Died: January 2, 2022.
HAMISH More, who has died aged 81, was an especially well-known figure in the world of Scottish sport. Primarily known for his cricket prowess, he was also a very good rugby player for Heriot’s and Edinburgh, one who may have progressed further in the game had he not given priority to cricket.
As it was, he was one of the last examples of the top-level all-rounder who could excel at both a winter and summer sport, who no longer really feature in this era of specialisation.
His tendency to be outspoken and provoke occasional controversy added colour to his sporting profile, giving rise to differing opinions on him and making him something of a talking point at times.
While some tales about him were no doubt embellished in the re-telling, what is beyond doubt is that he operated at the highest level at cricket and a very good level at rugby.
Hamish was one of Scotland’s most accomplished cricketers of the past 60 years, a well-recognised and much-admired player whose reputation extended far beyond Scotland.
During that period he played with and against many of the world’s best-known names including Sobers, Truman, Boycott, Botham, Hall, Lillee, Cowdrey, the Chappell brothers and Hadlee among others.
He was proud to have played at some of the game’s most revered venues including the six English Test grounds as well as Test grounds in Bangladesh and Barbados.
Domestically he was best known for his association with Heriot’s F.P.’s whom he represented with considerable distinction and success over more than 30 years, captaining them for 13 seasons while amassing 45 Scotland caps and playing another nine non-cap internationals. He also achieved the exceptional feat of representing the M.C.C. more than 350 times.
Technically very sound, he was a prolific opening bat recording some 40 centuries and was a first-class wicket keeper.
In rugby he played 150 games for Heriot’s F.P.’s during the 1960’s mostly at stand off with occasional games at full back and represented Edinburgh against Glasgow in the inter-city in 1966 and 1969.
An outgoing, fun-loving personality, More was a highly entertaining character who usually took centre stage in company. Not shy of voicing opinions nor one to suffer from false modesty, his exuberance could sometimes be considered brash or abrasive but for those close to him that was largely bluster, masking an essentially kind individual.
Whatever peoples’ opinions, there was certainly nothing of ‘the man in the grey suit’ about him.
Hamish Keith More was born in Edinburgh to James, an Edinburgh Council solicitor, and Gladys, who had been a noted athlete. He was the older brother of George and Heather.
Brought up in Davidson’s Mains, where he lived his whole life, he initially attended the local primary school before going to George Heriot’s.
From a very young age he was enthralled by cricket, even fashioning a tiny bat and stumps to play a rudimentary type of game enlivened by his own running commentary. Cricket became an all-consuming passion which he lived and breathed for the rest of his life.
At Heriots his potential soon came to the fore as he spent four seasons in the 1st XI, captaining the team in his final year and scoring two centuries in successive weeks.
In 1958, weeks after leaving school, he made his representative debut, for East of Scotland against Scottish Wayfarers at Raeburn Place and became a regular in Heriot’s 1st XI.
In 1961 he was named in a Scotland XI to play a touring South African side, the Fezelas, which featured some top players including Eddie Barlow and former Scottish rugby internationalist Kim Elgie. But before he could take his place at the crease the match was rained off.
The following year, he suffered a setback when he sustained a double leg fracture in an invitational rugby match at Inverleith, causing him to be hospitalised for a fortnight and miss all sport for over a year.
Once fit again, he resumed his excellent batting form, recording his first senior century with 110 against a Melville F.P. side including Messrs. Barr,Thompson and Chisholm.
In 1966 Somerset invited him down for a trial period, when he played a few games for their 2nd XI ,after which he was offered terms. Although very tempted he turned down the offer, mostly because of his personal circumstances at the time.
Shortly afterwards he made his full debut for Scotland against Cambridge University at Fenner’s, notching 50 in his second innings. On performances alone he was worthy of being capped earlier but his comment to the effect that the selectors ‘couldn’t pick their noses’ did little to help his cause.
From then till 1976 he was a virtual ever-present in all Scotland’s 44 fixtures, notching over 1900 runs, more than any of his teammates.
Tragically his wife Marie (nee Pratt), whom he had married in 1968, died from cancer that year and with responsibility for young children, Lesley and Hamish, he stepped down from international duty until 1980, when he re-appeared briefly to play in three Benson and Hedges Cup games.
International highlights were many, among them innings of 143 against M.C.C. and 134 against Warwickshire. There were matches against touring West Indians, New Zealanders, Australians and Pakistanis, securing a record seven catches against the latter.
He also played against the West Indians for T.N.Pearce’s XI at Scarborough under the captaincy of Mike Brierley, who politely asked Hamish if he minded batting down the order given the Test players in the team, to which he responded that he would happily do so, having one eye on the tourists’ bowling line up of Hall, Gibbs and Roberts.
That was one of only two matches lost by the West Indians during that tour.
With the Capercaillies, a Scottish composite team, he played in several countries, toured Bangladesh with an M.C.C. ‘A’ team consisting of three Test players, ten county players and himself, and at the age of 45 was invited by Graham Gooch to play for Essex against Yorkshire in a one-day game in 1985.
During his career, he played in the U.K., Canada, United States, France, Malta, Hong Kong, Singapore,Thailand, Malaysia, Barbados and Bangladesh, and at a later stage was a Scotland selector and team manager for a period.
While he loved annual trips to Lord’s to watch England play his favourite ground was Worcester with the Cathedral in the background. Given his pedigree and CV, latterly it was a bit of a running sore for More that he was never inducted into Scottish Cricket’s Hall of Fame.
Domestically with Heriots he was instrumental in many League and Cup successes until his retiral from competitive cricket in 1993. That included East of Scotland League titles, Masterton Trophy wins and an outstanding Scottish Cup success in 1978.
During his 35-year Goldenacre career he set repeated scoring records and regularly opened the batting with brother George, both setting a first wicket record of 220 at Selkirk. Among Hamish’s 24 club centuries his most memorable was 149 not out in 1965 against the Grange, a then East League record.
A naturally talented ball player, More was also a very fine rugby player, having represented the 1st XV at school. A 1st XV F.P.’s player following his debut against Langholm in late 1960, he played with and against the best Scottish players of the decade. He was particularly proud to have done so alongside his two outstanding fellow Herioters, Ken Scotland and Andy Irvine, and to have played on all the then four Home Nations’ grounds. A noted exponent of 7-a-sides, he was a finalist at Hawick and Jedforest tournaments.
Although competitive cricket ceased in 1993 he continued playing well into his seventies and remained immersed in the sport, recently getting up during the night to watch television coverage of the Ashes.
Hamish worked as an inspector dealing with insurance and pensions, initially with Commercial Union and then Friends’ Provident, to whom he was grateful for the generous free time afforded him to pursue cricket. His sporting status helped open doors for him in his successful business career.
A well known and well connected figure especially in Edinburgh, he often held court in Harry’s Bar, in the city’s West End, where he was a leading participant in a Friday Lunch Club and became friendly there with former England football captain, Johnny Haynes, who by then was living in Edinburgh.
In about 1995, after he had met Kathy Hutton socially, the couple formed a lasting and happy relationship. They enjoyed many foreign trips together, especially to South Africa and Australia, usually involving cricket.
Very much a ‘one-off’ character who occasionally styled himself tongue in cheek ‘the King of Scotland,’ Hamish was all for his family and grandchildren Lily and Cian, whom he especially adored. He is survived by his children, grandchildren, partner Kathy, brother and sister.