Frank Woolley

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Frank Woolley
1193406 Frank Woolley.jpg
Personal information
Full name Frank Edward Woolley
Born (1887-05-27)27 May 1887
Tonbridge, Kent
Died 18 October 1978(1978-10-18) (aged 91)
Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada
Batting style Left-handed
Bowling style Left-arm medium
Slow left-arm orthodox
Role All-rounder
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 163) 9 August 1909 v Australia
Last Test 22 August 1934 v Australia
Domestic team information
Years Team
1906–1938 Kent
1909–1930 MCC
Career statistics
Competition Tests FC
Matches 64 978
Runs scored 3,283 58,959
Batting average 36.07 40.77
100s/50s 5/23 145/295
Top score 154 305*
Balls bowled 6,495 94,949
Wickets 83 2,066
Bowling average 33.91 19.87
5 wickets in innings 4 132
10 wickets in match 1 28
Best bowling 7/76 8/22
Catches/stumpings 64/– 1018/–
Source: CricInfo, 11 June 2012

Frank Edward Woolley (27 May 1887 – 18 October 1978) was an English professional cricketer, one of the finest all-rounders the game has seen.[1] In a career lasting more than thirty years, he scored more first-class runs than anyone but Sir Jack Hobbs, and took over 2,000 wickets at an average of under 20. He is also the only non-wicket-keeper to have held more than 1,000 catches.[2] His batting was remarkable both for his well documented elegance and his rapidity of scoring.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Born at Tonbridge, Kent, Woolley made his debut for Kent in 1906 and fast established himself as a great all-rounder,[1] in County Cricket. No one else scored 2,000 runs and took 100 wickets in a season more often, a feat he performed in 1914 and 1921–23.[4] Only W. G. Grace scored a century and took ten wickets in a match more often. Just as impressive was his consistency, he averaged 40.75 in first-class cricket and scored one thousand runs in a season 28 times, a record equalled only by Grace. On 28 August 1929, Wooley scored his 100th First class century. He was the sixth cricketer to achieve this feat.[5]

According to R. C. Robertson-Glasgow "when you wrote about him, there weren't enough words. In describing a great innings by Woolley, and few of them were not great in artistry, you had to be careful with your adjectives and stack them in little rows, like pats of butter or razor-blades. In the first over of his innings, perhaps, there had been an exquisite off-drive, followed by a perfect cut, then an effortless leg-glide. In the second over the same sort of thing happened; and your superlatives had already gone. The best thing to do was to presume that your readers knew how Frank Woolley batted and use no adjectives at all.....there was all summer in a stroke by Woolley, and he batted as it is sometimes shown in dreams." R. L. Arrowsmith wrote "his average rate of scoring has been exceeded only by Jessop ("the Croucher") and equalled by Trumper. His philosophy was to dominate the bowler. "When I am batting," he said, "I am the attack." To this day his 205-minute triple century for the MCC vs Tasmania remains the second fastest ever scored, bettered only by Denis Compton.[6]

Woolley played 64 Test matches for England between 1909 and 1934, coincidentally both topping and tailing his international career with games against Australia at The Oval. He played under fourteen different captains for England, a record in Test cricket.[7] He was made a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1911. In county cricket he spent his entire career (1906–1938) with Kent County Cricket Club, making his mark in his third game when he produced match figures of 95 runs and 8–119 with the ball to help Kent to a one-wicket win. He died 18 October 1978, in Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada

Woolley Way in Maidstone, Kent (in an area where all the streets are named after Kent county cricketers) is named in his honour.

In July 2000 he was inducted into the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations Hall of Fame[8] and in 2009 he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.[9]


The first-class career statistics quoted in this article do not include one match whose first-class status is disputed, but which is included in publications such as Wisden Cricketers' Almanack and the Playfair Cricket Annual. In this match, Woolley took two wickets and scored 10 runs. For more information see Variations in first-class cricket statistics.


  1. ^ a b "Player Profile". Cricinfo. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "Records – First-class matches – Most catches in career". Cricinfo. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Williamson, Martin; Miller, Andrew (20 February 2008). "More hitting out of the park". Cricinfo. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Frindall, Bill (2009). Ask Bearders. BBC Books. p. 154. ISBN 978-1-84607-880-4. 
  5. ^ "On 28 August, Wooley completes 100 100s". ESPNCricinfo. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  6. ^ "Records – First-class matches – Fastest innings". Cricinfo. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Lynch, Steven (1 December 2003). "The biggest six-hitters, and the man with most captains". Cricinfo. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "Cricket's Hall of Fame welcomes five new members". Cricinfo. 3 July 2000. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "Benaud, Gooch, Compton, Larwood and Woolley inducted into ICC Cricket Hall of Fame". ICC. 18 July 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2010. 

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