Almanac Cricket: Dr Cricket

 

We’re almost in the last quarter of 2021. The football season’s over, cricket season beckons. However, this dashed pandemic drags on impacting lives all around the planet. The one positive in 2021 is now having vaccines, but their efficacy, with new strains of the virus mutating, may put a potential damper on this.

 

As a health professional, who also has Post Graduate qualifications in History, I initially thought this may be an interesting period to experience. I had a reasonable knowledge of the last serious pandemic Australia, the world, grappled with a century ago, the Spanish Flu. Now circa 18+ months later yes, it’s been interesting, but certainly draining. Will it ever end !?!

 

Deaths, restrictions, infections, Covidiocy are all part of a reality continuing to plague our lives. What was taken for granted for so long has been turned upside down as the world seeks to counter this fatal virus. Work, school, play is all severely affected by Covid 19. No area of our lives seems free of this virus.

 

Cricket has certainly not been exempted. Tours, tests, limited overs matches have all been cancelled/postponed as the world fights this virus. Are we any nearer the end than the beginning? Anyhow I’m thinking about a way forward. How about a team of cricketers to fight the good fight against the pandemic?  Well the team has been selected, aiming to fight a way forward for us. They are primarily medical doctors, with supports, in this hopefully World Champion team. Here’s the starting eleven.

 

George Thoms:  He  was a Footscray boy, whose older brother Jim played football for Footscray. An opening batsman he played the sole test, in 1951-52. He worked as a Specialist at the hospital in Footscray for many years. My mother, who was a Midwife there, often commented to us kids of working alongside of him, an Australian test player. George Thoms was an Australian pioneer in the use of laser surgery.

 

Henry James Herbert Scott: Was a Victorian born cricketer who played for Australia in the first decade of test matches. He captained the 1886 Australian team in England, then spent more time there fine tuning his medical skills. Sadly, he died of Typhoid in 1910, a disease for which there was no vaccination then.

 

Roy Park:  The former University, & Melbourne, footballer served with the Australian Medical Corp on the Western Front. He was also a handy batsman for Victoria, winning a test cap. His test career was very short.  He faced only one delivery; it dismissing him. There is an anecdotal story his wife was sitting in the crowd knitting, as her husband faced up to the ball. She then apparently dropped her wool. Bending down to pick it up, she missed the only delivery he faced in his brief test career. True; maybe?

 

Ali Bacher:  The South African who oversaw their 1970, 4-0 victory over Australia on the veldt, this being the last test series they played for over two decades. He then spent time as a General Practitioner (GP) before becoming a key figure in South African cricket administration.  Bacher was active in bringing cricket tours to South Africa during the apartheid bans. When South Africa was welcomed back to the world cricketing family, he remained active in administration being involved in arranging the 2003 World Cup, also being an early participant in trialing the use of video reviews for deciding on dismissals.

 

Seymour Nurse:  No, the Barbadian born right handed batsmen of the 1960’s was not medically trained (to my knowledge)but how could a health care team not include a Nurse? You could not leave out a Nurse who averaged 47.60 @ test level.

 

William Gilbert (WG) Grace:  The famous face of WG Grace is an imposing symbol of late nineteenth century cricket.  Grace qualified as a Medical Practitioner in 1879 then established a successful career in medicine. He did much work amongst the poor families of London, with a reputation of not billing them. On the cricketing field he was theoretically considered an amateur cricketer, though he apparently made more money playing cricket than any professional cricketer. A controversial figure in his life time, he’ll captain our team as it fights this pernicious virus.

 

Edward Mills Grace: This older brother of the legendary WG Grace played the sole test. In the medical field he worked as a Surgeon, though in his later years he took on the role of the Coroner. Primarily a cricketing all-rounder he occasionally also kept wicket for his county Gloucestershire.

 

Roy Minnett: He was an Australian test cricketer from New South Wales who played before the ‘great trade war’: World War One. He appeared in nine tests for Australia prior to retiring to focus on medicine.

 

Geoff Lawson: The former Australian fast bowler is an interesting one.  He’s a qualified Optometrist though his time post retirement seems primarily taken up with coaching and commentating.

 

Justin Vaughan: Is a New Zealand cricketer who appeared at test, and one day level. He is trained as a Doctor, though now works in a senior role with a medical, technology company.  I’m aware Vaughan’s former team mate Chris Harris is in the medical field, but not totally sure he is a Doctor. Can someone clarify this?

 

Carlos Bertram ‘Bertie’ Clarke: The West Indian leg spinner played three tests just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War. He then stayed in England where he played county cricket into his forties. He became a long serving GP, doing much work among the communities from the Caribbean diaspora.

 

Almanackers, cricketers, health care workers: we’re all human. Humans are universal beings, we are part of the world. Humans are not above/beyond nature as this pandemic is sadly showing us. Well, where to from here?

 

A good starting point is rolling up our sleeves for vaccination. Being a health professional, I was lucky enough to get both my doses early. This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated, so for us to get through and out of it, it’s important the overwhelming majority of us are vaccinated. Other factors are also important such as ventilation, Personal Protective Equipment, social distancing, though  vaccination is up near the top of what humanity must do.

 

Stay safe.

 

Glen!

 

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks Ed.

    The photos are appreciated.

    Glen!

  2. No modern cricket team (WG will turn in his grave) is complete without a coach. Dr Ric Charlesworth is a medical doctor; Olympic silver medallist in hockey and coach of the gold medal winning women’s Hockeyroos. He was the MHR for Perth in Federal Parliament (before returning his skills to productive endeavours). He has been a coaching consultant to football teams in both AFL and WAFL.
    As a cricketer he played 47 games for WA in the 1970’s averaging 30 as an opening batsman back when pitches had grass and bounce (particularly the WACA) – worth about 50 on drop in doormats. He played in 3 WA winning Sheffield Shield teams.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    The closest I’ve come to one in person was in 1982/83 when I scored for the Adelaide Uni Blacks B Grade, which was captained by David David (aka “Squared”) – the extraordinarily accomplished cranio-facial specialist and winner of the Bradman Medal for the best A Grade district player in 1966/67.

  4. This is really cool, Glen!
    A most enjoyable read.

    Take care.

  5. I got George Thoms autograph as a very young kid when he partnered Colin McDonald in a Shield game at the G. I then copied the autograph on the back of my Stuart Surridge bat.
    But that was a long time ago and the bat and the autograph book have long since disappeared.
    Good memories Glen

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Great team Glen! I’ve always loved the story of Roy Park’s wife dropping her knitting when he faced his one delivery.

    Unsure about Chris Harris, he has done plenty of coaching and commentating around the world since his playing days finished.

    What about the “Spin Doctor” Terry Jenner? Could always work his magic on Warnie.

  7. CITRUS BOB says

    Great stuff Glen! I am not sure but fairly confident that Roy Park was the father-in-law of Australian Captain (what a shocking selection that was!) Ian Johnson?

    And now all things will be turning to cricket – the greatest of games now that the Poms have put their dummies away.

  8. Ta Citrus Bob.

    I also have an understanding Roy Park was Ian Johnson’s father in law.

    It looks like the ECB will now stop the shadow boxing, & commit to coming Down Under for an Ashes series. However, who knows when Covid finally gets into those states that have so far avoided its sickly grip? Maybe there’s still a spot in this summers starting 11 for Dr. Cricket.

    Glen!

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