Doug Walters: Century on debut 50 years ago

At the ‘Gabba on 13th December 1965 Doug Walters, 19 years and 357 days old, made his way out to bat in his first Test match. It was early on day three of the First Test against Mike Smith’s English side when the young batsman from Dungog joined Bill Lawry at the wicket. Australia had just lost three quick wickets, and at 4/125 the Phantom needed a partner to stick with him to build a decent first innings score. Unaffected by the occasion and with Fred Titmus bowling, Walters danced down the pitch and straight drove the second ball he faced for four. He then calmly set about rotating the strike and supporting his partner. Upon reaching the Australian’s ‘devil number’, 87, Doug lost his partner Lawry out for 166. Despite pressure from the English bowlers, a defensive field, a drinks break and a stray dog’s invasion of the ground, Walters got through the nervous nineties with the support of Tom Veivers at the other end. He brought up his maiden Test century with an on-drive for four off English spinner David Allen. Walters joined a select few in the record books becoming the tenth Australian in 100 years to begin his Test career with a century against England.

Almanackers old enough to remember Dashing Dougie’s century on debut, where were you on that day 50 years ago and what are your memories of his innings of 155?

For mine, I was in sixth class at primary school and our cricket-loving teacher allowed us to take turns to go out to his car and check the score on the radio. It was the last school week of the year and cricket rated much higher on our agenda than anything school had to offer. We would return to class and report on Australia’s progress in the Test to our teacher and cricketing class mates. Once the 3.30pm bell was rung, I remember racing home to pick up the radio broadcast. We sat fixed to the old Philips valve radio for what seemed like hours, until finally late in the afternoon Doug hit the four to bring up his maiden ton.




[See the 2016 Almanac membership categories, one of which is named the K.D. Walters Gadabouts’ Membership (for those who like to lunch) – Ed]

About Peter Clark

is a lifetime Geelong supporter. Hailing from the Riverina, he is now entrenched on the NSW South Coast. His passion for footy was ignited by attending Ovens and Murray League matches in the 1960's with his father. After years of watching, playing and coaching, now it is time for some serious writing about his favourite subjects… footy, especially country footy, and cricket.


  1. Cat from the Country says

    Can’t really remember but I guess I had just finished or was just about to finish my first 8 weeks in Preliminary Traing School #465 at The Geelong Hospital.
    I fondly remember listening to the radio an hearing the exploits of Walters, Lawry and Stackky.
    Heady days those!

  2. Neil Anderson says

    I had joined the Department of Customs and Excise in December 1963 and two years later as Doug made his maiden ton, I was plotting with a colleague about how to leave the place.
    My colleague suggested we go and work in the Snowy Mountains where he convinced me other blokes were making their fortune.
    It seemed like a good idea at the time for someone like me who couldn’t see himself working in an office for the next forty years. Being Doug’s age I didn’t think to inquire about the type of work up in the Snowy I might be doing coming from a fairly cosseted background in eastern- suburban Melbourne. I also didn’t give much consideration to the fact my career adviser was only seventeen years old.
    You guessed it, I barely lasted a year before I slunk back to the Public Service. Worse still, the blokes I ran away with had no interest in cricket and even worse still, no interest in the fate of the Bulldogs.

  3. Thesaurus Rex says

    Wasn’t quite a JFK Dallas moment for me, can’t remember exactly what I was doing when he debuted with 155, yes in school for sure. I watched it on TV, B&W of course! You mentioned the key partnership with Bill “Got ‘im!!!!!!” Lawry, I do recall the next year Lawry brought out his autobiography, “Run Digger” I think it was called, well, Bill was certainly sold on the young Doug … very lavishly praised him in the book, devoting a whole chapter to Walters (called something like “Enter the Prince” or (even worse) “Enter the New King”). The young Walters was certainly a breath of fresh air for the Australian XI in late 1965, the dashing Norm O’Neill’s test career was over (although no one realised it just then). I thought that Walters was very unlucky not to be picked to go to the West Indies earlier in the year. Perhaps they thought he was still too young to face the extreme orthodox pace of Wes Hall & the extreme bent-arm pace of Charlie Griffith. However he’d already clocked up three seasons in the Sheffield Shield for NSW & had a fine domestic season in 1964-65, esp. the match against Sth Aust with his best ever 1st class performance – 253 & 7 for 63.

  4. YEP, I sort of remember it Peter.
    I was down on leave from PNG so would’ve listened via ABC radio lying on a towel on my parents’ back lawn.
    Under a sprinkler. In Skene Street, Newtown, Geelong.
    I imagine Alan MacGillivray was commentating along with Alec Bedser with his famous call of ‘the shor-er ball’ (Alec could never spit out the full word ‘shorter’) and maybe even Noel Bailey was in on the call.
    Can’t exactly recall so will engage Monsieur Google. But I vividly remember Dougie was no fan of training and loved a drink, a smoke and a game of cards. For money!
    Going to resume attendance at the G this Boxing Day after a break of 2–3 years. Always have to remind younger folks that in the Fifties there was NO Boxing Day Test.
    It was always the period of the year when Victoria took on old rivals NSW in a four-day Sheffield Shield encounter. We used to come up from Geelong on the train for all 4 days, year after year.
    The Test match fixturing came much later.

  5. I was in the cot in Hobart.

    I remember reading Doug’s book when his non-selection in 81 was even worse than his recall in 80-1. He talked about making the ton against England in the tour game. I don’t think I knew he also took 0-100 in their first dig, off 15. Ouch! and taht Engalnd made 6-527, without a century maker – almost mathematically impossible. (and in 411 minutes. Have that!)’

    The whole Dashing Doug thing is still interesting to me. Clearly he had a top gear – tons in sessions, 250* in lightspeed time when pissed etc. But it was generally more about his style than his pace – for instance, his strike rate was less than 50 in his debut ton. He then made 22 off 80+ and his ton at 38/100 in the second.

    A bit K Hughes and SR Watson, you remember the big shots rather than the becalmed periods. On many occasions, KD was outscored by the “corpse with pads”. Friendly NSW media helps, I guess…

  6. Peter Clark says

    Ahh !! Peter W, Lawry outscoring Walters, that would have been due to Phanto’s uncanny ability to farm the strike. There has always been a fair bit of the old NSW/Vic rivalry in reviews of Dougies career. I am on the NSW side, my Dad was born on the opposite bank of the Murray and a great devotee of the “corpse with pads on”. And yes T Rex, Bill Lawry’s autobiography was entitled “Run Digger”, a Christmas present we gave the old man that year. Richard, you mentioned Noel Bailey, I clearly remember his calls of VFL matches on ABC radio in the sixties, but I’m not sure if he did the cricket. I reckon two of the radio commentators would have been Alan McGilvray and Lindsay Hassett for sure, while Norman May led the ABC TV coverage.

  7. Yes Richard I remember the traditional MCG Vic V NSW Boxing Day Shield games. One year they played it concurrently with a home test match in Adelaide, Ind V Aust. 1967-68, which, would you believe, they actually played on CHRISTMAS DAY, 25th Dec!

  8. Yes Dougie was an icon of mine in my youth. I recall the ton @ the WACA in 74-75, the 250 versus the Kiwis in 76-77, being injured , missing the Windies series in 75-76 as well as those poor tours of England in 72, 75 and 77. I was a bit too young for 68.

    When he was recalled In 80-81 he was still a handy contributor managing a ton in the six tests he played that summer. However he could not get that fiftieth test wicket. Damn ! As it was he wasn’t risked for the 81 Ashes tour, so off he went into retirement, leaving some good memories for us Aussie cricket followers. But;.

    Correct me if i’m wrong but didn’t Doug come out with some desultory remarks about Fawad Ahmed, when the latter spoke about feeling awkward wearing clothes with an alcohol producers logo on it. I have a sad recall of some racially tinged remarks allegedly emanating from Doug’s mouth.


    PS: Peter, what part of the Riverina are you from ? My maternal family are from Corowa.

  9. I was probably eating snails in the front yard at home, and learning how to use the potty when Dougie hit this ton. He’s a star.

  10. Peter Clark says

    You’re correct Demonymic, they did play on Christmas Day at Adelaide in ’67. Being a Sunday, Christmas Eve was the rest day. I was lucky enough to be there sitting on the hill at the southern end on day 1, 23rd December, to see Australia bat and make 6/311 (not a bad score in a day’s play in that era). Dougie Walters was still in the army at that stage, although he did get leave to play in the last two tests against the Indians that summer.
    Glen to answer your question, Albury is my home town. And my local footy allegiance was with the mighty Corowa Spiders!

  11. yes Phanto farmed the strike but I was comparing strike rates, not runs on the board.

    I know it’s all relative to what the standard was back then, but I was never on the bandwagon. with Doug so am able to feel relatively impartial. It was really only in 73 in the Windies that he first played an innings of astonishing strike rate (and followed that up with more in 74-5 and 76-7). But I am pretty sure that the “Dashing Doug” mantle was already there long before that. Yet Stacky, for one, was a much faster scorer.

    It may have been that my brother, also a Tasmanian expat, took the easy path of supporting NSW when we moved to Sydney (Rather than the principled decision to support WA), and in doing so talked Dougie Dougie Dougie. But I never related to him the way Australia, and the Chappell brothers, did.

    Kim Hughes, he was a real dasher…

  12. Peter Clark says

    Your point about strike rates is taken. I’m sure the “Dashing Doug” tag was very much about his batting style and approach to the game rather than pure stats. Ian Chappell rated Walters so highly due to his match winning ability.

  13. Good onya Peter, i remember the Spiders from my youth; a long time ago. I’m not sure what the future may hold for the Kangaroos. Not a great 2015, like many country clubs, problems attracting / retaining $$ and players. Hope 2016 brings better things, because as they say, the future is unwritten.


  14. Peter Fuller says

    Richard way back:
    Noel Bailey wouldn’t have been calling at the Gabba. At the time only Alan MacGilvray travelled to other than home State venues for the ABC. In fact one of the joys of the ABC commentary was enjoying the different voices in each State capital. It could have been the dulcet tones of Clive Harburg.

    Noel might have been close to retirement by 1965. While one has to be cautious in viewing experiences through the mists of very distant memory, I considered him the cream of the sports broadcasters of his era. As well as cricket and football, he was outstanding as a commentator of running events, notably the Melbourne Olympics and each year at Stawell. I marvelled how he could manage to deliver such a comprehensive word picture of a twelve second sprint.

    I have a distinct recollection (I wonder if I’m just conflating in my memory the generality of Bailey’s descriptions and my contemporaneous awareness of a radio broadcast) that he was calling the famous race in which John Landy went back to help Ron Clarke back on to his feet. Yes, in those days, the ABC broadcast events in track and field on Saturday afternoons! I’m fairly confident it was Noel describing the wonderful first day of athletics at the Olympics, when Vladimir Kuts broke Gordon Pirie’s spirit by his periodic surges in the 10,000 metres, and simultaneously Chilla Porter and Charlie Dumas were fighting out the high jump.

    Radio sport as Vin’s post suggests was the world to us in the era when television had barely arrived, and hadn’t reached my childhood home, and in any case the availability of direct telecasts was haphazardly provided.

  15. THANKS, Peter F. Yep, McGillers would have been commentating.
    Cooda been Clive Harburg as well.
    I was going to say Johnny Moyes but Dr. Google tells us Moyes passed in early ’63.
    I was a fan of Noel Bailey as you were obviously as well.
    Never warmed to Dick Mason, however. Thought he was a tad brusque.
    We were in PNG from late ’63 to Xmas ’76 so our ABC reception (apart from locally 9PA Port Moresby and in the Islands 9RB Rabaul) came via shortwave from N. Qld.
    Not ideal, but hey, that’s all that was available pre-instantaneous 21st century technology.

  16. My girlfriend (later to be my wife) and I (just into our twenties) were sitting on the southern rise of the Gabba – could have been on the grass, probably on the low splintery wooden benches. We were going to head home when Walters came to the crease. It might have been that first four he hit, but we decided to wait on and see how he went. And we waited on to see if he got to fifty and then sat out the agony as he headed for a hundred. It was the start of a lifetime of good decisions we made together! There wasn’t a whole lot of people there as I recall so we felt really privileged to have seen him get this maiden ton.

  17. Peter Clark says

    You made excellent choices Lloyd. With the ‘Gabba test against the Poms just days away, we can dream of another Aussie debutante, C. Bancroft, making his mark just as Doug Walters did 52 years ago.

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