Vale – Sam Loxton, 1921-2011

05/12/11 Category: Blog, Events, News Posted by:

LOXTON, Samuel John Everett OBE
Born 29 March, 1921 – Died 2 December, 2011

Joint Bradman Honouree: 2007 with Neil Harvey
Joint Guest Speaker: Bradman Birthday Lunch, 27 August, 2006 with Neil Harvey

Lifelong Friends - Neil Harvey and Sam Loxton

An effervescent and gregarious man, Sam Loxton’s passion for cricket was lifelong and whole-hearted.  An indefatigable supporter of the Bradman Foundation, we wish to express our commiserations to his family and many friends.

A highly capable all-rounder, Sam’s aggressive batting was complemented by fast-medium bowling. He is one of only very few cricketers who scored a double-century on debut in first class cricket when he made232* for Victoria v Queensland in December 1946.

He was a tremendous outfielder with a very strong throwing arm. However it was his irrepressible personality and positive team ethic that defined him and made him the player that every captain wanted in his side.

Sam Loxton played 12 Tests in four series; 1947-48 v India, 1948 v England, 1949-50 v South Africa and 1950-51 v England. During the 1948 ‘Invincibles’ tour of England he played in three Tests top scoring with 93 runs at Headingley. His sole Test century was made against South Africa at Ellis Park in 1949.

Sir Donald Bradman described him as a wonderful ‘utility’ player, strong in all areas of the game and a great asset for team morale. He regarded him as the ‘most dangerous’ fielder in the 1948 side the best exponent at the lofted drive and the bowler he turned to bowl extended spells when a side was trying to ‘dig in’. (The two men were close, with Loxton adopting the nick-name ‘George’ for Bradman, the only person to whom Bradman would answer if so addressed)

After retiring from the game Loxton contributed his administrative talents to cricket and was a very successful Liberal member for Prahran in the Victorian parliament for twenty-four years serving as  Whip in the Bolte and Hamer governments.

Tests: 12 (1948-1951)
Innings: 15, Aggregate: 554, Average: 36.93, Highest Score: 101, Half Centuries: 3
Overs: 129, Runs: 349, Wickets: 8, Average: 43.63, Best Bowling: 3/71 (v England Headingley, 1948)

First Class Statistics
Matches: 146, 13 Centuries, 32 half-centuries, Aggregate: 6249 runs at 36.97.
Wickets: 232 at 25.73
Catches: 83

Clinically blind by the end of his life, Sam Loxton would invariably quote Lord Harris’ creed on cricket which he knew by heart and would frequently recount it with passion, perfect timing and panache.

“You do well to love it, for it is more free from anything sordid, anything dishonourable, than any game in the world. To play it keenly, honourably, generously, self-sacrificingly, is a moral lesson in itself and the classroom is God’s air and sunshine. Foster it, my brothers, so that it may attract all who can find time to play it; protect it from anything that would sully it, so that it may grow in favour with all men.”

Quotes from Bradman Foundation Interviews

Neil Harvey recollecting Sam in 1948

‘Don (Bradman) never offered me advice at all.  In fact the only thing that he did offer when I had to go to my friend Sammy Loxton in London when we’d played about 4 or 5 games and I was averaging about 7 and the wickets over there in those days were different to what they are today they were green and they used to zoom around a lot and I couldn’t handle that and I wasn’t doing any good and I said to Sam who was a good friend of Don’s I said to Sam “would you do me a favour” he said “yes what do you want” I said “would you go and ask the boss what I’m doing wrong” he said “yes okay” so he went to Don and he said “eh George” he said, that’s what he called him all the time, he said “eh George my little mates got a problem, he’s not making any runs can you tell him what he’s doing wrong” so the answer came back the same way, the answer came back via Sam he said “you go back and tell your little mate that the only thing I can tell him, if he keeps the ball on the ground he can’t get out”.  I always remember that and it doesn’t apply today does it because they keep trying to hit the ball over the fence’.

Sam on captain – player behaviour

‘I’ve left nobody in any doubt as to where my loyalties were, and have been, as far as Don Bradman is concerned.  He was my captain, he gave me duties.  He told me what I had to do.  And, of course, that was in a time, if you don’t mind, and any of your subsequent listeners to this, they better believe it, that my cricket was pretty much in the mould of ‘Lad, this is what you do!  You don’t do what you think you should do, we’re a team, and this is how it’s done!”.  And I learned that from Hassett and I learned it from Bradman.  And some of the things that I have seen go on, and some of the language that has occurred, I can assure anybody that subsequently listens to these comments, I would have been on the slowest ship home and never played for Victoria or Australia again.  And I emphasise that.  That’s one of the great pities of modern day cricket.  There’s no need for it.’

Sam on Sir Donald Bradman

‘Bradman, he was my skipper.  He wouldn’t go into a pub, as a pub in a bar, and I don’t blame him.  It was bad enough having dinner with him at the Piccadilly Hotel.  He couldn’t sit down and have a meal that was uninterrupted, there was always somebody coming up wanting an autograph or wanting a conversation.  And this was terribly difficult.  But nobody bought a drink, as far as I’m concerned, quicker than Don Bradman.  Nobody got a chance to get their hand in their pocket any quicker than what he did.  And he had my admiration, well all I need say is, as a man.’

Sam on getting out Denis Compton in 1948

Bradman said to Arthur Morris, “Now Arthur, you know where you’re fielding at square-leg?”.  He said, “Yes”.  “Now”, he said, “I want you to take five paces towards the square-leg fence.  I want you to turn and take five paces towards the Pavilion, and turn, and that’s your fielding position”.  And Harvey and I watched this, listened to this, and we watched Arthur Morris go through this performances to a tee.  Five, five.  Bradman just sidled up to Lindwall as Compton’s taking guard, had a couple of words to Ray, we didn’t hear what he said then.  1st ball, I think Compton nudged it away for 4.  And the 2nd ball he dropped short and it hit Arthur Morris’ hands on the second shirt button of his shirt.  And Harvey and myself, we ran to Bradman and said, “Oh look, turn it up!  Now, you can’t do this, that’s not on”.  “Well” he said, “it’s a funny thing”, he said, “he did the same thing to McCormack in 1938!”.  And that was ten years before.  So, there you are.  That’s just a little story that comes out of the debacle as far as ‘Braddles’ is concerned.  But it’s a little story about Bradman and how he got Compton out.

Sam on playing at Middlesex, 1948

‘But I can remember we were playing at Middlesex one day and we couldn’t get a bloke out.  His name was Compton.  Now this is not the big Compton, this is his brother, who was the Middlesex wicket-keeper and Arsenal goalkeeper.  And ‘Braddles’ called me in and said, “All right Sammy, I want you to take a turn now”.  He said, “I want you to bowl outside the off stump”.  And I said, “Good’oh George.  She’ll be right”.  So, the first six Tallon took down the leg side and Compton never got a touch.  At the end of the over, he said, “Sammy”, he said, “the instructions were outside the off stump”.  I said, “She’s right, I got it George.  Just, you know”, I said, I’m a bit tight and so forth, you haven’t bowled me for a while.  “But”, I said, “she’ll be right next over”.  So the third ball next over was the same direction as the first eight and low and behold, Compton had got the range by this time and he tickled it round the corner and into Tallon’s gloves it went.  And I’ve got a wicket.  I got the wicket they can’t get.  And he ran up to me, ‘Braddles’, and he said, “That’s not your wicket, that’s Tallon’s wicket”.  I said, “George, you have a look in the ‘Sporting Globe’ tonight.  So I bowled the next three (balls).  He said, “Cap and sweater Sammy.  Fine leg both ends of the rest of the game”.

I’ll never forget that one, that was marvellous.  But if that’s being tough, I mean, that’s a great story for a young player.  Do as you’re told.  That’s what it’s all about.’

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