Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Match of the day

Match of the day

The Sun has billed it as the match of the day – University, the underdogs, facing off against Saint George.

In my mind's eye, I catch a glimpse of my father Bede on that morning in February 1932. He is walking from Hurtsville Station, down the frangipani streets, past the new red and brick tile houses. With his canvas bag slung over his shoulder there's a spring in his step, as he makes his way towards oval.

Thousands line the streets leading up to the oval; while inside, the ground is full to bursting point. Young fans clutching autograph books hang like monkeys on the fence.

In the humid confines of the change room, Bede has started to sweat. His team mate, Tom Parsonage, paces up and down.

'How about that crowd!'

'They're not here to watch us, mate,' Bede says. 'You can be sure of that.'

Saint George wins the toss and elects to bat and are off to a rapid start. On the first fall of wicket, when the number three batsman appears, the crowd erupts. Two young boys clamber over the perimeter fence. A police officer intervenes to stop them from grabbing Bradman by the shirt.

Bede's bowling is not up to his usual standard and he doesn't manage to dislodge Bradman, who eventually falls leg-before-wicket to Parsonage for 50. By the end of the day Saint George has amassed a total of 304 and, in the dwindling light, Bede and Tom Parsonage stride to the crease, to open the batting for University. The match will continue on the following weekend, when University will try to equal Saint George's batting total.

There were 8000 people at Hurstville for that Saturday's cricket match. My father had to content himself with the hope that next season he might have another crack at taking Bradman's wicket.

Trove Reference
Corbett, C. (28 February 1932 ). Bradman's crowd, The Sun, p. 35.

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