Five foot ten inches tall and weighing between 11 and 12 stone, he was a lower order right-hand batsman and a right hand fast round-arm bowler. He usually fielded at slip.
He was engaged by the Broughton club by 1867 and remained there in various capacities until at least 1897. On the 30th and 31st May and 1st June 1867 he played his first match for Lancashire, at The Oval against Surrey, where he scored 26 runs in his only innings and took three wickets for 111. On the 3rd and 4th June Lancashire played the MCC at Lord's and he scored 5 and 1 and took five wickets for 69 runs in the first innings and six for 22 in the second. Later that year he played in what was to prove his only match for the Players, at The Oval. During the next four years he bowled consistently and well for the county and on 21st - 23rd July 1870, playing against Hampshire at Old Trafford he took four wickets for 27 in the first innings and all ten wickets for 46 in the second.
The following year in addition to playing for Lancashire he was called upon by the county of his birth, Derbyshire, and he threw in his lot with them for the rest of his career, playing in 34 first-class fixtures for them plus one for a "Derbyshire" team not recognised by the county authorities.
He continued in his engagement with the Manchester Broughton Club and in the annual match, Eighteen of Broughton against the United South of England Eleven, was reckoned to have the measure of W.G.Grace, getting him out on a number of occasions. A reporter, meeting Hickton in June 1894, stated : - "There were few better fast bowlers than Hickton, and he always looked a very proud man when he could get through the defence of the Champion and then walk off the field in a stately fashion for a drink."
His son William Henry Hickton, born in Lower Broughton, played in five matches for Worcestershire in 1909 and for Northumberland in 1914.
(Article: Copyright © 2004 Don Ambrose)
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