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Trott, George Henry Stevens
Date of Birth:
5 August 1866 (d 10 November 1917)
1889-90 to 1913-14
South Melbourne, Carlton, Fitzroy
Sixty percent of Victorian all-rounder Harry Trott’s first-class cricket was played in England, which explains why a majority of his big scores and some of his best bowling efforts were achieved on foreign soil. Trott made four tours of England and could have been there again had illness not cut short his Test career at 31. Captain of Australia in eight Tests against England, Trott underlined his value as an all-round player when he scored 100 and took 11/87 in a second-class fixture against Leicestershire in 1893.
George Henry Stevens Trott was born at the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood on August 5, 1866 and, after an apprenticeship with the local Capulet Cricket Club, joined the South Melbourne club where he took little time to graduate to the Victorian XI. Although he had played only 15 first-class games and had made only one half century, Trott was chosen in the 1888 side to visit England. Batting at Number 3 he played all three Tests without any success and was asked to bowl his leg-breaks for only seven overs. Against Yorkshire he took 5/74 in an innings. The experience of the tour was invaluable as he blossomed as an all-rounder on returning home, conceding only 17 runs per wicket and averaging 39 with the bat in 1888-89.
In a match between the Australian XI and New South Wales that season Trott opened the batting and played an almost faultless innings of 172. “In the opinion of those present, it stamped him as a batsman of the highest class,” wrote the Sydney Morning Herald. Later in the season he proved his worth with the ball by returning 4/20 and 5/67 in a game against Tasmania at the now defunct East Melbourne ground. Similarly in 1889-90 he averaged 38 with the bat and, helped by a 12-wicket haul against Tasmania, captured 18 wickets at 21 apiece.
On his third tour of England, in 1893, Trott made 145 against Middlesex and picked up 5/33 in the county’s second innings of the second Test. In highlighting his attributes it would be remiss not to add that he was a brilliant fieldsman at point, causing it to be known as strong-point when he fielded there. Once elevated to captain of Victoria he became a fine tactician, daring at times, and a highly respected leader without losing his popularity.
A postman who lived near the beach at Albert Park, Trott led Australia in England against WG Grace’s team in 1896 and lost 2-1, but had a 4-1 win against Andrew Stoddart’s men at home in 1897-98. During the 1896 Test in Manchester, which Australia won by three wickets although it needed only 125 runs in its second innings, Trott was dismissed cheaply and became so intense that he left the ground and went for a walk.
In the busy 1897-98 season Trott collapsed while making 92 against New South Wales in Melbourne when the temperature reached 41.6C, 38.3C, 40C and 42.2C on successive days. Opposition captain Tom Garrett sportingly allowed him the use of a runner, but the incident was more serious than first suspected. Although of average height, Trott’s weight had increased from 11st to 16st (102kg) and this led to him becoming mentally ill. A nervous breakdown caused him to be admitted to the Kew asylum, but he was not forgotten. A public testimonial was launched to help his family and the Melbourne Cricket Club started the ball rolling with a donation of $200 (many months wages at the time).
Trott overcame the setback and resumed playing club cricket with South Melbourne in 1900-01. Subsequently he spent time at Bendigo to help recuperate and in 1903-04 was again playing with Victoria, taking 5/38 in an innings against South Australia. The following season he captained the Carlton club although he made only one first-class appearance. Later he rejoined South Melbourne and was still playing successfully well into his 40s.
Eventually he headed the South batting averages five times and the bowling averages thrice. His early efforts with the club included double centuries against St Kilda in 1886-87 and Melbourne in 1888-89 when his father Adolphus was club scorer and maintained a running commentary as the runs were scored. Harry Trott’s 24 Tests yielded 921 runs at 21.93 per innings and 29 wickets at 35.13 each. Younger brother Albert played three Tests before being left out of the 1896 Australian side. He then joined Middlesex where he became an all-rounder of distinction.
Harry Trott died on November 9, 1917, aged 51, and was buried at Brighton cemetery. A great-grandson, Stuart Trott, was a footballer of note with the St Kilda, Hawthorn and Caulfield clubs.
From “AUSTRALIAN ALL-ROUNDERS - From Giffen to Gilmour” by Marc Fiddian
(c) Marc Fiddian 1992. Reproduced with the kind permission of the author.
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