DateLine: 22nd November 2010
Herbert Roy Lance, known throughout the cricket world as 'Tiger', who died on November 10, 2010 in a Johannesburg hospital from complications after a motor accident, was a formidable allrounder during a resurgent period in South African cricket – the mid-1960s to 1969/70.
Born on June 6, 1940, he was a tall, powerful right-handed striker of the ball and a useful medium-paced bowler.
He represented South Africa in 13 Tests, making his debut against New Zealand in 1961/62 as a 21-year-old. He did not play another Test for three years, missing three series, until he was recalled to the SA team for the 1965 tour to England. He was not an original choice, but opening batsman Tony Pithey was unavailable and Lance was roped in as an opener – not his usual position – and he had little success with the bat in the first two Tests.
However, in the third and final Test at The Oval, London, he scored 69 and 53, this time batting at number six, and by drawing the match South Africa recorded only their second series win in England, the first being 30 years earlier.
In November, 1966 Lance was a member of the Transvaal team that outplayed the Australians, inflicting the first defeat by an Australian team in South Africa. He scored 107 in Transvaal’s second innings, adding 237 with Ali Bacher (235), changing the whole complexion of what until then was a pretty even situation.
In the 1966/67 series against Australia, Lance was one of the heroes, batting well throughout as South Africa beat the Australians 3-1, and just missing a fourth win when rain saved the tourists in the fourth Test at the Wanderers.
In the 1969/70 series against another well-beaten Australian team which lost the series 4-0, Lance was one of four allrounders in the team – the others were Trevor Goddard, Eddie Barlow and Mike Procter – and his 61 in a record sixth-wicket partnership of 200 at a run a minute with Graeme Pollock (274) in the second Test in Durban, did much to knock the stuffing out of the Australian team.
On October 15, 2010 he was involved in a head-on collision in Sunninghill, Gauteng and failed to recover from extensive internal injuries.
Lance, who also played professional soccer and hockey, was known for his quirky sense of humour any many amusing tales are attributed to him.
When the SA team in 1962 was asked to put in their claims for out of pocket expenses at R2 a day by the manager of the team, one of the team asked for what period they could claim.
'From the time you left home,' was the reply.
'Good,' said Lance, 'I left home when I was eight!'
In his 13 Tests lance scored 591 runs (average 28.14) with five half-centuries and he captured 12 wickets (39.91), with a best of 3/30. In all first-class cricket (103 matches) Lance scored 5,336 runs (34.87) with 11 centuries – highest 169 – and took 167 wickets (25.65) with a best return of 6-55.
(Article: Copyright © 2010 Peter Martin)