Jack Stackpoole 1916-2010

The man who bowled Bradman first ball

Martin Williamson

December 16, 2010

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The bare statistics of Jack Stackpoole's first-class career as a medium-fast bowler are unremarkable - three matches for Queensland immediately before World War two brought an end to cricket for the duration - but his real claim to fame was he was one of only two men to dismiss Don Bradman first ball.

Stackpoole, who has died at the age of 93, was born in Queensland but raised in South Australia, returning home as a teenager and after impressing in Grade cricket, he was drafted into the state side for their home Sheffield Shield match against South Australia. His debut was remarkable.

Bradman won the toss and batted, but South Australia were bowled out inside two sessions, Stackpoole taking career-best figures of 6 for 72, including Bradman, caught at silly mid-on, much to the disgust of a large crowd who had turned up to see the Don bat. He took 3 for 66 in the second innings as Queensland sneaked a two-wicket win.

Stackpoole modestly told The Argus newspaper it was "just the luck of the game … I don't want to be made a hero at Don's expense because I am a great admirer of his."

After two more appearances the war stopped competitive cricket and Stackpoole went on to serve in campaigns against the Japanese in the Far East. He returned and continued bowling steadily in Grade cricket but was not given another chance for Queensland. He went on to become a state selector.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by   on (December 16, 2010, 17:40 GMT)

What a wonderful feat for his family to remember him by!

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
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