A forceful front foot player, who excelled in the off-drive, he was also a splendid field, and an inspirational captain. The extent of his importance to Lancashire's batting can be judged by the statistic that between 1870 and 1881 he was the only player to reach a century for Lancashire- and he did so seven times. In 1881 he topped the national averages, and his 1,531 runs included three centuries.
His Test career was undistinguished, amassing just 21 runs in his 6 Test innings. He had great difficulty against Spofforth, losing his wicket to him in both innings in his debut Test on the 1878/79 Australian tour, and again at the Oval in 1882 (when he captained the side that lost by 7 runs). In his final Test in 1884 he managed to avoid Spofforth, but still managed only 0 and 4.
He was also a fine rugby player, representing England several times. His son A.H.Hornby also captained Lancashire. He was President of Lancashire for many years, and also sat on the MCC committee. A.C.MacLaren said of him "no skipper was so genuinely appreciative of good work on the part of his men or so fearless in his untiring efforts to win the game"
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dave Liverman)