I'm on my way to Headingley this morning for the third day of the second Test between England and South Africa, so it seems like a good moment to recall the first game I ever watched between the two countries. It was also the first Test I ever attended from start to finish, a victory for my team and a triumph for the bowler whom, at the age of 13, I idolized - Hugh Joseph Tayfield, also known as 'Toey' because of the way he would tap the toe of each boot into the ground before bowling. I have written about this Test once before but in a different connection. Here I concentrate on the feature of it that sent me back from Johannesburg to Bulawayo in a state of general happiness such as those who take an interest in sport know, even if they cannot explain it exactly, and those who don't, seem to puzzle over.
South Africa had been expected to do well against Peter May's touring side, but had lost both of the first two Tests. With the third game drawn, England could not now lose the series. Here was I at the Wanderers cricket ground, to see my McGlew, McLean and Tayfield long ago. Could they claw anything back? Beginning the last innings of the match, England needed just 232 to win, and for much of the way it looked as if they would do it. But on the final afternoon Tayfield bowled them out, taking nine wickets for 113. Since he took the catch to dismiss the other batsman, he had a hand in all ten dismissals (as well as thirteen wickets in the match). And by a strange twist, Tayfield's brother, Arthur, was fielding as a substitute and took the final catch of the game to get rid of Peter Loader.
From my bookshelves:
It was a great triumph for Hugh Tayfield... a bowler had, for the first time in South Africa, had a hand in all 10 wickets of a single innings. - Roy McLean, Pitch and Toss
It was indeed poetic justice that his brother, Arthur, acting as a substitute should accept Loader's offering, to give Hugh his ninth wicket. - South African Cricket Annual 1957
At tea time the game was still open, England wanting 46 with four wickets left, but the end came fifty minutes later with Arthur Tayfield, fielding substitute for Funston,... catching Loader on the long-on boundary off his brother's bowling. Hugh Tayfield was deservedly chaired off the field. - Wisden 1958
Loader, once having carried brother Arthur in the deep, was short with his next attempt and out. South Africa had won with 70 minutes to spare and by the very narrow margin of 17 runs. Not for twenty-seven years had England been beaten in South Africa, nor ever before on an African grass wicket. - Charles Fortune, The M.C.C. Tour of South Africa 1956-1957
Arthur Tayfield, brother of the bowler,... held the ball in an attitude of prayer. It was five minutes to five. Hats went in the air, parasols were flung recklessly about, crowds streamed across the field. Tayfield was embraced, then borne shoulder-high to the dressing-room. No Roman Emperor ever had more willing slaves. - Alan Ross, Cape Summer
The scene at the Wanderers' ground last evening, when the final catch was held and the crowd surged on to the field to applaud the victors and to carry their chief hero, H. Tayfield, back to the pavilion, is one which will always remain fresh in the memories of those present. - E.W.Swanton, Report from South Africa
Much later on in life, I was to read that Hugh Tayfield was not especially well-liked amongst cricketers. For the life of me I can't imagine why.
[For links to the other posts in this series, see here.]