Wally Hammond would tuck a blue handkerchief into his right trouser pocket before striding to the wicket. It was his mascot in 1,005 first-class innings. But there was more to Hammond than a handkerchief.
Hammond started his career as a flamboyant batsman for Gloucestershire in 1920. By the end of the Ashes series in Australia in 1929, he had replaced his flamboyance with finesse, to emerge as one of the world’s finest batsmen. The tour of Australia was his watershed. Hammond thrived in the five Tests played to a conclusion on hard, true pitches. He was content to stay on the back foot and limit his range of strokes to solid drives between mid-wicket and extra-cover. His disciplined approach yielded a scoring sequence of ,44, 28, 251,200, 32, 119 not out, 177, 38 and 16. When the statistics of England’s 4 - 1 victory were tallied, Hammond had hit 905 runs at an average of 113.12
The ubiquitous Hammond, who scored centuries in both innings of the Fourth Test in Adelaide, was on the field for 26.5 hours.
Herbert Chapman made one of the most astute purchases for Arsenal when he paid Preston North End £9,000 in June for Alex James, the disaffected Scottish international forward. Preston had refused to release James for an international against Wales and his bitter resentment towards the Preston directors sparked off the transfer. James was an efficient goal scorer, but Chapman did not want him to score goals, he wanted him to create them. Under Chapman’s tutelage, James became a brilliant midfielder schemer and goal-maker, and the key player for Arsenal over the next six seasons.
The Green Bay Packers did not lose a game as they took the first of three successive titles. But, as the depression bit in the United States, other American football teams found the going much tougher. More than half a dozen sides stopped playing in quick succession. But it left the NFL a leaner and fitter organisation with franchises, concentrated in the major cities, where they were able to draw big enough crowds.
The first World Cup was held in Uruguay and proved an indifferent success. Only 13 countries took part, and powerful European nations such as Italy, Germany, Austria and Spain, who had supported the idea of a World Cup, refused to go, angry at the choice of host country but citing a three-week boat journey and lack of funds as their excuse. None of the British countries took part because they had withdrawn from FIFA over “shamateurism” two years earlier and were not eligible.
Only France, the initiators of the tournament, Belgium, Yugoslavia and Romania crossed the Atlantic. Romania were organised by King Carol who selected the squad and threatened to close the British oil company employing most of the country’s leading players unless they were given paid leave.
There were seven South American countries, Mexico and the United States, which was composed mostly of expatriate Scots and English. Uruguay, the Olympic champions took the event very seriously. The final, Uruguay versus Argentina was a repeat of the 1928 Olympic final, pitting bitter rivals against each other. Surprisingly it was a good-tempered game and Uruguay won 4 - 2 having been 2 - 1 down at half time.
Sir Henry Seagrave died on Friday June 13 at the age of 34 when his boat hit a log on Lake Windermere having set a world water speed record of 98.76 mph. He had, in his short life, been a Great War flying ace, the fastest man in the world on land and water. And helped establish Grand Prix racing in Britain.
Germany’s Max Schmeling became world heavyweight champion at Yankee Stadium on June 11 when awarded the fight because of a low blow from Jack Sharkey. It was the first time a challenger had won the title when he was on the canvas.
CRICKET - West Indies won their first match against England in the Third Test in Georgetown. Wilfred Rhodes ended the worlds longest Test career (31 years, 315 days) in the Fourth Test and at 52 years and 165 days was the worlds oldest Test cricketer.
Don Bradman took his first Test wicket in the first match played between Australia and the West Indies in Adelaide. Australia won by 10 wickets.
FOOTBALL - On April 21st the Monday before the Cup Final, Leicester and Arsenal drew 6 - 6 in the league. Arsenal were 3 - 1 down at half time until David Halliday scored four goals to level the scores. He was not picked for the final, where Arsenal beat Huddersfield 2 - 0.
Professionalism, the dirtiest word in Rugby Union, was on everybody’s lips in the late 1920‘s. The accusations were levelled at the French, who were in the dock for paying players to move from club to club in a no holds barred quest to win the club championship. The French simply shrugged their shoulders and in February the four home unions announced that all fixtures at club and international level against France would be abandoned at the end of the season. They were banished until 1947. With France out of the Five Nations championship, rugby league in the country flourished. In the first rugby league match in France Australia beat England 63 - 13
The Windsor Castle liner from South Africa to England was no place to train for a rugby tour. The roll of the ship made keeping ones balance difficult and the sun decks were not an ideal surface on which to throw rugby balls. The Springboks, however, needed the occasional run around to relieve the rigours of travel, but they paid a price. They lost three balls overboard and, in a heroic bid to stop another ball plunging into the Atlantic, Jock van Niekerk injured a knee.
The South African winger recovered sufficiently to be chosen for the first match of the tour against Midland Counties but he injured the knee again, this time so badly that he was carried off and never played rugby again.
There was further anguish for the South Africans. George Beamish, an Irish forward, led Midland Counties to a 30 - 21 win against the Springboks. Then the tide turned. The South Africans did not lose another game, beating Wales 8 - 3, Ireland 8 - 3, England 7 - 0 and Scotland 6 - 3. The Springbok selectors had plucked Danie Craven from obscurity for the tour and the South African press greeted his selection with disdain. Craven however, mastered the dive pass developed by Dauncey Devine. Craven played 16 Tests for the ‘boks
RUGBY UNION - The weight of the ball was increased from 13.5 ozs to 15 ozs.
CRICKET - South Africa won 1 - 0 in their first series victory against England since 1909-10. The start of the fifth Test in Durban was delayed 20 minutes because the correct size of bails were not available.
FOOTBALL - Manchester United got off to the worst possible start to the season, losing 12 First Division matches in a row, a record which still stands.
GOLF - Tommy Armour won the first Open held at Carnoustie.
TENNIS - The men’s final at Wimbledon never took place. Frank Shields injured his ankle when leading 4 - 3 in the fourth set of his semi-final against Jean Bortra. Although he won the match, he withdrew from the final because of upcoming Davis Cup commitments.
With the world in deep financial depression the 10th Olympic Games in Los Angeles looked doomed. There were fears that because of the travelling involved and lack of money, few Europeans would attend. Instead the Olympics enjoyed one of its finest hours. There were 1408 competitors from 37 countries, and more than 1 million spectators.
Their solution to housing the male athletes was to build the first Olympic village, with 550 cottages, 10 minutes from the Coliseum stadium. The women were booked into the Chapman Park Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard. The games were the first to use photo-finish equipment, the three tiered victory stand and the raising of national flags during medal ceremonies. Most medals went to the host nation. One notable exception was their hockey team who were thumped 24 - 1 by champions India.
The England team travelling to Australia in 1932 had a problem - how to stop Don Bradman. He had hammered 974 runs in five matches against England in a previous series. Jardine, the English captain came up with a strategy which became known as ‘Bodyline’. This was first unleashed against an Australian XI in Melbourne using the fast bowling trio of Larwood, Voce and Bowes. The tactic was to reinforce the leg-side with a cordon of players around the batsman and bowl a barrage of fast, short-pitched balls on or outside the leg stump. The batsman could either attempt a defensive shot, risking a catch to the clustered opposition, or duck out of the way.
The ploy met with disapproval from the Australian crowds who watched their bruised batting hero’s succumb to some of the most intimidatory bowling in cricket. The series degenerated into a slanging match between the Australian Board of Control and the MCC. The controversy reached its climax when the Australian captain Bill Woodfall was hit on the heart and Bert Oldfield sustained a fractured skull from short pitched balls from Larwood.
While the two controlling bodies continued their exchange of telegrams Larwood finished the Series with 33 wickets at 19.51 runs as England swept to victory. Jardine’s attitude was that he had found an effective method to curb Bradman by simply changing the attack from the traditional off-side to the leg-side
BILLIARDS - Walter Lindrum compiled a world record break of 4,137.
CRICKET - India became the sixth country to play Test cricket. They lost by 158 runs against England at Lord’s on June 25 in their only Test series.
RACING - The Aga Khan owned the first, second and fourth placed horses in the St. Leger.
GOLF - United States beat Great Britain 5½ to 3½ in the first Curtis Cup at Wentworth.
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