Full name Charles William Puckett
Born February 21, 1911, Beddington Corner, Surrey, England
Died January 22, 2002, Morphett Vale, Adelaide, South Australia (aged 90 years 335 days)
Major teams Western Australia
Also known as The Iron Man
Batting style Right-hand bat
|First-class span||1939/40 - 1952/53|
Puckett, Charles William, who died in Adelaide on January 21, 2002, aged 90, was instrumental in Western Australia winning the Sheffield Shield at their first attempt, in 1947-48. When they needed to beat Queensland at Brisbane in their final game, he bowled unchanged for nearly two and a half hours, taking the last five wickets for nine runs in six overs as Queensland collapsed to 130, and finishing with six for 48. Puckett was then 11 days from his 37th birthday and he kept delivering for WA until he was 42. In those six seasons he bowled more than a third of their overs and captured almost a third of their wickets while 23 other bowlers shared the workload. When the ball lost its shine and hardness he would switch from fast-medium swing to slow-medium off-cutters and quickish off-breaks, always prepared to "bowl till my arm drops off " as he had promised his captain, Keith Carmody, at the Gabba in February 1948. It wasn't only his practice of stopping the ball with his shins that earned him his nickname "The Iron Man". Puckett was born in Surrey - his father was a sometime groundsman at The Oval - grew up in Adelaide and was lured to Perth in 1938 to play baseball, having already made his name as a catcher for South Australia and Victoria. Two brothers were also state ballplayers and his son Max, who died in 1991, was a five-times All-Australian, as well as playing one Sheffield Shield game for South Australia, against Western Australia, in 1964-65. Charlie won All-Australian selection in 1948 and 1952 before hanging up his mitt in 1954. Cricket was little more than a summer diversion until his bowling for West Perth in 1939-40 brought a first-class debut against South Australia, including Bradman (135) and Grimmett (11 wickets). Having spent the war as a physical training and unarmed combat instructor, Puckett was just the man to bowl 38 overs while the 1946-47 MCC tourists put on 477 at Perth, and his five for 126 earned him Combined XI games against MCC at Perth and Melbourne. These were affluent days for Australian fast bowling, though. The best Puckett could muster by way of national honours was a place in the 2nd XI that went to New Zealand in February 1950, recognition for taking 32 wickets at 18.87 in his four Shield games that season. His five for 45 helped bowl out the West Indians for 151 in December 1951 - WA went on to win by one wicket - and ten months on he welcomed the South Africans to Perth with five for 119. He finished, in 1952-53, with career figures of 158 wickets at 25.58 in 37 games. His best figures were six for 35 in routing South Australia at Perth in 1951-52. A fortnight before that he had struck a career-best 75 in 99 minutes after Victoria had reduced WA to 96 for seven. His batting was uncomplicated and his 643 runs averaged 14.61.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
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