CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1908

Frank A Tarrant

FRANK A. TARRANT, who can fairly be described as the best all-round cricketer of 1907, was born in Australia on December 11th, 1881, and is understood to be distantly related to George Tarrant, the once famous fast bowler. Whatever reputation he had earned for himself in Australia, he came to this country quite unheralded and secured an engagement on the M.C.C."s ground staff at Lord"s. He began his English career modestly enough in 1903, playing for the M. C. C. in three matches. His early efforts as a batsman did not in any way foreshadow his subsequent success, but as a bowler he from the first showed some promise, taking a dozen wickets for less than 21 runs apiece. In 1904 he made a marked advance as a batsman, scoring in nine matches for the M. C. C. 419 runs with an average of 32. In bowling he got on fairly well without doing anything exceptional, his 25 wickets costing him twenty-five runs each. His object in coming to England was to qualify for Middlesex, and though not entitled to play for the county he was allowed to assist against the South Africans. In that match he scored 31 and 11, but very little use was made of him as a bowler. His reputation as a cricketer really dates from the season of 1905. Having duly completed his two years of residence he took part in fourteen of the Middlesex county matches, and also played against the Australians. His record for the year was not in any way sensational but he did enough to show that a great deal might be expected from him. In county matches he scored 627 runs with an average of 28, and though his bowling proved expensive he took 41 wickets. Playing an innings of 162 not out against Essex at Leyton he saved his side from defeat and for the first time revealed his full capacity as a batsman. For the M. C. C. he was at the top of the batting averages, but his bowling proved rather ineffective. In 1906, as everyone will remember, he firmly established his position. Middlesex had a poor season but it was no fault of his that the side fared so badly. Bowling in capital form he took 71 wickets in county matches, distancing all his colleagues in the matter of average. As a batsman he was consistently successful, again playing a three figure innings against Essex-this time at Lord"s in a match of very heavy scoring. Last summer found him at the top of the tree. He bowled splendidly all through the season, and as a batsman he could do nothing wrong until August, when, perhaps through overwork, he suddenly lost his form. Both as batsman and bowler he certainly had a lot to do. When the season was over he went to Australia and played with marked success in two of the early matches against the M.C.C."s team. He is now only twenty-six years of age and he ought to have a big career before him. As regards batting his chief fault is a leaning towards undue caution. At times he plays with extreme care when nothing in the position of the game calls for defensive methods. During his first year or two in England his hitting seemed to be limited to a very pretty cut behind point but of late he has improved in every way, having in particular developed his scoring power on the on side. Watchful to a degree and possessing limitless patience, he is a very hard man to get out. As a bowler-left hand slow-to medium pace-he only needs a little more sting on fast wickets to be great. Given a wicket damaged by rain he is as likely as any man now before the public to go right through a side, his length being so accurate and his break backs coming so quickly off the pitch. He was seen at his very best as a bowler in the Notts match at Lord"s towards the end of July. Rain in the night gave him his chance and he made the most of it. being almost unplayable. Some of the Notts men thought they had never seen a finer piece of bowling.

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