Arthur Silverlock played in one Minor County Friendly for Glamorgan in 1900, besides enjoying an illustrious career with Monmouthshire and Newport CC.
“One of the very best cricketers who has ever appeared in South Wales” – the opinion of the cricket correspondent of The Evening Express newspaper in 1899 after Arthur Silverlock, hit an unbeaten 211 and took 7/21 during the match against Penarth CC in 1899. In all, ‘Silver’ scored over 25,000 runs and claimed nigh on 2,000 wickets for Newport CC during an association which ran from 1892 until 1914.
Few professionals throughout South Wales have come close to matching his superlative efforts with bat and ball, yet bizarrely Glamorgan’s supporters never saw the Hackney-born professional score a single run for them as he was dismissed for a second ball duck by Gloucestershire’s Gilbert Jessop whilst appearing for the Welsh county in their friendly against WM Brownlee’s XI at the Arms Park in 1900.
Born in the East End of London, ‘Silver’ played his earliest cricket for the Ivanhoe and South West Ham clubs, before being invited to bat and bowl in the nets at Lord’s. What appeared to be an audition for the MCC groundstaff turned into a contract with the Newport club as he was spotted by Horace Devey, the former Middlesex bowler who acted as Newport’s professional during the early 1890s.
‘Silver’ duly travelled to Rodney Parade for a net and so began in 1892 his run- and wicket-laden career in South Wales. After a decent first season with Newport and Monmouthshire, Glamorgan’s officials invited ‘Silver’ to play in 1893 for the Cardiff and District XI against the scratch county XI at the Arms Park. His selection may have been part of an attempt to lure him to Cardiff and a place in the Glamorgan line-up, but nothing came of the approaches, apart from innings of 44 and 49 against the Glamorgan XI.
His subsequent feats with bat and ball for Monmouthshire and Newport were nothing short of outstanding. In 1895 he scored 120 and took sixteen wickets against Herefordshire, besides making an unbeaten 187 against Glamorgan. In 1902 he made 170 for Newport against Swansea, besides appearing in 1902 for the combined Glamorgan and Wiltshire XI against the Australians at the Arms Park. ‘Silver’ was also an automatic selection for the South Wales teams between 1905 and 1909 which saw the cream of the talent in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire unite forces in games against internatouring sides and English counties.
Indeed, in 1905 he opened the batting against both Yorkshire and the Australians, before making scores of 61 and 64 against the 1908 Philadelphians, besides taking 6/61 with his spin bowling against Yorkshire in 1906. In 1905 he posted 206* for Monmouthshire against Berkshire, and ‘Silver’ continued each summer to decorate his appearances in Minor County cricket with sizeable scores.
However, shortly after making 142* against Carmarthenshire in 1908, he had a disagreement with Newport’s officials and announced at the end of the season that he would be returning to London to help his brother who ran a thriving restaurant business. Not everything however went according to plan on the catering side, as ‘Silver’ returned to Newport as an amateur mid-way through 1909, and scored an unbeaten 246 against Carmarthenshire.
He was duly restored as Newport’s professional for 1910 and remained in South Wales until the end of the Great War. He subsequently played for the Dedham club in East Essex and ran a smallholding, supplying his brother’s business with fresh garden vegetables.
SILVERLOCK, Arthur John.
Born – South Hackney, 14 December 1867.
Died – Ardleigh, Colchester, 4 June 1949.
Batting and Fielding Record