Fred Spofforth inducted into ICC Cricket Hall of Fame

Former Australia bowler Fred Spofforth was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in front of a large and appreciative international crowd during the innings break at the first ODI between England and Australia at Lord’s.

The commemorative cap was received by relatives, Mark and Alex, of the late Australian international, from ICC Director Giles Clarke and the England and Wales Cricket Board Chairman Giles Clarke alongside ICC Director and Cricket Australia Chairman Wally Edwards and MCC President Phillip Hodson.

It marks Spofforth’s induction into the Hall of Fame, a joint initiative between the ICC and the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA).

Spofforth was born in 1853 and is recognised as Australia’s first fast bowler and was the first man to take a hat-trick of wickets in Test match cricket.

Born in Balmain, Sydney, Spofforth played for New South Wales and Victoria during his first class career between 1874 and 1888. In his 18 Test appearances for Australia, he took an impressive 94 wickets, claiming four 10-wicket hauls, with a career best of 14-90 against England in 1882.

In his first class career the right-armed bowler claimed 853 wickets at an average of 14.95 claiming 32 10-wicket hauls.

He played his final Test in 1887 before relocating to England for business interests and passed away on 4 June 1926 in Surrey, England.

The Spofforth family sporting tradition continues now in the UK with Gemma Spofforth, the current 100 metre backstroke world record holder in swimming, who will represent Great Britain in the London 2012 Olympics.

Training in the United States ahead of the London Olympics the swimmer said: “I’m so sorry that I can’t be there to celebrate the success of another athlete in the family, but with the Olympics so close my focus just has to remain on final preparations for the Games.

“I’m sure Fred would understand, although with his birthright I have a sneaking suspicion he might be rooting for my Australian competition!

“It’s comforting to know that I am following a tradition of sporting achievement in the family. Representing your country at the highest level is an incredible honour and he would readily understand the “buzz” you get from the supporters cheering and the duty one feels to perform at your best in return.

“In 1879 he achieved a world first by claiming the first ever hat-trick of Test wickets; 130 years later (in 2009) I achieved my world first by claiming the world record in the 100 metre backstroke. There’s another family tradition as well – height! A century before I was born he was regarded as unusually tall at six foot three inches. An inch shorter, I still stand head and shoulders above most of my team-mates.”

Adding to Gemma’s joy at the family receiving the accolade, her father Mark and uncle Alex commented: “We’re very happy to be here on behalf of the family to celebrate a fine sporting achievement. Fred’s exploits are well known in the family, and it is hard to fully understand the commitment that must have been required in those days to excel at any sport.

“It’s important for us all to remember and celebrate excellence in whatever field, so it’s a great honour for the family that Fred has been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and a personal pleasure to receive the ICC cap to commemorate the occasion.”

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