Inherited Cricket Memories

Norm has posted on Eric Hollies’ dismissal of Don Bradman for 0 in the latter’s final Test Match at the Oval in August 1948 — you know, the duck that ensured that he only averaged 99.94 over the course of his international career (YouTube over here) — and he discusses the phenomenon of inherited cricket memories, of events that took place before you were born, or that you couldn’t possibly have experienced firsthand yourself, but of which you possess the most vivid of memories. And this example and this phenomenon makes me think of my dad.

As it happens, he was in the crowd at the Oval during that match as a twelve-year-old, though he didn’t see Bradman bat (not that he batted much), and I think his only memory is of Bradman fielding on the boundary.

(Australia, as it happens, didn’t need Bradman’s runs, as in the first innings England had been all out for 52, with Lindwall taking 6 for 20; Australia replied with 389, with 196 from Morris; and England only managed 188 in the second innings, with Hutton top-scoring with 64, Australia winning by an innings and 149 runs.)

But I thought of my dad more because I’m going to hazard a guess that his is the generation that is most familiar of all with powerful memories of cricket matches it never saw, owing to the Second World War. Men in their seventies now were boys during the war, when there was no significant domestic cricket and certainly no international cricket to follow. So they read up about games that had been played before the war, and very possibly about games that had been played before they were born, and can now talk about them as vividly as I can remember Test Matches that I saw on TV when I was younger, and above all in the early 1980s, with the England team of Ian Botham, David Gower and Bob Willis.

And I think this also helps to explain just why Dennis Compton’s runs in 1947 were quite so celebrated, or why the visit of Bradman’s Australians in 1948 was quite so exciting. During the war people could only read about past heroics, and here were the heroes finally playing again, and heroically, too.

So I’m not sure I’ve got any severely inherited cricket memories. I think I just belong to the wrong generation. The 1970s moment I’m most familiar with is when Fredericks hit Lillee for six but then trod on his stumps in the 1975 World Cup Final at Lord’s, but that’s just because that was the best game ever to screen highlights from during rain breaks in TV broadcasts in the 1980s. (It’s the third ball in this clip, coming after less than a minute.)

Readers! Any inherited cricket memories of your own? Or just cricket clips from YouTube you want to recommend? Fire away in the comments.

7 thoughts on “Inherited Cricket Memories”

  1. I’m not sure I have any, though perhaps I ought to have, given that I used to read and re-read my father’s copies of Dudley Nourse’s autobiography and a book about the 1954/5 Ashes series. I think my first awareness of cricket on TV involves a news report saying that England were 91/3 against (I think) New Zelaand at lunch. Brian Luckhurst, about whom there is a very decent story, would have been playing.

  2. My first personal memories are of the WI 1963 tour. I attended one day of the Oval game, during which my father told me of watching George Headly and Learie Constantine in 1939, standing on opposite boundaries, tossing catches to each other between overs.

  3. If you want a contemporary fielder in their class you could try Mark Carberry. I used to go and stand behind whatever boundary he was fielding on just to watch him.

  4. Victor Trumper scoring a century before lunch?

    I followed the 1953 Ashes series, and the 1954 Pakistan tour & 1955 SA tour (this is from memory – the Heine & Adcock tour) on the radio.
    And saw a bit of the 1956 Ashes on the telly. Looking at the pics on Youtube now they look so terribly grainy, but then everything seemed quite clear.

    First match attended was the 1961 Oval test (again from memory) when Peter Burge scored a pretty good century.
    Or maybe he didn’t, it was a long time ago.
    In those days you could just turn up and get in.

  5. Roy Fredericks also stars in my favourite inherited cricket memory. It was a few months after the World Cup during the Windies disastrous tour of Australia. In the first innings of the second test, on a super-fast Perth track, Fredericks hit Lillee and Thomson for a century off just 71 balls. He went on to get 169 off 145 and set up an innings defeat of Australia (the Windies lost the other 5 tests).

    If that game was ever televised, I’ve never seen it. But ever since I was a kid I’ve been able to recall hook after savage hook sailing into the WACA stands for six…..He kept on his feet too.

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