Fun fact: this year marks the 90th anniversary of Sir Donald Bradman’s first trip to Yass.
Through the courtesy of a kindly local researcher, the Tribune received an article dated to June 20, 1928, which detailed the arrival of “young Don Bradman, the unsassuming international century maker.”
Bradman, who was 20 at the time (although incorrectly estimated to be “about 22” by the author) was yet to play a test match, but was making waves in first-class cricket, where it was quickly becoming apparent that the young man from Bowral had the makings of a special player.
His work as a traveller for Mick Simmons Ltd. brought Bradman to town, and he was described as “brimming over with boyish energy and enthusiasm and seeming to thoroughly enjoy every moment of life.”
It is implied that the young man was a considerable star even before he had been picked for Australia, because “Bradman was in Yass all day yesterday and he met many local people at Mr. C. V. Jackson’s shop.”
Not all of his time was spent working or discussing cricket; Bradman also found a couple of hours for a hearty game of tennis on the Hume tennis courts.
Like most professional sportsmen, Bradman was multifaceted in his talents.
Along with being the best batsman to set foot on a cricket pitch, he was also a sharpshooter with a pool cue in hand and dangerous with a racket (of either the tennis or squash variety).
So much so, in fact, that he gave up two years of cricket in 1924 and 1925 to pursue tennis, before returning to the gentleman’s game in the 1925-26 season.
Bradman paired up with a fellow player simply known as “Jarman” in the article, and together they defeated Cyril Duffy and Reg McKinnon 6-3, 6-4, 2-6.
“It was a great game of tennis and Bradman, if he practised, would play the game nearly as well as he does cricket.
“He is very fast on his feet and has a wonderful eye,” – assets for which his batting would garner worldwide fame.
Unusually, the article also commented on Bradman’s build.
Although history has often mentioned his small stature and wiry frame, the author here goes out of his way to note that several people described him as “a big boy.”
“In stature, Bradman is short, but he is thick set and has remarkably powerful shoulders and a deep chest.”
The tennis session was unfortunately cut short by rain, and the author ends the article abruptly: “Mr. Bradman left this morning for Canberra.”