Spencer William Gore (10 March 1850 – 19 April 1906) was an English tennis player who won the first Wimbledon tournament in 1877 and a first-class cricketer who played for Surrey County Cricket Club (1874-1875).

Early years

Spencer William Gore was the son of the Hon. Charles Alexander Gore, grandson of the second Arthur Gore, 2nd Earl of Arran, Earl of Arran, and Lady Augusta Lavinia Priscilla (''née'' Ponsonby), a daughter of the fourth John Ponsonby, 4th Earl of Bessborough, Earl of Bessborough. His mother's first marriage was to William Petty-FitzMaurice, Earl of Kerry, who died in 1836. His father was the Commissioner of Woods and Forests. His two brothers were the theologian Charles Gore, the first Bishop of Birmingham, and Sir Francis Charles Gore, Solicitor to the Board of Inland Revenue. Spencer was born and raised within a mile of the All England Croquet Club at West Side House, Wimbledon, West Side House, Wimbledon Common, Surrey. He was educated at Harrow School, where he excelled at all games, especially football and cricket, and was the captain of the school cricket team in 1869.

Sporting career

Gore made his first-class cricket debut for Surrey against Middlesex County Cricket Club, Middlesex in 1874 hitting 17 runs off the first four balls he received in his first match. He played again for Surrey against Middlesex in 1875 when Surrey won by 10 wickets and he did not have a chance to play a second innings. He played cricket mainly for I Zingari at club level, playing his last match for them in 1893. He played two first-class matches for I Zingari which were against Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Yorkshire in 1878 and 1879 and one match for Gentlemen of the South in 1879. In 1877 the first 1877 Wimbledon Championship, Wimbledon lawn tennis championship was held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club which had been renamed from the All England Croquet Club when tennis had been added there two years earlier. Gore won the List of Wimbledon Gentlemen's Singles champions, Gentleman's Singles beating William Marshall (tennis), William Marshall 6–1, 6–2, 6–4 on 19 July 1877. He was the first player who ever used the technique of Volley (tennis), volleying, therefore he is considered the creator of the style of volley. Gore was among the twenty-two men who paid a Guinea (British coin), guinea to enter the inaugural 1877 Wimbledon Championship - Singles, 1877 championship (women did not have a competition until 1884). The 21 matches were spread over five days. The championship was suspended for the weekend so as not to clash with the annual Eton v Harrow cricket match at Lord's Cricket Ground. The scheduled final on Monday was postponed for four days because of rain. Dropping only two sets in four rounds, the 27-year-old Gore reached the final after beating Charles Gilbert Heathcote, CG Heathcote in the semifinal. Against Marshall, he won in straight sets, 6–1, 6–2, 6–4, in forty eight minutes.2006 Wimbledon Compendium, Alan Little, p.336 Gore collected the first prize of 12 guineas and a silver cup presented by ''The Field (magazine), The Field'', a sporting magazine. As the reigning champion Gore did not have to play through the tournament in the following year's 1878 Wimbledon Championship, Championship but instead played in the challenge round against the winner of the All-Comers tournament. He lost the 1878 Wimbledon Championship - Singles, Gentleman's Singles challenge round to Frank Hadow 7–5, 6–1, 9–7 and did not compete in the Wimbledon Championships again after that match.

Business career

Gore joined Pickering and Smith, the property advisory firm of his father-in-law Edmund James Smith who became president of the Surveyors' Institute. Gore was promoted to partner (business rank), partnership and the firm was renamed Smiths Gore, Smiths and Gore.

Personal life

On 9 January 1875 Gore married Amy Margaret Smith, with whom he had four children—Kathleen Amy, Florence Emily Frances, George Pym (1875–1959) and Spencer Frederick (1878–1914). The last became well known as the artist Spencer Gore (artist), Spencer Gore while George was a boxing champion and played cricket for Durham. Gore died on 19 April 1906 at the Granville Hotel, Ramsgate, Kent aged 56. He was buried in Ramsgate Cemetery on 23 April 1906 (grave number AA511).

Grand Slam tournaments

Singles: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)


{{DEFAULTSORT:Gore, Spencer (Sportsman) 19th-century English people 19th-century male tennis players English cricketers English cricketers of 1864 to 1889 English male tennis players People educated at Harrow School People from Ramsgate Surrey cricketers Wimbledon champions (pre-Open Era) I Zingari cricketers 1850 births 1906 deaths Grand Slam (tennis) champions in men's singles History of tennis Gentlemen of the South cricketers Gore family (Anglo-Irish aristocracy), Spencer Gore Sportspeople from London British male tennis players Tennis people from Greater London