Albert ('Ernie') Vogler

VOGLER, ALBERT EDWARD ERNEST, whom R. E. Foster and many other great batsmen regarded as the best bowler in the world in the year 1907, died on August 10, aged 69. Born at Swartwater, near Queenstown in Cape Colony, on November 28, 1876, he spent his boyhood at Durban, and made a name for himself at cricket with the Natal team at Johannesburg in November 1903. Going to live in Pretoria, he decided in 1905 to adopt cricket as a profession, and came to England with the intention of qualifying for Middlesex. He obtained an engagement on the M.C.C. ground staff, and in his second year at Lord's bowled on several occasions for the M.C.C. with brilliant success. The idea of Vogler qualifying for Middlesex aroused some feeling in 1906, the metropolitan county having already two Colonial players, Albert Trott and Frank Tarrant. Happily, any friction which might have arisen disappeared, Sir Abe Bailey finding a position for him.

Returning home, Vogler played for South Africa in the five Tests against the team sent out under the leadership of P. F. Warner; the Englishmen suffered defeat in four of the games. In 1907 Vogler came here as one of the most famous bowling combinations that ever appeared for South Africa. The team lost by 53 runs the only Test match brought to a definite issue, but there could be no question about the exceptionally formidable attack which included four googly bowlers in Vogler, R. O. Schwartz, G. A. Faulkner and Gordon White, as well as Nourse and Sinclair. During the tour Vogler in first-class matches took 119 wickets for less than 16 runs each--and scored 723 runs with an average of 21.

At his best Vogler reached the highest class as a bowler. Delivering the off-break with a leg-break action, while depending chiefly upon the leg-break, he became exceptionally difficult and deceptive by the skill with which he used the reverse break and his variations of pace. Scarcely any batsman claimed that he could detect differences in Vogler's delivery of either the googly or the leg-break. Vogler also mixed the off-break with a ball which came straight through at greater pace, and occasionally sent down a most deceptive slow yorker. A bowler of infinite resource, he could keep going for a long time without losing length.

Strangely enough, considering the height to which he attained in 1907, Vogler accomplished little afterwards. One of the South African team that visited Australia in 1910-11, his batting average in first-class matches was only nine, and in 21 innings he captured no more than 31 wickets at a cost of nearly 39 runs each. Associated with various Scottish, Irish and English clubs, Vogler, in the year of the Triangular Tournament-- 1912--when South African and Australian teams visited England, appeared at Bray against his fellow countrymen as a member of the Woodbrook Club and Ground eleven.

© John Wisden & Co