Hugh Watts

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Hugh Watts
Personal information
Full name Hugh Edmund Watts
Born (1922-03-04)4 March 1922
Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Somerset, England
Died 21 December 1993(1993-12-21) (aged 71)
Trebetherick, Cornwall, England
Nickname The Abbot
Batting Left-handed batsman
Bowling Leg-break
Role Batsman
Domestic team information
Years Team
1939–52 Somerset
1947 Cambridge University
First-class debut 19 August 1939 Somerset v Hampshire
Last First-class 29 August 1952 Somerset v Leicestershire
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 72
Runs scored 2958
Batting average 25.50
100s/50s 1/19
Top score 110
Balls bowled 126
Wickets 1
Bowling average 117.00
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling 1/15
Catches/stumpings 24/–
Source: CricketArchive, 12 January 2010

Hugh Edmund Watts (4 March 1922 – 27 December 1993) was an English cricketer who played first-class cricket for Somerset as an amateur player before and after the Second World War. He also played for Cambridge University in 1947, winning a blue by playing in the annual Varsity cricket match against Oxford. In his working life, he was a schoolmaster, and most of his first-class cricket was played in school holiday times.

Cricket career[edit]

Educated at Downside School where he was later a teacher, the bespectacled Watts was a successful schoolboy cricketer as a left-handed middle-order batsman and a leg-break bowler. He appeared in the public schools cricket festival at Lord's in August 1939, where he top-scored for "The Rest" in the match against the "Lord's Schools", and then featured in the combined schools side to play the Army.[1] From Lord's he went straight into the Somerset side for the final four matches of the 1939 County Championship season, batting in the lower order and making 76 runs in six innings.

Watts went to Cambridge University in 1940 and appeared in the 1941 wartime Varsity cricket match against Oxford. In September 1942, he was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade as a second lieutenant.[2] He was promoted to lieutenant in November 1945[3] and finally resigned his commission in March 1947 with the honorary rank of major.[4]

Watts' resumption of a first-class cricket career pre-dated his discharge from the army: he played in nine games for Somerset in the 1946 season, and made his first first-class 50 in the game against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.[5] In 1947, Watts played virtually a full season of first-class cricket, with 11 matches for Cambridge University followed by 12 for Somerset. In all, he made 990 runs at an average of 26.75, with 10 scores of more than 50.[6] The highest of these, though, was just 74, made in the game against the Free Foresters.[7] In the Varsity Match, Watts top-scored with 65 in Cambridge's first innings, though he scored only 1 when Cambridge saved the match after being forced to follow on.[8]

For the five seasons from 1948 to 1952, Watts' cricket was confined to school holidays, with only one match, in June 1948, outside the long summer holiday period; only in 1950 did he fail to make useful runs.[6] He captained the side in some matches including at least one match in the summer of 1948, when Somerset had three official captains (not including Watts).[9] In 1949 his arrival, along with that of fellow-schoolmaster Micky Walford, was credited by Wisden as responsible for transforming Somerset's fortunes after 10 consecutive County Championship defeats: the pair "arrived like giants deposing weaklings", it wrote.[10] In these 1949 matches, Watts made the only first-class century of his career, scoring 110 against Glamorgan in the match at Weston-super-Mare.[11]

Aside from his teaching career, Watts' cricket was also restricted by war wounds, which meant he bowled very infrequently, and he did not play at all after 1952.[9] In his penultimate first-class match, he made 93, his second highest score, against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.[12]

After cricket[edit]

Watts taught history and cricket at Downside until in 1963 when he founded the Moor Park preparatory school near Ludlow in Shropshire. He retired from there to Cornwall where he was secretary and captain of the St Enodoc Golf Club.[13]


  1. ^ "Scorecard: Army v Public Schools". 9 August 1939. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  2. ^ "No. 35758". The London Gazette. 23 October 1942. p. 4638. 
  3. ^ "No. 37364". The London Gazette. 23 November 1945. p. 5742. 
  4. ^ "No. 37904". The London Gazette. 11 March 1947. p. 1207. 
  5. ^ "Scorecard: Nottinghamshire v Somerset". 6 July 1946. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  6. ^ a b "First-class Batting and Fielding in each Season by Hugh Watts". Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  7. ^ "Scorecard: Cambridge University v Free Foresters". 7 June 1947. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  8. ^ "Scorecard: Oxford University v Cambridge University". 5 July 1947. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  9. ^ a b David Foot & Ivan Ponting. Somerset Cricket: A Post-War Who's Who (1993 ed.). Redcliffe Books. p. 119. ISBN 1-872971-23-7. 
  10. ^ "Somerset in 1949". Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (1950 ed.). Wisden. p. 476. 
  11. ^ "Scorecard: Somerset v Glamorgan". 6 August 1949. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  12. ^ "Scorecard: Nottinghamshire v Somerset". 23 August 1952. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  13. ^ "Obituary". Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (1994 ed.). Wisden. p. 1355.