A very fine right-arm fast bowler whose career was beset by injuries, Allen Hill bowled with an action close to round-arm - despite making his debut well after the change in the laws that permitted over-arm bowling. His action was described by Wisden as "one of the best of its kind that can be recalled", and he bowled quite fast from a short run up. He came to prominence for Yorkshire in 1871, when he took 12 Surrey wickets for only 53 runs at the Oval. He was probably at his best in 1874, when halfway through the season he met with an accident that caused him to miss the rest of the season - but not before performing the hat-trick for the Players against the Gentlemen. In 1876/77 he toured Australia, and playing in the First Test of all. Opening the bowling for England he took the first-ever Test wicket when he bowled Thomson. He followed this by making 35* in the England first innings, but when promoted to open as England chased 154, made a duck. He made 49 and 17*, and thus finished his Test career with a somewhat flattering Test average of over 50 - his batting was somewhat unpredictable. In 1879 his knee gave way whilst bowling, and his career was ended in 1883 when he suffered a broken collar-bone. A kindly and gentle man, he was popular amongst his fellow players, and in retirement turned to umpiring, officiating in a Test in 1890.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dave Liverman)
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