Obituary

John White

WHITE, MR. JOHN CORNISH, who died on May 2, aged 70, was one of England's best slow left-arm bowlers. Educated at Taunton School, where he was a prominent member of the XI, he first appeared for Somerset in 1909 when 17, but not till four years later did he gain the regular place in the side which he held till he retired from first-class cricket in 1937. From 1919 onwards he regularly took 100 wickets a season and in 1929 and 1930 he completed the "cricketers' double." During his career he dismissed 2,361 batsmen at a cost of 18.58 runs each, hit 12,152 runs, average 17.89 and brought off 389 catches.

"Farmer" White, son of a cricket-loving farmer, enjoyed special success in matches with Worcestershire, against whom he took sixteen wickets for 83 runs in one day at Bath in 1919 and, at Worcester two years later, disposed of all ten batsmen in an innings for 76 runs. For his success, White relied more upon flight, consistent accuracy of length and variation of pace than upon spin and a strong constitution enabled him to bowl economically for long spells.

Never more than when touring Australia as vice-captain under A. P. F. Chapman in 1928-29 did he demonstrate his powers of endurance. He played his part in an overwhelming England win by 675 runs in the opening Test at Brisbane where, with sunshine following rain during the night, he took four wickets in 6.3 overs for seven runs. In the fourth meeting with Australia, which ended in favour of England at Adelaide by 12 runs, he performed with such untiring skill in broiling heat that he sent down a total of 124 overs and five balls and took thirteen wickets for 256 runs. Owing to the illness of Chapman, he captained England in the last match of the rubber which, lasting eight days, was the longest Test in history to that time, and in which the team suffered their one reverse of the tour.

M. A. Noble, the former Australian captain, paid a great tribute to the bowling of White on that tour. He wrote: "One of the most tireless workers with muscle and brain that this or any other England team has ever possessed.. . On bad, worn and good wickets alike, White was always able to call the tune and compel the batsmen to dance to it. . . . To my mind, the only man who truly and actually won the Ashes was the capable, modest, unassuming sportsman, Jack White."

Altogether White played in 15 matches for England from 1921 to 1930, including a tour of South Africa in 1930-31. He captained his country in three Tests against South Africa in England in 1929. He also served for a time as a Test Selector and in 1960 became President of Somerset. Fond of all sports, he lost an eye following a shooting accident.

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