CRICKETER OF THE YEAR 1927

Bill Woodfull

WILLIAM MALDON WOODFULL, the most dependable and consistent run-getter of the last Australian team, was born at Maldon, Victoria, on August 22, 1897. As a boy be played cricket at home under the tuition of his father. The conditions were rather primitive, but from the very first Woodfull had impressed upon him the necessity and importance of the straight bat. The effect of this early coaching and the lessons then inculcated could plainly be seen in his style and methods in England last summer. Woodfull became known to English cricketers during the tour of john Douglas's team in 1920-21 when, for Fifteen of Ballarat he scored 50 and 1 against practically the full bowling strength of the visitors. In 1922 he first appeared in important cricket for Victoria against South Australia at Adelaide, and innings of 23 and 117 against New South Wales in the following summer made his position secure. During that season he averaged 85 in Sheffield Shield matches, and 74 two years later, when against South Australia his scores were 97 and 236. Probably the performance in Australia upon which he looks back with greatest personal satisfaction is that of 1924-25 when after New South Wales had made 614 in the first innings he, with innings of 81 and 120 not out, had a lot to do with Victoria gaining a great victory.

On his form during the Australian season of 1925-26 Woodfull was, of course, certain to be picked as a member of the combination under H. L. Collins. He more than justified his inclusion, heading the batting in all first-class matches and being third in the Test match figures. Against Essex at Leyton he played a masterly innings of 201, followed this with 118 against Surrey at the Oval, and altogether reached three figures on no fewer than eight occasions. He failed at Lord's in the First Test Match in which he batted, but was at his best at Leeds and Manchester with scores of 141 and 117. It is no exaggeration to say that Woodfull was probably the most difficult man in the Australian team to bowl out. He had no pretensions to grace of style--indeed, at first sight he gave the impression of being rather clumsy--but as to his ability there could be no two opinions. He watched the ball more closely than any of his colleagues, and kept his bat beautifully straight. His action seemed a little laboured by reason of the fact that he never lifted the bat any noticeable distance from the ground, but, blessed with strong forearms, he could drive with great power. By profession a master in the Victorian Secondary Schools, Woodfull at 29 years of age, is a very remarkable batsman.

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