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Gregory, Sydney Edward (Syd) (1870–1929)

from Sydney Morning Herald

Mr. Sidney [Sydney] Edward Gregory, one of Australian most famous cricketers, died suddenly yesterday morning following an attack of bronchitis.

He was born on April 14, 1870, in a house on what was formerly the civil and military cricket ground, now the Sydney Cricket Ground. He was an elder son of the late Edward James Gregory, one of the famous "three," who defeated the representatives of Victoria—Cosstick, Wills and Conway (the last-named an erstwhile cricket writer of "The Sydney Morning Herald" and "Sydney Mail") —in single wickets, in 1871. His father and uncle both played in the first test match between Australia and England in 1877, and his uncle, David, was the captain of the first white Australian eleven which visited England in 1878. His father, brother Charles, and four uncles played for New South Wales. He was a cousin of J. M. Gregory, and uncle of Wallace Meagher, of the Waratahs. Harry Donnan is a brother-in-law. His only brother, Charles, held the Australian record for individual score and the second world's record for some years with 383, obtained against Queensland in the 1906-07 season.

Sid [Syd] Gregory played his first big match in 1889, when he represented New South Wales against 15 of Queensland at Brisbane. He was a member of the eighth Australian eleven that visited England, and was captain on his last visit (1912). His name appears in quite a number of records in the game, but he will be best remembered for his famous 201 in the test match of the 1894-95 season. Australia had lost three wickets for 21 against the bowling of Tom Richardson. Iredale and George Giffin then got together, and changed the aspect of the game. Then Gregory went in and played his wonderful innings, in the course of which, in conjunction with Blackham, 154 were put on in the remarkably quick time of 73 minutes.

Another famous innings was that played by him and Harry Trott at Lords, when, with their backs to the wall, they put on the record figures of 221 for the fourth wicket, Gregory's share being 103 and Trott's 143. It was then written of him that "his style was most finished, combined with brilliant hitting all round the wicket, and that he was as remarkable a batsman as Abel"— then recognised as one of the world's foremost. In the 1896 Australian team he headed the batting averages with 31.38 in all matches, and was third in the tests with 30.2. In test matches he four times made a three-figure score, the 201 and 103 already mentioned, 117 at Kennington Oval in 1899, and 112 at Adelaide in 1903-4. Altogether he played in 52 test matches, batted in 92 innings (which records have never been equalled by any batsman), was seven times not out, aggregated 2193 runs, highest score 201, for an average of 25.80. For New South Wales he played in 33 interstate matches, and in 60 innings was three times not out, aggregated 2204, highest score 201, for an average of 38.66. It is a remarkable fact that four times he got into the 200's, and each time his score was 201.

He is considered by the world's leading authorities to have been one of the greatest cover points. In 1890 W. G. Grace told him that if he could sustain his fielding he was good enough for test matches for 20 years. "W.G." was correct, for he lasted for 22 years. His greatest fielding feat was performed in the C. T. B. Turner benefit match in January, 1910. With successive throws he threw down the wicket at the bowler's end, accounting for Mayne (63) and Simpson (102).

In 1912 for his fiftieth test match (at Lords) he was the recipient of a testimonial presented by Sir George Reid, then High Commissioner. The eulogy of Sir George Reid was supported by Lord Harris. The former said it was a coincidence that 20 years before at the Sydney Cricket Ground he had presented a testimonial to Gregory on making 201 against England.

Mr. Gregory was an employee of the Water Board, and is survived by Mrs. Gregory, a son, a daughter, and three sisters, Mrs. Clyma, Mrs. H. Donnan, and Mrs. Frank Meagher. The funeral will take place at 2 o'clock this afternoon.

CLEM HILL'S TRIBUTE.
ADELAIDE, Thursday.
Mr. Clem Hill, who toured England in company with the late Mr. S. E. Gregory on four occasions, said to-night that he had the greatest admiration for Mr. Gregory, who had been an all-round player, and had always proved himself a great trier, possessed of the ability to play on any kind of wicket. He was at home whether the pitch was fast or slow, fiery and sticky. The world never had seen his superior as a fieldsman at cover-point. He was one of the pluckiest cricketers that one could meet, and he seldom batted in gloves. He was a most lovable companion.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Sydney Edward (Syd) Gregory

Additional Resources

  • photo, Referee (Sydney), 7 August 1929, p 17
  • funeral, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 August 1929, p 20

Citation details

'Gregory, Sydney Edward (Syd) (1870–1929)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/gregory-sydney-edward-syd-3901/text35862, accessed 17 November 2018.

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