Jack Siedle

SIEDLE, IVAN JULIAN ("JACK"), who died in Durban on August 24, 1982, aged 79, was South Africa's oldest surviving Test cricketer at the time of his death. He had the unique distinction of scoring the first century on a turf pitch in South Africa in both a Currie Cup match and a Test match. The first, 114 for Natal against Border at Durban, was in December, 1926. The second was at Newlands in Cape Town in 1930-31 when he and Bruce Mitchell shared a record first-wicket partnership of 260 against England, Siedle making 141, his one Test century.

A right-handed opening batsman, solid and watchful, he made his first-class début for Natal on the day after he turned nineteen, scoring 6 and 8 against the 1922-23 MCC team. In 1924-25 he appeared in three unofficial Tests against S. B. Joel's English team, scoring 52 in the final match. In 1926-27 he and J. F. W. Nicolson shared in a first-wicket stand of 424 for Natal against Orange Free State at Bloemfontein, a record to this day. Nicolson scored 252 not out, Siedle 174. Siedle's 265 not out, also for Natal against Orange Free State, in 1929-30 was the highest score made in the Currie Cup until J. E. Cheetham's 271 not out for Western Province against Orange Free State in 1950-51, a figure passed within five days by E. A. B. Rowan (277 not out for Transvaal against Griqualand West).

Siedle's first Test match was against England at Durban in 1927-28, but he was dropped after scoring 11 and 10 as H. W. Taylor's opening partner. Selected for the 1929 tour of England, he finished second in the batting averages, totalling 1,579 runs at an average of 35.88 with centuries against Leicestershire and Yorkshire. He missed two of the five Tests through injury. In his first full home series, against England in 1930-31, he scored 384 runs (average 42.66). Unavailable for the 1931-32 tour of Australia, he made his second trip to England in 1935, starting in fine form and becoming the first member of the side to reach 1,000 runs, these including three successive hundreds - against Surrey, Oxford University and MCC. In the third of them he carried his bat for 132 not out in a total of 297.

He was less successful in the Tests, one of which he missed through injury. Against the all-conquering Australian team in South Africa in 1935-36 he was second to A. D. Nourse in both Test average and Test aggregate. That was the finish of his Test career, and at the end of the 1936-37 season, after successive scores of 105, 111 and 207, he retired. His seventeen first-class centuries included three of over 200. In all first-class matches he scored 7,730 runs with an average of 40.05. In eighteen Tests he made 977 runs at an average of 28.73. He was a fine all-round fielder and had a wide range of strokes. His son John (J. R.) hit a century on his début in first-class cricket, for Western Province against Eastern Province in 1955-56.

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