Nicholas Felix

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Nicholas Felix
All-England Eleven.jpg
Nicholas Felix (seventh from right)
with the 1847 All-England Eleven
Personal information
Full name Nicholas Wanostrocht
Born (1804-10-05)5 October 1804
Camberwell, London, England
Died 3 September 1876(1876-09-03) (aged 71)
Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England
Batting style Left-handed
Bowling style Slow left arm orthodox (underarm)
Role Batsman
Domestic team information
Years Team
1834 – 1852 Kent
1846 – 1852 Surrey
1830 Marylebone Cricket Club
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 149
Runs scored 4556
Batting average 18.15
100s/50s 2/15
Top score 113
Balls bowled 124+
Wickets 9
Bowling average unknown
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling 3/?
Catches/stumpings 112/–
Source: CricketArchive, 3 September 1876

Nicholas "Felix" Wanostrocht (born 5 October 1804 at Camberwell, London; died 3 September 1876 at Wimborne Minster, Dorset) was a noted English amateur ("Gentleman") cricketer.

Cricketer riding a giant bat
Frontispiece for Felix on the Bat by George Frederic Watts

He is one of the few players who – at his request – was routinely known by his nickname, which was in effect a pseudonym. When his father died in 1824 he had inherited the running of his school, aged only nineteen, and he was afraid that the parents of pupils might think that cricket was too frivolous a pastime for a schoolmaster.

He was a specialist left-handed batsman, though he did occasionally bowl underarm slow left-arm orthodox. Felix was a mainstay of the great Kent team of the mid-19th century alongside such players as Alfred Mynn, Fuller Pilch, William Hillyer and Ned Wenman. In the words of the famous elegy, best loved of Bernard Darwin,

And with five such mighty cricketers 'twas but natural to win
As Felix, Wenman, Hillyer, Fuller Pilch and Alfred Mynn.

He played for Kent from 1830 until 1852. He also appeared for MCC and was a popular member of the All-England Eleven.

In his overall first-class career, Felix played in 149 matches and had 264 innings including 13 not out. He scored 4,556 runs at 18.15 with a highest score of 113. He made 2 centuries, 15 fifties and took 112 catches. It should be remembered when studying his batting average that he played at a time when prevailing conditions greatly favoured bowlers. Felix was rated very highly by his contemporaries.

He was the author of a famous instruction book: Felix on the Bat, Baily Bros, 1845. He also invented the Catapulta (a bowling machine) as well as India-rubber batting gloves. A man of many talents, he was also a classical scholar, musician, linguist, inventor, writer and artist.

Felix is buried in Wimborne cemetery. Ten yards from his grave is the grave of another cricketer, Montague John Druitt, better known as a prime suspect in the Jack the Ripper crimes.

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