John Douglas

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John "Johnny" William Henry Tyler Douglas (born September 3, 1882 in London - died December 19, 1930 off the coast of Denmark) was one of the finest English cricketers of his generation. He was educated at Felsted School, and was a member of Wanstead C.C. He played for Essex, and captained it 1911-28, London County and England, as an untiring fast-medium bowler and obdurate batsman who was nicknamed with a play on his initials: "Johnny Won't Hit Today" by Australian hecklers. Douglas was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1915, and from that period until 1923 had to carry Essex's bowling on its shoulders except when George Louden turned out. He took over 100 wickets in a season seven times with a best of 147 in 1920. The following year against Derbyshire he produced perhaps the most remarkable all-round performance in cricket history. After taking nine for 47, Douglas stopped a breakdown against Bill Bestwick with an unbeaten 210 that tired him so much he did not bowl until the end of Derbyshire's second innings! He then took two for none, giving him a match record of eleven for 47.

Douglas captained England 18 times, with a record of won eight, lost eight, drawn two. Successful as stand-in captain in Australia in 1911, he led a depleted post-war side there to a 0-5 'whitewash' in 1920/1, an event unique until the the 2006/7 England side were themselves beaten 0-5. Reappointed reluctantly by the M.C.C.in 1921, he lost the first two Tests at home to Warwick Armstrong's famous side and was displaced as captain but retained in the XI.

Douglas was related to the family that holds the title Marquess of Queensberry, one of whom codified the early boxing rules. He was an excellent Middleweight boxer becoming Olympic champion at the 1908 Games held in London. All his three bouts were on the same day, and the final required a fourth round to find a winner. Australian supporters of the silver medal winner, Snowy Baker, often claim that Douglas' father was the referee and sole judge; however, Douglas Sr was there merely to present medals, and had no part in the actual judging, although Douglas Jr, his father and his younger brother, Cecil ('Pickles') were all prominent referees and officials in the A.B.A., the last also being the leading referee in the professional sport in the 1930s. Douglas also played football once for the England amateur side (occasion unknown, through loss of records).

Douglas joined his father's wood-importing firm, which had always supported his amateur status. He married a widow, Evelyn Ruby Case, on 25 December 1916 (no children, one step-son). He served in the Bedfordshire Regiment throughout World War I, eventually as major (acting lieutenant-colonel). He died seven miles south of the Laeso Trindel Lightship, Denmark when he drowned after two sister-vessels had collided in foggy weather. The two captains were brothers attempting to exchange Christmas greetings. According to a witness at the post mortem inquiry, he may well have been trying to save his father who was a passenger on the same ship. (They had been purchasing timber in Finland.) He was aged 48.

Amateur titles

  • 1905 ABA Middleweight title

Olympic results

This bio borrows from Douglas' bio at Wikipedia: [1]