Leslie Balfour-Melville was the very definition of a Victorian all-rounder, excelling at golf, rugby, tennis, ice skating, curling and the long jump. But his finest sporting hour came with the cricket bat, when as captain, opening batsman and wicket-keeper, he led Scotland to a famous victory over Australia on 29 July, 1882.
Born and raised in Edinburgh, he was a lawyer by profession, but it was his sporting prowess that propelled him into Scottish folklore. After making his debut for the national cricket side in 1874, he played for his country 18 times in 36 years, scoring 46 centuries during his cricket career as a whole.
Away from the crease, Leslie was a prolific golf medal winner who was crowned British Amateur Golf Champion in 1895 and captained the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in 1906.
His impressive sporting pedigree was also recognised on the rugby pitch, where he turned out for Edinburgh Academicals and represented Scotland against England in 1871. If that wasn’t enough, he was also Scottish billiards champion and won the Scottish Lawn Tennis Championship in 1879.
Leslie served as President of the Scottish Rugby Union and Scottish Cricket Union before his death in 1937.
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