Obituary

Harry Cave

CAVE, HENRY BUTLER (HARRY), who died on September 15, 1989, aged 66, was a member of one of New Zealand's best-known cricketing families: his father and five uncles played for Wanganui and one, K. H. Cave, stood as an umpire in New Zealand's first four Test matches - against England in 1929-30. A member of the New Zealand teams to England in 1949 and 1958, Harry Cave was a popular captain of New Zealand's first touring team to Pakistan and India in 1955-56 when, in the most trying of conditions, he bowled 254 overs at medium pace in the five Tests against India, 119 of them maidens. His return was seven wickets for 412 runs.

When the West Indians toured New Zealand later that season, he was again captain for the First Test, but after being unfit for the Second, he graciously accepted John Reid's captaincy for the remainder of the series. With a match analysis of eight for 43 off 41 overs at Auckland, he was a key figure as New Zealand won - at their 45th attempt - their first Test.

But perhaps his finest moment came the following season against a visiting Australian B team containing such players as Craig, Simpson, Favell, Burge, Benaud, O'Neill, Harvey and Meckiff. In the three-match series, Cave displayed his mastery with in-swing and a leg-cutter, conceding less than 2 runs an over and taking seventeen wickets at 16.70; the rest of the New Zealand bowlers managed only seventeen wickets between them. For his provincial side, Central Districts, Cave took 150 wickets and in 1952-53, against Auckland, captured seven for 31, his best-ever return, and six for 33 on the same day.

An obstinate batsman, he hit two hundreds, the higher being 118 against Otago at Dunedin in 1952-53 when he and Ian Leggat set the present New Zealand record of 239 for the ninth wicket. In his first-class career of 117 games he scored 2,187 runs at 16.08 and took 362 wickets at 23.93. He was deeply respected for his tact, his skill and his sportsmanship.

© John Wisden & Co