Throwback Thursday: Lionel Palairet

Lionel Palairet

Lionel Palairet was a stylish right-handed batsman who is looked upon as one of the greats from the time that Somerset County Cricket Club became a First Class county.

Although he was born in Grange-over-Sands in Lancashire in 1870, the young man came to prep-school in Clevedon before going on to Repton and Oxford University.

The young Palairet was a talented all round sportsman and won many events in athletics as well as a blue at Oxford in the three mile event. He was also a fine shot, a top class billiards player, turned out for Corinthians at football and won two England caps at cricket.

Palairet, who was two years older than his brother Lionel who also played for the county, captained Oxford to victory in the Varsity match in 1892, in which he scored a vital unbeaten 71 chasing 187 for victory.

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He first hit the headlines in 1892 when he shared in an opening stand of 346 with H. T. Hewett for Somerset against Yorkshire.  In fact he seemed to save his best for when he faced the White Rose county who were strongest side during Palairet’s era.  He scored five centuries against them and also made another four against Surrey, another of the top sides from the early twentieth century.

In 1896 Palairet scored 292 against Hampshire at Southampton, a record that stood as the highest for Somerset until 1948 when Harold Gimblett hit 310 against Sussex at Eastbourne.

Palairet was in his prime between 1894 and 1904 and during that period topped 1000 runs in a season on six occasions, his best being in 1901 when he hit 1906 First Class runs at an average of 57.75.  He captained Somerset in 1907 before retiring from the game in 1909 after which he remained involved with the Club and served as their president in 1929.

His Somerset record speaks for itself and between 1891 and 1909 Lionel Palairet played in 222 First Class matches for the County in which he scored 13851 runs at an average of 35.79, which included 27 centuries.  As a medium paced bowler Palairet claimed 87 wickets at 38.58, while in the field he claimed 206 catches and stumped 15 victims.

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