St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Personalities St George's Park - Anthony William Greig
Anthony William Greig

Grieg was a natural ball player and from his earliest schooldays at Queens College, Queenstown, he took to rugby, cricket and tennis with great relish and enjoyment.

From 1961 to 1955 he was an automatic choice in the College First XI. In his second year (1952) he made the Border Nuffield XI and in 1964 was awarded the first of his two South African Schools' XI Caps.

By the time he was appointed captain of the College cricket, rugby and tennis teams and as an indication of his standard of versatility, he represented Border Schools in the Craven (rugby) Week.

Cricket was always his first love and throughout his stay at Queens Tony was coached by a succession of well known professionals - Oakes, Oakman, Thompson, Bell, Langridge and Buss -all of whom played for Sussex in the County Championship.

After leaving Queens he was selected for the Border Currie Cup XI and made his first-class debut against Transvaal "B" in February, 1966, making 37 in his first innings and taking 2 wickets for 98.

Through the years the Coaches returned home with promising reports on the potential of this 19 year-old who stood 6 ft 7 l/2ins. in his socks, batted right hand in the middle of the order and was a useful fast medium bowler learning to use his tremendous height to advantage.

Hardly surprising then that he should be the recipient of an official letter inviting him to join the Sussex County Cricket Club on trial. His parents, his father was a former RAF Squadron Leader now resident in Queenstown, had always given him every encouragement and they decided to let him take his chance overseas for one season on the understanding that he would return to University in South Africa if he failed to make the grade.

If ever they had any doubts, which is unlikely, Tony soon dispelled them. In his first three-day game on English soil, playing for Col. Stevens XI against Cambridge University at Eastbourne, Tony scored a century in each innings.

Unfortunately the match was not recognised as first-class and the rare feat failed to make the record books.

During the qualifying period in 1956 he played 15 matches for the Sussex Second XI, scoring 362 runs and capturing 42 wickets whilst serving a valuable apprenticeship on a variety of English wickets.

Tony's first full season in County cricket, 1967, opened with a sparkling 156 in his first innings for the County. That was against Lancashire at Hove when Greig batted for almost 4 hours against an attack which included the illustrious Statham and Higgs, another England bowler.

The last player to achieve this feat was DO Baldry of Hants, who scored 151 against Glamorgan in 1959. In recognition of an outstanding all-round season Tony was awarded his County Cap.

In 33 matches he scored 1299 runs - including a second century against Gloucestershire at Bristol - and captured 67 wickets; the highlight being the first match against Gloucestershire at Hove when Tony, who was virtually unplayable, returned the incredible figures for a 20 year-old fledgling, of 8 wickets for 25 and he only conceded 2 runs whilst capturing the last six wickets.

Both the 156 and the bowling performance remain his career best to this day. To emphasise that even the best take the rough with the smooth in big cricket, the next match against Cambridge University found the former Queens College lad both runless and without a wicket.

The Essex match at Brentwood brought him 11 and 23 and no wickets in the first innings - and for the third innings in succession, Tony failed to take a wicket.

In 1970 during his fourth season with Sussex, by which time Tony had almost 4700 runs and 250 wickets to his credit, he was selected to play for England against the Rest of the World in a series arranged to replace the cancelled South African tour of the United Kingdom.

He made his first appearance in the second match at Trent Bridge taking 4/39 and 3/71.

At Edgbaston he scored 55 and 22 but had little success with the ball. In the fourth match he failed with the bat and although he took 4/86 in the first innings he lost his place in the final match.

On the strength of his 3 appearances for England, Tony was invited to tour Australia in 1971-72 with Gary Sobers' Rest of the World side and for the second year in succession he figured in a series of International matches organised in lieu of abortive tours by South African teams.

He made a good start in the first match against Victoria, taking 3 wickets and making the ball lift.

In the next two matches he scored 3 half-centuries and totalled 235 runs and 4 wickets to qualify for a place in each of the five internationals. He topped the bowling for the tour and only Intikhab Alam (38) and Bishan Bedi (36) took more wickets. For good measure he was one of five players to score more than 500 runs in his 10 matches.

He returned via South Africa in time to pick up the threads and bolster Eastern Province for the second half of the programme. For the first time in South Africa Tony really revealed his true overseas form.

Flying almost direct from Australia to Newlands he captured 5/39 in Western Province's first innings. In the next match against Natal he contributed 6/40 towards a 10 wicket victory and in the final match of the season captured 5 wickets in each innings to finish with a match aggregate of 10 for 49.

This was easily his most successful South African season, where his form in the past has been disappointing. In 4 matches he finished with 25 wickets at 13.32 runs apiece.

Back to England for his seventh season with Sussex and a determined bid for inclusion in the England team to play Australia - the ultimate in his life's ambition.

Tony's eligibility to play for England had been questioned, but he was assured by the MCC Secretary that having played for England against the Rest of the World, his bona fides had been established.

In the first Test, at Old Trafford, Tony scored 57 and 62 and captured 5 for 74 to qualify as the Man of the Match, and ensured his place for the remainder of the series.

To gain full international status gave him as much happiness for his parents' sake as for himself. He proved he was worthy of the position and is confidently expected to develop into England's leading all-rounder.

In fact, a well known Australian critic described Tony as "... the best all-rounder we have had from England for many years".

With his considerable experience Greig was a vastly matured person.

He had never failed to score 1000 runs or take less than 50 wickets in each of his seven seasons, and to set the seal on an outstanding season, the 26 year-old International, who scored 1031 runs at an average of 44.82, has been appointed captain of Sussex in succession to M G Griffith, and became the second South African born player to captain the County, his predecessor being Springbok Alan Melville who led Sussex in 1934 and 1935.

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