Cricket in the Summer, football in the Winter. During the 19th and 20th Centuries, it was commonplace to see premier sportsmen and women take up both sports to high levels.
Kent Cricket boast a number of athletes to have gained recognition in both sports: from England’s first ever football captain, Scotland’s first ever international goalscorer and a current Chelsea centre-back.
Born in Greenwich in 1886, Wally Hardinge was a mainstay in the Kent side from his debut as a 16-year-old in 1902 until 1933, playing 612 times for his home county.
He scored 32,677 runs in his 31-year career with Kent, averaging 36.38. He also took 376 wickets with his slow-left arm bowling in sides that also featured Kent’s great spin bowlers in Colin Blythe and Tich Freeman, averaging just over 26.00.
Hardinge is the only Kent player ever to have played International cricket and football, after playing in the 3rd Ashes Test in 1921 at Headingley, opening the batting alongside Kent teammate Frank Woolley.
In his football career, Hardinge played professionally for Newcastle United, Sheffield United and Woolwich Arsenal just after their move north of the River Thames in 1913.
In 210 professional football appearances, he scored 60 goals as an inside forward, earning himself one England cap against Scotland at Hampden Park during the 1909/10 British Home Championships.
After retiring from football, Hardinge had a brief spell as caretaker manager of North London side Tottenham Hotspur in 1935.
An alumnus of Dartford Grammar School, Derek Ufton made 152 first-class appearances for Kent between 1949 and 1962.
The specialist wicketkeeper took 273 catches and 45 stumpings in his Kent career, also scoring 3,943 runs at 20.01 as a left-handed batsman.
Despite not playing for England in his cricket career, he earned one cap for England’s national football team in 1953, playing against a Rest of Europe team at Wembley.
A ‘one club man’ in cricket for Kent, Ufton also played football at Charlton Athletic for his entire professional football career, representing the Addicks for 10 seasons between 1949 and 1960. He made 277 first-team appearances in total at centre-half.
He featured for Charlton in one of the most memorable matches in their history in 1957 against Huddersfield Town at the Valley. He left the field after 17 minutes due to a dislocated shoulder, an injury that he suffered 20 times during his football career.
Ufton recalled: “Just before I went into theatre at the hospital to put my shoulder back in, I asked what the score was.
“My dad told me we were losing 4-1 and I said, ‘Well it shows they can’t do without me’.
“When I woke up, they told me that we had won 7-6! So, they could do without me, without a doubt!”
A top amateur all-round sportsman, Henry Renny-Tailyour made 19 appearances for Kent in a ten year period from 1873 as a middle-order batsman and occasional bowler, top scoring with 124 against Lancashire at Maidstone in 1874.
Born in India to a Scottish military family, Renny-Tailyour was a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers at the time of his many sporting achievements in the 1870s and 1880s.
Aside from his cricketing career, he represented the Royal Engineers in football and rugby union, and was most notably a part of their FA Cup-winning side of 1875.
Renny-Tailyour’s talents in both codes earned him one cap apiece for the Scottish national football and rugby union teams.
He has the honour of scoring his country’s first ever international goal in football, netting during a 4-2 defeat to England at The Oval in 1873.
Upon retirement, Renny-Tailyour became a managing director of Irish stout makers Guinness, and was Montrose FC’s Honorary President in 1887/88.
Born in Dover, Cuthbert Ottaway was the England national football team’s first ever captain in the first ever international football match, a 0-0 draw between England and Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, Partick, Scotland on 30th November 1872.
He played for many football clubs in the late 19th century, and played against Henry Renny-Tailyour’s Royal Engineers for Old Etonians in the 1875 FA Cup Final, suffering a career-ending ankle injury.
He was a part of the Oxford University side that won the FA Cup the previous year in 1874, defeat Renny-Tailyour’s Royal Engineers.
For Kent, Ottaway made two appearances for the county: in a Kent representative side in 1869 and also for the current form of the club in 1870, exactly a year apart.
He scored 70 runs across the two fixtures, scoring 51 on debut before being bowled by W.G.Grace.
South African-born Stuart Leary played 449 matches for Kent Cricket as a spinning all-rounder between 1951 and 1971. He scored 17,438 runs at a batting average of 30.22, and took 144 wickets at 33.19.
Quite outstanding as a schoolboy cricketer, he was Sea Point High’s first South African Schools cap – rugby fly-half and soccer forward in Cape Town, he came to Britain in 1949 at the age of sixteen to join Charlton Athletic in 1950.
He went make 376 league appearances for the Addicks in 12 years, scoring 153 goals as a centre-forward. He then moved onto Queen’s Park Rangers in 1962, making 94 appearances in scoring 29 goals in four years.
Despite being South African-born, he appeared for the England Under-23 Team in 1954, but was prevented from representing the full team by the Football Association, who banned non-English-born players from representing the national team.
Football and National Service in the RAF occupied Leary’s attention until 1957, he rarely managed more than an occasional appearance for Kent Cricket. Then, in his first full season, he passed a thousand runs for the first of nine times and his aggregate of 1,231 included his first three hundreds.
He could turn the ball a long way, and he also bowled a useful googly. His best performance was five for 22 at Swansea in 1961, when Glamorgan were bowled out for 73, having made 319 in their first innings. Leary’s figures in that were four for 58 in nineteen overs.
If his batting did not mirror his attacking style on the soccer pitch, his fielding was its equal, especially at short leg where his anticipation and reflexes set him apart. He took 362 catches, and his six in an innings against Cambridge in 1958 equalled the record for Kent.
One of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1903, Cuthbert Burnup made 159 appearances for Kent from 1896 to 1907, scoring 9,729 runs at an average of 37.85.
In his first year at the club, the Blackheath-born opening batsman became the first Kent player to score a century before lunch in Kent, making his hundred against Gloucestershire at Gravesend. He captained the club for one year in 1903.
Burnup played an important role in Kent’s first County Championship winning campaign in 1906, leading the domestic first-class batting averages, scoring 1,207 runs at 67.05 despite playing in only 13 matches during the season.
In football, Burnup played 79 times for London-based Corinthians FC, the precursor to one of Brazil’s most famous clubs, Corinthians Paulista. He scored 28 goals as a winger, noted for his quick dribbling and close control.
He earned one cap for England’s national football team in 1896, featuring against Scotland at Hampden Park in a 2-1 defeat.
A graduate of the Kent Cricket Academy, Chatham-born Deanna Cooper made 60 appearances for Kent Women between 2008 and 2016, making her debut as a 15-year-old against Berkshire whilst still in the Academy.
In 2012, Cooper won the John Aitken Gray Trophy as the club’s best Academy Scholar that year.
The all-rounder scored 472 runs in total for Kent at 22.47. Her best score of 82* with the bat came against Sussex in 2015. With the ball, Cooper took 21 wickets at 25.57.
After playing football for Gillingham and Brighton whilst still a Kent cricketer, Cooper signed for Women’s Super League (WSL) side, London Bees, in 2016 – signalling an end to her cricket career. Playing as a centre-back, Cooper made 11 appearance for the Bees, scoring one goal, before signing for Chelsea after of the 2017 edition of the WSL.
She sustained a serious knee injury that required surgery ahead of the 2017/18 season, before returning to the first team in the 2018/19 season.
Cooper has made 14 appearances so far for Chelsea in the heart of a solid back-three at the time of writing. She played for the Blues in their win over Tottenham Hotspur this season that smashed Chelsea’s attendance record for a women’s fixture by five times – a total crowd of 24,564.
Born Sidney Olinsky, Sid O’Linn was a left-hander who batted down the order. He was a member of the South African Test tour of England in 1960, and scored 98 (his highest in Tests) in six hours at Trent Bridge before being caught in the slips by Colin Cowdrey.
O’Linn was also a footballer, having played for South Africa against Australia in 1947, and later making 187 appearances for Charlton Athletic in the English First Division.
While playing football in England, he played cricket for Kent Cricket across four summers, where he was the deputy wicket-keeper from 1951 to 1954, scoring 1,279 runs in 27 appearances.
His high score of 111* came against Surrey at The Oval in July 1952.
Alan Brown was a powerful and popular opening bowler with honest endeavour. He led Kent’s bowling attack for a decade, he was genuine fast bowler in his youth.
He went England’s 1961/1962 tour to India, Pakistan and Ceylon when the regular England Test pace attack declined to tour, making two Test appearance
A hard hitting tail-end batsman, he played 277 matches for Kent between 1957 and 1970.
He retired form cricket in 1970, with 758 wickets for Kent at 24.86.
A talented all-round sportsman, he also played football as a centre-forward for Gravesend & Northfleet, Margate, Canterbury City, Deal Town, Bexley United and Whitstable Town.
One of Kent Cricket’s greatest ever players, Les Ames made 431 appearances for Kent in a career spanning over four decades from 1929, also picking up 47 Test caps for England.
Hailed as one of the prototypes for the modern wicketkeeper-batsman, Elham-born Ames had both a first-class and Test average of over 40.00 and was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1929. He remains the only wicketkeeper to score over 100 first-class centuries.
His highest first-class score of 295 came against Leicestershire at Maidstone in 1932.
Ames was also an accomplished footballer, playing as an outside-left for Clapton Orient before making five appearances for Gillingham FC in 1931/32, scoring a goal away at Bristol Rovers in a 5-2 defeat in the old Division Three.
A left-handed batsman, left-arm spin bowler and occasional wicketkeeper, John Frederick Pretlove who died in Chislehurst on 1st April, was an outstanding all-round amateur sportsman, gaining Blues at Cambridge for cricket, Association football and Rugby Fives, playing cricket for Kent and football for Pegasus and Corinthian Casuals while at Rugby Fives he was among his generation’s leading exponents.
He earned his ‘Blues’ for football with Cambridge University in 1954 and 1955, and captained them in the latter year.
Pretlove made 86 appearances for the club between 1955 and 1959, scoring 3,158 runs at 23.56 and taking 17 wickets at 20.58.
After retiring from playing, he served on the Kent Committee from 1973 to 1978 and from 1981 to 1986. He was President in 1999.
The third ever England international to score a hat-trick, Mitchell was born in Cambridge in 1862 and played five times for the England national football team from 1880 to 1885, scoring five goals.
His three goals in one match came against Wales at The Oval in 1883, and played his club football for Upton Park.
Upton Park were responsible for proposing two of the most important rule changes in the history of association football: in 1870, the club proposed abolishing all handling of the ball (previously, any player was allowed to catch the ball).
In 1871, Upton Park introduced a proposal to create the special position of goalkeeper, who alone would be allowed to handle the ball. They also represented Great Britain at the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, winning gold.
Mitchell made eight appearances for Kent Cricket between 1890 and 1892, scoring 126 runs as a left-handed batsman.
Forest Hill-born batsman and football goalkeeper John Prodger played 161 times for Kent between 1956 and 1967, scoring three centuries and averaging 20.11.
He made his highest score when he opened the innings against Essex in 1961, scoring 170 not out before Kent declared at 377 for 5.
Prolific in the field, Prodger took 175 catches in his time as a Kent cricketer.
His reflexes put him in good stead on the football field, where he made appearances for Kent FA sides Charlton Athletic, Dartford, Margate, Gravesend & Northfleet and Sittingbourne in his career.
The scorer of the first ever goal in an FA Cup Final, Morton Betts is remembered as one of the leading English sportsmen of the late 19th Century.
Betts usually played football as a full-back, though his one appearance for the England national team (against Scotland in 1877) was as a goalkeeper.
His cricket career saw Betts play for Essex before they were awarded first-class status, and for Middlesex.
His one appearance for Kent Cricket came in July 1881 against Sussex at Hove, after having also played for Gentlemen of Kent in 1872 against the MCC.
A mainstay of the Kent sides of the ’50s and ’60s, Arthur Phebey played cricket for Kent 325 times over a fifteen year period.
He scored 14,501 runs for the county at 25.98 and was a “one county man”, playing for Kent in his entire cricketing career.
Phebey made appearances on the football field for non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. If selected for the Hamlet team, whether cricket or football, the player received a postcard or telegram instructing him where to meet.
It is very likely that Phebey would have played for both the Dulwich Hamlet cricket and football teams.
Another good all-round sportsman, Tony Pawson made 43 appearances for Kent between 1946 and 1953, scoring 2,100 runs at 33.33.
He won a Blue for Oxford University and played two league matches for Charlton Athletic, scoring on his debut versus Tottenham Hotspur in December 1951.
He was a member of the Pegasus A.F.C. team that won the FA Amateur Cup in 1951 and a member of the Great Britain football squad for the 1952 Summer Olympic Games although he did not feature in any of the team’s matches.
Upon retirement, he became cricket correspondent of The Observer and chaired the Cricket Writers’ Club, 1980/81.
A footballing teammate of Henry Renny-Tailyour, Rawson was a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers and also appeared in both the 1874 and 1875 FA Cup Finals.
Rawson was one half of the first pair of siblings to play in the same England national football team match, starting alongside his brother William against Scotland in a 2-2 draw.
In cricket, Rawson played one match for Kent, also alongside Renny-Tailyour, versus W.G. Grace’s XI in 1873. He kept wicket, and despite scoring two ducks, he took four scalps – a catch and three stumpings.