19 April, 2014

1939/40 First Class Season

1939/40 First Class Batting

DG Bradman91531475267122.915411-SA/Rest
AL Hassett712089713674.75365-VIC/Rest
WA Brown714085715661.21333-Qld/Rest
SJ McCabe713069911453.76167-NSW
MG Waite914256513747.08139-SA/Rest
RE Rogers71405417438.64-42-Qld/Rest
SG Barnes7131530135*44.16212-NSW
IS Lee71404769334.00-54-VIC/Rest
BA Barnett6111443104*44.301373VIC
KL Ridings813141215134.33111-SA
CM Solomon59040713145.22123-NSW
D Tallon714040115428.6412126Qld/Rest
AG Cheetham71313928532.66-42-NSW
CL Badcock46038723664.50113-SA
MW Sievers61013645640.44-48-VIC
GW Baker61203548029.50-33-Qld
RA Hamence81413469926.61-2--SA
H Mudge4703358247.85-48-NSW
GE Tamblyn47031410744.85121-VIC
IWG Johnson71313134426.08--9-VIC/Rest
MB Cohen3603097451.50-42-NSW

1939/40 First Class Bowling

CV Grimmett9443.75716547322.659448.602.79SA/Rest
WJ O'Reilly7246.6528325515.126235.802.52NSW
DT Ring7212.3119863429.001-49.903.48VIC/Rest
FA Ward8239.71911443334.662-58.103.57SA
CG Pepper7240.11810333133.322-61.903.22NSW
RB Scott718038132138.71--68.503.38VIC/Rest
AG Cheetham7120.785241927.57--50.803.25NSW
TE Klose8143.7453041816.88--63.901.58SA
MG Waite9248.5347661745.05--117.002.31SA/Rest
LO Fleetwood-Smith6170.548851752.05--80.203.89VIC
PL Dixon6136.3185211730.64--64.102.86Qld
MW Sievers6174186231444.50--99.402.68VIC
GG Cook6134.795751441.07--77.003.19Qld
IWG Johnson7122.785191339.92--75.603.16VIC/Rest
CP Christ6163.1216521254.33--108.702.99Qld
JA Ellis468.522831223.581-45.703.09Qld
J Stackpoole257.322681222.331-38.203.50Qld

1939/40 First Class Results

NSW at homeVictoria at homeQueensland at homeSA at home
NSW-W 72 runsL 3 wktsW 7 wkts
VicW 177 runs-L 9 wktsW 3 wkts
QueenslandW inns + 130 runsW 7 wkts-W inns + 222 runs
SAW 237 runsDrawnW 2 wkts-

WA played SA twice and Rest of Australia played NSW at end of the season

Retrospective (Charlie Macartney)

Sydney Morning Herald Thursday 1 February 1940

The members of the New South Wales cricket team have every reason to be proud of their achievement in winning the Sheffield Shield for 1939-40. From New South Wales’s defeats on the southern tour in December, it appeared that South Australia would romp home  with the honours, but a strong combination, and, above all, the continuation of brighter cricket, created a fighting unit which won through against all opposition.  In the country districts, a favourite saying is “the longest liver gets the blanket.” Well, the New South Wales team managed to out-stay their opponents, won the Sheffield Shield comfortably, and finished in a blaze of glory by displaying attractive cricket to the end.

The season has produced a few players who have proved their just claim to interstate honours. R. Saggers should be a fixture for some time; he displayed surprising confidence and brilliance. M. Cohen has justified thoroughly all the confidence placed in him. C. Pepper has improved as a bowler, but still has a difficult path to travel to equal the work of C. V. Grimmett. A. G. Cheetham displayed skill in this latest match, which proved him an aggressive and talented batsman, and one who will give gay entertainment in the future.

A. L. Hassett batted with coolness in the recent match, and was unfortunate that his heroic innings last Saturday did not bring victory in the first innings, and possibly the Shield. His indomitable pluck and nonchalance in dangerous situations are characteristics to be envied, and he showed them to perfection in both innings for Victoria. For a short man, Hassett possesses wonderful batting talents, and the manner in which he gets over the short and high-rising ball is remarkable. His footwork is an object lesson to many, and the clever placing of his powerful scoring strokes is the secret of his success. Although Hassett shows great patience, and watches the ball frequently right on to his bat, he is never slow or dull, but is always moving along and continually looking for runs. He is an excellent batsman on a rain-affected wicket, and his fine work on a sticky pitch at Sheffield, against Yorkshire in 1938, when he almost reached a century, will always be remembered as a classic of batsmanship.

Some of the Victorian batsmen did not score heavily in this match, but enough of their style and quality was seen to enable judgment to be passed on them. K. Miller promises big things. I. Johnson, D. Ring, and D.Fothergill displayed a class about their batting that should improve immensely with experience.  P. Beames might not have shown sufficient batsmanship, but there is little doubt about his fielding. In the in-field and in the deep, he displayed certainty and speed, combined with a splendid throwing arm, which were little short of those giants of the past – V. S. Ransford and J. M. Taylor, of Australia, and E. Hendren, of England. Johnson, in addition to his batting, has great possibilities as a bowler. He is not afraid to keep the ball up to the batsman, and if he introduces greater variety in his deliveries, and sees that the correct field is placed, I am convinced that he will be an effective bowler. There is a little too much sameness about his bowling at present, and the slow spinner loses the element of surprise or deception which should make for its success.

W. J. O’Reilly has carried the heavy burden of the bowling for New South Wales, and he can rest contented after a job well done. The attack would be weak, indeed, without his valuable services. Every type of bowler should take a lesson from him in the matter of accuracy, which is the foundation of all successful work.  C. Pepper did not provide the batting excitement expected, but that is, perhaps, a pleasure to come.

Congratulations are due to the New South Wales team for its most attractive displays throughout the season, and to those efforts can be attributed largely the ultimate success which brought the Shield to this State. The spectators will not forsake the Cricket Ground as long as entertainment is provided, and the brighter cricket displayed this season has received the support expected. Cricket must never slip back again into over-defensive periods. Continue to play the game first, and let the victories or defeats be of secondary consideration. The Victorian match proved conclusively what can be done, and what has succeeded once, can succeed again.

S. J. McCabe finished the season in a manner to which his magnificent batting skill entitled him. He is a delightful batsman to watch in any class of cricket, and apart from his ability, confidence, and perfect placements, his unostentatious manner and quiet acceptance of success or failure should be a great object lesson to all young, and many present-day, cricketers. There is no fuss or flourish about him, whether at the wickets or not. McCabe can never be blamed for failing to provide entertainment, as he always gives his natural batting inclinations full play whether in a club match, interstate match, or a test match. His example has done an immense amount to inspire his side to play attractive cricket.

Queensland against NSW at Gabba

17, 18, 20 and 21 November 1939

McCabe (captain), Fingleton, Barnes and O’Reilly picked themselves, despite the absence of McCabe, O’Reilly and Fingleton after their return from the Test tour last season. Ray Robinson – ‘erratic genius’ – has been given another chance and Bert Cheetham was tried last season as an opener. Cyril Solomon a ‘dasher’ has played very well. Lush, Walsh and Jackson will not be available in time for selection. Three possible keepers present themselves – Stan Sismey, up-and-comer Ron Saggers or Frank Easton are all possible – Sismey is currently the incumbent, having replaced Easton last season. Keith Carmody will be given a trial, replacing Ernie Crossan, who was selected initially, but is in the Army in Newcastle. Cecil Pepper is the ‘best slow bowler we have available’ and ‘useful bat’ and Frank Gilmore was tried last year as a fast bowler, though he has moved into the country to Gulgong.

For Queensland, the selected team – Bill Brown (captain), Geoff Cook, Tom Allen, Don Tallon, Rex Rogers, Glen Baker, Colin Stibe, Les Tallon, Les Dixon, Charles Christ, Jack Ellis – were the team selected for last year’s innings defeat of Victoria.

Qld 290 Brown 87 op, Allen 77, Rogers 45
Cheetham 4/75, O’Reilly 3/27
NSW 287 McCabe and Fingleton 0 op, Cheetham 85, Pepper 81, Solomon 39
Dixon 3/44, Ellis 3-0-4-1
Qld 263 Brown 137 op, Rogers 45
O’Reilly 3/53, Pepper 3/75
NSW 7/268 McCabe 98 op, Solomon 89
Dixon 4/67

The wicket was perfect and gave no assistance to the bowlers, and Queensland sped to 1/112 at lunch as Brown (87) and Allen (77) added 136 runs for the second wicket. Brown was conspicuous in keeping himself on strike to O’Reilly – he faced 36 of the first 40 balls O’Reilly delivered. Then Queensland collapsed from 2/170 to be all out 290. Only a 76 stand by Rogers (45) and Baker (32) briefly stemmed the tide to get the score close to 300 – the last five wickets fell for only fifteen runs. Cheetham and O’Reilly took the wickets, but Pepper was punished. New South Wales made a disastrous start. After an early collapse – 2/2 with the loss of McCabe and Fingleton – NSW struggled to the poor total of 5/66 at stumps, with only Solomon’s 39 making any real mark on the scoreboard. The Courier-Mail crowed that Queensland ‘look comparatively safe to hold a first innings advantage’. Ellis was out of action with ‘muscular trouble’ in his right arm and shoulder after only three overs, and did not bowl in the second innings.

Pepper and Cheetham led a dramatic fight-back on the second day, adding 106 for the sixth wicket. Pepper in an ‘extraordinary innings’, hit seven sixes and eight fours in scoring 81 runs in 61 minutes. The ‘burly slow bowler’ hit three sixes in one Bill Tallon over, and added his last fifty runs in eighteen minutes by ‘dazzling batting’. Fingleton was unstinting in his praise for Pepper’s innings – he made the controversial claim that Pepper’s innings ‘will be recalled as along as cricket is played’. He had seen Bradman, McCabe, Hammond, Constantine, Nourse but ‘Pepper to-day played the greatest innings I have ever seen and I make no reservations’ (Sun Sat 18 Nov 1939). Cheetham also batted very well in a ‘grand fighting innings’, and NSW got to within three runs of Queensland’s first innings total of 290.  Queensland began batting just before tea, but Cook and Allen did not last long. Brown and Rogers added 94 for the third wicket but Rogers (45) fell late in the day caught at deep mid-on, followed by Baker who skied one from O’Reilly just before stumps, and Queensland had reached 4/156 – a lead of 159 with six wickets in hand.

Only Don Tallon (24) provided any support to Brown in his valiant and magnificent century as Queensland fell to a disappointing 263 – the rest of the tail contributed less than twenty runs between them. Brown’s century was his fifth for Queensland, passing Frank Thompson’s previous record of four. He batted 230 minutes (14×4) and fell just minutes before lunch. Tallon did not look comfortable. O’Reilly and Pepper bowled well. NSW moved to within nine runs of victory (with three wickets in hand) at stumps, thanks largely to ‘glorious’ batting by McCabe (98) and Solomon (89) who added 147 runs for the third wicket in just 77 minutes, and despite failures by Fingleton, Barnes and Robinson.

O’Reilly soon saw to the required nine runs in the first two overs of the final day. The match ended ‘amongst a storm of criticism’ – the NSW concerns centred around three umpiring decisions against which several players were very demonstrative – Fingleton caught behind, Robinson lbw and Solomon caught behind – and the Queensland camp was very concerned that Ellis had been selected and no substitute sought despite his injury being evident pre-match.

South Australia against Victoria at Adelaide Oval by three wickets

17, 18, 20 and 21 November 1939

Mercury Tue 17 Oct 1939

“Difficulties in team selection have been confined to Victoria. The State’s first loss was the enlistment of Frank Sides in the Royal Australian Air Force. Shortly afterwards Rigg and Gregory announced that they would be available for business reasons. Beames, McCormick, Thorn and Ledward dropped out after having been chosen for the match in Adelaide because they were unable to obtain leave. In addition, Barnett, the captain, Barry- Scott and Johnson have to go into camp for military training immediately the match is over. It looks as if Victoria will have trouble in fielding representative teams this season. There are several new faces in Victoria’s team, which is probably the youngest which has represented the State in the Sheffield Shield. The average age is just over 21, and Barnett, who is 31, is the only one over 30. Seven of the 12 are under 25. Members of last year’s Shield team are Barnett Fleetwood-Smith, Sievers, Hassett, Lee, Ring, and Barry-Scott. The new men are Tamblyn, an opening batsman who played in the last match last season and afterwards made a century against West Australia when the team went on to Perth from Adelaide, Johnson, K Miller, Fothergill and Dempster, all of whom were members of the Victorian team which played matches in Tasmania last season”. Changes continued even after this, with McCormick, Thorn, Ledward and Beames unable to get leave. Four players made their Shield debut for Victoria – Johnson, Dempster, Miller and Fothergill.

The South Australia team was far more stable – Bradman and Badcock the backbone, Ridings (seen as a possible Test batsman), Whitington and Hamence batting, with the experienced Grimmett, Ward and Waite bowling with Cotton as the express – with Tom Klose making his first-class debut.

Vic 207 Tamblyn 67 op, Barnett 51
Cotton 3/78, Grimmett 3/67
SA 261 Klose 80, Bradman 76, Waite 67
Scott 3/55, Ring 3/76
Vic 363 Lee 68 op, Hassett 89, Johnson 41, Sievers 56
Waite 3/76, Grimmett 5/118
SA 7/310 Hamence 99, Bradman 64, Waite 42x, 17 byes
Ring 4/104

On a perfect batting pitch, Victoria began disastrously, losing three wickets (for 18) in the first three overs to Cotton (2) and Waite. Johnson and Tamblyn staged a recovery, with Johnson on his Shield debut adding 33 of a 48-run partnership for the fourth wicket in the brightest batting of the day. He was soon followed by Fothergill as Victoria fell to 5/72. Tamblyn battled on with Barnett to lunch, then beyond, adding 79 for the sixth wicket in 73 minutes, until Tamblyn fell after a ‘plucky’ innings of 67 in 142 minutes (7×4), described by ‘Long On’ in the Advertiser Sat 18 Nov 1939 as ‘sound but not stodgy’. Barnett fell soon after for 51, and despite rearguard action by Sievers and Ring, the Victorians were dispatched for 207, with the wickets shared amongst the South Australian attack. The South Australia innings began even more disastrously in the afternoon as Barry Scott took wickets in his first, second and fourth overs, and Fleetwood-Smith took Badcock in his first over to have South Australia rocking at 4/35. Klose – on his first-class debut – and, seemingly inevitably, Bradman were the saviours of the team, advancing the score 102 runs for the fifth wicket in 82 minutes before Bradman was run out, with much of the fault for the dismissal lying with the new man. Bradman eliminated all risk from his batting, but ran well and hit powerfully, and Klose batted stylishly. Ward was dismissed in the last over of the day, and South Australia went to stumps at 6/142 (66 behind), with Klose not out on 47.

Surprisingly, South Australia knocked off the deficit without loss of a wicket as Klose moved to 80 and Waite powered quickly to a half-century, as they added 78 for the seventh wicket. Both Ring and Fleetwood-Smith bowled well, though with no success, in the first session. Scott was unable to bowl, with a strained groin. Rain came in the period between lunch and three o’clock, and Waite took three fours from Sievers immediately after that, but was dismissed for 67. The rest of the tail did little of consequence, and Ring cleaned them up. When Victoria began its inning, Badcock could not field (replaced by Tregonning in the field). The Victorian batsmen showed far better form in their innings – the openers added fifty before Tamblyn was dismissed by Grimmett, and Hassett and Lee went to stumps undefeated at 1/104.

The Victorians went on to score 363, via half-century contributions from Hassett, Lee and Sievers, and good batting from Johnson and Ring. Of Hassett’s batting, Argus Tue 21 Nov 1939 noted ‘… eschewing risk he nevertheless gave a pleasing exhibition of graceful strokemaking’. Grimmett was the most effective bowler, taking five wickets. Having set South Australia 310 to win, rain set in late in the afternoon, and South Australia batted only briefly, losing Ken Ridings to Sievers, to be 1/11 at stumps.

Needing 299 runs for an outright win when play opened, with perfect weather and a wicket that was still good, South Australia scored the runs with three wickets and 40 minutes in hand. Bradman (64) and Hamence (99) ‘figured in a dashing partnership of 112 runs in 73 minutes’. Whitington was bowled in Fleetwood-Smith’s first overand he bowled particularly well early. With the arrival of Hamence at the crease, the scoring rate quickened, and Hamence began to overhaul Bradman, especially as they began to take toll of the slow bowlers after lunch. Hamence in particular ‘used his feet well, dancing out of the crease to make delightful drives’. When Bradman was dismissed by Ring, Hamence was only two runs behind him. Ring was the outstanding bowler for Victoria. He ‘kept a splendid length and always compelled respect’.

South Australia against NSW at Adelaide Oval by 7 wickets

15, 16 and 18 December 1939

Badcock’s sciatica – giving him a decided limp – forced him to withdraw, in favour of Jack Tregonning. Jack Walsh, having returned from playing for Sir Julien Cahn, was chosen for NSW – South Australia agreeing to waive his residency requirement, along with ‘Mick’ Roper. Carmody, Gilmore and James were dropped from NSW side.

NSW 336 Solomon 131, McCabe 40 op
Klose 4/23, Grimmett 3/102
SA 430 Bradman 251, Hamence 41, Waite 46
O’Reilly 5/108
NSW 248 Chipperfield 57, Pepper 46, McCabe 47 op, Solomon 46
Grimmett 6/122
SA 3/156 Bradman 90x

After a quick start by McCabe (out for 40 of 63), Solomon scored a fine 131 in the good time of 2½ hours (18×4), batting well with Chipperfield (55) and Cheetham (95). Barnes failed with 2 at #3. Cotton collapsed with a groin injury in the midst of his run-up after taking 1/51, and did not play again in the match. Grimmett worried all of the batsmen and took an unrepresentative 3/102 – Fingleton noted he was ‘turning the ball half a foot’. Tom Klose was also effective with 4/23 off just 5.4 overs.

Bradman scored a bright 251x – in just over even time – of SA’s 430, with only Merv Waite (46) and Ron Hamence (41) resisting O’Reilly, and Grimmett (17) helping Bradman to add 81 for the ninth (and final) wicket, and pass his double century. O’Reilly conceded ‘I dips me lid’, ‘He has never played a more amazing innings than he delighted us with to-day’. O’Reilly nonetheless took 5/108 off 22.1 overs.

NSW’s second innings commenced 94 runs in arrears, and had few highlights, as they compiled 248 to be dismissed before lunch, and set South Australia only 155 runs to win. Chipperfield top-scored with 57, and Pepper hit lustily for 48 in 38 minutes. Grimmett got a better return of 6/122. Bradman took the lead in compiling SA’s response of 3/156, adding 90x

Victoria against Queensland at Melbourne Cricket Ground by seven wickets

15, 16, 18 and 19 December 1939

Morrie Guttormsen was unavailable, have broken his collarbone diving for a catch, so young all-rounder Don Watt was included in the side for the southern tour.

Qld 279 Cook 62 op, D Tallon 56, Rogers 53
Ring 4/74
Vic 418 Tamblyn 107 op, Lee 52 op, Hassett 83, Johnson 44, Miller 41, Barnett 37
Ellis 5/110
Qld 242 Watt 59, Rogers 39, Christ 32
Fleetwood-Smith 4/77
Vic 3/105 Miller 47x, Johnson 37x
Ellis 3/14

Batting on a lifeless Melbourne Cricket Ground pitch, Queensland’s batting was also lifeless, as they slowly compiled a lacklustre 279, with Geoff Cook top score with 62 op in over three hours, and Doug Ring taking 4/74.

By contrast, the Victorian batsmen excelled – led by Geoff Tamblyn’s 107 op on his home-town Shield debut, and Hassett’s 83 – and passed Queensland’s total late on the second day in front of a crowd of just 7,000, with only five wickets down. Tamblyn was most impressive, with newspapers noting a resemblance to opening great Bill Woodfull. Ian Lee contributed a ‘sparkling’ half-century opening, and Keith Miller a quick forty in a ‘gem of batsmanship’. They were eventually dismissed for 418, obtaining a lead of 139 runs. Charles Christ was Queensland’s only bright spot in their bowling attack, with 2/65, though Ellis took the wickets with 5/110 in a marathon 30.2 overs.

Queensland’s second innings was also rather flaccid, with debutant Don Watt highest scorer with 59x in the middle order, and Fleetwood-Smith the leading wicket-taker with 4/77.

While chasing just over a hundred run to win on the Monday afternoon, Victoria suffered a shock when Ellis, in a ‘devastating burst’ took out both openers and Des Fothergill, to fall to 3/15. But Miller and Johnson steadied the ship, adding an unfinished eighty-run partnership, and reached the target with no further loss.

South Australia against Queensland at Adelaide Oval by an innings and 222 runs

22, 23, 25 and 26 December 1939

The match over Christmas in Adelaide saw utter batting dominance by SA, on a pitch dubbed by NSW’s Mick Roper as a ‘fast bowler’s graveyard’.

SA 7/821d Badcock 236, Ken Ridings 151 op, Bradman 138, Waite 137, Whitington 67Phil Ridings 44x
Cook 2/129, Dixon 2/142
Qld 222 Tallon 70, Rogers 49
Grimmett 4/71, Ward 5/62
Qld 377 Brown 156 op, Baker 52, Rogers 50
Grimmett 6/124, Ward 4/165

After the early loss of Tom Klose, Bradman scored a ‘dazzling’ 138 in just over 1½ hours, adding 196 for the second wicket with Ken Ridings. South Australia continued after Bradman’s loss, compiling a record score of 7/812 decl., as play continued on a perfect pitch, the Queensland bowling offering no impediments. Ridings went on to a total of 151, and Badcock – though in intense back pain – scored a remarkable 236 in even time. He brought up the 200 with his 36th boundary, hooking Christ, and brought up the 600 for SA, scoring in just over six hours’ batting. Soon after, Badcock and Merv Waite brought up their 200 partnership, eventually reaching South Australia record 281 for the fifth wicket in just three hours. This was Waite’s first first-class century. South Australia continued to rack up the milestones – passing its previous best-ever innings total in Shield cricket (7/644 against Queensland in Adelaide in 1934), and when Bradman declared at 7/821, South Australia had passed the highest first-class score at the Adelaide Oval – the previous record was 807 by NSW vs South Australia in 1899/00 – Victor Trumper 165, Monty Noble 200, Syd Gregory 176, George Giffen 8/287 off 77.1 6-ball overs. Whitington and Phil Ridings had batted on for some time, adding a hundred in less than an hour, and the 800 came up 496 minutes. Five of the Queensland bowlers compiled centuries (and Ellis came close), and none looked effective – young Don Watt going for almost ten runs an over.

The two Queensland innings were bland – 222 and 377 following-on – memorable for Tallon’s cameo of 70 in the first innings, and Bill Brown’s long 156 op in the second. Neither amounted to much as wily Grimmett and Ward took nineteen of the twenty wickets to fall – Grimmett 4/71 and 6/124, Ward 5/62 and 4/165. Grimmett’s 52.4 eight-ball overs in the heat were impressive for a man of 48 years.

Victoria against NSW at Melbourne Cricket Ground by 72 runs

22, 23 and 26 December 1939

This match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground over Christmas was a much closer affair, with NSW seemingly in the box seat, with a chase of only 202 runs to win.

Vic 280 Tamblyn 58 op, Sievers 53, Johnson 41
O’Reilly 4/75, Pepper 3/91
NSW 321 Barnes 98, McCabe 52 op, Solomon 52, Chipperfield 40
Ring 4/85
Vic 242 Barnett 66, Hassett 57
Pepper 5/114, O’Reilly 5/72
NSW 129 Chipperfield 68
Scott 4/35, Sievers 3/18

Percy Beames came into the Victorian side to replace Des Fothergill, and NSW played Ray Robinson in place of spinner Jack Walsh. When Barnett won the toss, he decided to bat. After Lee’s early loss, Hassett and Tamblyn played well, and rebuffed O’Reilly as conditions turned challenging, with a light appeal near lunchtime, and various stoppages for light and rain during the day. Pepper bowled well for NSW, and other than Tamblyn’s 58, none of the Victorians topped the half-century mark, as they reached a disappointing 280. Roper was injured while bowling and did not bowl any further in the match.

NSW did a little better, reaching 321, with Sid Barnes the highlight with an excellent 98, to follow previous Melbourne Cricket Ground Shield scores of 99 and 98. McCabe, Solomon and Chipperfield also played well, though none went on with their innings. For Victoria, Barry-Scott and Doug Ring bowled best. By the end of the second day – the last before Christmas – Victoria had knocked off the deficit and moved to a modest lead at 3/99 with Hassett and Johnson the not-outs.

On Boxing Day, Victoria fell to a disappointing 242, despite Hassett’s mastery over O’Reilly in his fine innings of 57. Barnett (66) and Sievers hung on to make the Victorian total more respectable, but when the innings closed – Pepper and O’Reilly five wickets apiece – NSW’s achievement of the target of 202 runs seemed a formality.

However, NSW collapsed ‘in sensational style’. First Sievers and Barry-Scott bowled well to send NSW crashing to 3/9, then Barnes was run out by Ian Lee. Robinson followed soon after, and NSW were 5/30. The courageous batting of ‘Chips’ Chipperfield (68) and Bert Cheetham and Bill O’Reilly stemmed the tide for a while, by Doug Ring cleaned up the tail, and NSW were dismissed for 129, falling 72 runs short.

NSW against Queensland at Sydney Cricket Ground by an innings and 130 runs

29 and 30 December 1939

With the match played on a perfect pitch, Queensland’s performance was poor, and O’Reilly’s bowling was magnificent. Fingleton and Roper were unavailable owing to injury, and Keith Carmody, selected as twelfth, was obliged to withdraw, and was replaced by Ron Saggers. Harold Mudge was included as an opener, and ‘Ginty’ Lush to open the bowling for NSW.

Qld 105 Brown 24 op
O’Reilly 8/23
NSW 379 Barnes 119, Mudge 79 op, Lush 54
Christ 2/53
Qld 144 Baker 51
O’Reilly 6/22

On the Friday, on a fine pitch, O’Reilly overwhelmed the Queensland bats with a remarkable 8/23 off 11.1 overs, as they crashed to 105 all out. Brown was top scorer with a paltry 24. As Hugh Buggy put it in the Sun – “Svengali O’Reilly hypnotised the Queensland batsmen”. O’Reilly used the breeze to float the ball ‘in a most disconcerting manner’ and his leg-break turned and spun sharply. His ‘suicide squad’ of close-in fieldsmen added to the pressure – Barnes close enough to the batsman at silly mid-on ‘to pick his pocket’, Mudge in close at silly leg, Solomon at silly mid-off, McCabe at silly point.

By the end of the first day, NSW had passed the Queensland total, mainly thanks to Harold Mudge’s 79, with only a couple of wickets down and Barnes and Cec Pepper at the crease. NSW carried on to 379 in all, despite a gale on resumption on the Saturday morning, with Barnes reaching his century (119), and Lush scoring a meritorious half-century, and O’Reilly 36 with five boundaries in just half an hour. O’Reilly was raring to bowl, as he then proceeded to take a further six wickets in Queensland’s weak response of 144, all out by 4 pm on the second day, despite ultra-cautious batting by Bill Brown and Geoff Cook, and a useful half-century by Glen Baker.

With the early finish to the match, the QCA withdrew the team’s expenses, requiring their immediate return to Brisbane by train on New Year’s Eve. This caused some upset in the Queensland team, and Bill Brown remained in Sydney against orders, after his request to remain was turned down.

Victoria against South Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground (drawn)

29 and 30 Dec 1939, 1 and 2 Jan 1940

By contrast to the match in Sydney, the Melbourne Cricket Ground match ran its allotted four days, and did not reach a conclusion, as South Australia reached 1/60 chasing 189 to win.

Vic 475 Miller 108, Beames 104, Hassett 92, Tamblyn 38 op
Burton 5/99
SA 610 Bradman 267, Waite 64, Badcock 58, Ken Ridings 56 op, Klose 54 op
Ring 5/123, Scott 3/135
Vic 313 Hassett 66, Barnett 46 op, Lee 39
Klose 3/43, Ward 3/102
SA 1/60 K Ridings 29x op

Victorian captain Ben Barnett won the toss and batted in unpleasant conditions, and Victoria reached 475, with centuries to Percy Beames and Keith Miller, and near-miss by Lindsay Hassett. Beames’ batting in particular was brilliant, with his century raised after lunch on the second day witnessed by almost 30,000 spectators. The Victorians scored at better than even time throughout the innings. Garth Burton, on debut, took the bowling honours for SA. By the end of the second day’s play, South Australia had reached 2/213, with half-centuries to openers Ken Ridings and Tom Klose, and the menacing duo of Bradman and Badcock at the wickets.

When play resumed on New Year’s Day, Badcock was soon dismissed (running with a limp), and Hamence, Whitington and Waite (62) batted on as Bradman amassed an innings of 267 of ‘magnificent mastery’ as he flogged the bowling to all points. This was Bradman’s highest Shield score at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and he passed Wally Hammond’s record of thirty-three double centuries. Over 40,000 spectators were in attendance as South Australia reached 7/556 at stumps. Though Fleetwood-Smith bowled well – notably against Bradman – Doug Ring took the bowling figures, and caught ‘Dick’ Whitington in a sensational diving catch at second slip off Barry Scott. Tamblyn injured his knee diving into the fence, and had to have the injury stitched by VCA stalwart Dr Morton.

On Tuesday, Victoria finished off the South Australia tail for 610, and soon passed the deficit of 135 runs, with seven wickets in hand, largely owing to a strong opening stand by Sievers and Barnett (46). Hassett (66) and Johnson stabilised after the loss of Miller, and Victoria cruised to 313, with Ward, Klose and Grimmett sharing the wickets, and Doug Ring adding 41x in the tail.

In the short time remaining, South Australia compiled 1/60 chasing 189 runs as the match petered out to a draw.

Queensland against South Australia at the Gabba (by two wickets)

6, 8, 9 and 10 Jan 1940

In a dramatic reversal of form, last-placed Queensland defeated South Australia, with debutant Jack Stackpoole dramatically toppling the Don for a golden duck.

SA 230 Whitington 38, Walker 37, Ken Ridings 35 op
Stackpoole 6/72
Qld 133 Tallon 41, Brown 37 op
Waite 3/25, Grimmett 4/52
SA 252 Bradman 97, Waite 62
Dixon 3/33, Stackpoole 3/66, Christ 3/87
Qld 8/350 Brown 111 op, Rogers 74, Watt 59, Cook 54 op
Grimmett 3/116

Jack Ellis was not available on medical advice, and was replaced by Jack Stackpoole of the QCA Colts team – recalled by aeroplane from holidays in (perhaps ironically) his home state of SA. George Gooma replaced Bill Tallon as spinner, and Toowoomba champion Tom Allen, out of form, was replaced by Cec Bryce. For SA, Ross Moyle came into the side, Badcock out with his back problems, and Bradman spent the day before the match in bed with a cold.

The match started late after rain in the morning, and was again interrupted early in the afternoon, after the South Australia openers put forty on the board without loss. Then Stackpoole struck three times – Klose caught behind down the leg-side, then Bradman caught at mid-on off his first ball, then Ken Ridings caught behind going for a glance. At tea, South Australia were 3/89, and lost a further three before stumps at 6/164 – including Whitington bowled by Gooma around his legs on the bowler’s debut. South Australia fared little better on the second day, being dismissed for 230, of which Stackpoole contributed 6/72.

Queensland started feebly in response, with 4/99, including a very slow 37 from Bill Brown, tied in knots by Grimmett, scoring only nine runs in an hour. Don Tallon (41) steadied matters in the middle session, but following his dismissal at 132, the last six wickets fell for one run (four ducks) in twenty minutes, and Queensland were all out for 133. Grimmett and Merv Waite shared the wickets. The Mercury commented: ‘Queensland’s debacle was inexplicable, as the wicket was perfect for batsmen and there was no deceptive wind’. In a short session late in the day, Stackpoole again caused sensation by dismissing Ken Ridings and Dick Whitington (2/8), and opener Tom Klose was lost late in the day, with Bradman (29x) and Walker at the crease.

On resumption, the South Australia middle order offered little resistance, while Bradman ground out 97 runs in 157 minutes, to reach 983 Shield runs for the season (@ 163.83).  Merv Waite contributed 62, holding together the tail, to add almost eighty valuable runs after Bradman’s dismissal, taking the South Australia total to252, and setting Queensland a tough target of 350 in around four sessions for the win.

The Queensland openers began well, reaching 0/128 at stumps, and batted on to a partnership if 143 in 163 minutes before Cook was dismissed for a gritty 54. Rex Rogers batted quickly, and he and Brown brought up the 200 in just under even time. Brown’s careful century took him to the top of the list of Queensland century-makers in Shield, passing Cecil Thompson’s six.  Following Rogers’ quick fifty and Brown’s demise, the batting crumbled briefly, with Grimmett took his 500th victim (Cec Bryce for one), then two tailenders in quick succession (to 8/305), but Queensland’s fortunes were revived by steady but quick batting by Watt, aided by good running and defence from Les Dixon, and they hung on for the Queensland win in a ‘magnificent finish’.

NSW against South Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground (by 237 runs)

13, 15, 16 and 17 Jan 1940

With their unexpected loss to Queensland, South Australia needed to win this, their final match of the season, outright, to be certain of retaining the Shield. It was not to be. Cyril Solomon was ill and could not play for NSW, replaced by Marrickville’s keeper Ron Saggers, leading the A grade aggregate in Sydney, playing as a batsman. Mort Cohen also came into the side as a batsman. Badcock had apparently recovered from the worst of his sciatica, and was selected to play for SA, though in fact he was immobilised in the slips on the first day, and needed a runner late on the second day.

NSW 270 Cohen 74 op, McCabe 59, Saggers 45
Grimmett 6/118, Klose 3/21
SA 211 Hamence 43, Badcock 40, Bradman 39, Whitington 37
O’Reilly 6/77
NSW 311 Cohen 70 op, Mudge 57 op, Saggers 57, McCabe 55
Grimmett 5/111, Ward 4/120
SA 133 Bradman 40
Pepper 5/49, O’Reilly 4/62

NSW were dismissed for a disappointing 270 late in the afternoon, in front of 25,000 spectators. The ‘Peter Pan of cricket’ (Buggy in the Sun) Grimmett took 6/118 off 22 overs of ‘unobtrusive burglary’, doing around a third of the South Australia bowling. He was ineffective until he switched to the Randwick end. Cohen scored a splendid and calm 74 opening in his Shield debut, adding 108 for the second wicket in just 50 minutes with an artistic Stan McCabe (59). Barnes fell to Grimmett, then Chiperfield first ball, so debutant Saggers faced a hat-trick ball, but batted confidently, and stayed with the tail, to be last man out. South Australia played out 90 minutes in poor light, losing two early wickets (2/8), and Bradman brought up his thousandth Shield run of the season.

South Australia batted poorly before a large crowd on a Monday morning after a late start owing to rain, and the day ended early with bad light and rain, with South Australia 7/177. Bradman was dismissed for 39 by O’Reilly lbw by a ball from O’Reilly which spun back viciously from the off, though Pepper probably bowled better early in the day, without reward. The ‘suicide squad’ led by Barnes almost on the bat was deployed, and the run-rate plummeted as O’Reilly tied up the batsmen. Badcock batted superbly under pressure to compile forty in an hour, batting with Bradman as his runner. Some late resistance by Frank Ward saw South Australia dismissed for 211.

On the Tuesday, NSW scored 311, setting South Australia the target of 371 for the win. At one stage, NSW were 2/199 – after another good start by Cohen and Mudge (111 opening), and another fast fifty from McCabe – by once again the wizard Grimmett struck with 3/3 in three overs, with great support from keeper Charlie Walker. The middle order bats, led in resistance by Ron Saggers, were tied down, but the advent of the new ball at around 3 pm liberated the scoring rate, and Saggers was again last out. Grimmett reached 49 wickets for the season – equal to his best Shield season return. When play finished for the day in bad light, with Pepper brought on early taking two wickets, South Australia were 3/74, needing almost three hundred to win with seven wickets in hand on the final day – Bradman 35x and Badcock 14x suggesting the talent was there to do the job.

In the event, NSW had an easy victory on the Wednesday by 12.30, as South Australia collapsed for just 133, losing 7/59 for the day – with the three vital wickets of Badcock, Hamence and Bradman falling at 85. O’Reilly and Pepper took nine wickets between them. At noon, Sismey was hit over the left eye by a ball from Cec Pepper and was carried from the field for attention. Saggers thus kept wickets for the last half hour of the match. Over 11,000 spectators attended – many presumably drawn by the prospect of a Bradman innings. The total attendance was a Shield record of 75,765 (£4,915 gate).

Queensland against Victoria at the Gabba (9 wickets)

19, 20, 22 and 23 Jan 1940

Frank Thorn, a right-arm medium paced off-spinner from Northcote was included for Victoria, but was twelfth man. Tom Allen returned to the Queensland side for Cec Bryce after Bryce’s disappointing debut (1 runs @ 0.50)

Qld 244 Cook 64 op, Brown 60 op, Allen 42
Johnson 3/16, Ring 3/71, Fleetwood-Smith 3/77
Vic 9/435d Barnett 92 op, Lee 90 op, Beames 55, Sievers 55x, Ring 45
Cook 3/55
Qld 420 Tallon 154, Baker 80, Rogers 73
Johnson 4/61
Vic 1/230 Barnett 104x, Lee 93

The pitch was in good shape despite overnight rain, but the outfield was heavy, and scoring was slow. The Queensland openers began well with a century opening stand, but the Victorian bowlers struck back with three quick wickets before stabilising in the middle order, led by Tom Allen to reach 5/207 after tea.  In the final session, the tail collapsed to Johnson and Fleetwood-Smith’s bowling, and Queensland were all out for 244. The Victorian openers went to 0/28 at the close.

The left-handed opening pair of Ben Barnett and Ian Lee compiled a steady base with 152 runs for the first wicket in good time, and Keith Miller excited interest from the sparse crowd (around 1,000) with an attractive cameo, along with the steady Barnett (92 in three hours).  The Sun observed that Miller “appears to have established himself as a likely Test player”. Beames shone after a small collapse induced by Geoff Cook (3/6 in seven overs), adding 73 with Sievers, who plodded on to the close for 55x, with strong contributions in the tail against tiring bowlers by Doug Ring (45 ) and Barry Scott (33 of 37 added for the ninth wicket).

Barnett declared at the overnight scored of 9/435, with Queensland facing a deficit of 191 runs. A storm overnight did not delay the start on the Monday, and Queensland generally batted well, with Rogers and Baker contributing sound fifties, and Don Tallon on 103x at the close, with Queensland 5/343, leading by 152.

On the Tuesday, Tallon moved on to a magnificent 154, with the 150 runs up in three hours, with Watt batting soundly by slowly in support. Once Tallon was gone, the Queensland tail fell fairly quickly to Johnson and Ring, with Queensland’s 420 setting Victoria the formidable target of 230 to win in 256 minutes.

By tea, Victoria had broken the back of the task, having reach 1/190 – the openers reached 169 in just two hours, before Ian Lee was again dismissed just short  of his century for 93 (14×4). Barnett reached his century soon after tea, and Fothergill stayed with him to secure an impressive nine-wicket victory with time to spare.

NSW against Victoria at Sydney Cricket Ground (effectively Shield final)

26, 27, 29 and 30 Jan 1940

Victoria needed a win to take the Shield, NSW needed an outright, and a first innings win to NSW would give South Australia the Shield! In the event, NSW won outright by 177 runs to take the Sheffield Shield.

NSW 309 Mudge 82 op, Cohen 73 op, Cheetham 55, McCabe 49
Ring 4/63
Vic 298 Hassett 122, Lee 50 op
O’Reilly 5/78
NSW 5/492d Barnes 135x, McCabe 114, Saggers 71, Mudge 61 op
Johnson 3/142
Vic 326 Hassett 122, Sievers 54 op, Johnson 40
O’Reilly 3/79, Pepper 3/115

The match was played in intense heat – a top temperature of 41°C late on the day before the match – on a pitch that Moyes labelled ‘mid-Victorian in its primness’. The Victorian team was seen to have young stars aplenty – in Miller, Ring, Beames and Johnson – while NSW’s new openers and Cec Pepper were seen as most impressive additions to a strong line-up. Sismey returned to the team after his recent eye injury.

NSW made a good start when they opened with a sound but slow opening stand of 131, but three wickets fell for ten with the new ball in the second session (2/218 to 5/228) with Scott who ‘bowled like a demon’. Late in the day, Doug Ring scattered the tail like pygmies, with NSW only resistance led by Bert Cheetham (55), and NSW fell for a total of 309. Scott’s bowling was more impressive than his figures.

After another good opening fifty by Ian Lee (run out), only little Lindsay Hassett stood out in the Victorian batting, with wickets falling around him, as he nursed Victoria almost to parity with the NSW first innings. His century was outstanding – only Hugh Buggy can do the innings justice “Hassett – ‘a pocket edition of a great batsman’ showed ‘fighting cricket at its best’, ‘nursing the weaklings and dictating the strategy’ in front of 18,000 spectators yesterday. Hassett, the ‘little dancing master’ ‘as calm as a college professor playing draughts’ ignored the gathering difficulties of the innings and played coolly and ‘in a masterly way’, in particular playing O’Reilly with assurance. He kept ‘lumbering Scott’ away from the stroke for more than an hour. Sievers ‘has the physique of an axeman and the batting technique of a robot’.” For NSW, O’Reilly took the wickets that mattered – tearing the heart out of the middle order (Miller, Johnson and Beames) with the innings at 6/118.

On the Monday, NSW’s ‘hurricane hitting’ wrested the Shield from Victoria’s grasp in front of 20,000, as the side compiled 5/492d to set Victoria the task of near-impossible task of 504 for the win. The innings saw centuries to Stan McCabe (114 in 139 minutes) and Sid Barnes (135x in 170 minutes), and fifties to Ron Saggers with venom and ‘magnificent prowess’ and a ‘solid’ Mudge opening, and hard hitting by Bert Cheetham capitalising on a beaten bowling attack. At the close, following the early loss of Lee, and Sievers’ dismissal for 54 just before stumps, Victoria were 2/89.

Victoria batted well enough to reach 326 just after three o’clock, and at times looked threatening, but never looked likely to reach the massive total. Hassett scored a second century for the match, with a ‘cool’ 122 in 177 minutes, but enjoyed limited support, mainly from Johnson (4) and Miller (run out foolishly), as the pitch had worn sufficiently to take spin for the first time in the match, and O’Reilly moved to fifty Shield wickets for the season.

Western Australia against South Australia at Perth (drawn)

Sat 10, Mon 12 and Tue 13 Feb 1940

With the cancellation of the NZ tour originally planned for the end of 1939/40, South Australia agreed in Sept 1939 to a tour of Western Australia in Feb, with two matches in Perth against the State team, and a match at Kalgoorlie against the Goldfields.

SA 248 Ken Ridings 46 op, Bradman 42
MacGill 4/49
WA 275 MacGill 78 op, Inverarity 57, Zimbulis 42x
Ward 6/105, Grimmett 3/94
SA 3/306d Bradman 209x
WA 3/121 Watt 52

On the opening day, South Australia were upended by Western Australia in a fine display of bowling, by Charlie MacGill in particular, sound fielding, and impressive keeping by Ossie Lovelock, who ‘brilliantly’ caught both Bradman and Hamence. Ken Ridings batted best with 46, and Bradman scored 42.

Western Australia batted well to gain a small first innings lead, with MacGill scoring 78 opening, and a late partnership of 64 for the eighth wicket between Merv Inverarity (57) and Tony Zimbulis (42x). Frank Ward took the wickets and shared most of the bowling with Clarrie Grimmett.

All was restored to ‘normality’ in the South Australia second innings, as Bradman compiled a ‘brilliant’ 209x of 3/306d – he scored three-quarters of the runs scored while he was batting – in an otherwise pedestrian return by SA. Around 3,000 spectators were in attendance. Western Australia then batted out time, with Dave Watt scoring a half-century.

Western Australia against South Australia at Perth (drawn)

Fri 16, Sat 17 and Mon 19 Feb 1940

WA 275 Read 55 op, Inverarity 52, Lovelock 45
Grimmett 5/67
SA 429 Bradman 135, Hamence 63, Klose 60 op, Tesseire 56
Zimbulis 3/131
WA 206 Read 46 op, Eyres 39
Grimmett 6/57, Ward 3/81

Western Australia batted compiled a slow 275 on Friday and early Saturday, with veterans Hubba Read and Merv Inverarity scoring half-centuries and Ossie Lovelock a nice forty, and the veteran Grimmett taking five wickets. South Australia then put pedal to metal in compiling 6/363 by stumps on Saturday, with Bradman scoring 135 in a ‘great exhibition’, and Tom Klose and Rom Hamence fifties. South Australia continued to 429 on the third day. Tony Zimbulis took three wickets, and Charlie Puckett and Gordon Eyres were economical. The Western Australia second innings of 206 was undermined by Grimmett’s thrifty 6/57 and Ward’s three wickets, with the only resistance rendered by Read’s good opening hand, and 39 from Eyres at #10.

NSW against The Rest at Sydney Cricket Ground

8, 9 and 11 Mar 1940

Early in February, a proposal was debated to pit the Shield winning NSW side against a combined ‘The Rest’ side (with Bradman a mandatory inclusion) at the Sydney Cricket Ground as a fundraiser for ‘patriotic funds’. A number of difficulties – the Army had just taken over the Sydney Cricket Ground for military purposes, the South Australia team was touring Western Australia in early Feb, the perennial question of losses in the event of rain – were all overcome. There was some pressure to include representatives of Tasmania and WA, but nothing came of it. Both SACA and VCA were supportive, and agreed to bear proportionate losses in the event of rain. Perennially, the QCA noted it ‘does not actually favour’ the proposed match, but it will take part if such a game is arranged, but will not agree to any financial guarantee being given to the NSWCA’. Eventually, following various wrangles about selection of selectors, Barnett and Brown being absent in militia camp, and Badcock’s back again playing up, were resolved, and fairly representative teams were arranged (McCool was a ring-in for NSW) Johnny Moyes noted (Sun Mon 26 Feb 1940) “Notable is the fact that of the fifteen men send to England in 1938, nine are missing – McCormick and White retired, Badcock and Chipperfield unavailable (owing to sciatica and business), Fingleton injured, Barnett, Walker, Fleetwood-Smith and Ward all omitted.”

In a minor concession to the military take-over of much of the Sydney Cricket Ground, Barney the goat, mascot of the Second Garrison Battalion – which was  encamped at the Sydney Cricket Ground – paraded with the garrison band, and led the teams onto the field on several occasions. His portrait was fittingly published in the Sun Fri 8 Mar 1940.

Rest 289 Hassett 136, Brown 35 op
Cheetham 3/41, O’Reilly 3/78, Pepper 3/102
NSW 219 McCabe 72, Cheetham 58
Grimmett 5/65 , Waite 3/12
Rest 252 Brown 97 op, Hassett 75
Cohen 4/25, Cheetham 3/43
NSW 8/323 McCabe 96, Cohen 67 op, Barnes 46
Grimmett 5/130

The Rest opened the batting on the first day, with a disappointing attendance of just 8,000. Moyes noted ‘A magnificent 136 in 132 minutes by Hassett overshadowed everything else’ on the first day of the match. He hit 4×6 and 15×4, with two of the sixes from O’Reilly, and two in succession from Cohen. ‘With Clarrie Grimmett (27), Hassett scored 100 in 31 minutes for the ninth wicket, including 24 runs off one O’Reilly over to give some respectability to The Rest’s score’. The over in question took place at 3 pm – Grimmett 443…1., Hassett …641.1 Neither Bradman nor Brown looked comfortable, and Tallon fell for a first-ball duck. O’Reilly led the NSW bowling. In all, The Rest managed 289 in quick time, and NSW went to the creases, reaching 5/137 by stumps (three wickets to Grimmett).

NSW fell for 219 before lunch on the second day, giving The Rest a lead of 70 on the first innings. McCabe was the rock for NSW, scoring at an unaccustomed moderate pace, with 72 in two hours. Grimmett secured his dismissal, to break his own season record of 67 first-class wickets (from 1933/34). Cheetham also did well, second last man out, scoring 58 with the tail.

The Rest began badly after lunch, losing Lee and Bradman to Cheetham – McCool’s catch high to his left to take Bradman in slips was remarkable. A better crowd of around 18,000 saw Hassett and Brown adding runs at an increasing rate, the second fifty of their hundred taking just eighteen minutes. Hassett was dismissed for 75 scored in an hour, but Brown and Rogers added more runs before Brown was brilliantly run out for 97 from the boundary, side-on by Sid Barnes. Mort Cohen then engineered a minor collapse (4/25), as The Rest fell to 252 all out, leaving NSW a target of 323 for the win.

Famed English commentator and music critic Neville Cardus reflected on the day’s play under the headline Cardus Sits in Sun – Australia Bats As Europe Burns (Courier-Mail Sat 9 Mar 1940)

“It is a miracle that I am again in the sunshine watching a cricket match … Only a few weeks ago I walked past Lord’s in the dark, in the fog, in the bitter winter of war-time, and the great ground was dead, blind, vacant, lost to the world. I said to myself, ‘We shall perhaps never see cricket again.’ Then I fell over a sandbag into a filthy heap of melted snow. And here I am to-day sitting on the Sydney Cricket Ground waiting for the men in white to come forth into the sunshine. I have been resurrected. Happy, fortunate Australia, enjoy your peaceful ways — and your cricket — while they last. Perhaps not even on a magic carpet shall we be able, to find a cricket match this time next year the world over”. He observed of Hassett that he ‘played O’Reilly better than any other batsman I have ever seen. … Hassett was last out, caught gallantly in the deep, the proper and poetically just end for an innings which was a model of skill, power, and opportunism, all wearing the dress of style. A remarkable little man!’. And ‘Grimmett stealthily approached the wicket as if stalking a hidden enemy … [He] apparently is beyond the power of time to spoil him’.

McCool had taken five catches for the day – four in slips and one caught-and-bowled. NSW began in poor light, to reach 0/21 at stumps.

Needing 301 in the day for the win, NSW set about the task, and won with just two wickets in hand in a fitting finish to the match. A splendid innings of 96 in an hour and a quarter by McCabe before lunch with help from Cohen (67) set the foundation, though Scott looked threatening and had several chances missed, then Barnes cut loose with 46 in even time after the break, with help from Saggers, then McCool and Pepper in a ‘glorious burst of hitting’. Grimmett’s efforts in bowling 23.1 overs for 5/130 almost took the match for The Rest – Cardus ‘thought I detected an expression on his face suggesting he had been laughing in his sleep over the week-end because of some new plan of his own invention designed for the further perplexity of batsmen’. No doubt.