November 21, 1870, Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia
January 02, 1946, Hobart, Tasmania, (aged 75y 42d)
Left hand bat
Joe Darling's passing recalls some of the most stirring times of cricket in England and Australia. A left-handed batsman of medium height and robust build, Darling invariably opened the innings. Possibly he did not show the same style as Warren Bardsley or Clem Hill, but he seldom failed, and could defend with stubborn steadiness or pull a game round by determined forcing tactics. Besides his run-getting powers, Darling in the field, notably at mid-off, held opposing batsmen in check, and as a captain he inspired his men to reveal their best form. Joseph Darling first came to England in 1896, and he captained the Australian sides that visited us in 1899, 1902 and 1905.
Starting cricket when very young, he revealed remarkable ability just before his fifteenth birthday, when, in a two-day match for St Alfred's College on the Adelaide Oval, he scored 252 out of 470, so beating 209 by George Giffen - then the highest innings in the State. Farming occupied him for some years, and not until the 1893-94 season did he play for South Australia. Then he found his form, and next season against the England team, captained by A. E. Stoddart, he made 117 and 37 not out, so helping materially in a victory for South Australia by six wickets. He averaged 38 against the Englishmen, and coming to England in 1896, he started at Sheffield Park with 67 and 35. In the Test matches of that tour he was not fortunate, but his value was established, and altogether he played in 31 matches for Australia against England and three against South Africa. Altogether in Test matches against England he made 1,632 runs, average 30.79. His highest score in England was 194 at Leicester in 1896, and an aggregate of 6,305 runs, average 33, for the four tours included a dozen centuries. Most successful in 1899, he made 1,941 runs, including five centuries, average 41.29. At Cambridge after a tie -- 436 on the first innings - he and Worrall hit off 124, the last 74 runs coming in twenty-eight minutes.
His side won the rubbers in 1899 and 1902, the second of these series being memorable for the tense finishes at Old Trafford, where Australia won by two runs, and Kennington Oval, where England won by one wicket. Under P. F. Warner, England regained The Ashes in the 1903 winter, and F. S. Jackson led England to a great triumph in 1905, when England were victorious in the only two finished games.
Jackson won the toss in each of those five Tests, and it was related that when they met again at the Scarborough Festival at the end of the tour, Darling, with a towel round his waist, waited in the dressing-room, and received Jackson with the remark, "I'm not going to risk the toss this time except by wrestling". But the spin of the coin again favoured Jackson, and he scored 123 and 31 not out in a match unfinished because of rain.
By a remarkable coincidence Sir Stanley Jackson and Joseph Darling were born on the same day, November 21, 1870. So Darling passed on at the age of 75.
In 1908 Darling left Adelaide and settled in Tasmania as a farmer, and continued making many runs in club cricket until well over fifty. He became a member of the Legislative Assembly, being awarded the C.B.E. in 1938. So he followed the example of his father, the Hon. J. Darling, who, when a member of the Legislative Council of South Australia, was responsible for inaugurating a central cricket ground, famous for many years now as Adelaide Oval.
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