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Full name Hector Herbert Oakley
Born January 10, 1909, North Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria
Died December 19, 1998, Sandringham, Victoria (aged 89 years 343 days)
Major teams Victoria
Batting style Right-hand bat
Hec Oakley was an outstanding all-round sportsman - a first-class cricketer, an accomplished amateur footballer, a national table-tennis and state tennis player, as well as a single-handicap golfer. An attacking right-hand batsman with a wide array of strokes, he had almost had his leg amputated as a child after he impaled it on the stump of a tree, but he avoided that but switched from right to left-footed kicking. As a young boy, Oakley had fallen from his bicycle and impaled his right knee on the stump of a bamboo tree. When it became seriously infected, a specialist planned to amputate below the knee. But the family's doctor recommended it be put into plaster for six months, the only long-term affect being that Oakley swapped to kicking the football with his left foot, rather than his right!
In 1929-30 he was invited to play cricket for St Kilda and by the end of the season he was in the state team after starting with innings of 11, 98, 100, 102, 90 and 67. One writer was moved to describe him as "another Don Bradman". A predominantly off-side player, he played for St Kilda's for more than a decade and a half with great success.
For Victoria in the Sheffield Shield, Oakley made four centuries, his most memorable being his 108 in three and a half hours against South Australia during his second season in 1930-31. A strained leg muscle forced him to rest on both the Sunday and Monday, but hearing that Victoria had collapsed and was on the brink of outright defeat late on the final day, he took a taxi from his Elsternwick home and with the assistance of a stick, limped into the rooms shortly after 5.30pm thinking that if he could at least stand at the wicket he may be able to help save the side. At 85 for 7 Victoria only narrowly escaped, Oakley ultimately not being required. His highest first-class score was 162 against Tasmania in 1938-39. He made 83 not out and 50 while wickets fell around him against the MCC Bodyliners Bill Voce and Bill Bowes in 1932-33.
Ken Piesse / Cricket Victoria
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