Don Bradman Blackheath Bat (Front) (1931) by Sykes bat. Bradman Museum Collection.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame
Bradman's Blackheath Bat
The 'Blackheath' bat featured in one of the legendary events of Australian cricket, albeit in a very minor match, occurring at Blackheath Municipal Oval on Tuesday, November 3, 1931.
New South Wales players, Don Bradman and Oscar Wendell-Bill, were invited to play for the Blackheath team against the Lithgow Pottery side, to mark the opening of the new malthoid pitch laid down by the Blackheath Club.
Bradman made 256 (150 minutes, 14 sixes, 29 fours) and at one stage he hit 100 off three consecutive eight ball overs.
1st Over 66424461 (33)
2nd Over 64466464 (40)
3rd Over 16611446 (27) & 2
Wendell-Bill scored singles on the first & fifth balls of the 3rd Over. Note that 8-ball overs were bowled.
At the conclusion of the match Blackheath’s Mayor Peter Sutton asked if he could keep the bat as a memento. Bradman replied by saying that he could have it when he was finished using it.
Some months later the bat arrived with a letter from Don Bradman asking him to receive it as a gift as promised. The undated letter also mentioned that Bradman broke the bat in a match at Callen Park on 19 January 1932. The bat was sent to Blackheath soon after this game.
Between the Blackheath and Callen Park match Bradman had played several major test and first-class innings including, 135 for NSW v South Africa 13/11/1931, 226 for Australia v South Africa 27/11/1931, 219 for NSW v South Africa, 112 for Australia v South Africa 18/12/1931 and 167 for Australia v South Africa 31/12/1931.
Studying the bat’s front, one can view the crossing marks along the full length of the blade – left by the stitches of the cricket ball, having been hit so hard.
Also, a long crack through the centre of the blade shows the bat after repair, from Callum Park match.
A deep indent at the bottom of the crack and bat, appears like the indentation of a cricket ball.
Note also across the centre of the blade, a dark mark which may indicate the bat was once bound. In some cases bats were bound at the time by either waxed string or pig skin, which could stain the wood, but would prolong the life of the bat. Binding is still in practice but much more rarely today.
Young Don Bradman, at SCG (1928) by Bradman Museum Collection.Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame
"It is important I think to emphasise that the thing was not planned. It happened purely by accident and everyone was surprised at the outcome, none more so than I." Don Bradman
Bradman Museum © 2019
Bradman Blackheath bat donated by Katoomba RSL Club. Bradman Museum Collection.
Bradman's Blackheath cricket Bat: Google Art Cam 2018.
Don Bradman, NSW Batsman. Sydney Cricket Ground 1928. Bradman Museum Collection