Home > Features > Moments in history >

Eric Marx: Named Marx, born July 4, quit cricket because he never got days off

Eric Marx: Named Marx, born July 4, quit cricket because he never got days off
Eric Marx played three Tests for South Africa © Getty Images

Born July 4, 1895, Eric Marx was a capable all-rounder who played three Tests with moderate success. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at a man whose promising First-Class lasted a mere two seasons because he never got days off.

It was ironic that Waldemar Frederick Eric Marx (the only cricketer of that surname to play Tests) was born on American Independence Day and could not play cricket because he was not granted vacations. Had it been Karl, he might have done something about rights at work, but one can only guess his approach towards life was more of Groucho’s.

A confident, hard-hitting southpaw, Marx scored 656 First-Class at 41.00 runs (with two hundreds) from a career that lasted only nine matches. He was also a military-medium paced bowler, and his 13 wickets came at 30.92. From three Tests, all in the 1921-22 home series against Australia, he returned a haul of 125 runs at 20.83 and four wickets at 36.00.

Early days

Born in Johannesburg, Marx went on to study at Malvern College, England — and made a mark against Repton School at their den when he picked up five wickets in the second innings. World War II broke out when he was in his teens, and he had to wait till the end of The War to resume playing cricket.

He made his maiden First-Class appearance for Transvaal against Griqualand West and started with what turned out to be the most famous innings of his career. In a phase of violent batting at Old Johannesburg that lasted for 225 minutes, Marx slammed 240 with 39 fours and a six, thus breaking Tom Marsden’s record of 227 onFirst-Class debut (Amol Muzumdar, with 260 in 1993-94, is the only one to have bettered Marx’s score).

He added 119 more against Orange Free State later that season, and started the next season by top-scoring with 65 against Herbie Collins’ Australians (the attack consisted of Jack Gregory, Ted McDonald, Arthur Mailey, Charlie Macartney, and Stork Hendry), and was selected for all three Tests.

Test cricket

Marx made his debut alongside Buster Nupen, Charlie Frank, and William Ling at Lord’s, Durban. Herbie Taylor gave Marx first over after Collins batted but took him off after three overs. Marx scored a duck in the first innings, but had Macartney caught-behind in Australia’s third innings.

Collins set South Africa a huge 392, and Taylor promoted Marx to three after Tommy Ward was bowled by Gregory for a duck. Marx grafted a 53-minute 28, and some gutsy performances down the order helped South Africa save the Test: they finished on 184 for seven.

Batting first again at Old Wanderers, Collins scored a double-hundred — but was eclipsed by Gregory’s furious 85-minute 119 (the 70-minute hundred still remains the fastest in Test history). Marx took some pounding, but finished with three for 85 — dismissing Warren Bardsley, Johnny Taylor, and Bert Oldfield.

South Africa were left reeling at 16 for three, but Taylor and Dave Nourse added 79 for the fourth wicket, following which Marx arrived at the crease. He scored a 72-minute 36 with five fours, and after South Africa followed-on, he added another 70-minute 34 that was instrumental in saving the Test after hundreds from Frank and Nourse.

It came down to the third Test at Newlands, where McDonald and Mailey skittled out the hosts for 180, Marx being stumped off the latter. Australia secured a 216-run lead (opening bowling, Marx sent down seven overs without a wicket). South Africa managed exactly that amount as Marx fell for 16, and Australia won by ten wickets.

Final days

Marx took up a job with a mine in East Rand, which did not sanction him days off to play cricket; the job effectively ended his First-Class career. He played one more First-Class match that season against Natal at home, scoring a duck and 23 and adding two wickets to his tally.

When England toured South Africa next season they played a match against East Rand at Benoni. Marx scored two and 13 not out and sent down five overs, but the match was not given First-Class status. It remained his final recorded appearance.

Marx moved to Durban in his final days, and passed away on June 2, 1974, just over a month short of his 79th birthday.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter)

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 29, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Nottingham

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 30, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Dambulla

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 31, 2014 (13:00 IST)   at Harare

India tour of England 2014

Sep 2, 2014 (15:00 IST)   at Birmingham

More

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Harare

South Africa won by 7 wkts

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Basseterre, St Kitts

No result

India tour of England 2014

Aug 27, 2014  at Cardiff

India won by 133 runs

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 26, 2014  at Hambantota

Sri Lanka won by 77 runs

Zimbabwe Triangular Series, 2014

Aug 25, 2014  at Harare

Australia won by 198 runs

Photos

Don Bradman's ducks

Videos

Mitchell Marsh: This is a big opportunity for me

India vs England Live Cricket Score 2nd ODI at Cardiff: India win by 113 runs by D/L method

Australia vs South Africa Live Cricket Score, Zimbabwe Tri Series 2014 Match 2 at Harare: South Africa win by 7 wickets

Don Bradman and his ducks

India vs England ODI series 2014: Why an Indian win will be surprising

MS Dhoni taking on England in England and BCCI at home!

Australia Australia and South Africa in Zimbabwe 2014 England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Pakistan Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Pakistan vs Sri Lanka South Africa Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs Pakistan Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014

Champions League T20 2014: Online sale of tickets begin

Adam Gilchrist ‘apologises’ to Glenn McGrath on Twitter

PCB to discuss ways to help bowlers with suspect action

Michael Hussey calls for stringent measures to prevent illegal bowling actions

Alastair Cook urges England to improve after 133-run defeat against India in 2nd ODI

Ice Bucket Challenge inspires Shane Warne, Andrew Symonds and Salman Butt to come up with innovative ideas!

West Indies vs Bangladesh, only T20I at Basseterre Preview: Hosts will look to maintain clean slate

10 little known facts about Lasith Malinga

AB de Villiers’ ton for South Africa against Australia in Zimbabwe Triangular series 2014 another testament to his place as a modern great

Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014: Australia vs South Africa, 2nd ODI at Harare Highlights

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

664 Posts | 6 Fans

Funny cricket video

Adam Gilchrist ‘apologises’ to Glenn McGrath on Twitter

Neetu Singh promotes eco-friendly Ganesha festival!

Goa’s mining belt takes austerity path during Ganesh festival

Need to strengthen e-commerce platform: Sudhanshu Pandey

Two Assam Rifles jawans killed in bomb explosion

NGOs pursue education for all

PCB to discuss ways to help bowlers with suspect action

What is a yeast infection?

Ebola in India: 821 passengers being screened for Ebola

Should Jagjit Singh get the Bharat Ratna?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here