CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1907

Ernest Hayes

ERNEST GEORGE HAYES who was born in Peckham on the 6th of November, 1876, has now been associated with Surrey for more than ten years, being first seen in the county eleven in August, 1896. He could scarcely as a colt have been put to a more severe ordeal, his first appearance being made in Surrey's return match that season with the Australians. He had to play Jones when that bowler was at his fastest, but he got through with flying colors, staying in for two hours and a half and scoring 62 in irreproachable style. So finely did he play that no doubt could be felt as to his class. It was agreed on all hands that Surrey had found a prize. However, though his first appearance was so successful Hayes had to wait some time before he found himself in an assured position in the Surrey eleven. He was kept back in 1897, only taking part in three county matches, and in the following year he was rather disappointing, only scoring 250 runs in fifteen innings. The turning point in his career came in 1899 and again it was against the Australians that he asserted himself. The county in their second match with Darling's team were 53 runs behind on the first innings and did not look to have much chance. However, on the second afternoon, Hayes hit in wonderful form for 131 and in the end Surrey won the match by 104 runs, Tom Richardson at the finish bowling with more than a suggestion of his old fire, and Harry Wood bringing off some remarkable catches behind the wicket. From the day to the present time Hayes has steadily improved, and he has now no superior among the Surrey batsmen except Hayward. In his early days he was a splendid driver but not much more. During recent years, however, he has gained immensely in variety of strokes, for while his driving remains as powerful as ever he is one of the most daring and fearless pullers. Among the leading Surrey batsmen today he is the most lively and adventurous. Those who deprecate science when it is at all inclined to be sedate have no cause for complaint when Hayes is at the wickets. There is no need to give in detail all his records for Surrey, but one may mention that in 1905 he scored 1,616 runs in county matches with an average of 39, beating Hayward in the aggregate, and that last season he scored 1,539 runs, his average being 38. No one who follows cricket needs to be told that Hayes is far more than a mere batsman. One of the best and safest of slips he can, when necessary, do equally good work in the deep field and he is by no means to be despised as a bowler. The leg break at which he aims is not very deadly but he has a way of making batsmen think that he is doing a lot with the ball. Once, a few years ago, he fairly won by this deceptive quality a match that looked lost beyond redemption, the Sussex batsmen treating him as if he had been an A. G. Steel or a Charles Townsend. Hayes has never yet had the honour of being picked for England against Australia, but he would be a credit to a representative team. For the Players against the Gentlemen at Lord's he has for two years in succession been at his best. In 1905 he played a most brilliant innings of 73, and last July his form against the fast bowling of Knox and Brearley was far ahead of that of any of his colleagues except Hayward. He failed for the M.C.C.'s team in South Africa, illness putting him off his game.

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