DEREK BRAIDNER CHATS WITH DICK STUMBLES
DB: You’ve had an interesting career both on and off the field. Tell us about it?
RS: My first job was an Audit Clerk for Peat Marwick Mitchell – now KPMG. I’ve been an auctioneer. I had a career as a lead light craftsman and a good one at that … good enough to twice get into Home Beautiful. I’ve been a workplace Aboriginal Development trainer and a school teacher.
DB: If you could have been anything in your life , what would it have been?
RS: What I am today – whatever that is.
DB: Name 3 people you would invite to a dinner party
RS: David Attenborough, Robyn Williams and Barack Obama
DB: How far can you trace your family history back
RS: On my mother’s side – The Battle of Trafalgar. I was named after my Great Great Great Uncle, Lt Richard Anderson. Got his pistol and a copy of his diaries.
On my father’s side, my GG GF was Town clerk of Wollongong. His brother nabbed the bushranger Captain Starlight
DB: Tell us about your interest in sport. What’s your favourite?
RS: I love Baseball, Cricket and Golf … all hard to play.
DB: Do you think cricket is a team game?
RS: Most certainly. I always reckon a champion team will always beat a team of champions.
DB: Tell us about your finest cricketing moment (in less 3000 words)
RS: Being picked in the Australian Over 70s team to tour England in 2016
DB: Who’s the most admired cricketer you played with or against?
RS: I played with Tony Leigh (Footscray and Victoria) for a couple of years. … played the game hard but a true gentleman.
I played against Colin McDonald (Brighton CC) … a lesson in concentration.
DB: What’s the most memorable cricket ground you’ve played on?
RS: John Paul Gettys Wormsley park estate in a game against the Queens Household.
DB: How many games of cricket have you played?
RS: Maybe 600 plus. I’ve been playing since I was 17 (with just a few breaks with kids and life generally!)
DB: Besides your wife and cricket, what turns you on in life?
RS: I love chocolate! And visually … natural wilderness
DB: What does VCV mean to you?
RS: Playing the game I love against a bunch of blokes that keep you honest and laughing – most
of the time! And the opportunity to travel to all corners of the world playing cricket. I still can’t believe it!
DB: What advice would you give fellow Vet cricketers
RS: Play on. You’re a long time looking at the lid!
SIX ALL ALONG THE GROUND (Gary Adams)
It was in the late 80s, a twilight game, a soft ground and a must win game against the Imperials. It’s getting dark and I’ve slogged a ball high in the air to cow corner and set off for an easy single. Deep square leg runs around the boundary to cut it off but runs past the ball plugged into the ground covered in mud. Fielder can’t find the ball, so partner and I go for a second and then a third run. Team mates start yelling instructions confusing the fielder. We take off for a 4th run. Opposition captain and bowler are getting agitated and call for reinforcements. By the time the cavalry have arrived and found the ball, we’re turning for the 6th.
So a six, all run, no overthrows and it’s fair to say the opposition are not amused.
Batting partner: “I’m buggered”
Bowler: “You’re a %$#@ cheat”
Sth Gippsland Vet: “Let’s have a look at the scorebook. See what that says”
The Cricket Toss … No more ‘heads’ or ‘tails’
The decision by the Big Bash marketers to replace the coin toss with a flip of a bat has brought a smile to the faces of backyard cricketers across the country.
Rather than calling “heads” or “tails”, team captains will be guessing if the bat will land with its flat side upwards (called “flats”) or downwards (“hills”) in BBL8.
Most seasoned veterans of backyard cricket tend to favour a call of “hills”, thinking that the bat will more likely roll over if it lands on its uneven side, compared with if it lands flat.
The Big Bash League’s Kim McConnie is confident predictability will not be an issue. She said bat-maker Kookaburra had developed a special bat for this purpose:
“You’d be surprised at the science that’s gone into this. It is a specially weighted bat to make sure that it is 50-50”.
Although the flip will bring a different look, the philosophy behind the toss remains unchanged. The new method though raises questions over the fairness of the process.
Howzat for fairness?
Professor Stephen Woodcock (Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at Sydney University Of Technology says even a standard coin, whose two sides are far more evenly weighted and shaped than any cricket bat, can never be said to be truly a 50-50 proposition.
The simple fact is that there is no such thing as a coin that is absolutely fair. Even a completely symmetrical coin could be biased towards one outcome – whether deliberately or otherwise – by the action of the person tossing the coin.
Some people’s technique will push the coin higher. Others might give the coin more rotation.
In a 2009 study, researchers at the University of British Columbia concluded that even a regular coin could easily be made to produce biased outcomes when the person tossing it was told “how to manipulate the toss of a coin” and incentivised to make it so.
Of 13 participants, each flipping the coin 300 times, all managed to produce more heads than tails. Overall, of the 3,900 tosses, 57% landed heads. One participant was able to obtain heads more than twice as often as tails.
Put to the test
In the haphazard and improvised spirit of backyard cricket, I decided to see how a cricket bat would land when flipped. I did not have access to one of the new Big Bash League bats so had to make do with the old battered bat from the back of the garden shed.
With a nod to procedural fairness, I decided to try two different techniques: low rotation (aiming for two of three flips while in the air) and a high rotation (as many flips as I could manage). Each of these techniques was applied 100 times to the bat being flipped from “hills” up in my hands, and 100 times from “flats” up.
I’ll be the first to admit that this resembles serious scientific rigour about as much as the browning patch of grass next to your parents’ Hills Hoist resembles the MCG.
A greater sample size would have been preferable, but this was as much as I could muster in fading light in a suburban backyard.
Based solely on the results of my backyard testing, you can likely chalk this one up as a win for conventional wisdom.
Especially when the bat was flipped with high rotation, it appeared to exhibit bias towards landing “hills”: 68 times from a “flats” up and 63 times for “hills” up position.
For the less vigorous flipping technique, its initial orientation influenced the outcome more and the results were closer to 50-50: the “hills” 58 times from a “flats” up and 48 times for “hills” up position.
In fairness to the league and its equipment suppliers, I would imagine that the bats used will be a little less prone to bias than the one available to me.
Nonetheless, whatever results Kookaburra’s testing machine produced with its bat, it is difficult to believe that a large, asymmetrical bat will be less susceptible to bias by the flipper’s technique than a simpler, smaller coin.
Finishing off the tail
Even if the bat flip is indeed not as unbiased as confidently claimed, it probably doesn’t matter. The decision to ditch the coin flip for its more unconventional counterpart is not one driven by a desire for sporting equity.
It’s a move designed to further distance the loud, brash, big-slogging and brightly dressed T20 league from traditionalists’ cricket, and to generate hype for the forthcoming season. With all of the international headlines that followed the surprising announcement, the decision already appears to be a huge success for Australian cricket.
The Baggy Green
Did you know? On the Veterans Cricket Australia Baggy Green, the word Australia appears on a scroll below a Coat of Arms. But it is not the Australian Coat of Arms as popularly thought. The Coat of Arms on the Baggy Green is often referred to as the Australian Cricket Coat of Arms and predates the Federation of Australia. It is thought to be the only pre-Federation to have symbol of Australia still in use.
The Cricket Coat of Arms comprises (1) a crest – the rising sun, (2) a shield divided into quarters by the southern cross with wool, wheat, mining and shipping in the quarters, and (3) the supporters, kangaroo and emu, which in the original, were on the opposite sides. The Cricket Coat of Arms is used only on the Baggy Green cap and the helmet.
Victorians Bill Blair (32), Craig Gislingham (34) and Darren Hill (36) donned the Baggy Green in 2018 with their selection in the Australian Over 50s World Cup team. Victorian Over 60s players to have represented Australia in ODIs are Robert Agg (3), Arthur Pritchard (11), Alan Stephens (16), Bob Phillips (27), Rex Bennett, John Scales (29), John Costello (30), Ian Rowland (35), Ian Marks (37), Ian Pritchard (47), Ron Kasputtis (48), Rex Bennett (58), David Cordy (59), Ian Southall (64), Robin Court (66), Kevin Lanigan (70), Trevor Selby (71), Les Quarrell (74), Wayne Stokes (78), Trevor Saker (81), Chris Carr (82), Paul McDonald (86), Ray Smith (87) and Dale Thornton (92).
Vic Over 70s players honoured with a Baggy Green are Norm McLeod (3), Peter Flack (7), Des Lloyd (11), Terry Dunn (14), Bruce Hotton (16), David Tomlinson (17), Rex Thompson (18), Graham Freshwater (22), Bob Hopkins (32), Ron Kasputtis (33), Graham Cuddon (39), Peter Dell (40), Ian Hammet (43), Dick Stumbles (51), Greg Johnson (55), Ron Lovell (56), Wavell McPherson (57), Arthur Pritchard (58), Tim Spear (59), Ian A Gibson (62), Robin Court (67), Jim Geltch (69) and Ian Rowland (92).