Eddie Gilbert

A wicket falls.
Bradman rises from his chair
in the pavilion,
grabs his bat and gloves,
and strides out to his throne
in the middle.


Woolloongabba sunshine,
gentle breeze.
A walk in the park.
There are 452 reasons
why the Queenslanders
dread the sight of the Don.


Eddie Gilbert awaits him quietly.


When all is in readiness,
Gilbert strolls in off just four paces
and flings a flaming missile,
forcing the Don onto his back foot.


Who is this chap
with the fire and brimstone?
Bradman is contemplative,
but confident.
He’s seen this sort of thing before.


The next ball
darts down leg.
(Hmm, a leg-side theory:
now that’s a thought.)


The third ball
whizzes past his bat
flicking his cap
on the way through.
Bradman is befuddled.
Where will the next one go?


It cannons into his guts;
he drops his blade
and slumps to the turf,
grimacing in pain.
The White Headley is laid low.


When he finally manages
to get back to his feet,
the giant has been roused,
the Don will now attack.


The fifth ball is short,
the Don flashes at it,
catches the top edge
and is gone,
caught by the keeper
at full stretch.


Eddie Gilbert leaps for joy.


A king has been conquered.







About Damian Balassone

Damian Balassone is a failed half-forward flanker who writes poetry. He is the author of 'Strange Game in a Strange Land'.


  1. Damian – glad to see the Don got what he deserved! Great story here.

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Love it Damian.

    Eddie Gilbert- a very sad tale of what could have been.

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    Great work, Damo. Love the phot, too. Says a thousand words, at least. Did Eddie finishes his days in an asylum?

  4. DBalassone says

    Thanks gents. I have heard that Starks – as Luke says, it’s a very sad story.
    Bradman claims Gilbert was faster than Larwood, and McGilvray says he was faster than Thompson and Holding. There’s even some talk that Gilbert’s little spell to Bradman in 1931 inspired Jardine’s bodyline tactics a year later.

  5. Thanks, Damo.
    Agree with Crackers, Gilbert’s is a tale of what might have been…

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