Herbert Frederick Wade
September 14, 1905, Durban, Natal
November 23, 1980, Inanda, Sandton, Johannesburg, Transvaal, (aged 75y 71d)
Right hand bat
Herby Wade, who led South Africa in all his 10 Tests within nine months in 1935-36, died in Johannesburg on November 23 after a long illness. He was 75. Having captained the Hilton College XI, where H. B. 'Jock' Cameron was a fellow-student, he spent a few years in England, where he played cricket in the Yorkshire League and captained the county at rugby. His experience on English turf and his inborn leadership qualities made him an ideal choice as South Africa's captain for the 1935 tour of England, leaving the talented Cameron to concentrate on his batting and wicketkeeping. It was Cameron's virile 90 in the Lord's Test which helped South Africa to their first-ever victory in England, and his stout resistance with Wade at Leeds in the next Test which ensured a draw and eventual series triumph.
Herbert Frederick Wade, born in Durban on September 14, 1905, was described by Louis Duffus as 'a quiet, unobtrusive little fellow, lost among ten other cricketers'. But he was a shrewd leader, revered by his men, and, in that respect, from a similar mould to Jack Cheetham a generation later. Batting in the middle order on the 1935 tour, he made 18 in 110 minutes in the opening Test, while his unbeaten 32 at Leeds when runs were forgotten as he stood midst a perpetual ring of England close fielders was crucial. His best score in the series was only 40 not out, but he made 1042 runs in first-class fixtures at 28.94, and saw his side through 40 matches all told with losses only to Gloucestershire and Essex in August. He made centuries at Cambridge, Trent Bridge (against Larwood and Voce), and Cardiff. His other series, at home against Australia, brought no joy. Four Tests were lost and one drawn, and Wade's highest score was 39. In the second Test, at Johannesburg, he made history by appealing against the light in his fielders' interests when Stan McCabe (189 not out) was battering his attack.
Wade's Test career figures were left at a modest 327 runs at 20.43. The family name reappeared, however, when brother Billy played 11 times for South
Africa as wicketkeeper-batsman, with some success. In Currie Cup matches for Natal, Herby Wade scored 1912 runs at 44.46, with four centuries, the highest 190, and two others in the 1931-32 domestic tournament. Modest, dignified and
cheerful, he was a brave and skilful close fielder, and a good speechmaker -
altogether an adornment to the game.
Wisden Cricket Monthly
Wade, Herbert Frederick, who died in Johannesburg on November 22, 1980, aged 75, after a long illness, captained South Africa in all his ten Test matches, five in England in 1935 and five against Australia in South Africa in 1935-36. He was made captain more for his qualities of leadership than for his batting ability, though he was one of the most effective South African batsmen of his time. The fact that he had played league cricket in Yorkshire (for whom he played Rugby football) was also a point in his favour when it came to appointing a captain to England in 1935. The previous South African side, to Australia and New Zealand in 1931-32, had been led by H. B. Cameron, a contemporary of Wade's at Hilton College, Pietermaritzburg, and his vice-captain in England. As leader of the first South African side ever to win a Test match in England, Wade's place in South African Test history is secure. His own main contribution to that series, other than as a captain of unostentatious efficiency (A History of Cricket, Altham and Swanton), was his unbeaten 32 at Headingley when England were pressing hard for a victory to level the series. In all first-class matches on the tour he scored 1,042 runs at an average of 28.94, including centuries against Cambridge University, Nottinghamshire and Glamorgan. For the strong Natal side of the 1930s, he was very consistent (1,912 runs, average 44.46), with a highest score of 190 against Eastern Province at Pietermaritzburg in 1936-37. Determined but unassuming, he earned the respect of all his players. His younger brother, Billy, played 11 times for South Africa between 1938-39 and 1948-49, besides becoming a Test Umpire.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding
Explore Statsguru Analysis
Debut/Last Matches - Player