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Gregory, Charles William (1878–1910)

by John Corbett Davis

from Referee (Sydney)

The brilliant New South Wales batsman, Charles Gregory, after some weeks in St. Vincent's Hospital, suffering from blood poisoning, supervening on an abscess in the ear, died early on Monday morning. He lingered between life and death ever since he entered the hospital. Relatives anxiously watched for signs of rallying, though it was felt that he could hardly pull through. Born at the Sydney Cricket ground, September 30, 1878, he was the younger son of the famous Ned Gregory, and brother of the wonderful little S. E. Gregory. His nickname was "Chas." (pronounced Chass). As gentle as a girl, and utterly lacking in self-assertiveness, he was universally liked, and in Sydney his cricket was immensely admired.

With the exception of V. Trumper and J. R. M. Mackay among Australians, and K. S. Ranjitsinhji among others, Charles W. Gregory was the most versatile batsman I have ever seen. He was never robust, and that, which possibly accounted for his nervousness in cricket, told against his inclusion in several Australian teams. Some of the big innings played by him, especially for the old South Sydney Club, take rank with the finest ever played by Trumper. He did not risk so much as Trumper, and was therefore a safer player, but at his best hardly less brilliant. If Nature had endowed him with the sturdiness and self-confidence (at the wickets) of his famous brother, here was a batsman that surely no man could have excelled. Though as slender as a reed, his batsman's art was so finished that he could hit a ball with almost any man, his cutting, driving, and hooking being of a quality rarely seen in one player. The power of his strokes was as mystifying as their versatility.

In first-class cricket he made only two centuries, both against Queensland, viz., 102 and 383. The latter is the highest individual innings ever played in first-class cricket in Australia, and in compiling the runs he was at the wickets 5¾ hours, and hit fifty-six 4's. In all inter-State cricket he compiled 1393 runs at an average of 40.97. It was always my strong conviction that Chas. Gregory was never extended the treatment from selectors of teams to which his abilities and his performances entitled him. It was the fashion for many persons, taking a superficial view, to condemn him as a player, and to say he had been tried, and failed. It was his misfortune that in his first Sheffield Shield match he made a "pair" on the Melbourne Ground. Nothing he might do could obliterate that. Even immediately after making 383 against Queensland he was dropped.

In matches with Victoria he made 0, 0, 69, 27, 0, 10, 37, 0, 18, 15, 44, and 73. In those with South Australia 16, 5, 87, 73, 7, 33, 32, 21, 97, 2, 54, and 3. Against Queensland he scored 39, 19 33, 39, 102, 383, 3, and 14; Tasmania, 10 and 12; New Zealand, 40*; England, 0, 3, 45, 7, 4, 36, 1, and 8; Australia, 2, 9, 4, and 7.

  I.   N.O. H.S. R. Avge.
Inter State matches 35 1 383 1393 40.97
All first-class matches 47 1 383 1519 33.02

In addition to the above, he played in a match at Bathurst against Warner's M.C.C., team with great distinction. Going in first for the Bathurst Fifteen, he carried his bat through the innings, scoring 139 not out, the total being 248.

CHARLES GREGORY IN FIRST GRADE CRICKET  

  I.    N.O. H.S. R. Avge.
1896-7 10 0 129 348 34.80
1897-8 10 2 120 366 45.75
1898-9 10 1 203 454 50.44
1899-0 9 0 176 372 41.33
1900-1 8 0 37 157 19.62
1901-2 9 1 207* 823 103.50
1902-3 10 0 182 492 49.20
1903-4 10 0 136 450 45.0
1904-5  11 3 119 626 78.56
1905-6 12 1 174 613 55.72
1906-7 10 0 103 334 33.40
1907-8 12 0 84 323 27.16
1908-9 12 1 68 366 33.27
1909-10 14 0 143 542 38.79
1910-11 2 0 59 81 40.50

 Summary: 149 innings, 9 not out, 6355 runs, averaging; 45.39 per innings.

His First Grade club centuries numbered 21, as follow: For South Sydney, 129 v. North Sydney; 120* v. Leichhardt; 203 and 176 v. Burwood; 110 v. Waverley. For Waverley: 150, 182 and 172 v. Redfern; 109 v. Glebe; 207* and 136 v. Central Cumberland; 162 v. Burwood; 100, 119 and 113 v. University; 122, 163, and 143 v. North Sydney; 109 v. Paddington; 116* v. Sydney; and 123 v. Middle Harbor.

The funeral to the Waverley Cemetery yesterday morning was very largely attended. Among the mourners were Messrs. S. E. Gregory (brother), D. W. Gregory; Charles Gregory, Albert Gregory, and A. H. Gregory (uncles), H. Donnan, F. Meagher, J. Varley, and A. Clyma (brothers-in-law), Harold, A. E., and Edward J., and B. Gregory; E. Newton, W. A. Firth, C. W. Oakes, H. G. Hewlett, P. K. Bowden, C. Bannerman, F. A. Iredale, C. A. Sinclair, A. C. Banner-man, C. W. Patrick, R. G. Watkins, (Mayor of Waverley), M. A. Noble, V. Trumper, W. Bardsley, H. Carter, C. G. Macartney, J. Searle, J. Jennings, W. E. Pite, A. Diamond, F. W. Hill, W. Bell, W. McIntyre, C. W. Beal, K. J. Briscoe, G. Jordan, E. P. Woolcott, S. Lloyd, T. H. Howard, E. Holdsworth, J. H. McKinlay, John Tooher, H. Hilllard, R. T. Kelly, A. Lucas, W. Caswell. H. Caswell, H. Davis, F. Carrick, C. E. Sheppard, P. Ward, D. Cuneen, J. Green. F. J. Ironside, E. Ironside, E. Hume, C. H. Howard, F. Firth, H. Skinner, E. Shipway, V. Woods, N. Cohen, and C. Walshe.

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"W.O.R." (Paddington) writes: "To the demon bowler 'Death' has fallen another wicket in the game of life — Chas. W. Gregory has walked into the Great Pavilion, given out by the Great Umpire. It was his ingrained modesty which endeared him to the many who had the privilege of knowing him. As a batsman and as a man he played the game, never shirking, never lacking, in those essentials which count with men who appreciate true worth. As a fellow-employee of his for a number of years, the writer had an opportunity of studying Chas. Gregory's character, and a finer or more gentlemanly young fellow it would be impossible to meet. In the opinion of many cricketers, he should have been included in the 1902 team, and had he used the influence he undoubtedly possessed he would certainly have been picked, but he preferred to allow his performances to act as his sole argument with the selectors. Charles Bannerman always maintained that had 'Powders' (the name Chas. Gregory was known by to his intimates) possessed reasonably good health, he would have made as neat a batsman as Victor Trumper. He has many great cricketing achievements to his credit, but they sink into insignificance when compared with his performance as a man."

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Charles William Gregory

Citation details

John Corbett Davis, 'Gregory, Charles William (1878–1910)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/gregory-charles-william-28183/text35867, accessed 15 September 2019.

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