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Old Wanderers was a cricket ground in Johannesburg, South Africa. The ground hosted 22 Test matches from 1895 to 1939,[1] before being rebuilt as Johannesburg's Park Station in 1946. It has since been replaced by the New Wanderers Stadium.

Old Wanderers
Ground information
LocationJohannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
TenantsSouth Africa cricket team
Transvaal cricket team
End names
International information
First TestMarch 2, 1896:
 South Africa v  England
Last TestFebruary 18, 1939:
 South Africa v  England
As of August 19, 2014
Source: Cricinfo



Old Wanderers c.1893

The wealthy elite of the town saw a need for a sports ground for the public in the new town of Johannesburg. Around 1888 a deputation consisting of Hermann Eckstein, J.B. Taylor, Jacob Swart, Llewellyn Andersson and others rode to Pretoria to meet with President Paul Kruger.[2]:647 He was shown a piece of land of 40 acres west of Joubert Park, but as the land was to be surveyed and sold as leasehold stands, he was concerned about the loss of income to the South African Republic.[2]:647 A compromise was reached and 31 acres was set aside for a sporting ground with a 99-year lease and 25 pounds a year.[2]:647[2]:115 The ground was first called Kruger's Park but was later renamed Wanderers Club, with Hermann Eckstein and its first chairman and J.B. Taylor as its vice-chairman.[2]:115 When not used by the club, the grounds would be used as a public venue.[2]:115 It was the venue for the Witwatersrand's first horse show, gymkhana and dog show in May 1891 and with a cycle track around the cricket ground people saw future world cycle champion Laurens Meintjes race.[2]:148 And in November 1894, the Witwatersrand Agricultural Society would hold its first show at the Wanderers ground before moving it to Braamfontein where it would be later known as the Rand Show.[2]:148 The grounds would host its first cricket test match on 2 March 1896 when South Africa played England.[3]

By the late 1920s, the station passenger numbers south of the Wanderers grounds had outgrown its facilities. The new station would need additional land which was only available to the north and which was part of the Old Wanderers ground.[2]:350 There was opposition to the idea by the people of Johannesburg when a 100 ft strip of the Wanderers ground was proposed with the South African Railways offering ₤31,000 and the club wanting the amount doubled.[2]:350 The land was lost to the railways with the final amount settled on was ₤35,000[2]:350

In 1936, the club purchased 200 acres in Illovo and established a golf course called Kent Park, name after its chairman Victor Kent.[2]:381 This would later become the venue for the new Wanderers Stadium cricket ground.

By 1945, the Johannesburg Park Station had reached a capacity of 130,000 passengers a day and there was a need to expand the station's infrastructure with a new station, administrative buildings and a newer bridge over the railway lines and so the ideal land for the project was the Wanderers ground.[2]:381 Transport Minister F.C. Sturrock would attempt to sell the project to the public while it was countered by the Wanderers Club and Johannesburg Publicity Association, representing about fifty other bodies.[2]:381

The South African government would expropriate the Wanderers ground and after a legal appeal by those who disagreed, on 30 March 1946, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court upheld the governments decision.[2]:381 The Government would pay the Wanderers Club ₤500,000 in compensation and the Johannesburg Council ₤1,000,000 in the form of land at Plein Square, Kaserne and a small amount of land in Braamfontein and offset ₤300,000 owed by the council.[2]:382

Cricket historyEdit

The highest Test innings recorded at the ground was South Africa's 491 in their 2nd innings in the drawn 2nd Test against Australia in 1935/36,[1] and the lowest was South Africa's 85 in their 2nd innings in the 2nd Test in 1902/03, on the way to losing to Australia by 159 runs (Jack Saunders taking 7/34). [2] The ground saw 29 Test centuries, including double centuries for South African Dudley Nourse (231) in the drawn 2nd Test against Australia in 1934/35 [3] and Australian captain and opening batsman Herbie Collins (203) in the drawn 2nd Test in 1921/22 (only his 10th Test match, and his 2nd as captain). [4]

George Lohmann's 9/28 at Old Wanderers in the 2nd Test in 1896 was for six decades the best bowling figures in Test cricket, leading to a victory for England by an innings and 197 runs. [5] The best bowling analysis for a Test match at the ground was Sydney Barnes's 17/159 for England in the 2nd Test in 1913/14 (8/56 and 9/103) in a victory by England by an innings and 12 runs.[6]. The only other bowler to take 8 wickets in an innings at Old Wanderers was Tip Snooke in the 3rd Test against England (and only his third Test match) in 1905/06. [7]

A railways-related test match record at Old Wanderers occurred when South African batsman Jimmy Sinclair hit the ball for six. It landed in a train standing at one of the platforms at the adjacent old Johannesburg station and was only discovered two days later in Cape Town. At approximately 956 miles, it must rate as the biggest six ever struck.[4]

International CenturiesEdit

From 1895 to 1939, twenty nine Test centuries have been scored.[5]

No. Score Player Team Balls Opposing team Date Result
1 122 Tom Hayward   England NA   South Africa 2 March 1896 Won
2 132* Pelham Warner   England NA   South Africa 14 February 1899 Won
3 142 Clem Hill   Australia NA   South Africa 11 October 1902 Drawn
4 101 Jimmy Sinclair   South Africa NA   Australia 18 October 1902 Drawn
5 159* Warwick Armstrong   Australia NA   South Africa 18 October 1902 Drawn
6 102 Maitland Hathorn   South Africa NA   England 10 March 1906 Won
7 143 Frederick Fane   England NA   South Africa 10 March 1906 Lost
8 147 Gordon White   South Africa NA   England 10 March 1906 Won
9 123 Aubrey Faulkner   South Africa NA   England 1 January 1910 Won
10 104 Lucky Denton   England NA   South Africa 26 February 1910 Won
11 152 Wilfred Rhodes   England NA   South Africa 26 February 1913 Won
12 102 Phil Mead   England NA   South Africa 26 February 1913 Won
13 203 Herbie Collins   Australia NA   South Africa 12 November 1921 Drawn
14 119 Jack Gregory   Australia NA   South Africa 12 November 1921 Drawn
15 152 Charlie Frank   South Africa NA   Australia 12 November 1921 Drawn
16 111 Dave Nourse   South Africa NA   Australia 12 November 1921 Drawn
17 176 Herbie Taylor (1/3)   South Africa NA   England 23 December 1922 Won
18 115 Frank Woolley   England NA   South Africa 9 February 1923 Drawn
19 101 Herbie Taylor (2/3)   England NA   South Africa 9 February 1923 Drawn
20 102 Herbert Sutcliffe   England NA   South Africa 24 December 1927 Won
21 122 Ernest Tyldesley   England NA   South Africa 24 December 1927 Won
22 101 Herbie Taylor (3/3)   South Africa NA   England 28 January 1928 Won
23 231 Dudley Nourse   South Africa NA   Australia 24 December 1935 Drawn
24 189 Stan McCabe   Australia NA   South Africa 24 December 1935 Drawn
25 108 Jack Fingleton   Australia NA   South Africa 15 February 1936 Won
26 117 Eddie Paynter (1/2)   England NA   South Africa 24 December 1938 Drawn
27 102 Eric Dalton   South Africa NA   England 24 December 1938 Drawn
28 106 Paul Gibb   England NA   South Africa 24 December 1938 Drawn
29 100 Eddie Paynter (2/2)   England NA   South Africa 24 December 1938 Drawn

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Old Wanderers: Test Matches". ESPN Cricinfo. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Shorten, John R. (1970). The Johannesburg Saga. Johannesburg: John R. Shorten Pty Ltd. p. 1159.
  3. ^ Scott, Les (2011). Bats, Balls & Bails: The Essential Cricket Book. Random House. p. 544. ISBN 9781446423165.
  4. ^ Soul of A Railway, System 7, Western Transvaal, based in Johannesburg, Part 2. Johannesburg between the Home Signals, Part 2. Caption xx. (Accessed on 21 March 2017)
  5. ^ "Old Wanderers, Johannesburg / Records / Test matches / High scores". Retrieved 27 December 2016.

External linksEdit