TOPICS: The Don was a hit with the ladies

IT warranted no more than three sentences in the Newcastle Morning Herald, but Donald Bradman once captained a team of women in Newcastle.

It was October 23, 1931. The Don was 23 and nearing the height of his powers. Later in the summer he would amass four hundreds against the touring South Africans, including a 299 not out.

Bradman was in Newcastle to captain a Sydney XI in a practice match against a selection of locals, at the opening of what was then called the Stockton Mental Hospital Oval, but we’re more interested in the subsequent match at No.1 Sportsground.

Bradman and fellow batting hero Stan McCabe were opposing captains, the rest of the players were women.

‘‘Mr Bradman and Mr McCabe will be the captains of two ladies’ cricket teams in an exhibition match,’’ previewed The Herald.

‘‘At night a dance will be conducted by the Ladies’ Cricket Association in honour of Mr Bradman, at the Palais Royale, where a marching competition, in which girl cricketers will take part, will be judged by Messrs. Bradman and McCabe.’’

Just to tie some of this together, reader Chris Wilson has previously told H2’s Moment in Time his grandmother Molly Abell (nee Skewes) once bowled a maiden over to The Don – it sounds like this was the match where she did it.

Special thanks to reader Vivienne Northcote, who told us about this.

A special question at twilight gives rise to contagious grins

IF this fellow, left, looks chuffed, and a bit relieved, he has good reason. He has just proposed, and she has said yes.

The snapshot of the couple, in the glow of one of life’s heart-pounding moments, was taken earlier this month by Newcastle Taxis boss John Woods.

Mr Woods and his wife had walked up to the Newcastle Obelisk at twilight.

‘‘As we approached we found a young couple in a wonderful passionate embrace, which was very nice given Nobbys is in the background,’’ he told us. ‘‘They broke when they heard us and I said to the young man, ‘My friend, I do not know what you have, but I hope it is contagious’.’’ 

‘‘His response was: ‘She just said yes’.’’ 

Mr Woods took a photo to mark the occasion, but the parties didn’t exchange contact details in all the excitement. He wanted to get it to the happy couple via us, so here it is. 

Well done, you pair.

A kind word for workers

ROSTERED on to work Christmas Day? That’s tough, you hardy soul.

Discounting the fact that the world might end today, meaning no one gets Christmas off, there are hundreds of Hunter locals who will have to drag themselves to work on December 25.

Police. Paramedics. Topics writers. Let’s not get bogged down in who contributes most; instead, why not offer them all a kind word this Christmas?

If you take the train, maybe buy a box of Favourites and hand them out to the guards. Or refrain from blowing up at cabbies when there aren’t enough on. Is it naff to shake the hand of a cop?

If you know someone who’s working through Christmas, or are yourself, tell us about them. A shout-out might ease the pain.

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