Fuller Pilch was
born in Horningtoft, in Norfolk on March 17th 1804. He was the son of
Nathaniel Pilch and Frances Fuller, who were married at Brisley and
later returned to live there.
Fuller Pilch followed in the footsteps of his two elder brothers,
Nathaniel and William, and became a professional cricketer. His first
appearance at Lord’s was a three-day match in July 1820, playing for
Norfolk. He then went to Sheffield to play cricket and earn his living
as a tailor.
At over six foot he was very tall for the age. His batting was stylish
and was characterised by his forward play. His long forward plunge
which could crush the best bowling before it had time to shoot, or
rise, or do mischief by catches was described as the famous "Pilch
By 1827 Pilch was in great demand; he played in the England games
against Sussex; his first game for the Players against the Gentlemen.
In 1828 he played for Leicester against Sheffield twice and again at
Sheffield for England; he played at Lord's for the Right-handed v the
Left-handed and for England v the B's (Bowyer, Bray, Beagley etc).
Fuller Pilch returned to Norwich around 1829 to manage the Norwich
ground and a local pub, on Bracondale Hill. At this time he played for
Norfolk against the MCC.
Pilch’s greatest personal triumph came in 1833 when he easily beat the
great Northern player, Thomas Marsden, at Norwich and Sheffield in
single wicket games played for the championship of England.
On 18th June 1834 he played with his two brothers in a match against
Yorkshire at Norwich, which was advertised in the Norfolk Chronicle as
“The Great Match of Cricket” and listed the celebrated players “The
Three Pilches”, the return match was played in July at Sheffield.
Then in 1835 the 31 year old Pilch left East Anglia, and joined Town
Malling (the strongest team in Kent) on a handsome £100 a year retainer
to play and manage the ground. He also managed a local tavern to
supplement his income and, apart from a short period in Oxford, was to
live in Kent for the rest of his life.
Pilch moved to Canterbury in 1842 where he kept the Saracen’s Head. He
continued to play for Kent until 1854. He was the first groundsman at
the St. Lawrence ground when it opened in 1847 until 1868. He died at
Bridge Street, St. George, Canterbury on May 1st 1870.