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Biography
Edward Harry Goring Ravenhill
  • Born 11 November 1845 Leominster House, Littlehampton, Sussex
  • Died 1 March 1924 Brentwood, Essex
  • Educated
  • Occupation Army Officer
  • Debut 13 September 1866 v I Zingari at Vice Regal Ground
  • Cap Number 91
  • Style Hand unknown
  • Teams Sandymount, 85th Regiment, East Hants CC, Wimbledon, Southern Division, MCC, Shropshire, Northern Division

Harry Ravenhill was a useful middle order batsman, who might have progressed further in the game had it not been for the demands of his military career. His first match of any note ended in a double failure though he was not alone in this, as he turned out for XXII of East Hants CC against the mighty All England XI. The XXII, perhaps taking advantage of the hospitality they had lavished on their visitors, won by 10 wickets, but Harry fell for a pair, bowled in each innings by the vicious pace of John "Foghorn" Jackson. The XI included besides Jackson several others who had played in Ireland including HH Stephenson, captain of the first ever England side to tour Australia, master bowlers Edgar Willsher and Crispin Tinley and Army officer Fred Marshall, who had played for Ireland while stationed there and who would later become a general who served in the notorious Zulu Wars.

In 1866 Harry, was based in Ireland and, after a good season both for his regiment and Sandymount, found himself in the Irish side which played I Zingari at the Vice Regal Ground in a 12 a side match in September. Harry made little contribution to game which Ireland won by 151 runs, despite heavy showers and icy winds. The batting heroes were Tom Casey in the first innings and William Ashton in the second but the "Man of the Match" had such an award been made, would have been University academic John Mahaffy who had 13 wickets in the match, including 9/16 in the first innings. Harry's contribution was 2 in each innings, stumped in the second off the bowling of the Lord Lieutenant's ADC Henry Awkright, who less than a month later was to die in a Mont Blanc avalanche. it would be more than two decades before his body was found.

Harry made few appearances in major cricket for a number years, because of military duties, though he made a useful 26 for the Southern Division against MCC at Portsmouth in 1876 before being caught and bowled by Frank Farrands, Nottinghamshire roundarmer and future Test umpire. However in 1882 Harry played his sole first class match for MCC against Hampshire at the Antelope Ground Southampton. Alas he contributed only 3 and 6 in a match lost by an innings.

His most productive time of which scores have been seen came for Shropshire, having become Colonel in the Second Battalion of the Shropshire Light Infantry, in 1883 and 1884 when, batting in the upper middle order he made several useful scores with a highest of 48 against the South Wales Club at the now abandoned Frankwell Ground in Shrewsbury. He also made 31 against a strong MCC attack the following year before being dismissed by Frank Hearne one of the well known Kent and Middlesex family, who played Test cricket for both England and South Africa.

Early in 1883, Frank had, as a late replacement, played for Ireland against the Aldershot Division when he had dismissed a player who is simply recorded as Ravenhill. Whether this was Harry or his brother Fred, who played two first class matches for Sussex, is unknown. In the Shropshire match Harry fell cheaply in the second innings to the former Oxford fast bowler Frank Cobden, who had ended the University match 14 years earlier by doing the hat trick to win the match by 3 runs. He became a hotelier in Snowdonia, the alleged ball may still be seen in Cobden's Hotel in Capel Curig, though, like the ball that Malcolm Nash bowled to Garry Sobers, it has other sites as well!

Harry's last match of note came in 1885 when, possibly as a late replacement for a visiting side, he played for the Northern Militia against Shropshire at Shrewsbury, scoring 39 and 32* in a match lost by 9 wickets. That year also saw Harry's marriage to Eliza Walpole Lacon, daughter of Sir Henry Lacon, 3rd Baronet, a Norfolk landowner and MP. The cricketer ELB Ravenhill, shown in several records as their son, was not. His father was Thomas Ravenhill, a Birmingham surgeon. However Harry's brother-in - law Arthur Chapman played eight first class matches for MCC and Sussex between 1861 and 1863, with a highest score of 33.

Edward Liddle, January 2014

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