Sir Hubert Ashton KBE MC (1898–1979) was an English cricketer and politician. He was educated at Winchester College and Trinity College, Cambridge.
Ashton was born in Calcutta, India on 13 February 1898. Ashton’s mother, Victoria Alexandrina Inglis, was the daughter of Sir John Eardley Wilmot Inglis, who commanded the British forces at the Siege of Lucknow and Julia Selina Thesiger.
Ashton’s three brothers, Gilbert, Percy and Claude, also played first-class cricket; Gilbert, Hubert and Claude captained Cambridge University in the three consecutive seasons from 1921 to 1923.
As a cricketer, Ashton was a sound right-hand batsman in the outstanding Cambridge University sides in the years just after the First World War, in which he had been commissioned in the Royal Field Artillery and won the Military Cross, and he played for Essex in the vacations. In both 1921 and 1922 he scored more than 1,000 runs and at the end of the 1922 season, after just three years in first-class cricket, Ashton was averaging more than 46 runs per innings. His most famous exploit, though, was as a member of the amateur side assembled by Archie MacLaren to take on the hitherto-invincible 1921 Australian cricket team at Eastbourne. Bowled out for just 43 runs in the first innings, the so-called “England XI” were, at 60 for four wickets in their second innings, still 71 behind when Ashton was joined by Aubrey Faulkner. Ashton hit 75 in 72 minutes, Faulkner made 153 and McLaren’s side won the match by 28 runs. Ashton was named as a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1922 largely on account of this innings. Ashton was involved in an extraordinary incident during the match against Lancashire. He was bowled, but both bails went up in the air and then returned to their grooves on top of the stumps, meaning that he was not out.
In addition to his cricketing career, Ashton was also an accomplished footballer, playing as a full-back for West Bromwich Albion, the Corinthians, Bristol Rovers and Clapton Orient.
At the end of the 1922 cricket season, though, Ashton joined the Burmah Oil company and his appearances thereafter were sporadic. He played for India and for Burma against the MCC side led by Arthur Gilligan that toured India in 1926–27; he reappeared for several Essex matches in 1927; and there were a handful of first-class games across the 1930s, the last in 1939.
Ashton later pursued a different career, first in cricket administration, as president of Essex from 1941, and then in national UK politics. He served as High Sheriff of Essex in 1943 and was then elected as Conservative Member of Parliament for Chelmsford at the 1950 general elections and held the seat at three further UK general elections, before retiring in 1964. He was knighted in 1959 and it was as Sir Hubert Ashton that he became MCC president in 1960–61. Ashton died in South Weald, Essex on 17 June 1979.