Hello….Editor Des here.
Well it’s all sport, sport, sport in our household at the moment, so I thought I would write a piece about a famous cricketer! By the way, the local coach once told me that I had a great future as twelfth man for Blackheath (the village where I live). Unfortunately, because my guardians Pauline and Dr Bob have such a wandery lifestyle, I missed too many practice sessions and was asked not to come anymore.
Anyway, this is the story of the day ‘The Don’ (that’s what we call him in Australia) smacked a hundred runs for little Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains. Yes, it’s true! It was during the Great Depression, in 1931, which sort of makes it even more special.
On October 4 that year the following advertisement appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald;
VISIT BY BRADMAN WANTED
Efforts are being made to secure a visit by Don Bradman to “open” the new wicket laid on Blackheath oval by the Blackheath Cricket Club.
The match was to be against the neighbouring, much bigger coal mining town of Lithgow. I have been told it was the Lithgow Potteries Team. The cricket pitch was made of cement…nasty if a batsman fell over but they were pretty tough in those days. Now at one point during the match Bradman muttered to his fellow batsman: ‘I think I’ll have a go.’ Well…that was an understatement. In the next THREE overs (OK, they were then eight ball overs, not six) he made a hundred runs! Can you believe that? Down the other end Wendell Bill contributed just two singles in the third over, in which The Don scored 6,4,4,6,6,4,6,4. Wendell probably called for a sandwich and a drink and simply watched on in awe.
Little boys were to be seen scurrying amongst the bordering pines; competing for the honour of retrieving the ball. The unfortunate bowler for Lithgow was a bloke called Bill Black. And he certainly had a black day..ha ha.
A report of Bradman’s feat appeared in the Singleton Argus on November 30:
Don Bradman had a merry knock playing for Blackheath against Lithgow on Monday. He scored 256 before he was caught. Wendell Bill who also played for Blackheath scored 66…Blackheath scored 357, and Lithgow 228.
Bradman said; ‘It is important I think to emphasize that the thing was not planned. It happened by accident and everyone was surprised at the outcome, none more so than me’
At the conclusion of the match Blackheath’s mayor Peter Sutton asked if he could have the bat as a memento. Bradman generously agreed, but asked if Sutton could wait until he was no longer using it. On Jan 19 the following year The Don split the bat while playing in a match at Sydney’s Callen Park Mental Hospital. As promised, he sent it to Sutton.
The iconic bat is now on display in the International Cricket Hall of Fame at Bowral; Don Bradman’s childhood town in the NSW Southern Highlands.
Following the cricket match there was a dance, at which one of the Lithgow cricketers got up and sang. He was Bob Nicholson, a coal miner with a rich baritone voice. Don Bradman was so impressed by Nicholson that he asked him to sing at his marriage to Jessie Menzies the following April. Bob Nicholson went on to have a successful career as an opera singer, performing at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Isn’t that interesting?
If you visit the cricket ground today you can see a story board about the famous match, with a photo of the team and the mayor. The Don is in the centre without his cap, a small boy probably snaffled it!
Well here is another story about CRICKET.
And another one about BLACKHEATH
Have you got a special little sports story you could share? Not a nasty one about Australia though, or Pauline will send it to spam cemetery. She is very one-eyed I’m afraid…not a pleasant trait. DON’T FORGET TO COMPLETE THE SUM UNDER THE COMMENT BOX BEFORE YOU PRESS SUBMIT. Thank you…Editor Des. xx