Claude Buckenham was a bowler of considerable pace with an effective break-back. In addition he was a useful bat, with two first-class hundreds who favoured hitting over defence. Debuting for Essex in 1899, he improved until, by 1905, he was considered one of the best pace bowlers in England. Considered by many to be unlucky due to a lack of support in the field, with more than his fair share of slip catches being spilled, he was also somewhat expensive. A fine season in 1909 (including 6-98 against the touring Australians) earned him a place on that winter's tour of South Africa. Although not impressing with the bat, he had a good tour with the ball, playing in four Tests and taking 21 wickets. In an attack that featured the last Test appearance of lob bowling in the person of Simpson Hayward, he usually opened the bowling with Hobbs or Blythe. Only two of his 21 wickets were of tail-enders, and he played an important part in a successful tour. No more Tests were played for two years, and by the time of the 1911/12 tour of Australia, his form had declined, and Foster and Barnes were opening the bowling for England. By 1914 he was acting as professional for Forfarshire, and after serving in the Royal Garrison Artillery became coach at Repton.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dave Liverman)