Sportsmen Of Kent That Made History
Something that every sports person aims to do is to make history in some way, shape or form, for all the right reasons. And, in Kent, there happens to be a number of sportsmen who, over the years, have not only made history but have achieved great things such as personal accolades.
For many reasons, Wally Hardinge is arguably one of the greatest and most recognisable sportsmen of all time. Born in Greenwich way back in 1886, Hardinge started out playing cricket for Kent from the age of sixteen, going on to make six hundred and twelve appearances for what was his home county.
But, believe it or not, Hardinge didn’t only excel at cricket but also played football professionally. He’s the only man from Kent to achieve such a feat after playing for clubs such as Newcastle United, Sheffield United and Woolwich Arsenal.
Over the course of his career, Hardinge represented England at senior international level, who weren’t favourites according to football betting markets seen here at the time, as a cricketer and a footballer, which is quite remarkable.
There are a lot of similarities that you can make between Derek Ufton and Hardinge. Both men played cricket for Kent, albeit the former played decades later than the former. Ufton was a wicketkeeper who also excelled as a left-hand batter. But, believe it or not, while extremely talented, Ufton never received the call-up to represent England at senior international level.
You can describe Ufton as a one-club-man after representing Kent for his entire cricket career. And, akin to Hardinge, Ufton also played football professionally, sticking to his one-club-man ethos by plying his trade exclusively for Charlton Athletic.
Remarkably, Ufton played for thirteen years at Kent in his cricket career between 1949 and 1962 and represented Charlton Athletic as a footballer for ten seasons between 1949 and 1960. What was even more unbelievable is how Ufton achieved what he did as he suffered from a serious shoulder issue which saw him dislocate it on twenty occasions.
Cuthbert Ottaway is another name that some may recognise as he, too, is included in the sporting history books. And, the reason why Ottoway, who hailed from Dover, made history is that where the England football team is concerned, he was the first ever captain of the side in its first-ever international match. The result was a 0-0 draw against Scotland in 1872.
Throughout his football career, Ottaway represented multiple teams, but when playing in the FA Cup final in 1875, his career was cut short due to a severe ankle injury suffered in the game.
But, like Hardinge and Ufton, Ottaway is also a sportsman who had talents in football and cricket, which seemed par for the course for the era. He made a couple of appearances for Kent, scoring an impressive seventy runs across the two. He cleared a half-century on debut.