Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Johnny Won’t Hit Today

J W H T Douglas 

Thursday 3rd February 1916: The adjutant of the 2nd Battalion in the front line near Maricourt on the Somme tells us that Captain J W H T Douglas has taken over the duties of second-in-command from Major H S Poyntz who has become commanding officer. Thus one cricketer succeeds another.

Captain Douglas is, of course, internationally known having won the gold medal for boxing in the middleweight category at the London Olympics of 1908. He is, perhaps, even better known as a cricketer. He has played as an amateur for Essex since 1902 during which time he has played 231 matches for his county. He is an all-rounder of great merit having made 9,221 runs at an average of 26.04 and taken 683 wickets with his quickish medium paced deliveries at an average of 23.81. He has been captain since 1911.

It is as a test cricketer, however, that Johnny Won’t Hit Today has made headlines. This nickname, inspired by his initials, was given to him by crowds in Australia, where they are always disrespectful and aggressive towards English teams and players, and was given on account of his obduracy in defence, scoring his runs carefully and, to the crowd’s taste, too slowly. Perhaps some of the venom came from the fact that Captain Douglas led the England side which defeated Australia 4-1 in the series of 1911/12 in Australia. In all he has played 11 test matches, made 410 runs at an average of 25.62 and taken 25 wickets at an average of 23.76. he has been playing for his country in war since arriving with the 2nd Battalion on 4th December 1915, when he arrived with a third cricketing officer, Major Poyntz’s brother Edward Stephen Massey Poyntz.

Source: X550/3/wd

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