft and Jimmy Oswald both scoring hat-tricks. Despite this, Notts County were struggling near the foot of the table and, after a dispute in January, Daft crossed the River Trent to join Nottingham Forest. Daft only managed four games for Forest and in the summer he returned to County, who by now had been relegated to Division Two. In 1893–94 County reached third placed in the Second Division table, but failed to gain promotion after losing a test match to Preston North End of Division One. Their best form that season came in the FA Cup.
In the Cup, County overcame three Division One teams to make it to the final. Burnley were defeated 1-0 in Round One at home. Subsequently, non-league Burton Wanderers were beaten 2-1 at Burton. In Round Three, there was a derby against local rivals Nottingham Forest with County managing a 1-1 draw away from home before easily defeating their arch rivals 4-1 in the replay to claim a place in the Semi-Final against Blackburn Rovers. In the semi-final, held at Bramall Lane, Rovers were odds-on favourites to win; County, however, managed a 1–0 victory with Daft scoring the only goal of the game.
The 1894 FA Cup Final was played at Everton's Goodison Park against Bolton Wanderers, who had spent most of the season struggling near the foot of the First Division. Bolton fielded an under-strength side as a result of injuries to several key players, with others playing in less than full health, whereas County were able to field a full strength side. County soon took the lead and by half-time were 2–0 up with goals from Arthur Watson and James Logan. Logan's goal followed "some excellent wing play from Daft." Logan scored twice more in the second half and ran out 4–1 victors, thus becoming the first team from Division Two to win the cup.
Daft continued with Notts County for the start of the following season, but in December 1894 he left to join non-league Newark.
- Notts County
|Batting style||Right-hand batsman|
Harry Daft was the second son of Richard Daft, who was one of the best batsmen of his day. At Trent College he played for the college XI when only 12 and showed such increased skill as he played with his seniors that in 1885, when 19, he was tried for Nottinghamshire in several games. He made his first-class debut on 28 May 1885 against Marylebone Cricket Club and was top scorer for the county, making 23 in the first innings before being bowled by W. G. Grace. He made his County Championship debut at Yorkshire on 29 June and went on to play in five championship matches that season.
The next season he appeared for Gentlemen v. Players at the Oval and he assisted Nottinghamshire as an amateur until he turned professional in 1890. According to his obituary in Wisden, he was "especially strong in defence, with skill in placing his strokes, he never suggested forcing ability and scarcely reached the high standard of his county's best batsmen". In August 1891, he played with his father in the county eleven, at Kennington Oval against Surrey. Richard Daft had returned to the Nottinghamshire side after an absence of ten years because Arthur Shrewsbury was forced to stand down through injury. Neither father nor son made any particular impact in this game, with Harry scoring 5 and 0, and his father 12 and 2 as Surrey won by an innings and 46 runs.
His best season with the bat was in 1894 when he totalled 596 runs at an average of 19.22. He achieved his first class top score at the end of August against Kent at Trent Bridge with 92 not out. Against Surrey at The Oval in August 1896 he carried his bat through the second innings for 77 in a vain attempt to save his side from defeat. His best bowling figures of 5-79 came in the County Championship match against Kent at Mote Park, Maidstone in July. His best season’s haul was 23 wickets in 1897.
Altogether, he scored 4370 runs, at an average of 15.89, took 86 wickets at 26.03 runs apiece, and held 81 catches in first-class cricket. Continuing in county cricket until 1899, he played his highest innings for Nottinghamshire, not out 103, against Northamptonshire in 1897, but that was not a first-class match, Northamptonshire not being raised to the championship group until 1905.
- "Cup glory". Notts County official website. 21 May 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- Gibbons, Philip (2001). Association Football in Victorian England - A History of the Game from 1863 to 1900. Upfront Publishing. pp. 120–121. ISBN 1-84426-035-6.
- "England 6 - Ireland 1 2nd March 1889".
- Gibbons. pp. 166–167. Missing or empty
- "England 6 - Ireland 1 7th March 1891".
- "Ireland 0 - England 2 5th March 1892".
- Gibbons. pp. 202–203. Missing or empty
- Giant Killers 1894
- Gibbons. pp. 254–255. Missing or empty
- Gibbons. pp. 259–260. Missing or empty
- Graham Betts (2006). England: Player by player. Green Umbrella Publishing. p. 85. ISBN 1-905009-63-1.
- "Marylebone Cricket Club v Nottinghamshire scorecard".
- "Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire scorecard".
- "Gentlemen v Players in 1886".
- "Obituary quoted in Cricinfo".
- "Surrey v Nottinghamshire scorecard".
- "Nottinghamshire v Kent scorecard".
- "Kent v Nottinghamshire scorecard".