Leslie O'Brien Fleetwood-Smith
March 30, 1908, Stawell, Victoria
March 16, 1971, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, (aged 62y 351d)
Right hand Bat
Left arm Wrist spin
Xavier College, Melbourne
Leslie O'Brien Fleetwood-Smith, who died in a Melbourne hospital on March 16, aged 60, played in 10 Test matches for Australia between 1935 and 1938, taking 42 wickets. A left-arm spin bowler who changed his style after breaking his right arm as a schoolboy, he often exploited the googly and the "chinaman" with effect. In all first-class cricket his record was 597 wickets, average 22.00. "Chuck", as he was known, first toured England in 1934 when he obtained 119 wickets - including three in four deliveries against Oxford University - for 18.06 runs apiece, but failed to gain a Test place against such formidable rivals as C.V. Grimmett and W.J. O'Reilly.
In 1936-37, however, after faring moderately in South Africa the previous year, he helped Australia to carry off the Ashes following the loss of the first two Tests, in which he did not play, to G.O. Allen's England team. Fleetwood-Smith did specially well in the fourth Test at Melbourne, his match analysis being 10 wickets for 239 runs. Again in England in 1938, he took part in four Tests and at Leeds earned match figures of 7 for 107, he and O'Reilly (10 for 122) bearing a major part in the victory which decided the rubber.
In the final match of the series at The Oval - his last Test appearance - however, he, in company with the other Australian bowlers, came in for a mauling. It was in that game that Leonard Hutton put together his record-breaking 364 and England won by the overwhelming margin of an innings and 579 runs. Fleetwood-Smith's analysis in a total of 903 was one wicket for 298 runs from 87 overs.
For Victoria, Fleetwood-Smith took 246 wickets for 24.56 runs each in 40 Sheffield Shield fixtures. Twice he enjoyed the distinction of dismissing nine batsmen in an innings - for 36 runs against Tasmania in 1932-33 and for 135 runs against South Australia five seasons later - at Melbourne in each case. He fell on hard times some years ago and was "living rough", but his friends rallied round him and latterly he was his old self again.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding