18 March 1894, SA cricketer “Doodles” Tapscott (pictured) born.
18 March 1899, Seventh Session of the Cape Colony Mayoral Conference ends.
“DOODLES” THE BEST FIELDER IN SOUTH AFRICA
“Doodles” Tapscott (pictured) is one of those rare breeds of South African who has represented their country in two different sports, and in “Doodles” case this was cricket and tennis.
He was born in Kimberley on 18 March 1894, and christened Lionel Eric by his parents Norman and Ida Tapscott, one of ten children to the union. His nine siblings were Lancelot George, Violet, Sidney, Daisy Margaret, Norman, Winifred Elfreda, Cecil Leander, Elaine Rowe, and Daphne Ruth.
Two of his brothers, Lancelot George “Dusty” Tapscott, and Norman Tapscott, were talented cricketers, both playing first class cricket with “Dusty” also representing South Africa. In “Doodles” first game for Griquas in 1911 all three brothers were playing in the team. One sister, Daphne Ruth “Billie” Tapscott, was an above average tennis player who reached the quarter final stage at both Wimbledon and the French Open.
“Doodles” was educated at Christian Brother’s College in Kimberley where he excelled in cricket, tennis and soccer. In tennis he won the Griqualand West senior title while still at school, and played for South Africa at the 1912 Olympics aged 18 years. Ranked nine in the world, he lost in the round of 16 to the Bohemian Ladislav Žemla-Rázný in a five set marathon. This was the Olympics where the South Africans Winslow and Kitson won gold and silver in the tennis singles and combined to take gold in the men’s doubles.
In soccer “Doodles” played for Griqualand West at senior level while still at school, playing for the province for several years.
However, it was at cricket that he became a household name. Although he only played in two tests, both against England in 1923, he was considered unfortunate to not make the Springbok team that travelled in 1924 to England.
As a right hand bat, in his two tests he totalled 58 runs, his top score being 50 not out.
He played for Griqualand West in the Currie Cup in 39 games with 70 innings, totalling some 1759 runs at an average of 26.25. His top score in the Currie Cup was 102 runs. As a bowler he did not feature for South Africa, but for Griqualand West he captured 34 wickets for 813 runs, at an average of 23.91 runs.
“Doodles” was considered by many to be the finest fielder in South Africa during the 1920s.
He died in Kenilworth Cape Town on 7 July 1934 at the relatively young age of 40 years.
(There is a Doodles Tapscott Street in Vereeniging).