Croydon, Surrey born Charles Burgess “CB” Fry was truly a sporting superstar and multi talented indeed, undoubtedly one of the finest all-round athletes of his generation, and one of 12 football and cricket double internationals.
A full back at football, he played for England in March 1901 at Southampton, when England beat Ireland 3-0, and represented Southern League club Southampton in the 1902 FA Cup Final ending on the losing side as they were beaten in a replay by Sheffield United at The Crystal Palace. In total he appeared 16 times for Southampton between 1900 and 1902. He also played twice for Portsmouth in 1902-03 but is perhaps more famous as a player for The Corinthians for whom he played between 1891 and 1903, scoring 4 goals in 74 appearances. He had earned his football “blue” at Oxford University between 1892 and 1895.
His cricket career was truly spectacular, appearing in 26 Test matches for England (being only one of 12 double internationals) playing for Sussex between 1894 and 1908 and for Hampshire from 1909 to 1921. Between 1898 and 1905, Fry was twice first in the English batting averages and four times second. Fry scored 94 first class centuries, including an unprecedented six consecutive centuries in 1901. No-one else has scored more consecutive hundreds. In one year he totalled over 3,000 runs, whilst in five others scored over 2,000 runs.
He was also an incredible athlete who held the world long jump record in 1893 (which stood for 21 years) and was a fast sprinter. He played rugby for Oxford University, Blackheath, The Barbarians and Surrey. The other elements of CB Fry’s story, his enigma, are legendary and I would recommend anyone to read up on him. There are considerably more photographs of C.B. Fry on our sister website www.vintagecricketers.com.
NB the image depicts Fry playing for England in his only international appearance in March 1901.