Following the 1932-33 Ashes series held in Australia in which English captain Douglas Jardine employed ‘Bodyline’ tactics to combat the batting skills of Don Bradman a much lighter match was played between the Press and Royal Australian Navy on the eve of Australia Day 1933. There were some famous names amongst the players.
Our thanks go to Alf James and Ralph Derbidge for providing the scorecard for this match and drawing attention to newspaper reporting of it. Some of those stories are included below.
PRESS V NAVY
The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 24 January 1933
A cricket match between pressmen and the Royal Australian Navy has been arranged to take place at Rushcutter Bay Oval on Wednesday. Play is to commence at 11 a.m., and a naval band will be in attendance during the afternoon. J B Hobbs the former English test batsman will probably play for the Press.
CRICKET PRESS DEFEATS NAVY HOBBS AND BRADMAN HALF- CENTURIES.
Daily Examiner, Grafton, Saturday 28 January 1933
Attracted by the presence of international players, fully 3000 persons watched the cricket match at the Rushcutter Bay Oval on Wednesday, between the Australian Navy and the Press. The Press team included a number of cricketer-writers, including J. B: Hobbs, D. G. Bradman, J.H. Fingleton, C. G. Macartney, A.M. Mailey and Dr. E. P. Barbour. In the first innings Navy were dismissed for 82 runs, Mailey taking three wickets for 25, and Fingleton two for 12. The Press declared at three wickets for 173 (Hobbs 50, Bradman 53 not out). In their second innings Navy could score only 85, and Press thus won by an innings and six runs. Macartney took four wickets for 13, Mailey three for 33, and Hobbs one for 4.
STARBOARD THEORY: Navy at Sea on The Land, GREAT MATCH
By Arthur Mailey
The Sun, Sydney NSW 26 January 1933
The result of the Navy v Press cricket match proved that the pen is mightier than the sword, at least as far as the game itself was concerned.
But leaving out fine leg glances, cover-drives, back-cuts and other technicalities, I must admit that the Navy was the greater team, despite the fact we had such world-renowned players as Hobbs, Macartney and Bradman. The Navy began the day well by inviting the Press to lunch on the Australia. This, in addition to the fact that an armed guard was in the vicinity, probably influenced Jack Hobbs, who, after winning the toss on a perfect wicket, sent the Navy in to bat.
Port Side Field
I began bowling with a port-side field four men aft three amidships and a couple forward.
I have heard cricketer complain about the size of the stumps, but have never heard an umpire object to the state of the brasswork. Captain Bradley of the Australia, who kindly consented to be umpire, walked over to the stumps examined- the stumps and flew into a rage.
“Tch! Tch! Tch!” he said. “Who is responsible for these stumps? Look at the brasswork. It has not been polished since the days of the Armada. Take them away! Take them away!”
When It was explained to the captain that the batsmen would complain if the brass tops were polished, he calmed down and ordered the game to proceed, not with the familiar old order to “play” but, “clear the decks for action.”
The sea dogs collapsed in their first innings. Judging by the number of agricultural shots played by the Navy, l am Inclined to think quite a number or these good fellows were brought up on the land. Still, unlike Test cricketers, they did try and hit the ball.
Placing the Field
Two fairly decent batsmen, Hobbs and Fingleton, opened for the Press, and Captain Moyes, of the Navy team, barked his field into place with “Hasker, you go to on the port side just a little aft; Woolcott, lee scuppers; O’Hara, stand by on the port bow; you other fellows take up positions, and when Bradman comes in, retire and await developments.”
Umpire Captain Bradley rendered great assistance to the Navy by giving Hobbs out l.b.w. I found out later that when Admiral Dalglish was asked if Captain Bradley might play, the Admiral replied, “No. sir! Captain Bradley can render greater assistance to the Navy if he is umpire. Jack Hobbs decision proved that the Admiral was right.
Only Fingleton, Hobbs, Bradman, Macartney and Barbour batted for the Press. There were far more interesting batsmen to follow. Mr. Hobbs, I believe, was a little annoyed at being given out l.b.w., because he said that the tail-enders arranged it with Captain Bradley at lunch time.
The climax came when the Navy had one wicket to fall in the second Innings. O’Hara, of the Navy, came in, took block, looked around and saw a sinister leg field placed. “Struth,” he said, “so this Is what we’re up against! Fancy them placing a starboard field to ME.”
Hobbs, strange to say, was the bowler and his first ball rapped the unfortunate O’Hara on the shins. I believe this starboard theory would have continued, but the fieldsmen found out that Mr O’Hara was a naval policeman or marine something, and the field automatically drifted across to the offside.
O’Hara played one into the slips, and that ended one of the most delightful matches ever played.
Thinking over that last wicket incident reminds me that a couple of policemen in the next Australian Eleven would be handy.
THE PRESS vs THE AUSTRALIAN NAVY
Played on Rushcutters Bay Oval on 25 January 1933
|Cdr JR HASKER||c. Barbour, b Fingleton||4||run out||24|
|Cdr AR WOOLCOTT||st. Moyes, b. Mccartney||1||c. Fingleton, b. McCarney||19|
|A/C WA BRADLEY||b. Mailey||10||b. Mailey||0|
|Sub-Lt PERRY||b. Fingleton||1||b. Mccartney||0|
|Lt-Cdr WR MARSHALL a DEANE||c. Fingleton b. Mailey||14||b. Mccartney||0|
|Sub-Lt TK MORRISON||c. Fingleton b. Barbour||10||b. Mailey||3|
|Cdr JM FLATTERY||b. Mailey||7||st Moyes b. Mailey||4|
|Lt-Cdr GL CANT||b. Bradman||18||b. Mccartney||3|
|P/O DJ SHEPHERD||b. Greatorex||2||not out||14|
|Inst Cdr MH MOYES||c. Bradman b. Greatorex||4||b. Kann||9|
|Const P O’HARA||Not out||4||c. Fingleton b. Hobbs||6|
|JHW FINGLETON||b Moyes||36|
|JB HOBBS*||lbw, b. Morrison||50|
|DG BRADMAN||not out||53|
|CG MACARTNEY||c,Moyes, b.Morrison||10|
|EP BARBOUR||Not out||21|
|AG MOYES+||did not bat||–|
|MA NOBLE||did not bat||–|
|EN GREATOREX||did not bat||–|
|AA MAILEY||did not bat||–|
|EW KANN||did not bat||–|
|AN OTHER||did not bat||–|
|Total||3 wickets (dec) for||173|
The Press won by an innings and 6 runs.
The Navy Team
In 1941 Surgeon Captain Hasker and CPO Shepherd went down with HMAS Sydney. Commander Marshall a Deane went down with HMS Greyhound. Woolcott and Flattery became surgeon-captains and Bradley, a wing commander. Morrison and Perry were promoted rear admirals and Cant a lieutenant commander. Morton Moyes, whose brother “Johnnie” played for The Press, was an Antarctic explorer with Douglas Mawson. Neville Greatorex had played two internationals for the Waratahs in 1927.
Rear Admiral Robin Campsie Dalglish
Rear Admiral Robin Campsie Dalglish served in the Royal Navy from 1985 to 1934. He served as Rear Admiral Commanding the Australian Squadron (RACAS); flying his flag in the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra from April 1932 to April 1934.
An elite athlete who represented Great Britain, in fencing and sabre during the 1920 Olympic Games, in Antwerp, and in Paris in 1924, his interest in cricket and socialising with Test cricketers is understandable.
While commanding the Australian Squadron the RAN began the slow rebuilding process after the austerity of the Great Depression. The recruitment of officers and ratings had recommenced in January 1932 after a 12-month pause and the ships began to exercise more frequently and conduct port visits to New Zealand, New Guinea and the Netherlands East Indies. The squadron also increased in size with the addition of five destroyers on loan from the Royal Navy (HMA Ships Stuart, Vampire, Vendetta, Voyager and Waterhen )in early 1933 and the survey vessel HMAS Moresby was recommissioned in April 1933 for strategic survey work in northern Australian waters.
Source: Rear Admiral Robin Campsie Dalglish Biography, RAN Sea Power Australia.