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Frederick Morley

Frederick Morley was born in Sutton-in-Ashfield on December 16th 1850.

His first appearance in the Colts XXII v Nottinghamshire XI came in 1869 and he made a second appearance in 1870, when he was engaged with Bolton, in which season he made a single appearance with the A.E.E. – v Sheffield Shrewsbury C.C. on July 11th, 12th and 13th.

He remained with Bolton in 1871 and took part in the match between the A.E.E. and U.N.E.E. at Bolton on July 20th, 21st and 22nd, taking 4 of the 10 U.N.E.E. wickets to fall and score 14* and 0. This match signalled his first-class debut.

He obviously made a favourable impression on William Oscroft, for 1872 found Morely installed as a permanent member of the A.E.E. and this led naturally to his inclusion in the opening match of Nottinghamshire’s season – against Yorkshire at Trent Bridge on June 27th, 28th and 29th.

Having made his debut for Nottinghamshire, Morely appeared in all their fixtures for 1872 and, completing the season with the most wickets in county matches for Nottinghamshire, he was regarded as the most promising young bowler in the county. The following summer found him being described as ‘not far removed from the best fast bowler in England’ and in 1875 ‘Morley’s feats stamp him as the best fast bowler (in England)’. Many contemporary critics continued to hold this opinion of him until his retirement and death.

His best season for Nottinghamshire was the one of 1878, previously noted, but in 1880 he took 97 wickets at 10.34 runs apiece and in 1879 his 89 wickets cost only 9.84 runs each, the only other year during which he took over 75 wickets for the County was 1882 with 76 at an average of 12.43 runs each.

Morely headed the county bowling averages in 1877, 1878 and 1879, in the former year; however, he was not outstandingly successful, his position being solely due to A.Shaw’s illness.

In 1882-83 Morley accompanied the Hon. Ivo Bligh’s team to Australia, but the outward journey proved to be a disaster for Morley. The team on board the S.S. Peshawur were 350 miles out from Colombo when the ship came into collision with another, the Glen Roy. Knocked over by the impact of the two vessels, Morley was badly hurt, but the exact nature for his injury was not correctly ascertained until some weeks later in Australia, when it was found that he had fractured rib.

Frederick Morley was always ready and eager to do his best and was most civil and unassuming fellow. On May 25th, 1885, a match – North v South – was played at Lord’s for the benefit of his widow and children, ‘a good sum being realised.’

On September 28th, 1884, Morley died of congestion and dropsy at his home in Sutton-in-Ashefild, in which town he is buried.

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