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Norman Gordon first Test cricketer to 100

Sidharth Monga

August 6, 2011

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Norman Gordon bowling in the nets at Durban, South Africa v England, 5th Test, Durban, March 8, 1939
World War II restricted Norman Gordon's career to five Tests © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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Norman Gordon, the lone survivor from the final timeless Test, has become the first Test cricketer to have lived 100 years. Gordon, a South Africa pace bowler, was renowned for his fitness and athleticism during his playing days. He bowled 92.2 eight-ball overs during that timeless Test. He could play only five Tests because his career coincided with World War II. He lives in Johannesburg.

The reception around his 100th birthday has been emotional, according to his son Brian. Exhausted, Gordon was not available to talk. "The reception they had for him at his school was overwhelming," Brian said. "That brought him to tears."

Jeppe High School for Boys, the school that Gordon went to, felicitated him a day before his 100th birthday. "He has been pretty pleased, and a bit nervous," Brian said. "The reception they gave him at the school today was unbelievable. Marching bands were there, and three of the previous headmasters were there. Ali [Bacher] was there. And the choir, and the whole assembly, all the boys at the school assembly. And they named a board at the school after him."

The final few months of the 100th year have not been easy. "[His health is] not bad, but he had a fall in April," Brian said. "He broke his arm and he really battled, and he has aged about three years in the last four months. Otherwise he is okay. He has just slowed down a lot. Yeah. Just very, very tired."

That hasn't stopped Gordon from going to his favourite Hutton Golf Course "almost every day". "I bring him here almost every afternoon. If he has nothing else to do, we come and sit at the golf course." Norman stopped playing golf three years ago, but he loves to spend his time there. Before the fall in April, he used to go there everyday.

The birthday itself is hectic too. "He is coming to the golf course because we are having a benefit golf day for him," Brian said. "Then in the evening we are going to the Wanderers. Ali Bacher and South Africa Breweries have organised a party for him at the Long Room in the evening."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (August 8, 2011, 19:52 GMT)

Great innings Norman from Hilton College old boy. Hope you remain in good health.

Posted by rohanbala on (August 8, 2011, 5:51 GMT)

A truly memorable achievement by Mr Norman Gordon.. Heartiest greetings to you Sir on your 100th Birthday.. May God give you good health, happiness and prosperity.

Posted by Noman_Yousuf_Dandore on (August 8, 2011, 5:02 GMT)

Happy Birthday Dude and many happy returns of the day!! No wonder you've completed the century, I mean 92 8-balls overs, says something about the man! Here's to the next 100 healthy years! Cheers!! :))

Posted by RandyOZ on (August 8, 2011, 4:44 GMT)

Congratulations on a wonderful innings Norman! @Navin Rajpal, who really cares about Sachin's 100, he is just a first innings, flat track specialist who has never performed for his team when it counts

Posted by   on (August 7, 2011, 13:20 GMT)

Many cngrtultions to u sr!!...bowlng 92 eight ball overs in tht famous test mtch ws a bg achvmnt in its own...Happy Birthday sr...

Posted by   on (August 7, 2011, 8:33 GMT)

In 138 years there's only been one Test player to reach 100 years of age - and it's you sir. Many hearty congratulations on this unique event - have a truly memorable time.

Posted by   on (August 7, 2011, 4:00 GMT)

Come on guys .. get the joke about me mentioning Tendulkar over here ... Kalan & Ben .. grow up babies! Tendlya will reach this milestone quicker than anyone else ...

Posted by Robster1 on (August 6, 2011, 20:10 GMT)

If it hadn't been for WW2, Gordon would have played 30 odd tests. Respect on reaching a ton.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2011, 19:19 GMT)

Happy Birthday Sir! Hope this is my first of many wishes to you.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2011, 14:48 GMT)

Congrats!To remain fit so many years is truly majestic!

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