Percy Fender      

Full name Percy George Herbert Fender

Born August 22, 1892, Balham, London

Died June 15, 1985, Exeter, Devon (aged 92 years 297 days)

Major teams England, Surrey, Sussex

Nickname Mossy

Batting style Right-hand bat

Bowling style Right-arm medium, Legbreak

Education St Paul's School

Relation Uncle - P Herbert

Percy George Herbert Fender
Batting and fielding averages
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 6s Ct St
Tests 13 21 1 380 60 19.00 0 2 1 14 0
First-class 557 783 69 19034 185 26.65 21 102 602 0
Bowling averages
Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Tests 13 22 2178 1185 29 5/90 5/81 40.86 3.26 75.1 1 2 0
First-class 557 96299 47458 1894 8/24 25.05 2.95 50.8 100 16
Career statistics
Test debut Australia v England at Adelaide, Jan 14-20, 1921 scorecard
Last Test England v South Africa at Birmingham, Jun 15-18, 1929 scorecard
Test statistics
First-class span 1910 - 1935

Percy Fender was the last survivor of those who had played county cricket regularly before the Great War: more important, he was one of the most colourful figures in the cricket world for many years after it and was widely regarded as the shrewdest county captain of his generation. In a career of 26 years he scored 19,034 runs with an average of 26.66, took 1,894 wickets at 25.05, made 21 hundreds and caught 599 catches. Six times he did the double. But he was not a cricketer who could be judged on figures. Wisden has never been a slave to statistics and, when in 1915 he appeared as one of the Five Cricketers of the Year, it was after a season in which both his bowling and batting averages had been approximately 23 and he had not scored 1,000 runs nor taken 100 wickets. Yet the honour was fully deserved. Surrey had won the Championship and Tom Hayward had said that Fender was the making of their XI. In a crucial match, for instance, against Kent, the reigning champions, at Lord's in August (The Oval was occupied by the military), going in on a pitch made for Blythe, who took nine for 97. with a scoreboard reading 147 for four, he made 48 in twenty minutes, thus securing Surrey a lead of 94: he also took in the match five for 43 and thus played a big part in his side's victory. But besides his batting and bowling, Surrey that year owed much to his superb slip fielding. Their bowling, not strong for a champion county, depended largely on Hitch, who was fast, and Rushby, who was fast-medium, and on the perfect Oval pitches a dropped slip catch could easily mean a lost match. Throughout his career Fender's policy was to hit fiercely, regardless of the state of the pitch, even of the quality of the bowling. He was a tremendous driver and also delighted in the pull, and he cut or slashed ferociously outside the off stump: he once slashed the ball over cover out of The Oval. It was difficult to set a field for him. His century in 35 minutes against Northamptonshire in 1920 remains a record, though it was equalled in farcical circumstances in 1983. His highest score, 185 against Hampshire in 1922, took 130 minutes and against Kent later that season he made 137 in an hour and a half, 52 of them off fourteen consecutive balls. It was not to be expected that one batting on these principles would be as consistent as a more sedate player, but in the very strong Surrey batting sides of those days another solid bat would have been neither here nor there: Fender the hitter was invaluable. His attitude to bowling was the same. His object was to get the batsman out, and the tactics fostered by the modern one-day game would never have suited him. He had at his command a great variety of pace, spin and swing and all were fully employed. Inevitably his length sometimes suffered. Yet it was unwise to assume that because a batsman was out to a full toss it was a lucky wicket almost as likely as not it was bowled for that very purpose. Probably he was least expensive when he concentrated on leg-breaks and googlies. Whatever he was bowling he had a wonderfully sharp eye for a batsman's weak points. There can be no doubt that his best role was as the fourth or fifth bowler in a strong bowling side. Unluckily this was a part he was seldom able to play, and for much of his time in the Surrey team he had to do the work of a stock bowler. As such he did wonders, but to borrow a phrase used by W .G. in a different context, he "never hadn't ought to have been put to it". His most spectacular bowling performance was against Middlesex at Lord's in 1927, when his analysis read 5.3-2-10-7; eleven balls produced six wickets for 1 run.

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Sep 18, 1983

Steve O'Shaughnessy and Percy Fender days after O'Shaughnessy had equalled Fender's record for the fastest hundred, Horsham, September 18,1983

Steve O'Shaughnessy and Percy Fender

© Wisden Cricket Monthly


Percy Fender

Percy Fender

© Wisden Cricket Monthly


His majesty King George VI attended the match between Surrey and a team of Old England on the-of the celebration of the Surrey centenary at the Oval. The King is enjoying a  laugh with Percy Fender, Maurice Tate, Patsy Hendren and Frank Woolley, The Oval, May 23, 1946

The King meets Old England players at The Oval

© Wisden


Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1915