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Leslie Melville Balfour-Melville (1854–1937), born Leslie Melville Balfour, was an outstanding all-round Scottish amateur sportsman.[1] The finest moment in his sporting career was on 29 July 1882. As captain, opening batsman and wicket-keeper, he led Scotland to victory over Australia at cricket. This was as remarkable an achievement in 1882 as it would be today.

Balfour-Melville was also an international rugby union player,[2] tennis player, ice skater, curler, long-jumper and billiards player. He was a prolific golf medal winner, winning The Amateur Championship, in St Andrews in 1895.

He also held several important administrative positions within national governing bodies. He was President of the Scottish Rugby Union, President of the Scottish Cricket Union, and Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 1906.

Balfour-Melville was an inaugural inductee into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.



Balfour was born in Bonnington, Edinburgh, in 1854.[3] Educated at the Edinburgh Academy and the University of Edinburgh, he became a lawyer by profession, rising to be a Writer to the Signet. In 1893 the family changed its name to Balfour-Melville when his father succeeded to the estate of Mount Melville near St Andrews, Fife.

His son James also played cricket for Scotland before losing his life in the First World War.

Balfour-Melville died in North Berwick, East Lothian, in 1937.[3]


Playing for the Grange, he debuted against the Free Foresters in 1874. He played eighteen matches for the national side over 36 years.

He captained Scotland in their first match against Ireland after the formation of the 2nd Scottish Cricket Union, and was the first President of the Scottish Cricket Union to play for the national side.

During his career he scored 46 centuries.

Rugby football

Leslie Balfour, as he was then, played for Edinburgh Academicals, and was capped once in 1871.[2]


  • Played rugby for Scotland against England, 1872
  • Scottish Lawn Tennis Championship winner, 1879
  • Captained Scotland to a cricketing victory over Australia, 1882
  • The Amateur Championship winner, 1895; and runner-up in 1889; both at St Andrews Links
  • Scottish billiards champion

See also


  • Bath, Richard (ed.) The Scotland Rugby Miscellany (Vision Sports Publishing Ltd, 2007 ISBN 1905326246)
  • Godwin, Terry Complete Who's Who of International Rugby (Cassell, 1987, ISBN 0713718382)
  1. ^ StatsZone Scotland, Cricket Europe, accessed 28 April 2007
  2. ^ a b Bath, p104
  3. ^ a b Player profile on, accessed 17 February, 2010

Further reading

External links



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