Frederick Martin (cricketer)
|Full name||Frederick Martin|
12 October 1861|
Dartford, Kent, England
|Died||13 December 1921
Dartford, Kent, England
|Bowling style||Left arm medium|
|Test debut (cap 70)||11 August 1890 v Australia|
|Last Test||22 March 1892 v South Africa|
|Domestic team information|
|Source: Cricinfo, 29 December 2008|
Frederick Martin (12 October 1861, Dartford, Kent, England – 13 December 1921, Dartford, Kent, England) was a Kent left-arm spinner who was that county's leading bowler in the early years of the County Championship. Quicker than most bowlers of his type, and without the subtle flight of Johnny Briggs or Bobby Peel's variation of pace, Martin relied more than anything on his amazing accuracy of length. At his peak in the early 1890s, Martin had as much spin as any of his rivals in county cricket, but, from 1892, he lost much of it and was generally only dangerous when the pitches gave him a good deal of assistance – something which became less and less frequent as, in dry weather, they improved rapidly through the 1890s. In his early days, Martin was a very poor batsman, but, by the end of his career, he had developed into a handy lower-order player, especially in an emergency. He hit one score of ninety against Nottinghamshire in 1897.
Martin was, in his prime, the foremost bowler not only for Kent but also the MCC, which, at the time, played many matches against counties with which Middlesex could not afford to arrange fixtures. Because of the competition with Peel and Briggs for an England place, Martin played only one Test Match, when Briggs was injured, Yorkshire refused to let Peel play and a sticky wicket meant that a left-arm orthodox spinner was essential. He seized his opportunity excellently, taking twelve wickets for 102 runs, but he declined before he had another chance of being chosen.
Martin played for Kent in only one match in 1885 but played regularly from 1885, doing excellently in a few matches in 1886 but disappointing in the exceptionally dry summer of 1887; however, in the exceptionally wet summer of 1888 he took 73 wickets at 10.83 each, including an incredible ten for fifty against Sussex. This firmly established Martin as Kent's left-arm spinner, and the following year, given much more bowling, Martin took over 100 wickets for the first time.
From this, Martin rose in 1890 to his greatest height: for both Kent and MCC, he was a formidable bowler in a damp summer and took 190 wickets for under fourteen each. He took twelve wickets on debut in the Second Test at The Oval with six in each innings. In 1891, an even wetter summer, he was almost as effective, named a Cricketer of the Year by Wisden, but was thought unlikely to do so well in Australia and, consequently, not considered for that winter's WG Grace-led tour.
1892 and 1893, however, brought a pronounced decline in Martin's fortunes. He could not spin the ball as much, but the wet summer of 1894 saw him form a formidable combination with Walter Hearne (brother of Jack of Middlesex fame). They bowled unchanged against Surrey at Catford, and Martin took eleven for 29 in the opening match against Sussex.
1895 was a mixed season for Martin, punctuated by four wickets in four balls for MCC against the newly promoted Derbyshire eleven at Lord's; however, for Kent he was very expensive until the wickets became treacherous in mid-July, and, even then, the Martin of 1890 would have surely been more deadly. 1896 was a modest year, and, by 1898, it was clear that Martin was well past his prime, although he made surprising advances as a batsman in these years – probably due to the much-improved pitches which cost his bowling so dearly.
- "2nd Test: England v Australia at The Oval, August 11–12, 1890". espncricinfo. Retrieved 13 December 2011.