Walter Wright moved to Leigh in 1920 to become a coach and groundsman at Leigh Cricket Club, a position from which he retired in 1929.
A Nottingham man by birth, he was born on 29th February 1856 at Hucknall Torkard in Nottinghamshire, he began his cricketing career by playing for the Colts there at the age of 18 or 19 and two or three years later he was with the County eleven.
Later he qualified to play for Kent with whom he remained until the end of his professional playing days.
It was while he was with Kent that his skill as a medium-paced bowler, spinning and swinging them that his reputation was established. It is reputedly said by W G.Grace that Walter Wright was to have been the originator of swing bowling. His skill with the ball earned him a place in the England team which met Australia at the St.Johns ground Huddersfield 1st July 1884.
With the bat he made 20 not out; his great feat with the ball was to get Murdoch, a well-known Australian batsman who always proved a formidable obstacle, caught by Grimshaw for 12. England won on this occasion by an innings and 154 runs.
Walter was also a prominent runner. He was a sprinter, a 130 yards expert, and in two successive years, 1880 and 1881, he won the Sheffield handicap. In his prime he was also regarded as the second fastest runner in the world.
When his cricketing days were over he turned his attention to coaching. He played football as an amateur and his knowledge of the game was recognised when he was appointed coach to the Reading Football Club.
He coached cricket and running at Leighton Park School, Reading and later went to Swindon Town Football Club.
Then from 1913 he was at Radley College, Abingdon, Berkshire, for seven seasons as professional cricket coach.
His next move was to Leigh Cricket Club, where he quickly enhanced his reputation establishing himself as coach/groundsman.
Walter died at his home, 264 St.Helens Road, Leigh on 22nd March 1940, he was 84 years old.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Pete Taylor http://www.leighcc.org)
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