The Gabba, Brisbane, Queensland
The Gabba scoreboard attendant would have had a fine view of Don Bradman and Jack Fingleton batting during the first Test between Australia and England in the summer of 1936/37. The pair put on 76 in the first innings before Bradman was dismissed for 38. Fingleton compiled a careful century. In the second innings both were dismissed for ducks, lasting a combined three balls. The Test, Bradman’s first as captain, was lost by 322 runs. The old MCG scoreboard, now at Manuka in Canberra, is named in honour of Fingleton. Bradman, of course, has had many things – including a museum and an annual oration – named in his honour.
Majid Khan was an elegant Pakistan and Queensland batsman, seen here in 1973 being presented with a cheque by Mr Jack Trobe of Caltex Oil Australia Proprietary Limited as best player in the Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales at the Gabba, Brisbane. The scoreboard provides a handy backdrop.
Jeff Lawton took this photo in 1987: I was on a driving tour to Queensland and was keen to call into the Gabba on the first day of the Shield match between Queensland and Victoria, on Friday 20 February 1987. I particularly wanted to watch my favourite player, Dav Whatmore. I turned up at a quarter to 11, only to find that matches in Queensland started at 10.30. Whatmore was already out for a duck (he was to make another in the second innings), and the Vics were about to collapse to 4/29 on their way to the inevitable innings defeat. I liked this scoreboard – it had a corrugated texture, and there were different type of ducks for Whatmore and Hibbert, if you look carefully.
Nowadays the Gabba scoreboard, indeed scoreboards, are all-electronic, featuring highlights, replays, advertisements and, if you’re quick enough, the scores. Things were different in December 1936, when the Courier-Mail reported: ‘It was suggested at last night’s meeting of the executive of the Queensland Cricket Association that an indicator should be placed on the Scoreboard at the Cricket Ground, so that patrons at the Test match would know which player made a catch or fielded a ball. An effort will be made to find a way to provide such a convenience.’
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