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Full name Donald Barry Clarke
Born November 10, 1933, Pihama, Taranaki
Died December 29, 2002, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa (aged 69 years 49 days)
Major teams Auckland, Northern Districts
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm fast-medium
Relation Brother - DS Clarke
Clarke, Donald Barry, died in Johannesburg on December 29, 2002, aged 69. His prodigious line- and goal-kicking while fullback for the New Zealand All-Blacks made Don Clarke a rugby legend and won him the nickname "The Boot". And when he wasn't kicking balls 50, even 60 yards, he bowled them pretty quickly over 22. Months before he caught the nation's eye by helping Waikato lift the Ranfurly Shield, New Zealand's premier rugby trophy, the 17-year-old Clarke opened the bowling for Auckland in the Plunket Shield. At that age, selection for a metropolitan province was a significant achievement for a country boy. Standing 6ft 2in and powerfully built, he was made for fast-medium bowling. His smooth, athletic action lent itself to sustained spells and he could move the ball about disconcertingly.
After Northern Districts entered the Plunket Shield in 1956-57, he represented them
until 1962-63, when they won the competition for the first time and he became one
of the few to play for winning teams in both the Plunket and Ranfurly Shield. His 20
wickets that season included a career-best eight for 37 in 22.3 overs off the reel to
dismiss Central Districts for 71 at Wanganui, following a career-best 47 in Northern's
first innings. Only the last of his eight wickets was bowled. Several days later Clarke
returned a creditable three for 82 in 27 overs when Wellington's John Reid smashed
a world-record 15 sixes while hurtling to 296 out of 422. One of the three off Clarke,
little more than a fly-swat at a beamer, smashed into a Basin Reserve floodlight tower
with such force that those present still testify to the tuning-fork twang as leather struck
steel. The next summer Clarke was in the British Isles and France with the All-Blacks.
After that a serious knee injury, not helped by supporting some 17 stones, put paid to
his first-class cricket. He had played 27 games, taking 117 wickets at 21.14 and scored 369 runs at 10.54. One of his brothers, Doug, played six times for Northern Districts,
while there was one representative rugby game in which all five Clarke brothers turned
out together for Waikato. Don Clarke moved to South Africa in the 1970s and set up
a tree-felling business.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2003
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?