In the words of Neville Cardus, Thomas Walter Hayward “was amongst the most precisely technical and most prolific batsmen of any time in the annals of cricket.” He scored a total of 43,551 first-class runs (36,175 for Surrey - a record second only to that of Sir Jack Hobbs) at an average of 41.79, including 104 centuries and twenty consecutive thousand-run seasons between 1895 and 1914.

Essentially a dominant batsman, Hayward was tall and well built with a military moustache and bearing. Never anything less than correct he could score all round the wicket. His chief strokes were the cut and the off-drive, which was executed so delightfully and with such timing that the ball rarely lifted off the ground.

With both his father and grandfather having represented the county before him, Tom made his Surrey debut in 1893. Five years later he played his greatest innings - 315 not out against Lancashire at The Oval. When he heard that J.T.Brown of Yorkshire had been given a bonus for making a triple-century that very day, Hayward said that he would get out for a hundred for Surrey in future. Luckily he did not keep his word and the following season Tom scored 273 against Yorkshire, sharing in a world record 448 for the fourth wicket with Bobby Abel. That year he averaged 58.82 and passed 2,000 runs for the first time - a feat that he went on to replicate on nine further occasions.

Tom Hayward (left) walks out to bat
with the young Jack Hobbs
His most meritous Test innings also came during that first prolific season when he scored a badly needed 130 against Australia at Old Trafford. Later in the series, at The Oval, he and F.S.Jackson opened England’s account with a stand of 185 to which Hayward contributed 137. In all he played in 35 Test matches between 1895 and 1909, making 1,999 runs at an average of 34.46.

In 1900, the first season of the six-ball over, Tom became the first batsman to pass a thousand runs (1,074 at an average of 97.63) before the end of May. In 1904 he recorded the first of two 3,000-run seasons, scoring 3,170 at a rate of 54.65 per completed innings including eleven centuries; the best of which was his 203 for the Players against the Gentlemen. 1906 was one long purple patch - 3,518 first-class runs at an average of 66.37 and 13 hundreds, including one in each innings in consecutive matches - all in the space of just six days - against Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

Partnered by Jack Hobbs in 1907 he shared in four century opening partnerships for Surrey in the course of a week. In June 1913 Hayward became the first batsman since W.G.Grace to make a hundred hundreds - his hundredth being earned as hard as any for he was struck a number of times. He went on to make two more centuries that season and two more the following year when Surrey won the

championship. 116 against Yorkshire at Lord’s - where Surrey played two matches during the early weeks of the War - was his 104th and last.

Whilst Hayward is sure of a lasting place among England’s great batsmen, it is not generally known that he enjoyed a certain amount of success as a medium-pace off-break bowler. In 1897 he took 114 wickets at an average of 18.18 in addition to scoring 1,368 runs with the bat and, in 1899, he twice performed the hat-trick.

Growing heavy on his feet and slow in the field, he did not return to the game after the First World War. Tom chose, instead, to return to Cambridge where he acted as University coach and groundsman at Fenner’s. One of his many pupils was R.C.Robertson-Glasgow who wrote: “Only once did we persuade him into pads and, then, for about five minutes he showed enough to remind us of his greatness.”