The 16th Duke of Norfolk

Norfolk, the 16th DUKE of, who had been in failing health for some time, died at Arundel Castle on January 31, aged 66. He was the nearest approach our times have seen to the great 18th-century patrons of cricket. On his lovely ground at Arundel, where he firmly believed, not without some justification, that the wicket was the best in the world, sides from the colonies frequently opened their tour in April with a match in aid of charity against his team. On most Sundays in May, June and July his eleven played either a local side or one of the wandering clubs: on these occasions he entertained both teams and their supporters most generously and until a few years ago always captained his own side himself, though he never made the faintest pretence of being more than a moderate club cricketer. In addition he was generous in allowing the use of his ground for other matches: the Sussex Martlets in particular have in recent seasons had some eighteen or twenty days' cricket there. But the scope of his cricket activities was far wider than this. He was for many years President of Sussex and in 1955 President of the M.C.C. He took a side to Jamaica in 1957 and another to the Caribbean in 1970, managing both tours himself.

Above all, he was Joint-Manager of the M.C.C. side in Australia in 1963-4. This was a bold and imaginative appointment, which undoubtedly took the general public by surprise and which involved obvious difficulties and dangers in a day when players are not accustomed to give the unquestioning obedience they once did to one who speaks with authority. But no one could hold out for long against the Duke's unfailing kindness and sense of humour and his own side and the Australians alike soon came to love and admire him. His views on cricket were strong and uncompromising. He regarded it as essentially a friendly game and an attacking one, and woe betide any player or any team that he saw playing for a draw on his own ground. His dedication to the game and the time he managed to find for it were astonishing in view of the multiplicity of his other interests and of the innumerable duties in which he was involved both in his own county of Sussex and in affairs of State. Great lover of cricket though he was, no one was ever heard to suggest that he allowed it to interfere with more important things.

© John Wisden & Co