Thomas Welbourn Wall
May 13, 1904, Semaphore, Adelaide, South Australia
March 26, 1981, Adelaide, South Australia, (aged 76y 317d)
Right hand bat
Right arm fast
One of only three bowlers to take all ten wickets in a Sheffield Shield innings, Thomas Wellbourne Wall - known universally as 'Tim' - was for a time Australia's best fast bowler. The search for a successor to Jack Gregory, who broke down in the first Test of the 1928-29 series, seemed to have been successful when the 24-year-old schoolteacher was called up for the final Test and, in 75 overs in the match, took eight wickets for 189 (Hammond in both innings) in a long-awaited victory for a rebuilding Australian side.
Partly because he lacked top-class support and partly because his own pace was less than the very fastest, Tim Wall's subsequent record fell short of early expectation, however, his earnest endeavours bringing 56 wickets in 18 Tests at the heavy rate of 35.89. Forty-three of those wickets were English, cost 38.67, spread over four series, two of them in England (1930 and 1934). Three times he took five wickets in a Test innings, twice against England and once (5 for 14 at Brisbane) against South Africa.
A. G. Moyes wrote of Tim Wall that, off a long run, 'he had a good approach, and as he reached the bowling crease kicked his feet about like a frisky colt ... He could move the ball freely, and sometimes disconcertingly, had splendid stamina, was a magnificent trier, and a charming companion.'
Born in Semaphore, South Australia on May 13, 1904, Wall was chiefly a batsman in club cricket, though he never aspired to emerge from the tailend in first- class cricket from his first match at the age of 20. His undemonstrative but wholehearted efforts as a fastish bowler brought him 178 wickets in Sheffield Shield cricket at an average of 29.53, the red-letter day coming not on the heartless Adelaide pitch but at Sydney on February 3, 1933, when he took 10 for 36 in NSW's first innings of 113. (NSW went on to win by 98 runs.) Swinging the ball in a stiff breeze, Wall took the last nine wickets after lunch - four in one over - for five runs. Six were bowled, and Bradman (56), Fingleton (43), Brown (0) and McCabe (0) were among his victims. Not for 33 years was his all-ten feat equalled, by Queensland's Peter Allan, and only Ian Brayshaw has done it since.
Tim Wall died on March 26, aged 76, having suffered for years from Parkinson's
disease. Remembered as a great trier, a 'nearly' man, he at least had his name at the top of Australia's bowling in the Bodyline series of 1932-33 - and among the elite who had taken all the opposition's wickets in a first-class innings.
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