Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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James Cranston

 
 
 

Born 9th January 1859 at Bordesley, Birmingham. Died 10th December 1904, Bristol. He played rugby for Clifton from 1879 and became the 1st XV kicker in 1880. He had already played cricket for Gloucestershire in 1876 at 17 years of age. He left Gloucestershire in 1883 and played a few games for Worcestershire (1885) and Warwickshire (1886-87) before either county was awarded first-class status. He returned to Gloucestershire in 1889. His fielding had declined, in part due to his increasing weight (not necessarily an impediment in a county side that was led by WG), but his batting had improved to the extent that he was considered one of the best left-handers in England. In 1890, there was little between him and Grace in average and aggregate, and he recorded his highest score of 152. His career came to an unfortunate end when he suffered a fit on the field of play in 1891. He recovered sufficiently to play four more times for Gloucestershire eight years later, but never achieved the success of 1889 and 1890.

FIRST-CLASS (1876 - 1899) James Cranston

 

M

I

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

100

50

Ct

St

Batting & Fielding

118

195

20

3450

152

19.71

5

14

49

0

 

Balls

M

R

W

Ave

BBI

5

10

SR

Econ

Bowling

24

0

19

0

-

-

0

0

-

4.75

He played once for England from 11th Aug 1890 to 12th Aug 1890 v Australia at Kennington Oval, London. An England team that comprised Arthur Shrewsbury, WG Grace(C), William Gunn, WW Read, James Cranston, JM Read, William Barnes, George Lohmann, Gregor MacGregor(W), JW Sharpe, and Frederick Martin. There have been many "one-Test wonders" in the history of English cricket, and it would be pardonable to assume that James Cranston was discarded after his one appearance based on an unimpressive top score of 16. In fact Cranston played a vital role in England winning the 1890 Test series against Australia. Brought into the team at the last minute for the final Test at The Oval, he played two important innings in a low-scoring match. Wisden said that "his defence under very trying conditions against the bowling of Turner and Ferris was masterly". England needed just 95 to win in the final innings, but the scoreboard read 34 for 4 when Cranston came in to accompany Read. When he was dismissed, England needed just 12, which they made with the loss of four more wickets.

TESTS (1890) James Cranston

 

M

I

NO

Runs

HS

Ave

100

50

Ct

St

Batting & Fielding

1

2

0

31

16

15.5

0

0

1

0

 

Balls

M

R

W

Ave

BBI

5

10

SR

Econ

Bowling

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

His father was the architect James Cranston.

In 1861 James Cranston was living with his parents at 105 Speedwell Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
James Cranston Head 39 Architect & Surveyor Holmer, Herefordshire
Jane Cranston Wife 27 Birmingham
James Cranston Son 2 Birmingham
Sarah Bath Serv 21 Cook Dennington Wood, Salop
Dessimore Griffith Serv 17 House & Gen. Serv. Bishopton, Herefordshire
George Harper Serv 13 Erand Boy Birmingham

Above James Cranston

His daughter Constance M. M. Cranston was born on 3rd January 1888.

In 1891 James Cranston and his family were living at 113 Hampton Road, Westbury-on-Trym (now Redland), Bristol. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
James Cranston Head 32 Articled Clerk Birmingham, Warwickshire
Constance M. C. Cranston Wife 30 Bristol
Constance M. M. Cranston Daug 3 Teignmouth, Devon
Gilbert E. G. Cranston Son 1 Teignmouth, Devon
Charlotte M. Ross Aunt 45 Bristol
Gertrude M. S. Quarrell Sister-in-law 21 Worcester
Philip S. F. Pigeon Brother-in-law 14 Schoolboy Bristol
Joshua D. Armitage Visitor 28 Woollen Cloth Maker Huddersfield, Yorkshire
Selina Godfrey Serv 26 General Servant Swansea
Elsie Godfrey Serv 14 Nursemaid Wooton Basset, Wiltshire

to be addded

Above 113 Hampton Road, Westbury-on-Trym (now Redland), Bristol.

In 1901 James Cranston and his family were living at 13 Albert Park, Montpelier, Bristol. They were

Name Relation Age Occupation Where born
James Cranston Head 42 Articled Clerk Birmingham, Warwickshire
Constance M. C. Cranston Wife 40   Bristol
Constance M. M. Cranston Daug 13   Teignmouth, Devon
Gilbert E. G. Cranston Son 11   Teignmouth, Devon
Maurice J. Cranston Son 8 Guernsey, C.I.
John B. Cranston Son 5 London
Annie Nickless Serv 24 Domestic Bath, Somerset

to be addded

Above 13 Albert Park, Montpelier, Bristol.

He died on 10th December 1904 in Bristol.

His obituary in Wisden said

MR. JAMES CRANSTON, so well known years ago as a member of the Gloucestershire Eleven, died at Bristol on December 10th. Though his career in first-class matches had for some time been over, Mr. Cranston was a comparatively young man-not quite forty-six. He was born on January 9th, 1859, and played first for Gloucestershire in 1876. In his early days he was an extremely fine field, as well as a good bat. After the season of 1883 he left Bristol, and except for a few appearances for Warwickshire- the county of his birth-nothing more was seen of him till 1889, when he returned to his old place in the Gloucestershire team. Owing to greatly increased weight, his old brilliancy in the field had quite left him, but he was a better bat than ever. Indeed, in 1889 and 1890 he was one of the best left-handed players before the public. Unfortunately, however, his renewed connection with Gloucestershire soon ended. He was seized with a fit during a match in 1891, and although he recovered, he did not after that year take part in county cricket again till 1899 when he played four times, these being his last appearances. His greatest distinction in the cricket field came to him in 1890, when, owing to some difficulties in making up the side, the Surrey committee offered him a place in the England Eleven against Australia at the Oval. The match-played from first to last on a pitch ruined by rain-was a memorable one, England winning, after a tremendous finish, by two wickets. As a batsman, Mr. Cranston proved quite worthy of the honour conferred on him. He only made 16 and 15, but his defence under very trying conditions against the bowling of Turner and Ferris, was masterly. In the last innings, in which England went in to get 95, he and Maurice turned the fortunes of the game after the four best wickets had fallen for 32 runs. Mr. Cranston played a very stubborn game, while Read hit, Turner"s break-coming, of course, the reverse way-seeming to cause far less trouble to him than it did to any of the right-handed batsmen. He and Maurice Read took the score to 83, and looked like finishing the match, but four more wickets were lost before the end was reached. In 1890 Mr. Cranston had a brilliant season for Gloucestershire, being very close to Mr. W. G. Grace, both in aggregate of runs and average. The two batsmen were mainly instrumental in winning a wonderful match against Yorkshire at Dewsbury. Gloucestershire were 137 behind on the first innings, and when they went in for the second time three wickets were lost for 19. At this point Mr. Cranston joined his captain, and by flawless cricket 188 runs were added to the score in two hours and twenty minutes. Mr. Cranston made in all 152-the highest innings he ever played in a big match. Gloucestershire won the game by 84 runs. Earlier in the same season he scored 101 against Yorkshire at Bristol, but in that match Gloucestershire suffered defeat by eight wickets. Strong defence and powerful driving were the chief characteristics of Mr. Cranston"s batting. Few left-handed men have ever played with such uniformly straight bat.© John Wisden & Co.

His funeral was announced in The Times on 14th December 1904. It said

The funeral of Mr. James Cranston, the celebrated Gloucestershire cricketer, took place at the Roman Catholic Cemtery, Bristol, yesterday, in the presence of many representatives of local and Gloucestershire county cricket. Wreaths were sent from several members of the Grace family, the Gloucestershire County Club, the Gloucestershire county ground professionals, and the Westbury Club - of which Mr. Cranston was for many years a member.