Norman Gordon first Test cricketer to 100
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