A batsman whose studious technique made full use of his talent, Dawson excelled for Eton, scoring 159 in the traditional fixture against Harrow. He earned his blue at Cambridge as a freshman, captaining the University in 1927.
He played his county cricket for Leicestershire, captaining the county for four seasons. He toured with MCC to South Africa in 1927-28 and New Zealand in 1929-30. He made 55 in his last Test, at Auckland, opening the innings with Ted Bowley. He scored 12,598 first-class runs with 14 centuries, the highest being a knock of 146 against Gloucestershire. His swansong was a chanceless 91 against the Australians in 1934.