A forty-two year wait for Tate

Every time there’s an Ashes Test played at The Oval, I’m reminded of an empty place in my heart that’s been there for more than 40 years. Back in 1977, as Australia and England commemorated 100 years of Test cricket, Kelloggs Corn Flakes joined in the fun by producing The Noble Game of Cricket, a six-part history of Tests between the two countries.


The six parts appeared on the back panel of the Corn Flakes packs, and it didn’t take long for our family to get the whole set. One of the great things about being part of a large family (Mum and Dad, five boys and a girl — we always said that was one girl too many) is that we went through boxes of cereal like there was no tomorrow, a pack or more a day if I remember correctly. This gave us a great chance to collect full sets of back panels and/or any toys in the Corn Flakes packs.


I turned 12 in 1977, and already had the cricket bug thanks to a couple of older brothers who taught me everything about the Chappells and their contemporaries. And Scanlen’s footy cards had well and truly got me into the collecting habit. So whenever Kellogg’s came up with a new thing to collect, I was up for it straight away.


The Noble Game of Cricket ignited in me another great love: history. In particular the history of sport. I lapped up the brief histories and bios of players of days gone by on each panel.


Of course, because the panels were visible in supermarkets, buyers could easily select the boxes they needed to complete the set. So Kelloggs did what they’d done many times before, added a set of collectables available inside the boxes. These were invisible until the box was opened, so you never knew what you’d get.


The Noble Game of Cricket collectables did deviate from Kelloggs’ previous sets in one way. Most sets of collectables had come in the form of brightly coloured miniature figurines. For the Ashes Centenary series, they introduced transfers. These transfers were to fill in intentionally left ‘blanks’ on the panels above the mini bios of the players (see below).


Each panel left three blank squares, and when you found the transfer image to match the bio, you got out a 10-cent coin and rubbed the transfer sheet gently and carefully until the image had transferred onto the panel. There were eighteen transfers in the set and, at the rate we went through Corn Flakes, we thought we’d get the set in no time.


But just as happens in the world of footy cards, there’s always one in the set that proves elusive, and another one that seems to turn up in every second pack. From memory, the one we had seemingly hundreds of was the Ashes Urn transfer. And the one we couldn’t seem to lay our hands on was M.W. Tate. Tate’s bio appeared on Panel 3, right next to a background photo of The Oval and its famous neighbouring gasometers.


The Centenary Test came and went and Kelloggs moved on to the next big thing for kids. We never did get that Maurie Tate transfer. I still have the six back panels, and Tate’s erroneous bio (It says he took 2,783 Test wickets! That was actually his first class total) still sits there with a blank square above it.


As I type this, watching the Fifth Ashes Test at the Oval with the frames of those old gasometers still prominent, Stuart Broad has just dismissed Dave Warner for the umpteenth time in this series. Poor old Dave walked off slowly with a hole in his heart. And I’m sitting here looking at a hole in a Corn Flakes back panel where M.W. Tate should be.



Cricket Tate



Cricket 1



Cricket 2



Cricket 3




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About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?


  1. Good onya Gigs.

    I read Warner has compiled the lowest tally for a specialist batsman who has played all five tests in a five test series. His World Cup form is a memory.

    Looking at the material you’ve put up re the last Ashes test of 1977 i can only think of Mick Malone. His sole test, 5 for in the first innings 6 wickets in a rain affected match, 46 with the bat, then no more tests. WSC beckoned. The fickle hand of fate.

    Any how we’re currently in Clonmel. Neither the Ashes or the AFL finals are high on the sporting radr here.

    Slainte ,


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