Having attended Winchester, where he played for the school, and Christ Church College in Oxford, John Firth played for the University XI against Gents of England in 1919 and made his Nottinghamshire debut immediately afterwards against Middlesex at Lord’s. He played two games for Nottinghamshire, the second of which was versus the Australian Imperial Forces XI at Trent Bridge in July 1919, and two for Oxford.
A leg-break and googly bowler, Firth took all 10 wickets for 41 runs in a match against Eton College in 1917 and in 1918 was one of five public school bowlers named as Wisden Cricketer of the Year, there being no First-Class cricket to report on. The citation for the award was not entirely flattering, describing him as having, 'an ungainly style and an ungainly action, but he has the two great qualities of brain and determination...with only a little help from the wicket he could, and did, turn the ball both ways, a quick leg break being his special strength.'
In his four First-Class matches, Firth compiled just 22 runs - 19 of those coming in one not out innings for Oxford University against the Gentlemen of England - at 7.33 and took eight wickets at an average of 31.00 and a best return of 2-22, in that same game.
John Firth returned to Winchester College, where he served as schoolmaster and chaplain and was later appointed Master of the Temple and Canon Emeritius of Winchester Cathedral.
He was born on 21 February 1900, given the grand names of John D'Ewes Evelyn Firth, in The Park, Nottingham, and died at Winchester in 1957 aged 57.