Tom Horan

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Tom Horan
Tom Horan 2.jpg
Personal information
Full name Thomas Patrick Horan
Born (1854-03-08)8 March 1854
Midleton, County Cork, Ireland
Died 16 April 1916(1916-04-16) (aged 62)
Malvern, Victoria, Australia
Nickname Felix (pen name)
Batting style Right-hand
Bowling style Right-arm roundarm
Role Middle-order batsman
Relations James Francis Horan (son), Thomas Ignatius Bernard Horan (son)
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 8) 15 March 1877 v England
Last Test 21 March 1885 v England
Domestic team information
Years Team
1874–1891 Victoria
Career statistics
Competition Tests FC
Matches 15 106
Runs scored 471 4027
Batting average 18.84 23.27
100s/50s 1/1 8/12
Top score 124 141*
Balls bowled 373 2044
Wickets 11 35
Bowling average 13.00 23.68
5 wickets in innings 1 2
10 wickets in match 0 0
Best bowling 6/40 6/40
Catches/stumpings 6/0 39/0
Source: Cricket Archive, 26 February 2008

Thomas Patrick Horan (8 March 1854 — 16 April 1916) was an Australian cricketer who played for Victoria and Australia, and later became an esteemed cricket journalist under the pen name "Felix". The first of only two Irish-born players to play Test cricket for Australia, Horan was the leading batsman in the colony of Victoria during the pioneering years of international cricket. He played for Australia in the game against England subsequently designated as the first Test match, before touring England with the first representative Australian team, in 1878. Four years later, he toured England for the second time and played in the famed Ashes Test match at The Oval.

An aggressive middle-order batsman renowned for his leg-side play, Horan supplemented his batting by bowling medium-pace in the roundarm style common to his era, and once captured six wickets in a Test match innings. During a season disrupted by financial disputes and a strike by leading players, he captained Australia in two Test matches of the 1884–85 Ashes series, but lost both games. Horan’s form peaked between the ages of 26 and 29 when he scored seven of his eight first-class centuries, including a score of 124 in a Test match on his home ground at Melbourne in January 1882.

In 1879, Horan began writing a weekly newspaper column that continued until his death 37 years later. He established himself as the first Australian cricket writer who had played the game at the highest level, thus paving the way for many players to enter the media. Bill O'Reilly, the noted Australian player-writer of the twentieth century, described him as, "the cricket writer par excellence". Horan's documentation of the early years of Australian cricket are the basis for many works on the subject: Gideon Haigh wrote that any, "serious scholar in the field ... should probably acquaint himself with Tom Horan."[1] An anthology of his articles was published for the first time in 1989 when he was posthumously inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame for his writing. In part, his citation read, "... it was as the first nationally known cricket writer that he made his major contribution to the game."[2]

Early years[edit]

Born in the town of Midleton near the Irish city of Cork, Horan emigrated to Australia with his parents and siblings as a small child. In Melbourne, he attended Bell Street School in Fitzroy and formed a friendship with Jack Blackham; Blackham encouraged in Horan a love of cricket. Horan made his first-class debut for Victoria in the season of 1874/75.

Test cricket[edit]

At age 23, Tom Horan was selected to play in the first Test between Australia and England in March 1877.[1] Australia won the toss and elected to bat. After the fall of the first wicket, that of Nat Thomson, Horan made his way to the wicket. With Charles Bannerman (who would eventually retire hurt on 165), Horan put on 38 runs for the second wicket before he was dismissed for 12. In the second innings, the young batsman made twenty, the highest score in Australia's 104 all out. Australia won the historic match by 45 runs.[3]

Although he was not selected to play in Second Test of the inaugural Test series, Horan did enjoy a regular place in the Australian Test team into the mid-1880s. His highest Test score of 124 was made in the First Test of the 1881/82 season against England. Horan toured England twice, in 1878 and 1882, but played only one Test in that country, at the Oval in 1882.[4]

Caricature of Horan in 1878

In 1884, the Australian Test team - minus Horan - demanded a significant pay rise. When organisers refused the request, the team went on strike. With the Second Test against England due to start in Melbourne, selectors were forced to choose an entirely new team. Horan was selected as captain. His team consisted on nine debutants (five of whom never played Tests again). Australia lost the Test by 10 wickets. In the following Test, Horan, having been stripped of his captaincy duties, made a significant impact with the ball, returning figures of 6/40 from 37.1 four-ball overs in England's first innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground.[5] Horan played his final Test on 21 March 1885. He scored a duck in the first innings and made 20 in the second before being bowled by William Attewell, and bowled three wicketless overs for five runs as England took an innings victory.[6]

Writing[edit]

He turned his attention to journalism, writing a regular cricket column for the The Australasian, a weekly published by Melbourne's Argus newspaper. Haigh writes that Horan "was not an adventurous stylist: he wrote, instead, with his ears and eyes, with a sense of the telling remark and the evocative detail."[1] He never attached his own name to his writings, preferring to use the pseudonym "Felix". Horan continued contributing to The Australasian until his death in 1916.[1]

Personal life[edit]

In 1879, Horan married the daughter of a Melbourne police officer, Kate Pennefather. They had nine children. Two of Horan's sons played first-class cricket for Victoria in the early 1900s.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Haigh, Gideon (11 April 2006). "Tom Horan - Cricket writer par excellence". CricInfo. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  2. ^ "Thomas Horan - Media". Hall of Fame. Sports Australia. 5 December 1989. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  3. ^ "England in Australia Test Series - 1st Test Australia v England". Cricket Archive. 19 March 1877. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / TP Horan / Test matches". CricInfo. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "The Ashes - 3rd Test Australia v England". CricInfo. 24 February 1885. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 
  6. ^ "The Ashes - 5th Test Australia v England". CricInfo. 25 March 1885. Retrieved 25 August 2009. 

References[edit]

  • Haigh, Gideon (2006). Silent Revolutions: Writings on Cricket History. Black Inc. ISBN 1-86395-310-8. 
  • Horan, Thomas (1989). Cradle days of Australian cricket: an anthology of the writings of Felix. Macmillan Australia. ISBN 0-333-50129-2. 
  • Mangan, J. A. (2000). Sport in Australasian society: past and present. Volume 18 of Sport in the global society. John Nauright. Routledge. ISBN 0-7146-5060-9. 
  • Perry, Roland (2000). Captain Australia: a history of the celebrated captains of Australian Test cricket. Random House Australia. ISBN 1-74051-001-1. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Billy Murdoch
Australian Test cricket captain
1884/85
Succeeded by
Hugh Massie