K.L.Hutchings was a dashing right-hand bat who at his peak was one of the most exciting players to watch in England. He loved to drive anything over-pitched and when his eye was in, he could hit the good-length ball off the front foot very hard indeed. He had exceptionally strong forearms and wrists, and it is said that when he came into bat, mid-on and mid-off automatically dropped back a few yards, such was the power of his driving. For defence he relied entirely on back-play, and overall his style was considered unique. He was also a superb fielder both at slip and in the deep. After a stellar schoolboy career at Tonbridge - he made several centuries including a double hundred against strong opposition, he made his debut for Kent the year he left school. After playing a full season in 1903 he was seen only occasionally for the county until 1906, his greatest year. He made nearly 1,500 runs, with four centuries, and averaged over 60, playing quite brilliantly, and leading Kent to the County Championship. He was less successful in 1907, but was chosen to tour Australia. After a modest debut, his superb 126 in the Second Test was the highest innings of the match, and played a large part in England's narrow win. He was less successful on the rest of the tour, and had a modest county season in 1908 - although he made a remarkable run a minute century, scoring 120 out of 164 for the Gentlemen against Players at Scarborough). Picked again for England in 1909 he made 59 in what was to be his final Test innings. 1910 was another good season for him as Kent won the Championship again, but then his form dropped off completely, caused in part by ill-health. After averaging just 17.8 in 1912, he dropped out of first-class cricket. In 1916 he was killed in action in France. H.S.Altham wrote of him "with his crisp black hair, strong athletic body and sparkling methods, he was the idol of Kent cricket grounds".
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dave Liverman)
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