Percy May

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Percy May
Personal information
Full name Percy Robert May
Born (1884-03-13)13 March 1884
Chertsey, Surrey, England
Died 6 December 1965(1965-12-06) (aged 81)
Eastleigh, Hampshire, England
Nickname Phil[1][2]
Batting Right-handed
Bowling Right-arm fast
Domestic team information
1902 to 1904 London County
1902 to 1909 Surrey
1903 to 1906 Cambridge University
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 72
Runs scored 1037
Batting average 14.20
100s/50s 0/1
Top score 51 not out
Balls bowled 10,858
Wickets 247
Bowling average 24.67
5 wickets in innings 14
10 wickets in match 3
Best bowling 8/49
Catches/stumpings 36/0
Source: Cricket Archive, 18 October 2014

Percy Robert "Phil" May (13 March 1884 – 6 December 1965) was an English cricketer who played first-class cricket from 1902 to 1910, and a final match in 1926.

A fast bowler, Percy May played for London County in 1902 at the age of 18, and occasionally for Surrey. After being privately educated,[3] May went up to Pembroke College, Cambridge in the autumn of 1902.[4] He played for the university side from 1903 to 1906, taking part in victories over Oxford University in 1905 and 1906. In 1906 he bowled unchanged throughout both innings to take 7 for 41 and 5 for 25 in Cambridge's 305-run victory over Yorkshire at Fenner's.[5] He opened the bowling for the Gentlemen against the Players later that year, taking seven wickets, more than any other bowler.[6] He finished the season with 75 wickets at an average of 22.76, his most successful season.[7]

He toured New Zealand with MCC in 1906-07, taking 45 wickets in nine first-class matches at 15.97 and forming a powerful pace attack with Johnny Douglas, who took 50 wickets at 13.26.[8] He took 5 for 53 and 5 for 37 in the first victory over Otago (by 232 runs) and 4 for 49 and 4 for 58 in the second victory (by an innings and 95 runs), and played in both matches against New Zealand, taking eight wickets.[9] He wrote an account of the tour based on his diary, titled With the MCC in New Zealand (1907), which a New Zealand reviewer found "a very readable story ... which I was loth to put down ... the 'behind-the-scenes' life of an English amateur cricketer on tour ... makes for good and entertaining reading".[10] Among the New Zealanders there was some question about the legitimacy of his bowling action; Dick Brittenden later described him as "a fast bowler with a peculiar leap just before delivery, and whose action was suspect".[11]

He played a few matches in 1907, with one outstanding performance for Gentlemen of the South against Players of the South at the Hastings Festival, when he took 8 for 49 and 3 for 69 in a 233-run victory.[12] After that he took a job as a teacher in England and played little first-class cricket.[4]

He spent the years from 1910 to 1950 in Ceylon, managing the 2500-acre Dalkeith rubber plantation at Latpandura in the Kalutara District.[2] He was a regular club cricketer for most of his time in Ceylon, and played in the annual match for Europeans against Ceylonese in 1911, 1912 and 1914.[13] After suffering a shoulder injury not long after he arrived in Ceylon he was forced to abandon fast bowling and instead became a skilful underarm bowler and batsman.[2] He served briefly as President of the Ceylon Cricket Association.[4]

He also won a Blue at Cambridge for Association football, and toured the USA with the Corinthians in 1906.[4]


  1. ^ "Sizing Them Up: The M.C.C. Team for New Zealand". Auckland Star. XXXVII (278): 3. 28 November 1906. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c S. S. Perera, The Janashakthi Book of Sri Lanka Cricket (1832–1996), Janashakthi Insurance, Colombo, 1999, pp. 103-104, 438.
  3. ^ Wisden 1958, p. 684.
  4. ^ a b c d Perera, S. S. (1966). "P. R. May". The Cricketer. 47 (3): 24.
  5. ^ Cambridge University v Yorkshire 1906
  6. ^ Gentlemen v Players 1906
  7. ^ Percy May bowling by season
  8. ^ MCC in New Zealand 1906-07 bowling averages
  9. ^ MCC in New Zealand 1906-07
  10. ^ "Notes by Long Slip". Otago Witness (2814): 60. 19 February 1908. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  11. ^ R.T. Brittenden, Great Days in New Zealand Cricket, A.H. & A.W. Reed, Wellington, 1958, p. 28.
  12. ^ Gentlemen of the South v Players of the South 1907
  13. ^ Miscellaneous matches played by Percy May

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