Bodyline and more!

The MCC winter tour of Australia in 1932/33 has gone down in the history books as one of the most eventful on record, largely through the tactics employed by the English bowlers in the Test matches in a bid to curb the run-scoring of legendary Australian batsman Don Bradman.

The tactic of fast leg-theory, known as Bodyline, employed by the English fast bowlers had its origins in Glamorgan’s end-of-season match in 1932 against Nottinghamshire. The visitors from the East Midlands had Harold Larwood and Bill Voce in their ranks and, as announced, in the newspapers during the lead-up to the game, they took the opportunity of experimenting with Bodyline against the Welsh county.

The response of the Glamorgan batsmen was little short of miraculous as they rattled up 502 – at the time, the Club’s highest-ever total in Championship cricket. Captain Maurice Turnbull made an imperious 205 whilst Dai Davies struck 106 with the pair sharing a stand of 250 for the third wicket.

The Glamorgan batsmen had hooked, pulled and upper-cut a volley of short-pitched balls from the Nottinghamshire attack, and having been frustrated by the response of the Glamorgan batsmen, some of the visitors made their way late at night back into the Arms Park and attempted to show their contempt of what they thought of the sluggish wicket.  

News of the “watering” of the wicket reached the ears of Pressmen who gathered the following morning when the covers were removed hoping to take pictures of any rust-coloured marks. But Trevor Preece, the Arms Park groundsman (seen in the image below) had been at the ground since the wee small hours and the damage had been removed well before the players arrived.

Trevor Preece tends the wicket at the Arms Park watched by (left to right) Trevor Every, Tom Brierley and Dick Duckfield. Photo Credit – Glamorgan Cricket Archives.