Tolly Burnett, an Eton housemaster, had a brief trial during the second half of the 1958 season. It was quite a bizarre time in the history of the Welsh county, not least that a faction on the committee were hoping that the man who had not played in a first-class game game since 1951, could replace the legendary Wilf Wooller who had indicated he was prepared to stand down as the county’s leader.
It was a highly contentious decision, not least that the Cambridge Blue had never played regular county cricket. Tolly had a decent record in club cricket and for the MCC but his approach to leading the side, as well as wielding the willow cut, little ice with the Welsh county in the hard-nosed world of Championship cricket. Not surprisingly, he returned to his teaching post at the end of the summer.
Tolly’s cricketing career had begun at Lancing College during the late 1930s, and after serving in the Second World War, he read Science at Pembroke College, Cambridge. 1949 saw Tolly make an unbeaten 79 for the Light Blues against Middlesex, followed by half-centuries against the Free Foresters, The Army, and in each innings against Somerset.
In 1950 Tolly made 108* for Sussex 2nd XI against Kent 2nd XI and on coming down he accepted a position at Eton. During 1954 Northamptonshire had made enquiries about Tolly’s availability before four years later he had a six week trial with Glamorgan. After making his debut against the New Zealanders at Swansea, Tolly made his Championship debut, aged 34, against Lancashire at Cardiff Arms Park. It proved to be an inauspicious debut as he was clean bowled by Brian Statham for a duck as Glamorgan were bundled out for just 26. He batted a further ten times for the county, but only got into double figures on three occasions.
BURNETT, Anthony Compton
(he later changed his name to Anthony Compton-Burnett)
Born – Chipstead, Surrey 26th October, 1923.
Died – Wexham Park, Slough 31st May, 1993.
First-class – 17 v Leicestershire at Loughborough, 1958.