The Sad Demise of Albert Trott

Albert Edwin Trott was born on 6 February 1873 in Collingwood, to Adolphus a West Indies-born accountant, and his English wife Mary Ann. Albert named one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1899 is one of the few players to have represented two countries in Tests – Australia & England

Albert and his older brother Harry played their first test together for Australia in Adelaide in 1894-95 (after Albert had played just three first-class matches for Victoria), Albert took 8 wickets for 43 runs in the second innings and was not out twice (38 and 72) the only all-rounder in the history of Test Cricket to make over 100 runs and take eight wickets on debut: that the press claimed ‘hounded England to abject defeat’ Australia winning the match by 382 runs. In his three Tests for Australia, he averaged 102.5 runs.

Harry captained the 1896 team to England and the 4-1 home Test series of 1897-98. Oddly Albert was omitted from the 1896 touring team but arranged passage on the same ship as his brother seeking to further his career as a professional cricketer in England; securing work as a groundsman at Lords as he waited to qualify for Middlesex.

Albert played in England during the northern summer and for East Melbourne following the English season. In 1897 he married Jessie Rice, in Melbourne sailing first-class (paid for by MCC) for England three days after the ceremony.  The following summer Albert played for the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

The following English summer Albert took 8 for 83 for Middlesex against Nottinghamshire; 10 for 49 against Oxfordshire and 10 for 19 against a Devonshire Park XII playing for the MCC.

Albert was selected to play for England and between December 1898 and April 1899, made 23 runs at 5.75 and took 17 wickets at 11.64 in two matches against the South Africa national cricket team which retrospectively were awarded Test status; Albert is one of only fourteen players to have played test cricket for two countries and the last cricketer to have played for both England and Australia.

Albert was considered the finest all-round cricketer of his day. A spin bowler with a variety of deliveries ensuring batsmen rarely faced the same ball twice in an over; a dynamic fielder in the outfield who would slide into the ball, pick up and throw in one action; while common today in the late 1800’s it was ahead of its time. Albert regularly turned matches for Middlesex with his powerful hitting, ‘sprinkled with blows that remain part of cricket legend’ using a bat, at least half a pound heavier than most players at the time; making 1175 runs and taking 239 wickets in 1889, and 1337 runs and 211 wickets in 1890.

Australia toured England in 1889 with Albert becaming the only man known to have hit a ball over the pavilion at Lord’s, as the ball was dispatched heavenwards, Albert was observed putting a hand to his forehead and peering with amused delight as the ball cleared the Lords Pavilion roof bouncing on the reverse slope, struck a chimney pot, and toppled down into a garden on the other side.

However, Alberts form declined from 1901 or 1902, his weight increased, he lost mobility, did not have the change of pace bowling that was so effective in his early years. Alberts bowling returns fell from 176 in 1901 to 133 in 1902 and 105 in 1903; he had one great bowling spell left: in his benefit game in 1907 he destroyed Somerset’s second innings with four wickets in four balls and then took another hat-trick, becoming the first bowler in the history of First-Class cricket to claim two hat-tricks in one innings and the only one to do so at Lord’s but unfortunately shortening the match at a time when people were prepared to attend in their thousands, prompting him to ruefully comment that he had ’Bowled himself into the poorhouse’. Retiring as a county player in 1910, Albert became an umpire.

In July 1914 Albert was admitted to hospital due to a heart condition, complicated by nephralgia. After eight days Albert discharged himself, his cab fare home was paid by a hospital orderly.

On his return he requested his landlady Mrs Crowhurst get him sleeping medication from a chemist; the pharmacist refused the request, in anguish Trott reportedly said, “I can never go through another night.”

That afternoon, Albert made a will on the back of a laundry ticket,  leaving his clothes and £4 in cash to Mrs Crowhurst and some photographs to a friend in Australia. Following this, he shot himself with a pistol.

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