Leslie Balfour-Melville

1874 - 1910 (18 caps)


9th March 1854, Bonnington, Edinburgh, Scotland


Free Foresters v Scotland, The Cricket Ground, Rugby, 17 July 1874



Balfour-Melville first took the field for Scotland in 1874, at the age of 20; but even before that, when only 17 and still at school, he top scored in a match between a Scotland XXII and the All-England XI. He was seen as the batsman of his time in Scotland; he became the first President of the reformed SCU in 1909, and returned, after a 16-year gap, to captain his country against Ireland that year and again in 1910. At the age of 55, he top-scored with his international best of 91.

His cricket achievements are lengthy, especially when considering the evolutionary state of the game which existed during most of his career. He still managed no less than 46 centuries for Grange, MCC, Free Foresters and several other sides. Amongst many exceptional scores were an innings of 150 for Edinburgh against Glasgow in the first match ever played at Grange’s new ground in Raeburn Place in 1872, 73 in the famous one-day victory over the 1882 Australians.

Balfour-Melville was a prolific sportsman playing for Scotland at rugby union in 1872, winning the Scottish Tennis championships in 1879 and Scottish Billiards Championships. He was a champion golf medal winner, winning The Amateur Championship, at St Andrews in 1895.

He also held several administrative positions within national  as President of the Scottish Rugby Union, President of the Scottish Cricket Union, and Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in 1906.

Balfour-Melville was an inaugural inductee into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.