Theo Robinson played in Glmaorgan’s inauaugural match, against Warwickshire at Cardiff Arms Park in 1889. He was a wealthy landowner in the Backwell and Flax Bourton area of north-east Somerset who held business interests in Bristol and Cardiff. With few restrictions about who played for the Welsh county, he was able to appear for both Somerset and Glamorgan during the 1880s and 1890s.
His experience of playing twice for Somerset in 1884, plus a decent record in club cricket for Cardiff and the South Wales CC, led to the 23 year-old all-rounder being chosen in Glamorgan’s line-up for their inaugural match against Warwickshire in 1889. Theo made 34 runs and took a wicket before being invited a few weeks later for the match at Lord’s against the MCC.
He duly opened the batting at Lord’s and continued in this guise in several of his subsequent appearances, including the game in 1890 against the MCC at Swansea, where he played his finest innings for the Welsh county making a cavalier 70. As an accurate right-arm seam bowler, Theo was, at first, the regular first change in the Glamorgan attack before becoming the opening bowler in 1891 and enjoying his finest hour with the ball at the Arms Park against Monmouthshire where during the second innings, he took a career-best 6/26 as the Welsh county eased to a six-wicket victory.
At the end of the 1891 season, Theo returned to north-east Somerset, where he subsequently established a seed crushing business and took up residence at Backwell House with his sister, brothers and team of servants. He was a generous landowner, providing land for facilities for local residents and funding the construction of tennis courts and bowling greens so that young and old alike could enjoy healthy recreation.
Theo re-appeared for Somerset in Championship cricket in June 1892 against Surrey at The Oval, alongside his brother Cres, and duly played in a further seven first-class games for the West Country side in 1893 and 1894. He did not forget his friends in Cardiff and turned out in mid-July 1894 for EM Grace’s Gloucestershire XI against Glamorgan in a fund-raising match at the Arms Park. He opened the batting with Grace but only made a single in what proved to be his final appearance in a major game on Welsh soil.
Theo continued to play for Clifton CC and Flax Bourton CC as well as in country house matches in the grounds of Backwell House where the Robinson family could field their own family eleven against other wandering gentlemen’s teams. He also enjoyed other genteel pastimes, including archery at which he represented Great Britain at the 1908 Olympics.
Born – Beaminster, Dorset, 16 February 1866.
Died – West Town, Somerset, 4 October 1959.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Friendlies – 70 v MCC at St. Helen’s, Swansea, 1890 and 6/26 v Monmouthshire at Cardiff Arms Park, 1891.