Arthur Webb enjoyed a ten-year career with Hampshire during which the right-handed batter scored over 5,000 runs, before embarking on a number of professional engagements in Northern England and South Wales.
The latter allowed him to appear for Glamorgan in one Minor County Championship match in 1912, before embarking on a coaching career which saw him rise to the position of the Welsh county’s Assistant Coach during the early 1930s.
Born at the White Horse Hotel near Canterbury, Arthur had a brief Army career as a cadet in the Royal west Kents – before joining the groundstaff of his native Kent at the age of seventeen, and although he was a prolific scorer in club cricket, he never progressed beyond 2nd XI and colts matches.
His record however drew the attention of Hampshire and in June 1895 Arthur made his first-class for them against Essex at Leyton. After two further appearances, he secured a contract with the Southampton-based club and played for them until 1904. During 1897 Arthur scored his maiden first-class century against Sussex at Portsmouth, whilst in 1901 he passed the thousand mark for the one and only time in his career, ending the summer with 1020 first-class runs to his name.
Some in the corridors of power at Hampshire had expected Arthur to have more productive seasons and after just 458 runs in 1902, he made just nine appearances in first-class games in 1903, before being released at the end of the 1904. He was though granted a benefit, probably as a sweetener, and as if to prove his detractors wrong, Arthur made a career-best 162* in his Benefit Match against Surrey at the Northlands Road ground in Southampton during 1904.
In 1905 he accepted a player-coach role in Johannesburg, before playing a similar role with Prince Ranjitsinji at various grounds in Sussex. Arthur subsequently secured a professional appointment with the Manchester club, as well as Hill’s Plymouth in Merthyr and his batting for the latter resulted in appearances during 1912 for both Glamorgan against Surrey 2nd XI at The Oval as well as South Wales in their first-class match with the South African tourists at Swansea.
By this time, he was attached to Briton Ferry Steel CC and spent the winter months coaching in Johannesburg. After the Great War, Arthur mixed his duties as professional and groundsman with Briton Ferry Steel CC and subsequently Llanelli CC and Panteg CC, with coaching. He also secured a coaching position at Christ College, Brecon before acting as assistant coach with Glamorgan during the early 1930s. Arthur though was very much a traditionalist in his coaching methods and was renowned for a rather haughty and austere manner to these duties. He hated anything which was not in the coaching textbook, and one can only wonder how he would heave fared in the modern era of Twenty20 cricket!
His brother Fred was a well-known jockey and won the 1873 Derby aboard a horse called Doncaster, but only because the intended jockey for the race at Epsom had arrived at the course too drunk to take the ride! Fred Webb later trained racehorses in the UK and Hungary.
WEBB, Arthur Stuart.
Born – Bridge, Kent, 6 August 1868.
Died – Briton Ferry, 3 December 1952.
Career best performance
Minor County Championship – 29 v Surrey 2nd XI at The Oval, 1912.