Vernon Hill, the son of Edward Stock Hill of Rookwood House at Llandaff, won cricket Blues at Oxford during 1892 and 1893. Besides earning fame as a bold striker of the ball after a fine innings of 114 in the 1892 Varsity Match, he also played county cricket for Somerset, making and famed for his fearless approach, he would often place wagers with local bookmakers on how many runs he might score.
His cavalier and never-say-die approach to batting in 1898 saw Vernon to 116 during what proved to be a record-breaking seventh-wicket stand with Sammy Woods against Kent at Taunton, with the pair adding 240 in even time. Although the contest ended in a draw, Vernon’s batting had attracted the attention of many notable people, and it was no surprise that he was included in Pelham Warner’s touring team to the USA the following winter having visited the States with Frank Mitchell’s XI three year before.
He took over the captaincy of Cardiff CC during 1903 and 1904, and subsequently played a highly important role off the field, helping his good friend Jack Brain in staging a number of fund-raising fixtures at Cardiff which helped to boost the county’s finances as they attempted to swell the coffers for a bid for first-class status. He was influential in persuading several well-known amateurs to turn out in these exhibition games, and it was Vernon’s idea that the county should stage an annual Gents-Players match as part of a weekly festival of cricket at the Arms Park.
Vernon also played in a handful of games for Glamorgan, albeit with little success. The first in 1903 saw him appear against the Philadelphians at the Arms Park, before making three further appearances in Minor County Championship matches during 1905. With his best years well behind him, Vernon’s contributions were quite modest against Monmouthshire, Devon and Wiltshire were all quite modest.
Having trained as a barrister, he subsequently moved with his wife Gwynedd – the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Evan Llewelyn of Langford Court – to Woodspring Priory near Weston-super-Mare where his family owned a dairy farm. He took over its operations, as well as the Mendip Lodge Estate, and besides running its horticultural business, he oversaw the farm’s supply of milk for trains on the Great Western Railway.
Noted for his autocratic air, Vernon became aware that one of his staff was helping himself to milk destined for the GWR, he lined up his employees, loaded a gun, and shot five bottles on a nearby gate, before informing his staff that if the pilfering continued, the culprit would suffer a similar fate to the glass bottle! Fortunately, little persuasion was needed for the culprit to own up and passengers on the local expresses were able to enjoy what was provided from the Hill’s family farm.
During the Great War, he served initially as a captain in the 12th King’s Royal Rifle Corps where, no doubt, his shooting abilities stood him in good stead once again, before subsequently taking a position at the Staff College in Camberley. Although his roots were in South Wales, Vernon served as President of Somerset CCC in 1930.
HILL, Vernon Tickell.
Born – Llandaff , 30 January 1871.
Died – Woodspring Priory, Weston-super-Mare, 29 September 1932.
Batting and Fielding Record
Minor County Championship -10 v Monmouthshire at Cardiff Arms Park, 1905.
Minor County Friendlies – 17 v Philadelphians at Cardiff Arms Park, 1903.