Peckham Rye Common, Nunhead, Surrey born inside right Sammy Day was an amateur sportsman who enjoyed significant success as both a footballer and a cricketer.
As a footballer Day attended Malvern College and played for the XI in 1896-1898, becoming Captain in his final year. He went on to Queen’s College, Cambridge University, earning his Blue in 1901, although he only played once for Cambridge University, he also captained the Queens’ College side. He went on to play amateur football for Old Malvernians and was part of their team that won the FA Amateur Cup in 1902 when Old Malvernians beat Bishop Auckland 5-1 at Headingley.
Day made 108 appearances for The Corinthians between 1898 and 1914, scoring 117 goals for the side. Day scored 68 of his goals on tour for Corinthians, including nine goals against All New York and seven against Cincinnati on the Corinthian 1906 tour of Canada and the United States.
He was described as an “excellent inside-forward” and was selected to play for England in the 1905-06 British Home Championship. He made three appearances for England, all in the spring of 1906, scoring on his debut in a 5-0 win over Ireland at The Solitude, Belfast in February 1906, and again scoring in his second match, the only goal of a 1-0 win over Wales at Cardiff Arms Park in March. His final England cap came the next month in a 2-1 defeat to Scotland at Hampden Park, Glasgow, in front of nearly 103,000 spectators.
He also made a single appearance for the England amateur team which was established in 1906, scoring twice in their first ever match when they beat France 15-0 at Parc des Princes in Paris in November 1906. He then played for The Amateurs against The Professionals the next month in a 4-2 defeat at Hillsborough, and made 5 further appearances for the FA Amateur XI, as well as appearing in an earlier international trial match in January 1906 when The Amateurs and The Professionals of the South played each other at Craven Cottage.
He was also an excellent cricketer and played for Kent from 1897 to 1919, scoring 7,722 runs in 171 first class matches. Day was captain of the Malvern College cricket team in 1897 and 1898. He made his first class debut for Kent whilst still at school, scoring a century in his first match against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham, an achievement his Wisden obituary describes as “a unique feat”. He continued playing for Kent whilst at Cambridge University where he attended Queens’ College, graduating in 1902. Day played 32 times for Cambridge University, captaining the side in 1901. He played in four Varsity matches, scoring 117 not out in 1902, and was awarded his cricket Blue in his first year. He scored a total of 1,631 runs for the University, hitting two centuries.
Described as a “stylish batsman”, especially on the off-side, Day played 128 times for Kent between 1897 and 1919, scoring 5,893 runs for the County. He played regularly for the side in most seasons until the start of the First World War, although he made just one appearance in Kent’s first County Championship winning season of 1906 and again in 1910 and not at all in the 1913 Championship winning season. He scored more than 1,000 runs in 1899 and 1901 and averaged 31.34 runs per innings for the County. He played one first class match in 1919, appearing in the 1919 County Championship against Hampshire County Cricket Club at Dean Park.
In total he scored 7 centuries and 48 half centuries during his cricket career, averaging 29.70 with the bat, with a highest score of 152 not out. As an occasional right-arm fast bowler he also took 8 first class wickets at nearly 40 runs a piece, and held 58 catches.
He was the older brother of Sydney and Arthur Day, both of whom also played first class cricket for Kent. His son, Anthony, also played cricket for Cambridge University in 1953.