Trevor Goddard, 1931-2016
by Peter Martin

Player:TL Goddard

DateLine: 27th November 2016


One of South Africa’s all-time great all-rounders, Trevor Leslie Goddard died November 25th, 2016 at the age of 85. He had been wheelchair-bound and stayed on a farm belonging to his son-in-law George Smith and his daughter Lindi, outside Fauresmith in the Free State.


Born in Durban on August 1, 1931, he was educated at Durban High School and his first sporting love was soccer but by the time he was 21 he was an established member of the Natal Currie Cup cricket team. He also played for North-Eastern Transvaal in the late 1960s. Goddard was a slim left-handed batsman and a nagging, accurate medium-paced left-arm bowler and was always superbly fit. He represented Natal Schools in the 1949 Nuffield Week held in Rhodesia and was selected for the SA Schools XI at the end of the tournament to play a Rhodesian team when he took three Rhodesian wickets for 62 in a drawn match. Of interest, playing for Rhodesia was off-spinner Hugh Tayfield, soon to be capped by South Africa, while two of Goddard’s team-mates were Arthur and Cyril Tayfield, Hugh’s younger brothers.


Goddard made his debut for Natal in 1952-53 in a friendly first-class match against Transvaal and showed his promise with 3-69 off 19 overs while opening the bowling. He scored 13 before being bowed by another great South African bowler, Neil Adcock, who was also making his first-class debut. He played six A Section Currie Cup matches that season, scoring two centuries, under the captaincy of Dudley Nourse, captain of the 1951 South African touring team in England.


In his second Currie Cup match he scored 100 not out against Eastern Province at Kingsmead, the first of 26 centuries in his career. He scored another century in his first season, 102 against Orange Free State at the Ramblers, Bloemfontein, and he finished the season with 433 runs (43.30) and 18 wickets (30.00).


In 1953-54 he began a long-lasting and productive opening partnership with Jackie McGlew for Natal and later South Africa.


His all-round play in 1954-55 ensured his selection for the 1955 tour of England where he made his Test debut at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.


He and Hugh Tayfield were the most successful bowlers in the series, and in the fifth Test England selected six left-handed batsmen in order to counteract the so-called leg-theory bowing of Goddard to the right-handers. Goddard took 2-39 and 5-69 at Headingley, Leeds in the fourth Test and he and Tayfield (4-70 and 5-94) were the match-winners.


The series was lost 2-3, and in 1956-57 against Peter May’s England side, South Africa were able to draw the series 2-2 after losing the first two Tests. Goddard did well against Australia in 1957-58 and was selected as vice-captain to McGlew of the touring team to England in 1960, a tour which was blighted by the no-balling of Geoff Griffin for throwing.


Goddard missed the Tests against New Zealand in 1961-62 when he moved to England, but he made himself available for the 1963-64 tour of Australia and New Zealand when he took over the captaincy from McGlew and led a young team which, stunned the cricket world by holding the powerful Australians to a 1-1 drawn series.


At Adelaide Graeme Pollock and Eddie Barlow added 341 in a record third-wicket partnership, South Africa won an enthralling Test by 10 wickets and were unfortunate not to win the fifth, a third draw in the series.


On each of his three major tours, Goddard scored over 1000 runs and contributed with the ball.


In 1964-65 Goddard captained South Africa against Mike Smith’s England team but the series was a boring affair after England won the first Test on a spin-friendly pitch in Durban and played for safety thereafter. Goddard was asked by the selectors to step down as captain which he rightfully refused to do. He managed to score his only Test century, 112 in the fourth Test at the Wanderers. Goddard was unavailable for the 1965 tour of England when Peter van der Merwe was appointed captain. The Western Province skipper retained the Test captaincy in 1966-67 when Australia lost their first rubber in South Africa 1-3 with one Test drawn. He was in great form with the ball, taking 6-53 in the first-ever win over Australia at the Wanderers in December, 1966, his best Test figures.


He played in three of the four Tests in 1969-70 against Bill Lawry’s touring team, who lost the series 0-4 to a rampant South African team with Barlow, Graeme and Peter Pollock and Mike Procter being the dominant players in a highly successful team under Ali Bacher.


Sadly, Goddard was not picked for the final Test, his place going to Pat Trimborn, his Natal team-mate. He had indicated he was not available to tour England in 1970, a tour which was subsequently cancelled, a rather sad end to a magnificent international career. Goddard’s 15-year Test career yielded 2516 runs (34.46), and 123 wickets (26.22) in 41 Tests. He was the first South African to score 2000 runs and capture 100 wickets.


He played 179 first-class matches, finishing with 11289 runs (40.60) and capturing 533 wickets (21.69), the best all-round figures for any South African at the time of his retirement in 1970.


Goddard leaves his second wife Lesley – his first wife Jean died about 30 years ago – and son Chris and daughter.


(Article: Copyright © 2016 Peter Martin)