Hugh Tayfield

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Hugh Tayfield
South African team in ANZ 1952-53.jpg
The South African touring team in 1952-53.
Tayfield is standing at the far left.
Personal information
Full nameHugh Joseph Tayfield
Born(1929-01-30)30 January 1929
Durban, Natal Province, Union of South Africa
Died24 February 1994(1994-02-24) (aged 65)
Hillcrest, Natal Province, South Africa
BowlingRight-arm offbreak
International information
National side
Test debut24 December 1949 v Australia
Last Test18 August 1960 v England
Career statistics
Competition Test First-class
Matches 37 187
Runs scored 862 3,668
Batting average 16.90 17.30
100s/50s 0/2 0/10
Top score 75 77
Balls bowled 13,568 54,848
Wickets 170 864
Bowling average 25.91 21.86
5 wickets in innings 14 67
10 wickets in match 2 16
Best bowling 9/113 9/113
Catches/stumpings 26/– 149/–
Source: CricInfo, 3 March 2017

Hugh Joseph Tayfield (30 January 1929 – 24 February 1994) was a South African international cricketer. He played 37 Test matches for South Africa between 1949 and 1960 and was one of the best off spinners the game has seen. He was the fastest South African to take 100 wickets in Tests (in terms of matches played) until Dale Steyn claimed the record in March 2008. He was named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1956. He was known as 'Toey' due to his habit of stubbing his toes into the ground before every delivery. He would also kiss the badge on his cap before handing it to the umpire at the start of every over.

The Tayfields were a cricketing family; Hugh's uncle Sidney Martin played for Worcestershire County Cricket Club and his brothers Arthur and Cyril both played for the Transvaal cricket team as did two cousins, Hugh Martin and Ian Tayfield.[1]

Tayfield made his debut for Natal as a 17-year-old in 1945–46. He took a hat-trick against Transvaal aged 18 and, when Athol Rowan was injured, he was hurried into the South African Test side against Australia in 1949–50. He played in all five Tests and, on a sticky wicket at Durban, took seven wicket for 23 (7/23) when Australia crashed from 31 for no wicket to 75 all out.

After a quiet tour to England in 1951 when he was called up as a substitute for Rowan, he became South Africa's mainstay in Australia in 1952–53 under Jack Cheetham. He claimed 30 wickets in the series, 13 of them at Melbourne, to secure South Africa's first win over Australia in 42 years. Tayfield returned to England with more success in 1955, taking 143 wickets on the tour and 26 in the series including nine in South Africa's victory at Headingley. In the defeat at the Oval, the match which decided the rubber, he took five wickets for 60 runs in 53.3 overs.[2]

Bowling for South Africa against England at Durban in 1956–57, he bowled 119 balls in England's first innings followed immediately by a further 18 in the second without conceding a run, a Test and first-class cricket record. He bowled over the wicket, close to the stumps, drifting the ball away from the bat in the air and then spinning it back through the gate. He did not spin the ball as much as England's Jim Laker but was unerringly accurate and could bowl for long spells. He set himself aggressive fields, in contrast to his steady bowling, with two silly mid ons for the snick prompted by a botched drive through the tempting hole he'd left at cover. He formed a fine partnership with Trevor Goddard and, backed by South Africa's athletic fielding, took 37 wickets at a bowling average of 17.18 runs per wicket against England in the 1956–57 series. He took nine for 113 in the second innings of the Fourth Test at Johannesburg, bowling unchanged on the last day, and was carried off the field by his team mates. Tayfield caught the only batsman he didn't dismiss.[3]

In England in 1960 he took 123 wickets on the tour but failed in the Tests and, his career on the wane, lost his place in 1961–62. He was married and divorced five times.[4]

Tayfield died in a hospital at Durban on 25 February 1994, at the age of 65.[5]


  1. ^ Hugh Tayfield, CricketArchive. Retrieved 2020-03-10.
  2. ^ "Hugh Tayfield". ESPN Cricket Info. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  3. ^ "CRICKETER OF THE YEAR 1956: Hugh Tayfield". ESPN Cricket Info. 1956. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  4. ^ Wisden 1995, pp. 1395-96.
  5. ^ "Hugh Tayfield". ESPN Cricket Info. Retrieved 10 September 2012.

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