Jack Chegwyn’s XI @ Scone 1957
Featured Image: ‘Invincible’ Arthur Morris was one of the many elite Test players in the Chegwyn XI. ‘Demon tweaker’ local dairy farmer John Murray bowled him ’round his legs’ on Day 2 (Sunday). How do I know? Because John told me; that’s how. Eric Hollies bowled a similar ball to Don Bradman in 1948 but couldn’t sneak one past Arthur Morris?
Towards the end of the 1956-57 cricket season Jack Chegwyn brought his country touring team to Scone.
Chegwyn was a former Randwick and NSW State player who later became Chairman of the NSWCA Country Committee and a NSW State selector. He was “cricket’s standard bearer in the bush” and for more than forty years he took his “star-studded teams” that included State and Test Players into the country to play against the locals.
He had a shrewd eye for talent and in his “little black book” kept a note of any new prospects that he spotted. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s he had brought teams to Maitland, Cessnock and Muswellbrook.
The minutes of a committee meeting of the Upper Hunter Cricket Association on 14th December 1956 record that a motion was carried “that the Secretary’s action in inviting Chegwyn’s team to Scone be endorsed”.
A subsequent committee meeting on 11th March 1957 records that “the remainder of the meeting was given over to discussion of details regarding the forthcoming visit by Jack Chegwyn’s eleven”.
On his visit to Scone Chegwyn’s XI was a “star-studded line-up” that included State and Australian Test players: Jack Chegwyn, Jim Burke, Warren Saunders, William Watson, Alan Davidson, Arthur Morris, Norman O’Neill, Ken Muller, Alan Wyatt, Jack Treanor and Ernie Laidler. Local dairy farmer John Murray also recalls ex-skipper Ian Craig as part of the entourage? More than anything he remembers his skill on the piano alongside Jim Burke?
See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Craig
https://www.westscricket.com.au/hall-of-fame Ken Muller
http://www.stgeorgecricket.com.au/Club-History.aspx?rw=c Ernie Laidler, Willie Watson et al
The local Upper Hunter team up against this formidable opposition in the one day match on the Saturday was Bruce Shepherd, Ian Logan, Keith MacCallum, G L ‘Kelly’ Thrift, D Whitton, M Wiseman, L Thrift, L O’Hara, J Powell, N Ward, Lester Barton and Brian Cummins.
Upper Hunter was dismissed for 150 with Alan Davidson taking 5–37. Bruce Shepherd top-scored with 73 and Keith MacCallum played a dogged innings for 23. Alan Davidson reportedly said of Bruce Shepherd “the bastard’s got an eye like a hawk”!
In reply Chegwyn’s XI was 0-19 when rain washed out play.
In the second match on the Sunday with three new players in their team – L Constable, John Murray and R O’Hara – Upper Hunter batted first on a wet wicket and were all out for 56 with Alan Davidson again the main destroyer taking 4-8.
After Jim Burke and Norman O’Neill were dismissed cheaply Chegwyn’s XI went on to score 227 with Warren Saunders making 76, Arthur Morris 53 and Willie Watson 43. Best of the Upper Hunter bowlers were Brian Cummins with 3-20 and Ian Logan with 3-29. John Murray recalls ‘bowling Arthur Morris around his legs’ with one of his specialty ‘tweakers’!
Both matches were played on the “best cricket oval in the country”; White Park No 1 ground.
The visitors were entertained at the Golden Fleece Hotel. Around 10,000 runs were scored, 1000 wickets fell and 100 miraculous catches taken in the bar over the week end! Ian Logan told me that Jim Burke was legendary ‘twinkling the ivory’ on the vintage piano in the equally vintage Scone Golf Club House. “They entertained us” claimed Ian!
I very fondly recall Arthur Morris talking about ‘Batting with Bradman’ at a private club in Sydney. He told the story of Bradman’s famous dismissal at the Oval in 1948; bowled by Kent leg spinner Eric Hollies for a ‘duck’. “I was the only other Australian there” said Arthur. There was absolute silence for a few seconds before Bradman walked off while tucking his bat under his arm. Eric Hollies bemoaned the fact that after ‘bowling the best ball of my life’ he was sidelined while Bradman was the main story. Arthur Morris said few people recall that he was at the other end; and made 196 to famously win the Test match and underpin ‘The Invincibles’ tag!