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Guy Fife Earle, born at Newcastle upon Tyne on 24 August 1891 and died at Maperton, Wincanton, Somerset, on 30 December 1966, played first-class cricket for Surrey and Somerset for 20 years before and after the First World War. He also played in India, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand as a member of official Marylebone Cricket Club touring teams, though he did not play Test cricket.

School and early cricket

Earle was educated at Harrow School and was in the school's cricket team as a fast bowler and middle order batsman for four years. He was captain of Harrow against Eton College in the Eton v Harrow match at Lord's in 1910 when Eton pulled off a sensational victory: having followed on 165 runs behind, Eton were only four runs ahead when the ninth wicket of the second innings fell and eventually set Harrow a target of just 55 to win. The Eton bowler Robert Fowler then took eight Harrow wickets for 23 as Harrow were all out for 45, leaving Eton winners by nine runs.[1] The match is the subject of an article at www.cricinfo.com, in which Earle's captaincy, and specifically the decision to remove Harold Alexander, later Earl Alexander of Tunis, from the Harrow bowling attack, was seen as a contributory factor in Eton's recovery.[2]

In 1911, Earle appeared twice in first-class cricket for Surrey, taking four wickets in the two games.[3] But he played no more first-class cricket before the First World War.

Earle served in the Rifle Brigade during the First World War, reaching the rank of captain before his discharge in 1919.[4] In 1916 he is recorded as being on half-pay because of illness.[5] Another source says that he was wounded in the war.[6]

Return to cricket

Before his discharge from the services, Earle played in a non-first-class match for the Royal Air Force against the Army, opening the bowling and top-scoring in a poor RAF first innings.[7] In 1921, he returned to first-class cricket with Surrey, playing in two matches against Cambridge University and Oxford University at The Oval. In the Cambridge match, he took five second innings wickets for 137 runs as Cambridge ran up a total of 460 for six: this was his only five-wicket-innings return in first-class cricket and therefore these remained as his career-best bowling figures.[8]

In 1922, Earle played in one match for Somerset, and from 1923 onwards he appeared fairly regularly for the county until the end of the 1929 season. His role at Somerset was primarily as a hard-hitting middle-order batsman, and though he took useful wickets in his first four seasons in Somerset, he bowled more than 160 overs in only one season, 1926.[3]

Earle's only century for Somerset came in his first regular season, 1923. In the match against Gloucestershire at Bristol, he came to the wicket with Somerset at 331 for five, with Dar Lyon having already scored a century. Wisden, normally staid in its prose, reported that Earle was "amazing": he made 76 in "just over half an hour" to the close of play and then, when Somerset batted on into the second day, went on himself to finish with 111.[9][10]

By the mid-1920s, Earle was playing cricket in the majority of matches for Somerset and in 1926 he played in 28 games, reaching 893 runs at an average of 21.78 in the season and also taking 30 wickets, both of them his highest season aggregates.[3][11] Wisden referred to his "exceptional driving" and, 40 years later, wrote that "while by no means a stylist, (he) used his considerable physique to hit the ball tremendously hard".[12]

References

  1. ^ "Scorecard: Eton v Harrow". www.cricketarchive.com. 1910-07-08. http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/211/211390.html. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  2. ^ Martin Williamson. "Fowler's Match". www.cricinfo.com. http://www.cricinfo.com/columns/content/story/143944.html. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  3. ^ a b c "First-class Bowling in each Season by Guy Earle". www.cricketarchive.com. http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Players/3/3527/f_Bowling_by_Season.html. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  4. ^ London Gazette: no. 31593, p. 12556, 10 October 1919. Retrieved on 16 January 2010.
  5. ^ London Gazette: no. 29588, p. 4975, 19 May 1916. Retrieved on 16 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Guy Fife Earle". www.thepeerage.com. http://www.thepeerage.com/p4818.htm#i48180. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  7. ^ "Scorecard: Army v Royal Air Force". www.cricketarchive.com. 1919-08-16. http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/135/135492.html. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  8. ^ "Scorecard: Surrey v Cambridge University". www.cricketarchive.com. 1921-06-15. http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/10/10138.html. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  9. ^ "Scorecard: Gloucestershire v Somerset". www.cricketarchive.com. 1923-08-04. http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/10/10929.html. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  10. ^ "Gloucestershire Matches". Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (1924 ed.). Wisden. p. 255.  
  11. ^ "First-class Batting and Fielding in each Season by Guy Earle". www.cricketarchive.com. http://www.cricketarchive.com/Archive/Players/3/3527/f_Batting_by_Season.html. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  
  12. ^ "Obituary, 1966". Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (1967 ed.). Wisden. p. 966.  
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