The Bradman Museum’s newest acquisition captures a moment in Australian history.
Bob Lemcke became stone deaf as a baby in 1931 after contracting whooping cough. He struggled at school despite becoming an adept lip reader and only learned to speak properly around the age of 16 when hearing aid technology gave him the ability to hear.
Consequently he became a bit of a ‘loner’ and was drawn to cricket as his father was interested in the game. Scoring allowed him to follow the game closely and he habitually recorded Sydney Grade Cricket matches, especially watching local club Mosman, after the Second World War as well as Sheffield Shield matches. He did this purely for his own enjoyment and did not undertake scoring officially at any stage.
He was at the SCG when Bradman famously hit his 234 and recorded every scoring shot of this memorable innings.
Bradman actually batted sixth (despite his scheduled position at three) as he was struggling with both a leg injury and gastric trouble. He came to the crease after Keith Miller was out caught for 40 at 4-159. Opener Sid Barnes was already on 71 after had batted for over four hours. The pair were not out at stumps and continued to bat the following day. Bob described Bradman’s innings as simply ‘magnificent’ with him hitting freely and rapidly to all parts of the ground. When he was eventually out for 234 he’d batted for six hours eleven minutes against bowlers of the calibre of Alec Bedser, Bill Edrich, Doug Wright and Norman Yardley. Barnes was out four minutes after Bradman for exactly the same score after being at the crease for ten hours forty-two minutes. Barnes later admitted to deliberately getting out so as not to eclipse Bradman’s chanceless innings.
This was Bradman’s eighth century in successive Tests, but his first against England at Sydney. The partnership of 405 runs between Bradman and Barnes is still the highest for the fifth wicket in all Tests.
Fifteen year old Bob Lemcke treasured his record of the historic match. He only stopped scoring when he entered the work-force at the age of 17 becoming a highly successful Corporate Accountant who worked well past retirement age. Bob has very kindly donated his precious scorebook to the Bradman Museum 68 years since Bradman and Barnes made history.