Two More Of My Favourite Cricket Photographs
This marvellous photograph taken by George Beldam in 1902 says almost all you need to know about batting in the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of cricket prior to the First World War. There is a grace, elegance almost an arrogance to the shot and Trumper is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of that magic time. He was capable of playing solid and responsible innings but he was equally capable of playing a cavalier innings and score mightily on rain effected pitches.
On his first trip to England in 1902, he scored 135 at Lord’s before becoming the first player to score a triple century for Australia, against Sussex. It prompted the great WG Grace to offer his bat to Trumper, declaring: “From the present champion to the future champion.”
Sadly it was not to be. He died in 1915 at the age of 37 from Bright’s Disease. Twenty thousand people lined the streets for the funeral procession.
Up until the mid 1970’s when Jeff Thompson was “in his pomp” no one had ever bowled with such speed or aggression and of this picture Michael Parkinson said, “If I were to choose one photograph to illustrate the awesome beauty of Thomson’s bowling, it would be Patrick Eagar’s portrait of him in his delivery stride”. There is nothing to add to that description.
His very distinctive sling-shot action with his natural athletic ability and physical flexibility mean’t that he could bowl with extreme pace and steepling lift. In combination with the other great Australian fast bowler of the period, Dennis Lillee, they made batting very difficult.
As Dennis Amiss an England opening batsman in 1975 said of Thompson,”The most awe-inspiring fast bowling I’d ever faced, the bat in my hand seemed superfluous. Batting was a complete misery.”