Herbie Taylor

TAYLOR, HERBERT WILFRED, who died in Cape Town on February 8, aged 83, was one of South Africa"s foremost batsmen. In a career extending form 1909 to 1935, he scored 13,105 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 41.87 and hit 30 centuries. Coached by George Cox, the Sussex bowler, when a boy at Michaelhouse School, Durban, Herbie Taylor developed at an early age. Strong in defence and a master of back-play, he possessed a variety of polished strokes which earned him 42 caps for South Africa and the position of captain of his country in 1913 at the age of 24. He was also captain against Australia in 1921 and against England in 1922 and 1924. On the last occasion, though meeting with small success in the Test matches, he headed the South African averages with 1,925 runs, including four centuries, average 41.84.

He obtained seven three-figure scores in Test cricket, all of them against England, but only one of them in England when he made 121 at the Oval in 1929 and he and H. G. Deane established a record for the South African fourth wicket by adding 214. In all Tests he registered 2,936 runs, average 40.77, his highest innings being 176 at Johannesburg in 1922-23. He met with great success at Currie Cup fixtures, in which he scored 3,226 runs in 58 innings at an average of 58.65 and reached 12 centuries, the largest of which was 250 not out for Natal against Transvaal at Johannesburg in 1912-13.

Almost to the end of his days, Herbie after his retirement spent Sunday mornings coaching schoolboys. His opinion were highly respected and his criticisms of players, from boys to men of international class, greatly valued. He lived close to the famous Newlands ground.

During the First World War he served in the Royal Field Artillery and the Royal Flying Corps-forerunner of the Royal Air Force-and was awarded the Military Cross. In the early days after the end of hostilities he played Rugby football as a threequarter for Blackheath.

© John Wisden & Co