"Freddy" Calthorpe was a useful amateur all-rounder who translated an outstanding school career with Repton to a Blue, and near captaincy of Cambridge, county cricket, and captaincy of England. A bat of considerable style, particulalry with his off-side forcing strokes, he was also an effective medium paced bowler. His run up was somewhat peculiar, described by Wisden as "corkscrew like", but he swung the new ball well. He got his Blue at Cambridge as a freshman, but after his second year joined up, and spent the war years in the RAF. He returned to Cambridge in 1919, and somewhat mysteriously his Wisden obituary mentions that he would have captained Cambridge in 1919 "if the letter of invitation had not miscarried". He had represented Sussex briefly prior to the war, but on coming down from Cambridge joined Warwickshire, and became captain in 1920, a position he retained for nine seasons. 1920 was perhaps his best year, when, taking the brunt of the bowling in a weak attack, he took 100 wickets and scored over 1,000 runs. Warwickshire were not a strong side, but Calthorpe worked untiringly and with great enthusiasm at the task. In 1922 he returned figures of 4 for 4 as Hampshire were bowled out for 15 but suffered the mortification of seeing his team beaten after Hampshire followed on. He toured New Zealand with A.C.MacLaren's team in 1922, and took a side to the West Indies in 1922. In 1929 he returned to the West Indies, this time as captain in the first ever Test series to be played in the West Indies. He was past his best as a player by this time, and took just one wicket in the four Tests. The series was drawn but only because Calthorpe decided not to enforce the follow on - England had made 849, and the West Indies only 286. This was a timeless Test, but after inclement weather it was abandoned as a draw after eight days, as England had to catch the boat home. Calthorpe's decision was described by E.W.Swanton as "extraordinary". Calthorpe continued to play for Warwickshire until his premature death at just 43.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dave Liverman)
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