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Essex Shield

Tales from the Boundary

Shane & Others


I once found myself playing online Texas Hold 'Em with Shane Warne.

This game is a poker variation where players are dealt two cards each, then three 'communal' cards are dealt, face up on the table, followed by another and a fifth.   Bets are placed before, between and after each deal of the communal cards.  Best hand wins.

Anyway, Shane only lasted three hands, going all in with a pair of nines, losing when an ace turned up.  I didn't even get the chance to say "G'day Maestro".   It was typically aggressive play by Shane.  Or, maybe, Liz Hurley or someone had told him it was time for bed and he lost concentration.

Unlike other leg spinners, relying on guile, it always seemed (to me) that Shane's deliveries were more like hand grenades which could explode and go in any direction.   He had the demeanour of Jeff Thomson at near half the pace, though maybe he was not as ferocious as Bill 'Tiger' O'Reilly, who had competition in the thirties from the miserly bowling of Clarrie Grimmett and 'Chuck' Fleetwood-Smith, who 'bowled like a millionaire'; not forgetting Arthur Mailey of '10 for 66 and All That' fame.

England had a couple of useful leggies just after the war.  Eric Hollies famously bowled Don Bradman for a duck in his last Test innings and restricted The Don's Test average to 99.94, otherwise 100+ would have made statistical databases look lopsided.  Eric was the miser to Doug Wright's millionaire.  Doug toured Australia in 1946-47 and 1950-51 but then we realised that finger spin was just as effective, notably, Appleyard and Laker; in 1962-63 Titmus, Allen and Illingworth toured.

It shows, I guess, that a good bowler is a good bowler, no matter the pitch or opposition.

Andrew Appleby