From an old Australia but comfortable in the new

I just thought that this was a story worth making sure everyone interested in this sort of thing would see. It is from cricket, and the opposite end of the Adam Goodes story told so well by Jupes. This is about Alan Davidson turning 90.

No other sport is like cricket, and certainly there is nothing like it I can think of from the North American sports I grew up on. Possibly my favourite quote is from hockey, from the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs when I was growing up, Conn Smythe: “if you can’t lick ’em in the alley, you can’t lick ’em on the ice.” Cricket is different, very different, and Alan Simpson Davidson showed it. A wonderful article, from which the following two stories are told in succession:

After play on the third evening of the last Test of the 1961 Ashes, Alan was having a drink with Ken Barrington, England’s ruggedly dependable No 5. What was Alan doing the following night, he asked. Would he come along to help at a junior presentation night? They agreed to rendezvous at 6.30pm.

It happened that Alan was bowling the last over of the day’s play to Barrington, stubbornly ensconced on 33. He finished the over with a fierce bouncer; rather than hook, Barrington stopped it with his chest.

As stumps was called, spectators saw Barrington gesturing towards Alan with his bat, seemingly in remonstrance. In fact, he was saying: “Remember! 6.30!”

Familiarity maintained behavioural bounds in play as well. During the Headingley Test, Barrington’s teammate Colin Cowdrey was 93 when he gloved a ball down the leg side but looked like getting away with it when the umpire’s finger stayed down.

Cowdrey’s reputation as a “walker”, even as a man of piety, was briefly jeopardised by the scent of a hard-won 100. From Alan’s wicketkeeper, Wally Grout, emanated a delicious sledge: “Are you reading the lesson this Sunday, Colin?” Cowdrey hastily tucked the bat beneath his arm and departed.

Another world, in relation to the times these stories are from and in comparison between cricket and every other sport ever known.

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15 Responses to From an old Australia but comfortable in the new

  1. daggers

    Yes, a wonderful piece. High knows not to intrude by offering his own opinions. He just follows one well chosen yarn with another. Can’t fail when talking about these old blokes.

  2. Exit Stage Right

    Steve

    Nice to remember when men were men.
    Should that Alan Simpson be Alan Davidson in the second para?

  3. dopey

    Alan Simpson? Bobby Simpson?

  4. jupes

    Another world, in relation to the times these stories are from and in comparison between cricket and every other sport ever known.

    Just like the past is a foreign country, cricket back in the day was a different game to what they play now.

  5. Rusty of Qld

    The ethos of the passed foreign country, manners,civility, playing fair, stand by your word and pay your dues all lost and forgotten.

  6. Fat Tony

    I met Wally Grout in 1965 – he was doing a school tour – sponsored by B&H (?), his employer.

    Do they do that sort of thing anymore?

  7. dopey

    I remember Rothmans put out a coaching book. I think Doug Walters worked for them.

  8. Siltstone

    Cowdrey’s reputation as a “walker”, even as a man of piety, was briefly jeopardised by the scent of a hard-won 100. From Alan’s wicketkeeper, Wally Grout, emanated a delicious sledge: “Are you reading the lesson this Sunday, Colin?” Cowdrey hastily tucked the bat beneath his arm and departed.

    This reminded me of a more recent circumstance: “Are you reading the lesson this Sunday, Israel?” Folau hastily tucked the ball beneath his arm and joined battle”.

  9. Up The Workers!

    To dopey at 7.52pm:

    Slight correction: From the prodigious number of packets of coffin-nails that Dougie Walters used to plough through every day, I think that Rothmans actually used to work for him, rather than the other way around!

  10. Tator

    Saw this outside the Toronto Ice Rink
    Can the lady who dropped her six kids come back and pick them up,
    they are beating the Leafs 4-0

  11. Roger

    The ethos of the passed foreign country, manners,civility, playing fair, stand by your word and pay your dues all lost and forgotten.

    “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

    L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between.

  12. John A

    Siltstone #3038571, posted on June 9, 2019, at 9:24 pm

    Cowdrey’s reputation as a “walker”, even as a man of piety, was briefly jeopardised by the scent of a hard-won 100. From Alan’s wicketkeeper, Wally Grout, emanated a delicious sledge: “Are you reading the lesson this Sunday, Colin?” Cowdrey hastily tucked the bat beneath his arm and departed.

    This reminded me of a more recent circumstance: “Are you reading the lesson this Sunday, Israel?” Folau hastily tucked the ball beneath his arm and joined battle”.

    Nope, the analogy doesn’t hold. Try Raelene Castle resigning instead of being kicked out for trashing the comp…

  13. John A

    And I daresay that
    a) most of the Press and the admins in sport these days would have trouble understanding the great Grout’s remark
    and
    b) they would not get the understated humour, either.

  14. I remember Rothmans put out a coaching book. I think Doug Walters worked for them.

    He did, before he was a smoker.
    He took up smoking when a Nasho, and gave it up (using laser treatment) in 2009.
    Back in the day his nickname was “Beirut” (bombed every night).
    Who knows whether it was earned – but his career speaks for itself – magnificent batsman.

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