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Max Woosnam (1) : Max fully deserves his reputation as England’s greatest all-round sportsman.
Max Woosnam
Part one

With acknowledgements to Historic UK.

Maxwell (Max) Woosnam was born in Liverpool, but brought up in Aberhafesp, Mid Wales. His father, a senior clergyman in the Church of England, sent him to the prestigious school Winchester College, where young Max embarked on an extraordinary sporting career.

THE oddest of Max Woosnam’s many sporting achievements must be defeating Charlie Chaplin at table tennis, wielding only a butter knife.

His more conventional sporting career began with cricket at Winchester College, and a century against the MCC for Public Schools. He went up to Cambridge in 1911 winning Blues in football, tennis and golf,* and in 1913 went on tour to Brazil with amateur soccer side Corinthian FC.**

Max had already left for a second tour of Brazil the following year when the news came that Britain was at war with Germany. True to the legendary Corinthian spirit, he and his team-mates at once headed back to England to volunteer. Max saw action on the Western Front alongside Siegfried Sassoon, and at Gallipoli in the Dardanelles Campaign.

After demob, Woosnam picked up the threads of his sporting career again, winning doubles titles at the Antwerp Olympics in 1920 and at Wimbledon the following year, and captaining Britain’s Davis Cup team.

* A ‘Blue’ is an award for excellence in representing Oxford University or Cambridge University at sport (some universities in Australia and New Zealand also award Blues). The criteria for award are complex, but typically require a Varsity game, i.e. a match between Oxford and Cambridge. Despite being selected for every game of the 1912 season, Max did not win a Blue for cricket because he was 12th man in the Varsity match and did not actually play.

** Corinthian FC was founded in 1882 as a strictly amateur team. Its chief purpose was to freshen up the unimpressive England side of the day, and to take football to the world, playing friendly matches with attractive football in countries from Europe to South America and Africa. Real Madrid’s white strip is a homage to Corinthian FC, and Sport Club Corinthians Paulista in Brazil is named after the London club.

With acknowledgements to Historic UK.

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Picture: © John Sutton, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
The first match of the 2016 season at Fenners, the cricket ground of Cambridge University. Woosnam went up to Trinity College in 1911 and regularly represented the University in cricket, soccer, tennis (both real tennis and lawn tennis) and golf.
Max Woosnam Part Two

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