Obituary, 2009

Butch White

WHITE, DAVID WILLIAM, died of a heart attack while playing golf near his home in Sussex on August 1, 2008, aged 72. "Butch" White was one of the fastest and most feared bowlers in England throughout the 1960s. In another era he might have played dozens of Test matches. He managed only two, both with the weakened England team in Pakistan in 1961-62, and there was an ignominious end to his second match, in Karachi, when he bowled Imtiaz Ahmed with his first ball and limped off after the 16th, never to return. White had covered himself in glory the previous summer, when his chalk-and-cheese new-ball partnership with the metronomic Derek Shackleton was instrumental in Hampshire's maiden Championship title. White was the enforcer, characteristically moving the ball in to the batsman's body at about 90mph. "It was brilliant to have those two around," recalled Bob Cottam, who later emerged as Hampshire's regular first-change. "Butch had a lovely run-up and action, and he was a wholehearted trier. By the end of the first over, he'd be sweating." And so, very often, would the nervous batsman. White was always competitive: there is a story about a country-house match at Highclere when his captain, Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie, shouted "Give him one" when their host, Lord Porchester, arrived at the crease. White interpreted this to mean one up the nose rather than one off the mark. Off the field, he was well liked, and loved his pint and pipe. A few weeks before he died, he joined other old players at a charity celebrity-am at Blandford Forum. As the old stagers reminisced about those now missing, Butch remarked: "I'll pop my clogs on a golf course. That's how I want to go." And he did.

© Wisden Cricketers' Almanack