Leitch takes all ten wickets in an innings

There have been nine occasions when a Greenock 1st XI player has taken nine wickets in an innings. Peter Duthie is the only one to have managed this feat twice while, somewhat surprisingly, only two professionals are on the list, Thompson Smith in 1900 and William Jenner in 1902, both times against Poloc.

One Greenock player, however, did achieve the feat of taking all ten wickets in an innings, DW Leitch, and he did so on Wednesday 12th June 1889 at Maryhill Barracks of all places when Greenock played a friendly, indeed all matches at this time were friendlies, against the Lancashire Fusiliers who were garrisoned there.

Leitch makes his mark

Not much is known about Leitch. His first name, for instance, is unknown. Research has found that he was playing in the 2nd XI as far back as 1884 but it was 1887 before he made any appearances in the 1st XI. Having played in the majority of 1st XI games in that season, he started the 1888 season in the team but struggled to hold down his place and returned to the 2nd XI.

That all changed in 1889 when he became the 1st XI's regular opening bowler, replacing RK Hair who had played for a Scotland XI against Yorkshire in 1888 but who had now moved to London. It appears that he was a quick bowler, in one match the Greenock Telegraph mentioned his 'swift bowling', but whether he was right-handed or left-handed is not known.

Greenock win by an innings

Newspaper reports on the match with Lancashire Fusiliers are brief and give no descriptions of the progress of the game. It is clear that the opposition were easily brushed aside in their first innings, only the gallant Captain Charles reaching double figures as Leitch and McDougall swept them away for just 46 in 20.3 overs. These overs were comprised of 5 balls which was the norm in the years prior to the start of the 20th century.

Greenock overcame the loss of some early wickets to gain a comfortable lead of 113 runs, Leitch carrying on his good work with the ball to record the second best score of the innings with 30 runs. He got off the mark with a six and followed this with a five and four threes. It is believed that a six was awarded for a shot out of the ground, as continues to be the case at Glenpark, while five runs were awarded for a shot over the boundary on the full but not out of the ground and three runs for all other shots that reached the boundary.

It is not known if the match was always intended to be a two innings affair but perhaps there was considered to be sufficient time left for the Fusiliers to bat again. They seemed to make a better start this time but once Leitch got into his stride they quickly subsided to 78 all out, giving Greenock the victory by an innings and 35 runs and Leitch a place in Greenock's record books, having taken all ten wickets for 26 runs in 16 overs.

There is perhaps one final point to consider about the match, one which might interest social historians. It is noticeable that the two Privates in the Fusiliers team batted at the bottom of the order, where they did better than some of their colleagues, but were asked to shoulder more of the burden as far as the bowling was concerned. Rank mattered even on the cricket pitch.

Little recognition in the Press

There was only a limited reference to Leitch's achievement in the press. The Glasgow Herald printed the full scorecard and a brief of summary of what happened and did at least allude to Leitch when they referenced his "remarkable performances with the ball." The Greenock Telegraph printed the scorecard on the next day with no comment whatsoever but in their weekly Gossip on Athletics column which appeared on the Friday after the game they did at least mention what happened.

"At last the Greenock have secured a substantial victory. It has been long looked for, and now that it has been obtained let us hope it is only a foretaste of the victories which they mean to achieve during the remainder of the season." And "DW Leitch did some splendid work with the ball for the Greenock. In the first innings he had seven wickets for 20 runs, and in the second innings he took all the wickets at a cost of 26 runs."

And that was all that was said about Leitch's achievement. Seventeen wickets for 46 runs in one afternoon was 'splendid work'! One would think that to take all ten wickets in an innings, irrespective of the strength of the opposition, would be worthy of more approval than that, especially when it is considered that his partner at the other end conceded double the number of runs and could not take a single wicket.

Leitch's brief career comes to an end

Leitch finished the season with the 49 wickets for Greenock, the most of any bowler, and 149 runs. He continued this form in 1890, although he was not quite as prolific. At the start of the 1891 season, the Greenock Telegraph noted that "The executive, however, have been called upon to fill the places of DW Leitch and CD Johnston, as both of these gentlemen are not at present in Greenock and will likely be from home for some time. It is not too much to say that they will be missed at Glenpark." and that was the last that was heard of DW Leitch in Greenock colours.

Finally, Leitch is the only player to have taken all ten wickets in an innings for the 1st XI. It is known that AW Mackay took 10 for 42 for the 2nd XI against Ayr on 16th July 1949 and there may have been other instances in the lower elevens but if so, they have not been recorded.


Lancashire Fusiliers
First Innings
Capt Charles c McClure b Leitch 26
Lieut Hamilton   b Leitch 0
Cpl Eastwood c McClure b McDougall 3
Lieut Deane   b Leitch 0
Lieut Armstrong c and b Leitch 5
Capt Tallents c Carmichael b Leitch 1
Capt Blomfield c Carmichael b McDougall 3
Cpl Perkins lbw b McDougall 0
Lance-Cpl Howe c Armitage b Leitch 0
Private Lowe not out 5
Private Bates not b Leitch 1
Extras 1b 1lb   2
TOTAL      46 all out
Bowler O M R W    
DW Leitch 10.3 1 20 7
S McDougall 10 5 24 3
D Kerr c Charles b Lowe 1
RG Adam c Hamilton b Perkins 9
W Bell c Tallents b Perkins 16
AL Graham c Blomfield b Lowe 24
DW Leitch c Hamilton b Lowe 30
HW Armitage * lbw b Tallents 0
J Adam c Hamilton b Bates 37
W McClure c Eastwood b Bates 23
CG Cowan c Deane b Lowe 2
S McDougall   b Bates 3
JDM Carmichael not out 0
Extras 11b 3lb   14
TOTAL      159 all out
Bowler R W    
Private Lowe 46 4    
Private Bates 21 3    
Cpl Perkins 41 2    
Lancashire Fusiliers
Second Innings
Capt Charles c Bell b Leitch 10
Lieut Hamilton   b Leitch 3
Cpl Eastwood c Armitage b Leitch 15
Lieut Deane c Kerr b Leitch 1
Lieut Armstrong c Armitage b Leitch 0
Capt Tallents not out 31
Capt Blomfield c McClure b Leitch 7
Cpl Perkins c and b Leitch 1
Lance-Cpl Howe c Armitage b Leitch 0
Private Lowe   b Leitch 6
Private Bates c Graham b Leitch 4
Extras     0
TOTAL      78 all out
Bowler O M R W    
DW Leitch 16 1 26 10
S McDougall 15 0 52 0