Thomas Armitage (25 April 1848 – 21 September 1922)[1] was an English first-class cricketer, who in 1877 took part in what are retrospectively recognised as the first two Test matches played by England. The players in these matches having been alphabetically sorted, Armitage is the #1 capped England player.[2]

Tom Armitage
Armitage in 1876
Personal information
Full name
Thomas Armitage
Born(1848-04-25)25 April 1848
Walkley, Yorkshire, England
Died21 September 1922(1922-09-21) (aged 74)
Chicago, Illinois, US
BowlingRight arm medium
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 1)15 March 1877 v Australia
Last Test4 April 1877 v Australia
Domestic team information
Career statistics
Competition Test First-class
Matches 2 57
Runs scored 33 1,180
Batting average 11.00 13.88
100s/50s 0/0 0/4
Top score 21 95
Balls bowled 12 3,845
Wickets 121
Bowling average 14.23
5 wickets in innings 12
10 wickets in match 3
Best bowling 7/26
Catches/stumpings 0/– 23/–
Source: CricketArchive, 9 May 2012

Life and career


Armitage was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire. He made his first-class debut for Yorkshire against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1872, opening the batting in the first innings. He failed to make much of an impression in the game, scoring 0 and 1, taking 0–19 from eight overs and taking no catches. He next appeared for Yorkshire in 1874 against a United South of England XI, but again did little.

Armitage's county cricket career took off in 1875, when he took 22 wickets in nine matches at just 7.59 apiece, including 7–27 against Derbyshire, and recorded the first of his four half-centuries, 68 not out against Surrey. In 1876, he played 12 games and claimed 45 wickets, taking 13–46 in a match against Surrey bowling underarm lobs, and making his highest first-class score, of 95, against Middlesex.

Armitage was selected for the tour of Australia that winter, and in the spring of 1877 played in the first two Test matches, both at Melbourne. He is credited with being the first player to represent England, due to alphabetical order, and is therefore number one in the order of Test caps.[2] However, he did almost nothing, bowling only 12 balls and scoring just 33 runs in three innings, and he never played for England again.

He played for Yorkshire for a couple of years more, achieving some success in 1877, when he took 42 wickets, but he declined in 1878 and played in only one match in 1879, for United North of England against London United. He then emigrated to the United States, and seven years after his previous game he made one final first-class appearance, for Players of United States of America against Gentlemen of Philadelphia, making 58 and taking 2–25.

Armitage died in Pullman, Chicago, in the US state of Illinois, at the age of 74.

Armitage's grandson, also called Tom, was a professional footballer for Sheffield Wednesday F.C. who died on New Year's Eve 1923, after suffering an injury on the pitch a few days earlier. Another grandson, Len Armitage, was also a professional footballer.[3]


  1. ^ Warner, David (2011). The Yorkshire County Cricket Club: 2011 Yearbook (113th ed.). Ilkley, Yorkshire: Great Northern Books. p. 362. ISBN 978-1-905080-85-4.
  2. ^ a b Frindall, Bill (2009). Ask Bearders. BBC Books. pp. 158–159. ISBN 978-1-84607-880-4.
  3. ^ Dykes, Garth (2011). Wigan Borough in the Football League: A Complete Record and Who's Who 1921–1931. Tony Brown. ISBN 978-1-905891-53-5.