Bradman

 

Some talk of Rangitsinhji

Of Murdoch, Jessup, Grace.

While others say of Trumper

That none could take his place

When the wicket was a glue-pot

And the bowlers changing pace.

Each decade has its heroes,

Compares them with the past

Questions: 'Are they greater'?,

Can their glorious records last?

Are the bowlers faster

Than Spofforth in his day?

Can they keep the batsmen

From having too much say

On billiard table wickets

Beneath a blazing sun

Whilst excited thousands

Cheer every run?

Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe,

McCabe and Ponsford, Woodfull too

Have scored their many hundreds,

Making records new.

Hammond, pride of Gloucestershire

Outdoes old Doctor Grace

Hitting up his centuries

At grand and glorious pace

Household names of Empire

Wielders of the flashing willow blade

Heroes of the Ashes

Won and lost, but grandly played.

And then came Bradman

Someone coined a magic phrase

As the wonder boy from Bowral

Flashed upon the cricket ways

Piling up his centuries

Against Old England's best

Smashing cricket records,

With mighty skill and zest

Pasting Voce and Larwood

As he raised a mammoth score

A record of the Ashes

Bradman ...three ...three ...four!

Quick of eye with flashing bat

By Herculean deeds,

Amazing crowds at Sydney, Melbourne

The Oval, Lord's and Leeds

King of the flashing willow

Greatest the game has known

Modest smiling Don

Supreme on Cricket's throne

Champion record-breaker

Cricket’s history maker

Idol of the summer game

Don Bradman of Australia, In triumphs and in failure

Worthy of his mighty fame.

When Australia called her sons

A grimmer task to bear

Don did the job assigned him

In his quite humble way

Centuries forgotten

Whilst his country stood at bay

Like cricketer the whole world over

He strove for Victory Day

Once again upon the stage

The `master' reappears

The eager crowds are waiting

Soon will come the mounting cheers

At the crease a slight-built figure

A flashing drive goes past mid-on

Round the ground, the grand old chorus

Don ...Don ...Don!

A final tour of England

Leading his men with skill

To a great unbeaten record

And the `Don' triumphant still

Farewell to Lord's and the Oval

A last game at Melbourne and Sydney

Scenes of great and gallant deeds

From each those final strides

'Midst tumultuous acclaim

Still ...after twenty years, the `master',

Of Empires greatest game

A slight and smiling figure

Passing from Cricket's verdant stage

And the shadows o'er the pitch, farewell

The greatest of the age

From a cricket pitch at Bowral

To Lord's was a school-boys dream

But he leaves the fields of Cricket

As batsman supreme.

Knight of the flashing willow

Honoured in the halls of fame

Sir Donald ...the `Don' of batsmen

Cricket's greatest name.

 

St Martins, Christchurch 1935

Whakatane 1948.

©

Footnote:

The Bradman poem was written over a period of years.   The original poem covered the period up until World War Two. Many believed including Bradman himself that was the end of his career. Returning a shadow of his former glory he lead the  1948 Invincibles, leading the tour batting averages. He ended his test career needing only to send the ball once more racing along the ground to the boundary to average 100 in his 70 test innings. We will not see his like again.

Appendix:

Had the Don not returned after the war the following would have been included. Fortunately he did and both cricket lovers and this poem were the better for it.

Not for him the fullness

Of a normal sporting span

Ill health brings the closing

Of a career that brilliantly began

But when the crowds are cheering

The flashing blades that follow on

Above it all there'll always ring

The everlasting chorus, Don! ...Don! ...Don!

 

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