Arthur E. Newton, Somerset CCC and Cahir CC, Co. Tipperary.
In the late summer of 1893, cricket in Tipperary got a shot in the arm with the appearance of Arthur Edward Newton on the Cahir CC selection.
Arthur E. Newton was born, 12 September 1862, at Barton Grange, near Taunton in Somerset. In Who’s who of cricketers by Philip Bailey, Philip Thorn, and Peter Wynne-Thomas, he was described as a lower order right-hand batsman and an excellent wicket keeper.
Newton was an amateur player for his entire career and he continued his involvement in the Somerset team until he was eighty-one years of age. As a wicket-keeper, in his first class career, he made 297 catches and 119 stumpings.
Wisden 1953 recorded that he died three days after his 90th birthday at his home in Trull, Somerset, on 15 September 1952.
He had two overseas ventures with England touring sides. His first was to America with E.J. Sanders team, in 1885, where he scored 129 runs in the sixth match of the tour against New York, on September 21 and 22, details of which may be found in Peter Wynne-Thomas’ book England on tour.
In 1887-88 he was a member of G.F. Vernon’s touring party to Australia which saw him achieve his top score of seventy-seven at Melbourne against Combined Australia.
Peter Roebuck in his official history of Somerset CCC, From Sammy to Jimmy, noted that ‘Newton’s skills were of immense value to Somerset from his debut at 17 to his reluctant retirement at the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 when he was 51’.
He tried to play as much cricket as he could for Somerset but his occupation as land agent often took him from home and it was for this reason that he ended up in Ireland and ultimately south Tipperary.
In the last match of the 1893 season in September between the Abbey School, Tipperary and Cahir clubs he appeared as opening bat for the Cahir team. The match report in the Clonmel Nationalist described him as ‘the well known wicket keeper of the Somersetshire (sic) team’.
He top scored in this match with his lowly seventeen runs epitomising the general standard of play in the county. In an early fixture, in May 1894, he again opened the batting for the Cahir side in their seven run defeat of the Sergeants of the 10th Hussars at Cahir Park.
He again top scored for the Cahir side with thirty-one runs in the first innings. Unfortunately, the irregular reporting of cricket matches in the local press and the absence of score books or club records hinders further insight into the cricketing career of Arthur Edward Newton in Tipperary.
Be that as it may, his presence would no doubt have added to the appeal of the sport, especially in Cahir where cricket had a lengthy history.