Top 10 Players with the Most First-Class Centuries
First-class cricket is the highest standard of international or domestic cricket. A match is considered first-class if it lasts three or more days, follows cricketing rules, is played on an international standard ground and most importantly, is recognised by a national governing body or the ICC (International Cricket Council). In fact, Test matches are a part of the first-class format. This means a century that a player hits in a Test match is automatically included in his first-class stats.
Like in any other cricketing format, hitting a century in a first-class match is also a big achievement. Despite this, there have been several batsmen that have managed to achieve more than a hundred 100’s in first-class cricket. In this article, we will take a look at the top ten players with the most centuries in first-class cricket.
Before we start with the list of players with the most centuries in first-class cricket, it is important for you to know that you won’t see any current cricketers on the list. Most players on the list are the representatives of the early years of cricket when there weren’t many Test-playing nations. And, possibly because of this, all players on the list are from England.
Now it’s high time to take a look at the top ten players with the most centuries in first-class cricket.
Sir John Berry Hobbs (16 December 1882 – 21 December 1963) was an English right-handed batsman and occasional right-arm medium-pace bowler. He was regarded as the greatest batsman in the history of cricket. Hobbs played for England and Surrey. Known as “The Master,” Hobbs set the record for the highest number of runs and centuries in first-class cricket. He made 61,760 runs and 199 centuries in first-class cricket.
One interesting fact about Hobbs is that about half of his centuries came when he was over 40 years. At the age of 46 (1928-29), he was the oldest man to score a century in a Test match.
Next on the list is Elias Henry Hendren (5 February 1889 – 4 October 1962). Popularly known as Patsy Hendren, he was an English cricketer who played for Middlesex and England. He was a right-handed batsman and an occasional right-arm slow bowler as well as a wicket-keeper.
Hendren achieved the third-highest number of first-class runs (57,611 runs), while his 170 centuries have remained second only to Hobbs. Hendren, who was also a professional footballer, had a long tenure with Brentford F.C.
Walter Reginald Hammond (19 June 1903 – 1 July 1965) was an English cricketer who played for Gloucestershire and England. Popularly known as Wally Hammond, he was regarded as the best slip fielder ever and was also an effective fast-medium pace bowler. A middle-order right-handed batsman, Hammond was the captain of England as well. Talking about his first-class achievements, in 634 matches (1005 innings), Hammond made 50,551 runs and hit 167 centuries.
Charles Philip Mead (9 March 1887 – 26 March 1958) was also an English cricketer who represented Hampshire and England. Mead, a left-handed batsman, set the record for the highest number of runs in the County Championship and achieved the fourth-best tally runs in first-class matches. In addition to that, he made more than a thousand runs in his every first-class cricket season except for the first one when he played just one match. In 814 first-class matches (1340 innings), Mead made 55,061 runs and 153 centuries.
Finally, on this list of the most centuries in first-class cricket, we have a name that most cricket followers of the current generation will certainly recognise. Sir Geoffrey Boycott was an English cricketer who played for Yorkshire and England. Many of us could have encountered him in his commentator’s role.
Born on 21 October 1940, Boycott was one of England’s most successful opening batsmen. He became the first English player to average over 100 in a season. Talking about his first-class record, he is the eighth-highest run-scorer of all times and boasts 151 centuries.
Herbert Sutcliffe (24 November 1894 – 22 January 1978) was an English cricketer who played for Yorkshire and England. Sutcliffe, a right-handed opening batsman, had his cricketing career between the two World Wars. His county cricket debut got delayed due to the First World War, while the Second World War put an end to his career as he was called up for military service in August 1939.
In 754 first-class matches (1098 innings), Sutcliffe made 50,670 runs and 151 centuries. He made the same number of centuries as Geoffrey Boycott but his average of 52.02 was smaller in comparison to Boycott’s 56.83.
Frank Edward Woolley (27 May 1887 – 18 October 1978) was an English cricketer who played for Kent County Cricket Club and England. A left-handed batsman as well as a left-arm orthodox spinner and left-arm medium-pacer, Woolley was one of the greatest all-rounder ever. In first-class cricket, he made 58,969 runs (the second-highest ever) and took 2066 wickets. Moreover, Woolley hit 145 centuries in first-class cricket.
Graeme Ashley Hick is likely the only cricketer on the list of players with the most centuries in first-class cricket that many of us have seen playing. Born on 23 May 1966 in Zimbabwe, Hick played cricket for Worcestershire and England. He holds the record for the most number of matches in all formats and is one of the three players to score over 20,000 runs in List A cricket (the other two are Graham Gooch and Sachin Tendulkar). Hick has made 136 centuries in first-class cricket.
Sir Leonard Hutton (23 June 1916 – 6 September 1990) was an opening batsman who played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and England. In a commando training course at the time of the Second World War, Hutton suffered an arm injury and was forced to change his batting style. He made 129 centuries in first-class cricket.
This is another player included in the list of cricketers with the most centuries in first-class cricket that many of us may have seen playing. Born on 23 July 1953, Gooch played for Essex and England. He is the second-highest Test run-scorer for England. In first-class cricket, he has made 44,846 runs and hit 128 centuries.
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