Born On This Day: 16th March

A new series from Hampshire Cricket historian Dave Allen marks the birthdays of notable and fondly remembered Hampshire cricketers

The story of the county cricket career of Oswald Cornwallis is surely as sad as any of the 564 players in Hampshire’s first-class history.

A right-handed batsman, Cornwallis was born in Kent in 1894 and came from a family of cricketers, including his brother, Wykeham, who became the 2nd Baron Cornwallis of Linton and was an effective pace bowler for Kent. Oswald Cornwallis, an amateur, played three first-class matches at Lord’s for the Royal Navy v the Army between 1920-1926 and in mid-May 1921 he was selected by Hampshire against Kent at Southampton – probably because his brother was in the opposition.

Hampshire batted first and George Brown and CB Fry (96) opened with a century partnership (WS Cornwallis 0-38). At lunchtime, the two brothers were informed that a third brother, an army officer, had been killed in Ireland in an IRA ambush, at which point they left the ground and took no further part in the match.

Cricket Archive records them as Absent Hurt but Absent is more appropriate. While Kent’s Cornwallis continued to play for the county until 1926, OW Cornwallis never appeared for Hampshire again, so he never actually appeared on the field, although he is shown in the team photograph taken at the start of that match. He died at Froxfield Green, Hants 28.1.1974.

 Also today: Richard McIlwaine, Heath Streak.

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