Jack Stackpoole 1916-2010 December 16, 2010

The man who bowled Bradman first ball

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