Consider him: at slow or fast-medium, his approach never varied; two short walking paces, six running strides and a four-foot leap. Apparently clumsily built, with heavy, drooping shoulders; deep chest; wide bottom; strong legs and large feet, yet, when he gathered himself to bowl he was a splendidly rhythmic physical specimen. In the moment before delivery, when the left arm pointed high and the right was drawn back like a great trigger, he was the essence of poised power. Then he plunged through in the most perfect action that can be conceived. The left foot drove into the ground so fiercely that George Cox tell how, especially when the ground was wet, he felt it shake under him as he stood at cover point. When Maurice Tate was on song, the great swing of his arm in the follow through often swept the ground so savagely as to scrape blood from his finger joints.
When the sea-fret descended on the Hove ground he was - legendarily in his own time - unplayable.
His best ball was the outswinger; though sometimes he made the ball go the other way. Harold Gilligan, who often captained him, thought that when Tate asked for another short leg he was beginning to tire. At his best he bowled to three slips, gully, third man, cover, mid-off, mid-on and square short leg. He always wanted his wicketkeeper standing up to the stumps - to aim at - which some found difficult; and was possible only because of his immense accuracy.
He has been likened to Alec Bedser and certainly they were both fast-medium bowlers; but technically they were quite different.
Tate never commanded the leg-cutter as Bedser did. He bowled 'long-fingered"; seam between index and second fingers and, from his high action, let the ball do the rest. Once he bowled out Frank Woolley who, as he passed him, said 'You meant that to go the other way."'I never know which way it's going," said Maurice, 'so I'm bloody sure you don't."
His great gift was pace off the pitch. In his pairing with Arthur Gilligan it was said that Gilligan was positively faster through the air: but Tate was quite as fast off the wicket. Frank Lee recalls Tom Young, the old Somerset pro, telling him when he first went out to face Tate: 'Play forward to him for the first hour." Feeling 'in", Lee played back and the ball was through him before he could line it up.
In that suspension of an apparent law of physics Maurice Tate was unique. Where others came through little more than half-stump high, he, in his great era, made the ball snarl about the knuckles. For more than a dozen years no batsman in the world was his master.