South Africa news August 6, 2011

Norman Gordon first Test cricketer to 100

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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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 8, 2011, 19:52 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • 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!! :))

  • 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

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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 ...

  • 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.

  • on August 6, 2011, 19:19 GMT

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

  • on August 6, 2011, 14:48 GMT

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

  • on August 8, 2011, 19:52 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • 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!! :))

  • 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

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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 ...

  • 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.

  • on August 6, 2011, 19:19 GMT

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

  • on August 6, 2011, 14:48 GMT

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

  • on August 6, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    Happy Birthday Mr. Gordon

  • Vimalesh on August 6, 2011, 12:57 GMT

    Another photo of Norman Gordon with Brian Lara. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/8685710/Former-Sourth-Africa-fast-bowler-Norman-Gordon-celebrates-his-100th-birthday.html May Norman enjoy as we are his day in a 100 years!

  • jrg_from_oz on August 6, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    At last, a bowler who is happy to have a century against his name! Happy birthday.

  • Ellis on August 6, 2011, 11:48 GMT

    Happy birthday, Mr. Gordon. I also wish you many more days and birthdays in the sun watching your favourite sports. Keep well.

  • on August 6, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    A fine century by Mr.Norman Gordon in his real life. Long Live and Very Happy Birthday!

  • Ali_Chaudhary on August 6, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Happy Birthday to Mr. Gordon.

    @ Zulfiqar Ansari. here is the lastest foto of him. http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/image/496881.html?object=45239

  • george204 on August 6, 2011, 9:17 GMT

    Happy Birthday and congratulations. Sounds like a hectic day though: Viv Richards had a quiet 50th birthday & talked about "bringing up the half century with an easy single". It sounds as if Norman Gordon is bringing up his century with an all-run five!

  • on August 6, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    HB =] and may u live long =] special wishes to u from all across Pakistan !!!

  • AlpiBhalla on August 6, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    Sir Don fell 8 years and 4 runs short but you have completed great century!!! Congrats, we are happy as part of extended cricket family!!!!

  • on August 6, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    Sure Sachin will break his Record ... Sachin will live for 150 years and no one can break his record.

    sachin the great

  • on August 6, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    calls for celebration for every cricket lover....

  • AshLee99 on August 6, 2011, 8:17 GMT

    92.2 overs of 8 balls. Nearly 738 balls, what a great performer

  • Yorker_ToeCrusher on August 6, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    Happy Birthday Mr Gordon..

  • Shafaaqat on August 6, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    Hapy birthday and may you have more healthy years in your life.

  • on August 6, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    Happy birthday on his 100th day.....

  • on August 6, 2011, 7:03 GMT

    I want to see his recent photo !!

  • on August 6, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    Happy birthday Sir Norman *respect* (92*8 BALL overs wow! )

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on August 6, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    Happy birthday, Mr Gordon . Was great to hear about the celebration put on for him by his school & SA cricket. Was surprised to hear he is the first Test cricketer to reach his century. Are there any other players who are close to the milestone? Would be interested to know.

  • kaushiq on August 6, 2011, 6:49 GMT

    happy birthday Mr. Gordon. may you live many more years in peace. oh one more thing, i am practically sick n tired of hearing indian fans praising them and bringing the matter in every article even though its not relevant. its good that you guys r champs but you are not the only one. other teams have done it too but they dont act like a jerk. show offs

  • YorkshirePudding on August 6, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    Congratulations, to Mr Gordon for reaching the Milestone, may he have many more years.

  • on August 6, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    Happy Birthday, Mr.Norman Gordon

  • on August 6, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    manu more happy returns of theday...may u live longer without any troubles...all the best..

  • on August 6, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    Happy Birthday Gordon and congratulations on the achievement!

  • on August 6, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Happy Birthday gordon.....

  • on August 6, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Are you effin kidding me? Even in this article, you have to bring up Tendulkar for no reason at all? Can't you just pay respect to a former test great for living so many years. Have some decency man.

  • kevinpp24 on August 6, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    They say pitch those days was tough which I never understood but after seeing this pitch there is barely enough difference between pitch and outfield.

  • Rajeshj on August 6, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    can anything be more silly than saying that Tendulkar would reach even this milestone... and that too soon enough... He needs to live another 62 years for that and that is not a soon enough time... I am an Indian too, but I am really sick of attributing anything and everything to Sachin... why don't we leave him alone... I think after reading this article, we need to Salute "Sir" Norman Gordon and congratulate him on his birthday and pick up his words and advices for our benefit.. to stay long as a good human...

  • KabaabRoll on August 6, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Happy Birthday to you,,,, happy birthdaay to yooooouuuu i wanted to just say happy birthday, but needed 25 characters or more...

  • Satyajitdutt on August 6, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    Oh Navin for god sakes why do you have to bring Sachin into this discussion? This is about Norman Gordon not Sachin Tendulkar. Needless to say, this is quite a cool moment that someone has reached 100 in our great sport! congratulations Norman Gordon!

  • on August 6, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    The topic's not even about runs man! Can we not have ONE article on this website without a "Sachin will get 100 100's" or an "India are the best" comment? It's not even relevant! Argh. On topic, congratulations to the man, and the ceremony by the school and Ali Bacher is a lovely touch on what is the most incredible of landmarks.

  • SivaatZenith on August 6, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Wish you a very very happy birthday sir. May ur health be as good as more years to com

  • Kalan9211 on August 6, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    @ Navin! this is abou age, not centuries. should read it carefully.

  • vladtepes on August 6, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    happy birthday, mr gordon.

  • devagupta on August 6, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    scoring a century in this format is nt easy ./ he did it ..

  • Muzgrob on August 6, 2011, 4:08 GMT

    Congratulations on being the first centurion. Hopefully he has many more years left in him.

  • on August 6, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    Tendulkar will reach this milestone soon enough ...

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  • on August 6, 2011, 3:40 GMT

    Tendulkar will reach this milestone soon enough ...

  • Muzgrob on August 6, 2011, 4:08 GMT

    Congratulations on being the first centurion. Hopefully he has many more years left in him.

  • devagupta on August 6, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    scoring a century in this format is nt easy ./ he did it ..

  • vladtepes on August 6, 2011, 4:17 GMT

    happy birthday, mr gordon.

  • Kalan9211 on August 6, 2011, 4:36 GMT

    @ Navin! this is abou age, not centuries. should read it carefully.

  • SivaatZenith on August 6, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Wish you a very very happy birthday sir. May ur health be as good as more years to com

  • on August 6, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    The topic's not even about runs man! Can we not have ONE article on this website without a "Sachin will get 100 100's" or an "India are the best" comment? It's not even relevant! Argh. On topic, congratulations to the man, and the ceremony by the school and Ali Bacher is a lovely touch on what is the most incredible of landmarks.

  • Satyajitdutt on August 6, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    Oh Navin for god sakes why do you have to bring Sachin into this discussion? This is about Norman Gordon not Sachin Tendulkar. Needless to say, this is quite a cool moment that someone has reached 100 in our great sport! congratulations Norman Gordon!

  • KabaabRoll on August 6, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    Happy Birthday to you,,,, happy birthdaay to yooooouuuu i wanted to just say happy birthday, but needed 25 characters or more...

  • Rajeshj on August 6, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    can anything be more silly than saying that Tendulkar would reach even this milestone... and that too soon enough... He needs to live another 62 years for that and that is not a soon enough time... I am an Indian too, but I am really sick of attributing anything and everything to Sachin... why don't we leave him alone... I think after reading this article, we need to Salute "Sir" Norman Gordon and congratulate him on his birthday and pick up his words and advices for our benefit.. to stay long as a good human...