Brief profile of Alexander Watson
by Don Ambrose
WATSON, Alexander. (“Sandy”)
Born at Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, Scotland, 4th November 1844.
Died at Old Trafford, Manchester, Lancashire, 26th October 1920.
He learnt his cricket at Coatbridge, joining Drumpellier in 1864, in which year he played against the All England Eleven in Glasgow. He first went out as a professional at the Caledonian Club, Edinburgh, in 1867 and 1868, and was engaged at the Rusholme Club, Manchester in 1869, 1870 and 1871.In 1871 he first played for Lancashire and took part in 303 first-class matches between then and 1893, 283 of them for Lancashire. There was always some doubt about his bowling action, which limited his selection for representative sides. By 1887 he had opened a Sports Outfitting shop jointly with Richard Pilling, the Lancashire wicket-keeper, at 35 Oxford Street, Manchester, and carried on with it in his own name after Pilling’s death in 1891, opening branches at 11 Lever Street and at 39 Piccadilly, Manchester.
After his first-class playing days were over he coached at Rugby and Marlborough Schools and at the Worcestershire County Ground and in 1904 turned out for Buckinghamshire, in his sixtieth year.
At the time of the 1881 Census he was living at Cricket Cottage, Stretford, Manchester, aged 34, a professional cricketer, and his place of birth being given as “The Netherlands.” His wife is Annie, aged 27, born at Hulme, Manchester, and they have three daughters, Frances aged 7, Rebecca aged 6, and Catherine aged 2, and one son George aged 4. All the children were born in Rusholme.
(Article: Copyright © 2004 Don Ambrose)