FOX'S 20TH CENTURY: 1900-05: C B FRY

AS THE new century opened, the father figure of cricket, W G Grace, was 51 and still playing and Harry Vardon was reaching his peak in golf. Butcompeting at the same time was one of those sportsmen of the Edwardian era who has no modern equivalent: Charles Burgess Fry, an extraordinaryall-rounder.

AS THE new century opened, the father figure of cricket, W G Grace, was 51 and still playing and Harry Vardon was reaching his peak in golf. Butcompeting at the same time was one of those sportsmen of the Edwardian era who has no modern equivalent: Charles Burgess Fry, an extraordinaryall-rounder.

His achievement was not simply that he was good at any sport he cared to pursue but that he excelled at them all. Tall, of medium build and withformidable powers of concentration, he played cricket and football for England, was a world record holder in the long jump and should have been aBlue at rugby. He was also a talented scholar, later holding controversial opinions including an admiration for the "effective discipline" of Hitler'sGermany.

He was born in Croydon in 1872 and educated at Repton and Oxford where a Blue for athletics was inevitable. His best long jump of 23ft 61/2in, setin 1893, was a world record but he was also an accomplished sprinter and high jumper. Originally his winter sport was rugby. In 1894-95 he playedin all of Oxford's fixtures apart from the University match, which he missed with a thigh strain.

After turning to football, he was a member of the losing 1902 Southampton FA Cup final team having the previous year won an England cap againstIreland. He was also a fine boxer, swimmer, golfer, sculler and tennis player.

His cricket career started with Surrey in 1891. He joined Warwickshire the following season, moved on to Sussex (1894-1908) then Hampshire.Being involved in football, he missed several tours, yet still played 26 Tests.

A right-arm, medium-pace bowler, he was frequently called for throwing, and rarely bowled again after his action was condemned in 1900. After thathis batting became even more effective. Between 1899 and 1905 he scored more than 2,000 runs six times, and exceeded 3,000 in 1901. In total hescored 30,886, averaging 50.22, and hitting 94 centuries. In 1901 he scored six centuries in consecutive innings and at 49 was invited to captainEngland.

He was also a talented writer, with his own magazine, and stood three times - unsuccesfully - for parliament as a Liberal. After the First World Warhe served on the League of Nations and was offered the throne of Albania but refused. For 48 years he was in charge of the training ship Mercury.In his seventies he talked of taking up horse racing. A friend asked: "What as: trainer, jockey or horse?" He died at the age of 84.

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