Obituary

Syd Curnow

CURNOW, SYDNEY HARRY (SYD), who died in Perth, Australia, on July 28, 1986, aged 78, played in seven Test matches for South Africa, opening the batting in all but one of his fourteen innings and scoring 168 runs. Such a record, however, does not indicate his true ability, and in all first-class matches he scored 3,409 runs with an average of 42.08. Going into the Transvaal side in 1928-29 for the trial series for the team to England, he failed to score in his first innings but made 92 in the second, showing a sound defensive technique and making a special impression in the field with his quick gathering and fast, sure returns.

In 1929-30 he followed an innings of 99 against Natal with 108 against Griqualand West and 162 against Orange Free State, putting on 204 for the first wicket with A. Langebrink against the Free State. When Chapman's team visited South Africa the following season, he was chosen for the first Test at the Old Wanderers ground in Johannesburg, where South Africa won by 28 runs - a victory which eventually provided them with their first series win over England since 1909-10. With scores of 13 and 8 he failed to retain his place for Newlands but was recalled for the last two Tests. His other four tests were played in Australia in 1931-32, and he made his highest score of 47 in the third Test at Melbourne.

When the teams returned there for the final Test, his 16 in the second innings was the only South African score in double figures as their first innings of 36 was followed by 45 on a vicious "sticky" wicket. The match, which produced only 234 runs, was completed in 5 hours, 53 minutes. The next season, in the South African Tournament in Cape Town, his talent was in full bloom as he scored 641 runs with an average of 91.57 and hit three centuries: 192 not out against Western Province, 105 against Natal and 224 for the North against the South, the highest of his nine hundreds. He continued to represent Transvaal until 1945-46 and at the beginning of the 1970s he went to live in Western Australia.

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