A Brush with Fame: Helping the “The Don” get started

One of Randwick Petersham’s claims to fame in terms of the life and times of Sir Donald Bradman was that his first 1st Grade century was scored at Petersham Oval. The date was 27 November 1926 and “The Don” rattled up 110 before being run out in a St George total of 6-389 declared. Another batsman by the name of C D Targett hit 150 not out.

The Petersham attack was quite a good one that day with NSW opening bowler Sam Everett supported by Sidney King who went on to play rugby union for Australia alongside Cyril Towers, the father of Randwick 1st Grade fast bowler Tim Towers. Also part of the attack was Petersham’s greatest cricketer Tommy Andrews who played 16 Test matches and 151 first-class games. Tommy got “carted taking 0-95 off just 8 overs in the innings with his right-arm leg-breaks.

And while this historic Bradman batting feat is recorded on a commemorative plaque at Petersham Oval, this was not the only occasion the club through its founding clubs, hosted Australia’s greatest batsman.

Almost five years earlier the 13 years old Donald was a member of a Bowral team which ventured to Marrickville Oval for a “friendly” match against a Marrickville XI which was playing its first season in the 1st Grade competition. The date was 26 January 1922—Australia Day. Don was listed no. 12 in the Bowral XII but did not bat in the first innings. There is every possibility that he was the team scorer.

However, after Marrickville had bowled out Bowral for just 15, the home team knocked up 153. This allowed Bowral to bat again providing young Donald the opportunity to go in at the fall of the sixth wicket. At the end of play the score sheet showed the visitors 7 wickets for 148 with “DG Bradman not out 22.”

It may therefore be argued that not only was Randwick Petersham, through the Petersham club linked to Don Bradman’s first Sydney 1st Grade century but through the Marrickville club it also played host to his first game of cricket in Sydney!

Lyall Gardner

Randwick Petersham Historian

2 October 2015