4 March 1967, SA cricketer Darryl Cullinan (pictured) born in Kimberley.
DID YOU KNOW
Lt Frederick Guthrie Tait, the great Scottish amateur golfer, was killed at Koodoosberg on 7 February 1900 after being wounded at the battle of Magersfontein on 11 December 1899. As he is now buried in Kimberley’s West End cemetery, this brief paragraph or two will highlight Tait’s skill at cricket (and rugby) rather than golf.
In 1881, at age 11, he attended the Edinburgh Academy and played that year for the Academy 7th XV and 8th XI. By 1883 he was at Sedbergh College and was thoroughly enjoying his rugby. In 1886 he received his 1st XV colours for rugby but just failed to make the 1st XI. Charles Toppin, a very good fast bowler who was some six years Freddie’s senior at Sedbergh went on to play for Cambridge University for six years. During that time Toppin took 81 wickets at an average of 25.41 and an economy rate of 2.49 per over. Writing to his uncle at Cambridge, Freddie wrote: “See that Toppin gets into the eleven, he can bowl any man in England in four balls.”
At Sandhurst in 1889 Tait played for the 1st XV and was one of the best forwards. In Scotland he played for the Edinburgh Wanderers and was a keen supporter of Scottish rugby. Later during his service with the Black Watch he played rugby for the Edinburgh Academicals – the Regiment preferred soccer. (Tait’s elder brother John G Tait played two international rugby tests for Scotland in the early 1880s).
Back to cricket. When with the Leinster Regiment (1890 to 1894) he played in the Regimental cricket team and in the 1891 season was second in the batting averages at 20.5 per innings. During the summer months when based in Scotland with the Black Watch some years later he played cricket for the Grange Cricket Club, where he distinguished himself on the pitch.
When based at York in 1897 the Black Watch cricket team had a successful cricket season, winning 35 matches and losing nine. Tait again stood second in the batting averages, with 523 runs in 27 innings and an average of 19.
While en route to South Africa with the Black Watch in 1899 he played cricket on board the SS Orient on 31 October and again for three days 7 to 9 November. In one of the games he wrote to his mother that the Black Watch officers beat a combined team of the mounted Infantry and Royal Navy officers. Recuperating in Cape Town after being wounded at Magersfontein he watched the cricket game between Cape Town and Western Province (2 January 1900) and a few days later the Bar versus the Navy, both games being at Newlands.
Certainly a lover of all sports Freddie Tait was also keen on shooting, rowing as well as on Tug of war. Golf may have been his first great love, but cricket and rugby were not too far behind.