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"Sammy" Samuel Wood (Image plate from Vanity Fair)
, 1892

by Henry Seppings-Wright

chromolithograph (sheet: 39.5 cm x 27.0 cm, image: 32.0 cm x 19.0 cm)

Samuel 'Sammy' Woods (1867-1931), cricketer, is one of only five men to have played Tests for both Australia and England. Raised in Sydney and educated at Sydney Grammar and Royston College, he proceeded to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he won blues in both cricket and rugby. Although he is best known as a cricketer, he captained the English rugby team, and played thirteen internationals for England between 1890 and 1895. He played all his county cricket for Somerset, gaining initial renown as a bowler, but ceasing to bowl after 1896 and sealing his reputation as a fast scorer at the crease. (A record he set with Vernon Hill in 1898 stood for 112 years.) Although he had not played first class cricket in Australia, he joined the Australian team in 1888; he played ordinarily, but was named one of Wisden's inaugural Cricketers of the Year. In all, he played three Tests for Australia, and three for England. In 1895, he bowled the easy ball on which WG Grace made his hundredth century. Woods made his last appearance with Somerset in 1910; five years later, he was at Gallipoli. He lived and died in Taunton, Somerset, one of the best-loved inhabitants of the town. One of his contemporaries remembered that 'if you wanted to know Taunton, you walked round it with Sam Woods on a summer morning before the match.'

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010
Accession number: 2010.115