Frank Hearne

HEARNE, FRANK, who died in July at the age of 90, had the rare experience of playing in Test Matches for England against South Africa and also for South Africa against England.

Born on November 23, 1858, he was one of three brothers who gained fame with Kent. The others were George Gibbons and Alec Hearne. Only 5 ft. 5 ins. tall, he was a batsman with a sound defence and many fine off-side strokes. He first played for Kent in 1879 and up to 1889 scored 3,426 runs and took 41 wickets with fast round-arm bowling before ill-health made him give up county cricket.

He toured South Africa with Major R. G. Wharton's team in 1888-89 and played in two Test Matches for England. Subsequently he settled in South Africa and was engaged by the Western Province Cricket Club. In 1891 he appeared for South Africa when England went to that country and also played in three Tests in the 1895 English tour. In 1894 he was a member of the first South African team to visit England.

Probably the best display of his career was the 111 he made for South of England against the Australians in 1886. His highest innings was 144 for Kent against Yorkshire in 1887. The previous year he and his brother, G. G. Hearne, added 226 for the second Kent wicket against Middlesex at Gravesend, Frank scoring 142 and George 126.

All three brothers figured in Kent's great victory over the Australians at Canterbury in 1884 when they were the only county that summer to lower the colours of the touring team. Frank Hearne played a notable part in this performance. He opened the batting and in the second innings his 45 was second highest score in a total of 213. Alec Hearne, with five wickets for 36 and two for 30, also helped considerably towards the overthrow of W. L. Murdoch's men. Stanley Christopherson, who died a few weeks before Frank Hearne, was another member of that Kent side.

Frank Hearne retained his interest in the game long after his career ended, and a few months before his death he was present at the Test between England and South Africa at Cape Town in 1949.

© John Wisden & Co