3 August, 2016

1940/41 First Class Season

1940/41 First Class Batting

SG Barnes8140105018575.006311NSW
CL Badcock59065917273.224-2SA
RA Hamence510156913063.22231SA
RE Rogers59048811454.22213Qld
SJ McCabe6904328848.00-53NSW
CL McCool611341610052.00125NSW
AR Morris47038614855.142-3NSW
AL Hassett48138411354.85123Vic
D Tallon59037915242.111212Qld
GE Tamblyn47029113641.571-2SA
JW Chegwyn46029010348.33113NSW
DH Fothergill3612128642.40-22Vic
DG Bradman24018124.50---SA

1940/41 First Class Bowling

WJ O'Reilly8229.6496845512.435-33.42.98NSW
CG Pepper6166107682629.532-514.63NSW
CV Grimmett5162.4176682526.721-524.11SA
IWG Johnson5153.546902527.60--49.14.49Vic
CL McCool6102.215642423.501-345.52NSW
MW Sievers7191.1137582431.58--63.73.97Vic
JA Ellis5128.7184952123.571-493.84SA
DT Ring6199.71010051855.83--88.85.03Vic
FA Ward39154851728.521-42.85.33SA
KC Gulliver35522831125.721-405.15NSW
VE Jackson8145.3175611151.00--105.73.85NSW
D Watt3371294742.00--42.27.95Qld
KR Miller37027127.00--563.86Vic

1940/41 First Class Results

NSW at homeVictoria at homeQueensland at homeSA at home
NSWNSW (235 r)NSW (27r)NSW (i + 45 r)
VicVic (24 r)DrawnSA (175 r)
QldNSW (404 r)--
SANSW (374 r)Draw-

Combined Vic-Qld vs NSW (NSW by one wicket)
McCabe vs Bradman (McCabe by innings and 103 runs)

Queensland vs NSW at Brisbane (by 27 runs)

Fri 15, Sat 16, Mon 18 and Tue 19 Nov 1940

NSW 212 McCabe 88
Ellis 4/62, Raymer 3/63
Qld 219 Tallon 55, Baker 58
O’Reilly 4/42, McCool 3/85, Trumper 2/42
NSW 318 McCabe 57, Jackson 55x, Chegwyn 48, Saggers 45, Carmody 47 op
Ellis 3/73, Raymer 3/67
Qld 284 Brown 84 op, Rogers 43, Watt 43
McCool 3/106

Cec Pepper was unavailable, so Ken Gulliver came in to the NSW side. The first day was rained out.

When the match began on the second morning, Queensland fast bowler Jack Ellis showed devastating bowling with an initial 3/8 – Carmody and Barnes were dismissed from successive balls in his second over (NSW 3/20) – and NSW were all out by tea.

Vic Trumper’s opening bowling spell for NSW was even more dramatic – Cook and Brown were dismissed in his first over for three runs (Qld 2/3). However, Qld recovered to 4/144 at stumps, and ended with a small first innings lead just before lunch, which was disappointing given they were only behind 69 runs with six wickets in hand, but O’Reilly swept through the tail. In the middle order Don Tallon and Glen Baker had added 60 for the fifth wicket, and Don Watt and Baker added a run-a-minute 55.

NSW by end of day had moved to 9/289 with an ‘audacious and colourful’ 57 by McCabe in 51 minutes with 10×4 and a ‘fine fighting display’ with six boundaries by Jack Chegwyn in his 48. Wicketkeeper Ron Saggers’ 55 was stubborn and he was unlucky to be run out. Jackson and O’Reilly extended the lead by 29 runs on the final morning.Queensland were set 319 to win.

Sydney Morning Herald Wed 20 Nov 1940 noted “Expectations of a keen finish were realised”. After a ‘magnificent’ opening partnership of 115 in 109 minutes between Brown and Cook, Queensland got to 2/186 as Brown reached 83 ‘tenaciously’(1×5, 12×4), and Rogers and Allen added 65 in 33 minutes or the third wicket – Allen hitting Jackson for three sixes, including two in successive balls. Then failures by first innings heroes Tallon and Baker, and a weak showing by the tail – despite a brief rally by two big country plasterers in Don Watt and Possum Raymer – saw Queensland fall to defeat just 27 runs short.

Combined Queensland and Vic vs NSW at Brisbane (by one wicket)

Fri 22, Sat 23, Mon 25 and Tue 26 Nov 1940

The match was billed as a special patriotic match – with a team of seven Queenslanders and the Victorians Lindsay Hassett, Maurie Sievers, Doug Ring and Keith Miller, all chosen by the Queensland selectors.

Combined 202 Tallon 55, Rogers 29, Sievers 23x
Trumper 3/37, O’Reilly 3/46, McCool 3/39
NSW 429 Barnes 144, Saggers 58, McCool 52, Gulliver 66x
Ring 3/143, Raymer 3/85
Combined 416 Tallon 152, Hassett 96, Brown 43 op
Gulliver 5/80
NSW 9/192 McCabe 53, Carmody 36 op
Baker 3/17

A ‘weak display’ by the combined team saw a total of 202 posted – Tallon’s half-century of 55 in 42 minutes the only high point – and Trumper, O’Reilly and McCool shared the wickets. NSW moved to 4/184 at stumps, with Barnes 94 not out at stumps, having added 101 in 61 minutes with Jack Chegwyn (37) and 67 with McCabe (43) for the third wicket, after the openers fell cheaply to Sievers and Ellis. Barnes moved on to his (then) highest first-class score of 144 (his twelfth first-class century) on the second day, as NSW moved to 429 and a lead of 227 runs. Saggers, Gulliver and McCool scored fifties. Ring and Raymer took three expensive wickets each – Ring going at seven runs per over – but Raymer bowled better.

After a grinding first wicket stand, Hassett (30x) and Rogers (27x) were scoring quickly by stumps.  The Combined team’s second innings was an excellent effort of 416, crowned by Tallon’s 152 in 116 minutes labeled by the Argus as ‘one of the greatest innings of his career’, including 109 runs before lunch, after Rogers fell early. Hassett (96) fell just before lunch, having added 162 runs for the fourth wicket in just ninety minutes (4/309) with Tallon – noted as ‘the most brilliant pre-luncheon session witnessed in Queensland. [Tallon’s] amazing stroke play was as masterly as anything Bradman or McCabe had ever unfolded, and he appeared almost impudent in his treatment of the New South Wales bowlers’. Miller added a stylish 24, but the middle order and tail contributed less than hoped, and the innings closed at 416, setting NSW 180 runs to win. Saggers the New South Wales wicket-keeper, in dismissing seven batsmen (all caught) equalled the world’s record jointly held by D Tallon (Queensland), E G Price (Middlesex), E G Smith (Warwickshire) and W Farrimond (Lancashire). Ken Gulliver took fine figures of 5/80.

NSW commenced its innings at 3.33 pm and lost six wickets for 134 at stumps, leaving just over fifty to get on the final day with four wickets in hand. Glen Baker took 3/17 in a cameo bowling appearance, but McCabe (30x) and McCool were comfortably in place at stumps. On the final day, in an exciting finish, McCool managed to stay with the tail – he was 27x at the death – and hit up the winning runs with O’Reilly (4x), who came in at last wicket with just seven runs to get. With one run to win, an over-pitched ball from Ring ‘gave O’Reilly his opportunity. He lashed out and cover drove the ball to the fence and clinched the match’.

NSW vs SA at SCG (by 374 runs)

Fri 6, Sat 7 and Mon 9 Dec 1940

NSW followed on from their two wins in Brisbane to host the touring South Australians. Bradman was on military training at Frankston, so SA was led by wicketkeeper Charlie Walker. Maurie Roberts and Bill Leak were debutants for SA.

NSW 402 Barnes 108, McCool 90, Pepper 77, Saggers 47
Ward 6/131, Grimmett 1/83
SA 148 Hamence 41, Badcock 38
O’Reilly 3/28, Scott 2/11, McCool 2/2
NSW 7/167d McCool 39x, Pepper 35, Carmody 32 op
Ward 3/66, Grimmett 1/32
SA 47 Badcock 17, Ken Ridings 10 op
O’Reilly 5/11, Scott 2/10, Trumper 2/14

Sydney Morning Herald Sat 7 Dec 1940 “After an early collapse, bats flashed and runs came freely, when New South Wales scored 402 on the opening day”. Barnes’ 108 ‘saved the side, a magnificent exhibition of all-round batting’ and paved the way for a subsequent assault on the bowling by McCool (90) and Pepper (77), who scored at a ‘phenomenal’ rate, a hundred runs coming in 47 minutes. ‘Pepper gave an intelligent display of forceful hitting’ with 11×4 and 2×6, and McCool batted well, and was unlucky to chop one onto his stumps when racing for his century, with the last man in. “McCabe was out cheaply to a glorious caught and bowled effort by the veteran Grimmett, who stopped a high cannon-ball drive with his left and caught it with the right.” Ward was the most effective bowler, not afraid to take punishment. The crowd “enjoyed the brilliant out-fielding of B. H. Leak, whose speedy returns and fleetness of foot, saved scores of runs”.

Tom Klose was hit below the heart by Scott when SA opened, and retired hurt, though he fielded, and batted in the second innings. Overall, “South Australia gave a dreary, spineless exhibition of batting” (Sydney Morning Herald Mon 9 Dec 1940) and fell 254 runs short of NSW’s first day total, scoring just 148, with Badcock and Hamence providing the only top order batting of note, in adding 73 for the second wicket. Hamence was the “one bright batsman in the South Australian team. He made many excellent strokes, and was always eager for runs”, but Badcock’s innings was laboured owing to his back problems – as he took 78 minutes to reach double figures, and his 38 took over two hours.  Only Grimmett (23) and Ward (24x) in the tail showed any resistance, adding a ‘dour, patient and enterprising’ 44 runs for the ninth wicket.

At stumps, NSW were 421 ahead with four wickets in hand, though their second innings was also fairly dull until Pepper hit out in the afternoon. “Pepper hit one ball onto the concrete balcony of the Sheridan stand, startling a newspaper seller who turned and indignantly shook a fist at the player. Another ball sailed high over the sightboard and scattered the cheering crowd on the hill”.

NSW declared at their overnight total, setting SA 422 runs to win, but SA collapsed ignominiously for their lowest recorded total against NSW in amassing just 47 in 111 minutes – O’Reilly took 5/11 off 6½ overs – and fell 347 runs short of their target. Badcock was top score with 17 in 69 minutes – he was immobilised with back problems. The NSW ‘bowling was generally accurate, but it was the timidity of the South Australians that made it appear more hostile than it was’.

Charlie Macartney was scathing with his opinions in Sydney Morning Herald Wed 11 Dec 1940: “South Australia’s incredibly poor showing against New South Wales in their recent cricket match calls for censure” – “… when there is a refusal to take the offensive, the matter becomes one for concern”. Ward bowled well, and McCool batted and fielded well in slips.

Vic vs SA at MCG (drawn)

Fri 13, Sat 14, Mon 16 and Tue 17 December 1940

The SA side was unchanged as they continued their tour. Victoria, in their first match of the season, needed to replace Robert Barry Scott (who had moved to NSW) and captain Barnett (in camp with 8 Division AIF), so they selected E A (‘Bill’) Baker as keeper, Wal Dudley as a pace man, and added all-rounder Bob Dempster mostly as a batsman, given his recent form [562 runs @ 112.40 with three centuries]. In Barnett’s absence, Hassett was appointed captain, though his availability was in question almost to the eve of the match, as he was in training with the Second AIF.

SA 515 Hamence 130, Badcock 120, Leak 79, Ken Ridings 69 op, Phil Ridings 42
Sievers 3/100, Johnson 3/117, Dudley 2/71, Ring 1/139 (@ 5.15)
Vic 389 Lee 93 op, Miller 63, Hassett 67, Beames 42, Sievers 41
Grimmett 7/114 (off 38 overs @ 3.00)
SA 3/245d Hamence 103x, Badcock 102
Sievers 1/49
Vic 7/161 Lee 41, Hassett 36x
Ward 4/53

‘A burst of hot weather made for lethargic cricket’. Splendid batting by Badcock (120 in 174 minutes), and a solid, if slow, display by Ken Ridings (69 in 187 minutes) took SA to five for 311 at stumps. ‘The bowling did not cause the batsmen much worry, especially in the partnership of 186 for the second wicket by K. Ridings and Badcock’. Leak (79) was quiet early but batted well as his innings wore on. Hamence ‘in tradesmanlike style’ was on 60x at stumps. Dempster’s bowling was accurate and his fielding good.

On the Saturday, SA continued on to 515, as Leak and Hamence began well, and in all added 129 runs, but were both dismissed soon after lunch. Phil Ridings (42) led the tail in the addition of around 75 more runs. Victoria settled well to reach 2/168 at stumps. Tamblyn (32) and Lee (70x at stumps) batted well. Dempster was dismissed just as he was settling, but ‘the batting of Keith Miller … was the highlight of the day. He was looking for runs all the time, timed his shots beautifully and his on-driving was magnificent. There is probably no player in the game who plays that shot [the drive] so well.’

Victoria’s innings finished at 389, giving SA a lead of 126 runs on the first innings. “Grimmett, the veteran slow bowler, was the hero in the match yesterday”, with 7/114. ‘Despite his age – he will be aged 48 years on Christmas Day – he bowled 38 overs in the innings and yesterday he had 19 in succession’. The Victorians scored quickly and well, with Hassett’s ‘artistic’ 67 notable and Beames’ 42 good. Sievers was immobile, especially against Grimmett, in his ‘usual mixture of bright and dull cricket’. At stumps, SA were 2/65.

“History was made on the Melbourne ground yesterday when Hamence and Badcock each made centuries in South Australia’s second innings against Victoria. They had each made a century in the first innings and this is the first time in first-class cricket in Australia, that the same two players have made two separate hundreds in a match. It has been done twice in county cricket in England”. Badcock and Hamence added 140 in the morning session, and in all they added 201 in 129 minutes. Immediately Badcock reached 100 he was easily caught, and the innings was closed at 3/245 at 2.19 p.m., leaving Victoria 371 runs to make”. At stumps Victoria was a disappointing 7/161 – “Victoria’s display by contrast was dull in the extreme”. Tamblyn was dull – he took 47 minutes to score his first four runs. Miller looked promising with three fours off Ward in his first over, but went soon after. Lee and Hassett were the exceptions, and steered Victoria to a draw.

SA vs Vic at Adelaide (by 175 runs)

Wed 25, Thu 26, Fri 27 and Sat 28 Dec 1940

SA 191 Hamence 85, Bradman 0, Walker 40
Sievers 3/45
Vic 172 Ring 72 at #3, Johnson 29
Cotton 4/39, Grimmett 3/54
SA 421 Badcock 172 op, Hamence 62, Phil Ridings 90, Bradman 6
Sievers 3/104, Dempster 3/66
Vic 265 Hassett 113
Grimmett 4/75, Ward 3/86

SA batted poorly in their first innings, with two wickets falling early, including Bradman, dismissed first ball (off Bill Dudley, caught chest-high in slips by Sievers). Sievers’ bowling was ‘outstanding’ but did not explain SA’s poor showing. ‘Hamence, who is at the top of his form, played practically a lone hand’ following his two centuries in the previous match.  Ring bowled better than his figures suggested, and Dudley was fast in his first overs. Victoria was 2/7 at stumps, with Lee bowled off the last ball of the day.

Two further wickets were lost for the addition of only ten runs early on the second day, and Victoria was 7/100 at lunch. Fothergill looked good briefly, and nightwatchman Ring ‘surprised with a really workmanlike 72. He was exceptionally solid and always looked safer than his team mates with bigger reputations’. Johnson’s 29 was ‘attractive’. When SA batted again, Badcock was in excellent form, and brought up his century in under two hours. “Bradman, who appeared completely out of form, failed for the second time, being clean bowled for 6.” Badcock and Hamence (62) scored a brilliant partnership of 186 for the third wicket at a very rapid pace – the 150 came up in just 86 minutes, and Hassett was reduced to packing the leg side field and bowling Sievers at the leg stump to slow the scoring. Johnson was taken for twenty runs off one over by Badcock.

The SA tail batted on strongly, with Badcock carrying on to 172 in 217 minutes (1×6, 21×4), and Phil Ridings hitting out ‘in great style’ for 90 in two hours. With some rain about, Dudley and Sievers moved the ball in the air, and Dempster bowled tidily, but success was limited for Victoria, which bowled eight men, and the SA tail drove the total to 421, setting Victoria 441 for the win. At stumps, Victoria was 3/77, needing 364 to win. SA quick Harold Cotton had a leg strain and could not bowl, but Phil Ridings and Merv Waite opened the bowling, and with Grimmett had Victoria 3/23 before a minor recovery led by Hassett, who scored 41 in 43 minutes before stumps.

Disappointing batting by Victoria, and good bowling by Grimmett and Ward saw Victoria dismissed for 265, losing by 175 runs, despite Hassett’s ‘grand fighting innings’ of 113 in 142 minutes. Hassett’s most prolific shot (a quarter of his runs) was a ‘perfectly executed sweep to leg’, but two of his batting companions fell to the (newfangled) shot – Fothergill was bowled around his legs and George Meikle was caught behind square when he skied one. And Hassett too eventually fell to the same shot – Vic Richardson noted “The sweeping leg shot was made a fraction too soon at a high-pitched leg-break from Ward. Whilst reaching out at full length Hassett was struck on the shoulder by the ball, which then went on to the back of the bat, which had continued in its swing over his shoulder, to slowly trickle on to the wicket”. With Cotton out of action, the bowling work was done by Grimmett and Ward. Johnson batted well, and Baker remained not out in both innings, with a good performance also noted behind the stumps.

NSW vs Qld at SCG (by 404 runs)

Thu 26, Fri 27, Sat 28 and Mon 30 Dec 1940

Colin McCool was initially unavailable in militia camp, but played. Macartney looked forward to aggressive batting from both sides, noting Queensland’s Tallon, Rogers and Brown. The Sydney Morning Herald presciently predicted (Thu 26 Dec 1940) that the “Chief interest in the match … will be in the display of A. Morris, the young St. George opening batsman, who will make his initial appearance in an interstate match. He is regarded by some as a potential test player.”

NSW 516 Morris 148 op, Barnes 133, McCabe 75, Jackson 47, McCool 45
Ellis 2/82, Cook 2/67, Christ 2/78, Watt 2/110 (@ 10/over)
Qld 334 Rogers 114, Baker 48, Raymer 41x
Jackson 3/30, McCool 2/96, O’Reilly only seven overs
NSW 9/369d Cohen 118 op, Morris 111 op, Jackson 47x, McCabe dnb
Cox 3/63, Watt 4/90 (off ten overs)
Qld 147 Brown 57 op
Pepper 6/57, O’Reilly 3/43

There was sweltering heat in Sydney, with a crowd of 6,000. ‘Delightful batting’ saw NSW reach 7/489 at stumps, with runs accumulating all day, but particularly in the partnership of 261 runs in 176 minutes, with Morris scoring 148 in 214 minutes (18×4) and Barnes a ‘masterly’ 133 in 176 minutes (14×4). Morris revealed ‘potential greatness and greater initiative and enterprise than any opening batsman of recent years’, at only 19 yo, in his first first-class match. McCabe had an injured left wrist and ‘was severely handicapped’, as he could not grip the handle of his bat with any power, and played some ‘streaky shots’ but still managed 75. Charles Macartney (Sydney Morning Herald Fri 27 Dec 1940) “”Early in his innings, A Morris the newcomer to interstate cricket, displayed a weakness for nibbling at the off stuff from Ellis but, apart from that he made numerous cultured and powerful strokes which mark him as a batsman with a future. For a considerable time New South Wales has not had a left-handed opening batsman but Morris’s work yesterday should show him as the one to make up this deficiency. Seeing that this was his first engagement Morris showed plenty of courage and determination. His strokes on both sides of the wicket were full of character and made with precision. His hooks and drives – both lofty and on the ground – were especially effective. There is no doubt about the skill of this young left-hander and there is no reason why he should not go from strength to strength.” Macartney noted: ‘Ellis did not bowl very well, Cook was the best bowler, Christ just a little short, Cox not fast enough, Watt and Raymer bowled a good length, but got no life from the pitch.’

NSW batted on to 516 early on the second day, then Queensland began badly with 2/13, but retained their aggression, and Rogers batted well in a succession of partnerships with Tallon (an ‘impressive’ 34), Baker (48 ‘crisply’) and Raymer (47x). Rogers’ innings was the best of the day – Sydney Morning Herald (Sat 28 Dec 1940) noted ‘There was nothing artistic about his shot-making, but there was power, and a desire to knock the cover off the ball. He is perhaps the most rugged player in Australian cricket to-day, and he certainly used his strength in his succession of hooks and drives’. His 114 took 143 minutes (15 fours). Jackson bowled well, but Pepper and McCool were erratic and O’Reilly bowled little.  When Qld were dismissed for 334, NSW had some time to open their innings, and went to stumps at 0/32.

Morris set a world first-class record with his second century in his first first-class match, as he and Cohen (scoring his maiden first-class century) added 200 for the first wicket (a NSW vs Qld record). Morris was the brighter of the two, and was even more assured in his second innings, as 150 appeared in under two hours. Immediately after lunch, Morris reached his second century , and ‘gave his wicket away’, as did Cohen after posting his 116. McCabe was not needed, and NSW powered to 9/369 declared, setting Queensland the daunting target of 552. They batted out time to stumps without loss, scoring 0/50 when bad light ended play.

Queensland collapsed badly on the final day and NSW won by 404 runs as Queensland fell from 0/62 to all out 147 and hour later, with only Brown (57) provided any but token resistance. The pitch was dusty and receptive to spin, but the batting was weak. Tallon was out first ball, and Rogers was bowled off his pads by Pepper. Once Pepper had shattered the innings, O’Reilly cleaned up the last three batsman in a single over.

Dr Evatt MP invited Morris to select the best bat in Stan McCabe’s shop, as a token of recognition to the young batsman’s unique feat.

Bradman’s XI vs McCabe’s XI at MCG (by and innings and 103 runs)

Wed 1, Thu 2, Fri 3 and Sat 4 Jan 1941

A patriotic match, in the absence of a trial match, between the best twenty-two cricketers in the country, in teams to be led by McCabe and Bradman. Lisle Nagel was not available. No play on the second day, owing to heavy rain..

McCabe XI 9/449d Badcock 105 op, Barnes 137, Sievers 55x, Miller 29
Waite 3/84, Jackson, Pepper and Scott two wickets
BradmanXI 205 Ken Ridings 50 op, Hamence 73, Bradman 0
O’Reilly 4/41, Grimmett 3/100, Ellis 3/23
141 Hamence 35, Bradman 12
O’Reilly 5/53, Grimmett 4/46, Miller 1/24

Overcast weather, and early rain in the suburbs kept spectators away, so only 9,000 attended. McCabe’s XI batted, and there was some dull initial batting, though Badcock and Barnes batted well. There was early interest in the fast bowling of Scott and Trumper for Bradman’s XI – Scott was the faster. McCabe’s XI had compiled 7/393 at stumps.  Badcock scored his fourth century in 2½ weeks. Percy Taylor (Argus Thu 2 Jan 1941) noted that ‘Barnes must have enjoyed his 137 – he fell in his nineties in his last three matches in Melbourne. “… when the spectators applauded the stroke that brought him three figures, [Barnes] put his bat between his knees and joined in the clapping”. Badcock’s first fifty was very slow, but he blossomed and reached his century first, then threw his wicket away. Barnes and Rogers (16) added 50 in just 17 minutes.

The second day was rained out. On resumption on the third day, after a short rain delay, Sievers moved stolidly to 55x, and the score to 449 before McCabe declared. Sievers received a sharp blow on the toes from Scott, and was unable to bowl in either innings. Most of the last session was lost to rain, so most of the action happened in the second session, as Bradman’s XI batted. Bradman was dismissed first ball (6 runs @ 2.00 for the season) as ‘a full toss from Ellis swung away some inches at the last moment’. Hamence batted well, and Ken Ridings batted solidly but ‘without enterprise’ for 50 in two hours, and was dismissed immediately after tea. Queensland fast bowler Jack Ellis bowled very well, and opened the bowling with McCabe, in the absence of Sievers. At stumps, Bradman’s XI was 3/115.

On the final day, with extended playing hours, but commencing at 1.50 pm after rain on Sunday did some damage to the pitch, Bradman’s XI struggled to only 205, and following on, were dismissed for just 141, giving McCabe’s XI a victory by an innings and 103 runs. Seventeen wickets fell on the day – sixteen to the pairing of Grimmett and O’Reilly. O’Reilly got turn and lift, but mostly used the wind to achieve away swing and spun the ball back. The second innings was not seriously contested as batsman made light of the situation. In the second innings, McCabe (leg injury) and Sievers were both unavailable, and momentously, the task of opening the bowling with Ellis fell to the Victorian batsman Keith Miller. Percy Taylor (Argus Mon 6 Jan 1941) noted “Keith Miller was chosen and although he seldom bowls, he performed splendidly. He is a right hander of about medium pace and, after beginning with two half pitchers, he bowled fairly accurately. He was able to make his good length ball stand up a little, and Ridings touched one to give him first wicket. Later Brown touched one that flew high through the slips, O’Reilly just touching it with his outstretched hand. Then Bradman did the same, Ellis just falling to reach it”. He ended with 1/27, and a legend had begun.

Qld vs Vic at Brisbane (drawn)

Sat 18, Mon 20, Tue 21 and Wed 22 Jan 1941

For Victoria, Hassett, Beames and Miller were not available, and Bill Pearson, Richmond fast bowler Bill Cockburn and Camberwell batsman Doug Williams were originally included in the side, but could not play. Eventually, Ian Lee appointed captain of Victoria. Hawthorn opener Keith Sarovich, Doug Ring and Mervyn Harvey of Fitzroy were also included in the team. Only two players – Sievers and Lee – remained of the Shield team that played two years previously – two had retired, four were in the forces, and two had migrated to other States.

Three country players were the new men for Queensland- big baker Hilton Bendixen from Nambour, dairy farmer Tom Thwaites from Beaudesert and Jack Barnes from Rockhampton, also a representative Rugby League player.

Qld 336 Cook 117 op, Rogers 92 op, Raymer 50
Johnson 4/73
Vic 460 Tamblyn 136, Johnson 85, Sarovich 78, Meikle 42, Ring 60
Ellis 7/86
Qld 7/336 Rogers 103, Brown 47, Watt 55, Tallon 38
Johnson 2/79

The first day was cut short after only 65 minutes’ play, by a torrential downpour that flooded the ground, wrecked a sightscreen and flooded several parts of the grandstands. In the first hour, Rex Rogers was dominant, scoring 48x at ‘stumps’.

The Queensland openers batted on to compile a partnership of 117 of which Rogers contributed ‘splendid’ 92, with Cook, as ever, the sheet-anchor, scoring his 117 over a painstaking 5½ hours (as the scored topped 300). With the new ball after lunch, the Victorian bowlers struck back with four wickets falling for 42 – including scratchy innings by Tallon and Brown – and went to tea at 7/246, but spirited resistance in the tail, led by Mick Raymer (50) took Queensland to 336. Victorian opened at 5.35, and was 1/26 at stumps as Lee fell to the fourth ball of the innings.

“A fighting century by Tamblyn, lion-hearted and spirited batting by Johnson, who hit four 6’s, and excellent displays by Sarovich and Ring (both not out) and Meikle, helped Victoria to recover from a poor start” (Argus Wed 22 Jan 1941) to reach 7/436 at stumps. Jack Ellis was by far the most impressive Queensland bowler, finishing the day with a tally of 5/75. The Queensland fielding was very poor – Tallon fluffed two stumpings and a run-out, and Brown and Cook both dropped catches from Johnson. The partnership between Tamblyn and Johnson of 151 for the fourth wicket was the turning point in the game, handing the advantage to Victoria.

Victoria were shut down by Ellis on the final morning for 460 – a further 2/11 took him to 7/86 for the innings, with two pearlers to dismiss Ring and Sarovich. Sarovich’s sound 78 took 194 minutes (4×4). Queensland lost 7/330 in their second innings before rain curtailed play at 5.30, leading to a loss on the first innings. Rex Rogers topped 1,000 season runs (Shield and club) for the fourth season in a row, as he powered to 103 in 135 minutes. Brown, Watt and Tallon all batted attractively – Tallon and Rogers added 80 for the second wicket in 45 minutes.

NSW vs Vic at SCG (Victoria by 24 runs)

Sat 25, Mon 27, Tue 28 and Wed 29 Jan 1941

McCabe’s leg injury kept him out of the side, so Bill O’Reilly was captain for NSW. Col McCool was unavailable with military commitments, so Keith Carmody and Ken Gulliver came into the side. The Victorian team, full of all-rounders, batted down to #10.

Vic 236 Meikle 46 at #9, Tamblyn 36 op
O’Reilly 4/43, Pepper 6/85 (they bowled 46 of 68 overs)
NSW 440 Barnes 132, Pepper 62, Jackson 54, Gulliver 49
Johnson 4/117, Sievers 3/74
Vic 403 Dempster 87, Fothergill 86 at #7, Merv Harvey 70 op, Tamblyn 48 op
O’Reilly 5/56, Gulliver 3/76
NSW 175 Barnes 55
Sievers 4/44, Johnson 3/52, Ring 3/55

Victoria were dismissed for a disappointing 236 – labelled ‘timid’ and ‘dreary’ by commentators – with Meikle the top scorer with 46 at #9. When rain stopped play at 4.40 pm on the first day, Victoria were 9/229, and lasted only a few minutes into the second day. After an entertaining 75 opening partnership between Tamblyn (36) and Harvey (35), when they ‘relished’ the bowling of the quicks, they were pinned down by the spin of O’Reilly and Pepper. O’Reilly’s tactics in placing close-in fieldsman at silly point and silly leg were allowed by batsmen ‘almost to sit on their bat without making an attempt to dislodge them from their position’. Johnson and Sievers showed flashes of aggression, but Meikle played the only other innings of substance.

The excellent batting of Barnes for 131 runs in 157 minutes (1×6, 12×4) – who made a century in his fifth consecutive first-class match – tipped the balance between the sides when Victoria had the NSW top order struggling early on the second day. By stumps, NSW had reached 8/417 in just over five hours (303 minutes), with a lead of 181 runs on the first innings and two wickets in hand. Early in the day, Johnson and Ring had the NSW top-order batsmen ‘baffled’ after Morris was superbly caught by Meikle when on 37, but the tail batted well, with Pepper’s 62 (10×4) in under an hour, and Jackson a more measured fifty, and Gulliver scoring 49. Sievers’ figures were best, but he was a little inaccurate, and Johnson was the pick of the Victorian bowlers.

With the NSW innings wrapped up early, and facing a deficit of 204 runs, the Victorians showed good form to compile 403 runs in 4½ hours, with the last wicket falling in the last over of the day. The openers again started well, and compiled  115 for the first wicket in an hour, with Merv Harvey particularly lively, Johnson, Dempster and Fothergill batted well down the order, though Dempster started slowly. O’Reilly remained the mainstay of the NSW bowling, but the fielding was generally poor, and Pepper did not bowl well.

Set exactly 200 runs to get in a day, NSW fell 24 runs short, to be dismissed for 175 in a surprise reversal on the final day. The dependable Barnes (55), fell to a spectacular diving catch by Fothergill and Pepper (30) provided the only strong resistance to good bowling by Sievers and the Victorian spinners.

Vic vs NSW at MCG (NSW by 235 runs)

Fri 14, Sat 15, Mon 17 and Tue 18 Feb 1941

Miller, Beames and Hassett were all unavailable for Victoria. Tall Richmond medium pacer Bill Johnston under consideration for selection. Argus Fri 14 Feb 1941 noted: ‘Johnson however has not yet completed a season of first eleven cricket and he can afford to wait until next season for his chance, which is sure to come’.  The faster Melbourne wicket was thought likely to favour pace over spin, so Bill Dudley was brought back into the Victorian team. Tamblyn had been vaccinated in camp and was unavailable at the last minute, and Keith Sarovich again came into the side to bat at #3. For NSW, McCool was again available, and McCabe had recovered. Ken Gulliver was dropped, and Scott not available.

NSW 416 Barnes 185, McCabe 82, Chegwyn 78
Dudley 3/46, Johnson 3/49
Vic 326 Lee 67 op, Fothergill 63, Johnson 60
O’Reilly 6/60, Pepper 3/106
NSW 304 Barnes 79, Jackson 57, Saggers 47 (two short)
Johnson 3/79
Vic 159 Harvey 38 op, Sievers 37
O’Reilly 3/17, McCool 4/29

‘Brilliant batting’ in ideal conditions by Barnes (185) and McCabe (82) enabled NSW to compile 416 on the opening day. At one stage in the formidable position of 3/378, NSW then fell away quickly with 7/38 as Victoria ended the day ‘in a blaze of success’ – in which Ian Johnson and Bill Dudley mowed down the tail. Barnes went to his sixth first-class match on end to include a century. Taylor noted that this timing and placement were perfect, and his batting seemed ‘almost effortless’. His century took 161 minutes, but the next 50 only 33 minutes. He added 138 in 76 minutes for the third wicket with Stan McCabe (83 brilliantly in just 70 minutes), and with Jack Chegwyn (78) added 183 runs in 125 minutes for the fourth wicket. Chegwyn led a charmed life, with a dropped chance and at least four edges through slips, though he batted well to the spinners. The Victorian bowling was generally not very good – Doug Ring ‘tried to outpace Sievers’ and was again badly punished (1/112). Ian Johnson was little used before tea, and after that break he took three quick wickets, including two in an over, and Dudley lifted to finish with the best average.

Victoria was dismissed for 326, and NSW had reached 0/18 at stumps on the second day. It was unattractive batting by Victoria, with the nagging feeling that wickets could fall at any time, especially to the ogre O’Reilly. His 6/60 made all the difference – Pepper looked pedestrian, and the rest of the attack held few terrors. After tea, O’Reilly wrapped up matters with a burst of 2/3 to add to his 4/45 in the first two sessions. Ian Lee, Des Fothergill and Ian Johnson batted well, though both of the latter struggled with the spin bowlers. Chegwyn tripped and fell while chasing a ball in the field, wrenched his left ankle ligament, and had to be carried off. McCabe also suffered a left ankle ligament strain, and it had swollen so far at start of play that he had to stay in his hotel.

Despite the absence of Chegwyn and McCabe, NSW amassed 304 against the weak Victorian attack on the third day, setting Victoria a total of 395 to win.  Barnes, Vic Jackson and Ron Saggers provided the batting needed to get NSW their large lead. The NSW openers began well, and Morris looked fluid and quick between the wickets. Then three wickets fell for five runs before Barnes and Saggers stabilised by adding 115 for the fourth wicket. Pepper batted well for a short while, and Jackson did well. Barnes played on at 79, taking him to 999 first-class runs for the season. The Victorian bowling was disappointing: Ring’s match yield was 3/204, Sievers was steady and only Johnson looked like class. Victoria went to the wickets with an hour to stumps and began well. However, after a quick half-century start from the openers – notably Merv Harvey with 38 – Victoria lost 4/73 in the last hour, and went into the final day with a large target and only six wickets in hand.

‘Apparently regarding the task as hopeless, Victoria did not offer much resistance to New South Wales yesterday’, and lost the match by 235 runs (Argus Wed 19 Feb 1941). In particular the Victorians looked uncertain against spin, despite the good pitch and weather conditions.  Lee was unable to bat (another strained leg), and Sievers was steady, but the rest looked lacklustre. McCool bowled his leg-breaks well.

SA vs NSW at Adelaide (by an innings and 45 runs)

Fri 21, Sat 22 and Mon 24 Feb 1941

West Torrens wicketkeeper H V (Bert) Heairfield replaced Charlie Walker, who was on RAAF service, in the SA line-up. Bruce Dooland (in place of Maurie Roberts) and Ray Holman were selected for the State, though Dooland did not play. Big blonde batsman Harold Stapleton travelled to Adelaide to replace Stan McCabe in the NSW team – Stan headed home directly from Melbourne.

SA 132 Badcock 40 op
O’Reilly 5/28, Gulliver 2/16
NSW 512 Chegwyn 103, McCool 100, Jackson 70, Saggers 63, Barnes 51
Cotton 4/85, Phil Ridings 3/76, Grimmett 1/128
SA 335 Ken Ridings 62 op, Badcock 40 op, Waite 94, Grimmett 67
McCool 5/65, Pepper 2/89, O’Reilly 2/61

SA were dismissed for a paltry 132 on a good wicket in sweltering heat, which peaked at 106°F (41°C), and NSW powered to 3/284 at stumps, to gain an immediate strong grip on the match. Hamence and Badcock batted well enough in scoring an opening stand of 42 runs, but it was all downhill once the first wicket fell. SA ‘could not cope with the brilliant bowling of O’Reilly, who was complete master of the situation’ (Argus Sat 22 Feb 1941). He took 5/28, with his fiftieth season wicket taken off the last ball before lunch, followed by a deadly spell of 3/4 off 2.5 overs. Ron Saggers’ keeping was exemplary, and he made a ‘dazzling’ stumping of the aggressive Leak – who hit O’Reilly for six with his second scoring shot in a rare show of aggression. The rest of the SA batsmen gave a ‘woeful exhibition’, with barely a show of aggression against O’Reilly, whose ability to bully batsmen was at its dazzling best in this season, notably in the absence of two of his (rare) nemeses in Hassett and Bradman. The NSW batsman found few terrors in the bowling or the conditions, and Barnes raced to a quick fifty after passing his 1,000th season run with his first scoring shot. ‘Making a terrific hook off the bowling of Phil Ridings, he was brilliantly caught at fine leg by the bowler’s brother Ken, who snatched the ball practically off the pickets’ in a brilliant running catch. Jack Chegwyn and Col McCool then batted confidently and scored freely, with McCool (69x at stumps) showing shots all round the wicket, while Chegwyn, still troubled by his leg injury, batted courageously for his century.

Chegwyn was dismissed early in the second morning without further scoring, but McCool then moved on to his even century, and the batsmen piled up a commanding lead of 380 runs, led by Vic Jackson (‘forceful’ 70) and Ron Saggers (63 with ‘effortless grace’, ‘graceful and unhurried’, reminiscent of the artistic Alan Kippax). The NSW scoring rate was excellent, with 300 up in 202 minutes. In the hot conditions, the bowlers were rotated rapidly, and the later batsmen – especially Jackson after reaching fifty, and Pepper in a brief cameo – took a heavy toll. The highlight for SA was the strong bowling performance of fast bowler Harold Cotton, who made the ball kick in the early overs. SA batted for less than an hour before the light faded at 5.30 pm, but got themselves into deep trouble after a breezy sixty-run opening stand (Badcock 40), to finish the day at 3/103, with Ken Ridings not out. O’Reilly once again cast a spell over the SA batsmen before stumps – six runs off his first over, then four maidens, with the wickets of Hamence and Leak.

SA batted gamely enough in a hopeless task, postponing the inevitable loss into the afternoon, and almost forcing NSW to bat again. Merv Waite showed ‘delightful forcing cricket’ for 94, and added 130 for the eight wicket with Clarrie Grimmett (67), setting a SA record against NSW. O’Reilly was tight early, and mesmerised the South Australians, but captured no more wickets. Pepper was expensive. McCool stood out with his round-arm slows and took the best bowling figures.