Jack Hill (cricketer)
1949 newspaper photo
|Batting style||Right-hand bat|
|Bowling style||Leg break, googly|
In 1949, in a semi-finals match on 17 September 1949, in which he kicked nine goals for Belgrave, he was knocked out during the match. He thought nothing of the injury and, thinking it was just concussion, he sought no additional medical treatment. On 4 October, he collapsed at work, and was hospitalized. At the hospital, it was discovered that he had fractured his skull (the second time that he had fractured his skull in his football career). He immediately retired from football, having set the goal-kicking record of 152 goals in a single season.
He was not fit enough to resume cricket until 29 October 1949; and the consequences of this severe head injury were such that he suffered from severe headaches from time to time for the rest of his life; and, very often, he had to take special headache powders in order for him to be able to play cricket.
He was already an outstanding schoolboy cricketer whilst at St Patrick's College, where he took 118 wickets in four years, at a time when the College's team only played four matches a year. At 15 years of age he was selected to play in the Ballarat Cricket Association's (senior) team that competed in the Provincial Group of the March 1939 Country Week Carnival in Melbourne. He played at least one of these matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
He played District Cricket for the Melbourne Cricket Club from the beginning of the 1941/1942 season. In his first match for Melbourne, playing against the Essendon Cricket Club, he put on an exceptional performance after the break for tea:
…Splendid bowling by Hill, formerly of St. Patrick's College, Ballarat, was a striking feature of Melbourne's display against Essendon (167). Up till tea time he had 0/24, but he finished with 6/36 off 15.1 overs. Bowling leg breaks slightly faster than usual, he showed good control in his first senior match.
…At Essendon Hill, a new M.C.C. bowler form Mordialloc took 6/3. He kept a good length and got wickets with top spinners that made pace from the pitch.
During the time he was in the R.A.A.F. he was stationed near Sydney and, whilst there, he played intermittently with the Mosman Cricket Club. In 1945 he transferred to the St Kilda Cricket Club.
Reporting on his October 1945 debut for St Kilda, following his 1945 transfer from Melbourne, The Argus commented:
…A remarkable debut in the St Kilda team was made by Jack Hill, who transferred from Melbourne. At North Melbourne on Saturday he took four for 5 off 6.3 overs, making great pace off the wicket and turning slightly from the leg. Still in the RAAF, he is something of the O'Reilly type, although there is not the same swirl of arms and legs.
He played in 69 Sheffield Shield cricket matches for Victoria, from 1946 to 1956, scoring 867 runs, and taking 218 wickets. He took a wicket, bowling the South Australian batsman Thomas Elliott Klose, with the first ball he ever bowled for Victoria.
He was also famous for not scoring what might have been the easiest runs ever scored in a Sheffield Shield Cricket in the first innings of Victoria's match against New South Wales, at the St Kilda Cricket Ground on Saturday, 24 December 1955:
Hill Misses a Golf Shot
Victorian top-spinner Jack Hill played at the slowest ball bowled to him in inter-State cricket on Saturday — and missed. Later in the day at the Shield game at St. Kilda the greasy ball slipped from Pat Crawford's hand as he approached the bowling crease. The ball trickled slowly towards square leg and stopped rolling about level with the batting crease. Hill walked across, addressed the ball in true golf fashion, swung hard . . . . and made an "air shot". As soon as Hill's swing was completed Ian Craig stepped in and picked up the ball. Under the laws of cricket a batsman is entitled to hit any ball considered by the umpire to have been delivered that comes to rest in front of the batting wicket. No fieldsman has the right to Interfere while the batsman is playing the stroke. — The Argus, Monday, 26 December 1955.
To the relief of the many who had come to refer to the continuously overlooked Hill as "Australia's forgotten cricketer", the Australian selectors announced in February 1953, that they had selected him for the team to tour England for the 1953 "Coronation" Ashes series.
Although cricket writer Tom Goodman thought that Hill's selection was "a surprise" and "a gamble", former Australian champion spin-bowler Bill "Tiger" O'Reilly, commended the Australian selectors for "[their] effort to tighten up the distressing state of our spin attack" and expressed his view that "if Hill can adapt himself to the English conditions he will be a certain choice for the Test attack on tour".
At the time of his 1953 Test selection, a newspaper described his action as follows:
…Jack Hill, the "slightly different" bowler… grips the ball as though he will bowl a leg break, but, although he can bowl leg breaks, he is really a top spinner, making great pace off the wicket. He has surprised and bowled many good batsmen because the ball nips off the wicket much faster than expected.
…Jack Hill, 51, who died in Melbourne on 11 August, was a topspin bowler who took seven wickets in two Tests at Trent Bridge and Old Trafford in 1953. They included leading batsmen in May, Graveney, W. J. Edrich and Kenyon and he twice dislodged Bailey. Hill took 63 wickets on the tour and in a third Test in 1955 dismissed Holt at Bridgetown. Lifting his front foot high, almost a goose-step, Hill delivered with a leg-break roll, but needed responsive turf for the ball to turn at his pace. Often around the leg stump, he was a difficult bowler for wicketkeepers and one sharp blow on an ankle knocked Len Maddocks' legs from under him.
On the way to England, Hill played with an Australian XI against a Tasmanian team, in Hobart, in March 1953. On the first day, the Australian XI were 9/505 at stumps. By the end of the second day the Tasmanian team were 2/21 in their second innings, having been forced to follow on after being all out for 202. Hill bowled eleven overs, had three maidens and took none for 24. The Tasmanian team went on to score 234 in its second innings; Hill taking 2 for 28 off 11 overs (with three maidens).
The team squad then travelled to Launceston, and played a match against a combined Northern Tasmanian side. The Australian XI, made up of Lindsay Hassett (captain), Arthur Morris (vice captain), Ron Archer, Richie Benaud, Alan Davidson, Jim de Courcy, Jack Hill, Graeme Hole, Bill Johnston, Gil Langley, (cricketer), and Colin McDonald. Hill had been selected as twelfth man; however, he replaced Ray Lindwall in the team, who was indisposed from having a tooth extracted the day before. The remainder of the squad were used to strengthen the opposition, and Ian Craig, Keith Miller, Neil Harvey, Doug Ring and Don Tallon all played for the combined Northern Tasmanian side. At the end of the first day's play, the Combined side were all out for 262 (hill's figures were 0/27), and the Australian XI were 93 without loss. At the end of the second day, the Australian XI had scored 469 (Hill scored 20) and the combined team were 2/19 in its second innings (Hill did not bowl on the second day). On the last day, the combined team scored a total of 245 in its second innings (with Hill taking 3/58) and the Australian XI, scoring 41 without loss, won the match.
In 1953, the entire tour of England involved 34 matches in all: five Test cricket matches, and an additional 29 matches that were played before, during, and after the Test series. Of the Five Tests, he played two for Australia against England during the 1953 Ashes Series.
His first Test match appearance was in the rain affected First Test from 11–16 June 1953 at Trent Bridge (both he and Alan Davidson made their Australian Test debut in the same match). In a drawn match, he scored a duck and four runs; and took 3/35 and 1/26.
He was twelfth man for the Fourth Test at Headingley). The first four matches of the series were drawn; and the last match of the series (for which Hill was not selected) was won by the M.C.C. by eight wickets. Of the 29 additional matches that the squad contested during the tour, he played in 20 of them:
- 29 April – 1 May: against Worcestershire at New Road; match drawn; he did not bat, took 3/57 from 33 overs (19 maidens).
- 2–4 May: against Leicestershire at Grace Road; the Australians won by an innings and 154 runs; he did not bat, took 1/8 and 4/46.
- 6–8 May: against Yorkshire at Park Avenue; the Australians won by an innings and 154 runs; he did not bat, took 0/40 and 4/61.
- 13–14 May: against Cambridge University at Fenner's; the Australians won by an innings and 106 runs; he scored 15 runs, took 1/5 in the first innings, did not bowl in second innings.
- 16–19 May: against Marylebone Cricket Club at Lords; match drawn; he scored 2 runs (n.o.), took 0/33 in second innings.
- 20–21 May: against Oxford University at Christ Church Ground, Oxford; the Australians won by an innings and 86 runs: he scored 3 runs, and took 3/11 and 0/18.
- 30 May – 1 June: against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge; match drawn; he did not bat, took 5/62.
- 3–5 June: against Sussex at Hove; match drawn; he scored 25 runs, took 4/40 and 4/38.
- 6–8 June: against Hampshire at County Ground; the Australians won by 158 runs; he scored 22 (n.o.), took 2/27 and 0/28.
- 20–23 June: against Yorkshire at Bramall Lane; match drawn; he scored 31 runs, took 1/65 in first innings.
- 1–3 July: against Gloucestershire at Ashley Down; the Australians won by 9 wickets; he did not bat, took 2/22 and 0/44.
- 4–6 July against Northamptonshire at County Ground; the Australians won by an innings and 62 runs; he scored 8 (n.o.), took 0/9 and 1/11.
- 29–31 July: against Surrey at The Oval; match drawn; he scored a duck, and took 1/42.
- 1–4 August: against Glamorgan at St. Helen's, Swansea; match drawn; he scored 5 runs, took 0/43 and 0/32.
- 8–11 August: against Lancashire at Old Trafford; the Australians won by 7 wickets; he scored 7 runs (n.o.), took 1/27 and 2/63.
- 22–25 August: against Somerset at County Ground, Taunton; match drawn; he scored 7 runs, took 0/9 in the first innings.
- 29 August – 1 September: against Kent at St Lawrence Ground; the Australians won by an innings and 176 runs; he scored 51 runs (n.o.), took 0/21 in first innings.
- 2–4 September: against "Gentlemen of the South" at Central Recreation Ground, Hastings; the Australians won by an innings and 163 runs; he scored 5 runs, took 0/22 and 4/76.
- 5–7 September: against "Combined Services" at Hawker's Sports Ground, Kingston upon Thames; the Australians won by an innings and 261 runs; did not bat, took 0/11 and 6/34.
- 9–11 September: against T. N. Pearce's XI at North Marine Road; the Australians won by 2 wickets; scored 18 and 9 runs (n.o.), took 4/65 and 3/94.
In 1955, the entire tour of the West Indies involved 12 matches in all: five Test cricket matches, and an additional 7 matches that were played before and during the Test series; one of the additional matches, a two-day match between an Australian XI and, G.A. Headley's XI, a team selected by the eminent West Indian cricketer G. A. Headley, that was scheduled to take place on 6 and 7 June 1955, at Jarrett Park, in Montego Bay, was abandoned when play could not commence on either day due to heavy rain.
He played a single Test match for Australia against the West Indies:the drawn Fourth Test match, at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown from 14 to 20 May 1955, in which he scored 8 runs (n.o.) and 1 run, and took 0/71 and 1/44.
Of the 6 additional matches that the squad contested, he played in 5 of them:
- 4–7 April: against Trinidad at Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad; match drawn; he scored 22 runs (n.o.), took 1/32 and 0/33.
- 20–22 April: against British Guiana at Bourda in Georgetown, Guyana; the Australians won by an innings and 134 runs. Although he did not bat, this match is where he produced his best ever match figures: 5/50 in the first innings, and 5/15 in the second. He took the wickets of Wilfred Edun, Rohan Kanhai (twice), Patrick Carmichael Legall (twice), Ivan Madray (twice), Cliff McWatt, Charles O'Neil Paul, and Norman Delisle Wight.
- 7–11 May: against Barbados at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown; the Australians won by 3 wickets; scored one run, and took 3/53 and 3/81.
- 26–28 May: against Windward Islands at Queen's Park in St. George's, Grenada; match drawn; scored 5 runs (n.o.), took 3/57 and 2/13.
- 1–3 June: against Leeward Islands at Antigua Recreation Ground in St. John's; the Australians won by an innings and 219 runs; scored 12 runs, did not bowl in first innings, took 5/42 in the second.
End of Test career
After the West Indies, Hill was never considered for Test selection again; the general view was that he had been tried and found wanting at Test level.
In his three match Test career he had taken 8 wickets — Trevor Bailey (twice), Don Kenyon (twice), Peter May, Tom Graveney, Bill Edrich, and the West Indian John Holt — had taken two catches, and had scored 21 runs.
In 1956, whilst still in the Victorian State Squad, he was associated with a move by Lindsay Hassett to open up a Cricket coaching school, the Lindsay Hassett School of Cricket, and was expected, along with Doug Ring, Ernie McCormick, John Edwards, to provide expert coaching, under the supervision of the former Fitzroy off-spinner Joe Plant.
In 1958, the St Kilda team set a record that still stands today: in the match against Northcote, at the rain affected St Kilda Cricket Ground, on Saturday 15 November 1958, St Kilda dismissed Northcote in its first innings for just 33 runs. With such a collapse, only the two fast bowlers John Edwards (1928–2002) and Peter Hosking (1932-) were used in the first innings. Let loose in the second innings, Hill took 5/21 (including Bill Lawry, l.b.w. for 14 runs).
In November 1961, Jack Hill and John Edwards, both playing for St Kilda Cricket Club were both chasing 500 wickets in District Cricket; at that stage they had each taken 497 and 496 wickets respectively. On the following Saturday (4 November), Hill took four wickets for 6 runs; whilst Edwards failed to take a wicket.
Hill played his last game for the St Kilda Cricket Club in the 1963/1964 District Cricket semi-final against Essendon in March 1964. St Kilda lost the match, with Hill scoring 7 runs in his only innings, and failing to take a wicket.
In a 1950 interview, the Prahran Cricket Club Captain, Ivan Porter, said that of all the bowlers that he had ever faced in his long career, that he was the most impressed with Jack Hill: "He is one of the most difficult to score runs off".
At the end of the 2009/2010 District Cricket season, Jack Hill still shared the St Kilda Cricket Club record for 68 wickets in a season with Harry Zachariah (1911–2009), who had played with Northcote and University (which he captained), before playing 72 games for the St Kilda club from 1940/1941 to 1943/1944, and then moving to the Richmond Cricket Club for the 1944/1945 season. Zachariah took 68 wickets for the St Kilda twice in a single season: in the 1941/1942 and 1943/1944 seasons.
At the time of his death (at 51) he was a high-level civil servant in the Age and Invalid Pension division of the Victorian Office of the Commonwealth Department of Social Security.
He was also responsible for the management and oversight of the casual ticket selling staff at the St. Kilda Cricket Ground and the South Melbourne Cricket Ground for the home matches of the Fitzroy Football Club and the South Melbourne Football Club respectively.
He is a member of the Ballarat Sports Museum's Hall of Fame.
- A photograph of Jack with his father congratulating him on his Australian Test team selection is at Mr. A. Hill, S.M., congratulating his son Jack, The Age, (Friday, 13 February 1953), p.3.
- Ballarat News: Gift to Cricketer, The Argus, (Tuesday 15 April 1941), p.2.
- World War II Nominal Roll: John Charles Hill (58585)
- Taylor, P., "Football Keen: Good Young Players", The Argus, (Friday, 2 April 1943), p.9. Taylor, P., "New Players Excel", The Argus, (Monday, 12 April 1943), p.9.
- New Players Chosen: Richmond, The Argus, (Monday, 3 May 1943), p.9.
- League Seconds Teams, The Argus, (Saturday, 7 August 1943), p.9. Fanning, 67 Goals, The Argus, (Monday, 3 September 1945), p.11. Richmond Holds Juniors, The Age, (Wednesday, 1 May 1946), p.5.
- Gossip from the Training Track, The Argus, (Wednesday, 1 May 1946), p.10.
- Football in the Country: Mountain Districts, The Age, (Monday, 19 September 1949), p.6.
- Taylor, P., "St Kilda Captain May Have Fractured Skull", The Argus, (Wednesday, 5 October 1949), p.26. Cricket Roundup: St Kilda Captain Has Fractured Skull, The Argus, (Monday 10 October 1949), p.16. Cricketer has Fractured Skull, The Age, (Monday 10 October 1949), p.12.
- Test bowler also holds goals record, The Argus, (Wednesday 7 October 1953), p.10.
- Taylor, P., "X-Ray had Mixed Results for Cricketer", The Argus, (Thursday, 27 October 19490, p.18
- Goodman, T., "Talking of Sport", The Sydney Morning Herald, (Thursday, 17 November 1949), p.15.
- Taylor, P., "Introducing Jack Hill, of St Kilda", The Argus Weekend Magazine, (Saturday, 24 December 1949), p.2.
- Group Finals: Provincial Group, The Argus, (Friday, 10 March 1939), p.20.
- Taylor, P., "New Men in Pennant Cricket: Teams for First Games: Melbourne", The Argus, (Wednesday, 1 October 1941), p.10. Taylor, P., "Cricket Teams Chosen", The Argus, (Thursday, 1 October 1942), p.6.
- Taylor, P., "Fine Bowling by Youth", The Argus, (Monday, 20 October 1941), p.8.
- Cricket, The Age, (Monday, 20 October 1941), p.9.
- Hill Shines in Sydney, The Argus, (Tuesday, 9 February 1943), p.9. Cricket: North Sydney v. Mosman, The Sydney Morning Herald, (Monday, 8 February 1943), p.7. Cricket: The Teams: Mosman, The Sydney Morning Herald, (Tuesday, 9 February 1943), p.7.
- Fitzroy C C Will be Strong, The Argus, (Friday, 21 September 1945), p.12.
- Leg Spinners Succeed, The Argus, (Monday, 15 October 1945), p.14.
- Hill, Ring, and Harvey in Vic. Team, The Argus, (Tuesday 26 February 1946), p.8.
- Taylor, P., "Record Cricket Score by Victoria", The Argus, (Monday, 11 March 1946), p.15. Hill's Wicket Off First Ball, The Argus, (Monday, 11 March 1946), p.12. Record Score at Adelaide, The Age, (Monday, 11 March 1946), p.7. Phillips, S., "Happy With One Wicket", The Age, (Friday, 9 February 1979), p.24.
- Hill Misses a Golf Shot, The Age, (Monday, 26 December 1955), p.12.
- Bradman, D., "The Fight for The Ashes", The Times, (Saturday, 21 February 1953), p.7.
- A Photograph of Jack in his St Kilda Cricket Club blazer, with his wife Marie, and his father Alec, is at Selection Was Surprise, The Sydney Morning Herald, (Saturday, 14 February 1953), p.10.
- "Forgotten Cricketer" is Chosen in Test Side, The Age, (Friday, 13 February 1953), p.3. Goodman, T., "17 Players Named", The Sydney Morning Herald, (Friday, 13 February 1953), p.1. Careers of Players, The Sydney Morning Herald, (Friday, 13 February 1953), p.10. Defence of Ashes Rests in Their Hands (Team Photograph), The Mercury,(Tuesday, 10 March 1953>), p.1.
- Goodman, T., "N.S.W. Given Fair Treatment", The Sydney Morning Herald, (Friday, 13 February 1953), p.10.
- O'Reilly, W.J., "Selectors Did Excellent Job", The Sydney Morning Herald, (Friday, 13 February 1953), p.10.
- This New Test Bowler is "Slightly Different", The Argus, (Monday, 16 February 1953), p.8.
- The passage from The Cricketer" in October 1974 is taken from Cricinfo Player Profile: Jack Hill
- Test Men to Play State — Tasmania to Face Powerful Eleven, The Mercury, (Saturday, 7 March 1953), p..
- 'Third Man', "Tasmanian Bowling Flayed by Australian XI, The Mercury, (Monday, 9 March 1953), p.16.
- 'Third Man', "Tasmanian XI Seems Certain of Innings Defeat, The Mercury, (Tuesday, 10 March 1953), p.20.
- 'Third Man', "State Team Beaten But Not Disgraced, The Mercury, (Wednesday, 11 March 1953), p.24.
- Five Test Men in Combined Side in North, The Mercury, (Tuesday, 10 March 1953), p.20.
- 'Mid On', "Ian Craig Enhances Batting Repute", The Mercury', (Friday, 13 March 1953), p.20.
- 'Mid On', "State Bowlers mainstay of Attack", The Mercury', (Saturday, 14 March 1953), p.32.
- 'Mid On', "Hird, Cowley Save Innings Defeat of Combined XI", The Mercury', (Monday, 16 March 1953), p.20.
- Nostalgia Corner, The (Sydney) Sun-Herald, (Sunday, 5 May 1985), p.87. Jack Hill is on the extreme right of the back row in the team photograph.
- Mailey, A., "Hassett Gambles Against History in Toss Decision", The Argus, (Friday, 24 July 1953), p.15. Goodman, T., "Hill Replaces Ring in Australian Test Team", The Sydney Morning Herald, (Thursday, 9 July), p.1.
- Goodman, T., "Australians Star in Rival Cricket Teams", The Sydney Morning Herald, (Monday, 1 June 1953), p.7.
- When Hill took his fourth and last wicket in this match, he had taken 50 first class wickets in the English season.
- Australian Team Back in Jamaica, The Age, (Tuesday, 7 June 1955), p.12.
- Cricket Washed Out by Rain, The Age, (Wednesday, 8 June 1955), p.15. Montego Bay Cricket Off, The Age, (Thursday, 9 June 1955), p.10.
- Aussies Win Easily: Hill's Bowling Stops British Guiana Cricketers, New York Times, (Saturday, 23 April 1955), p.14.
- Beames, P., "Australia has chance for batting practice", The Age, (Friday, 22 April 1955), p.12.
- Beames, P., "Jack Hill 5/16 in Georgetown Game", The Age, (Monday, 25 April 1955), p.13.
- Cricket Archive Scorecard: British Guiana v Australians
- In the opinion of The Age cricket expert, Percy Beames, who had been in the West Indies for the entire Australian tour, Hill had simply failed to progress — Beames, P., "Tour Raises Hopes for Next English Series", The Age, (Monday, 20 June 1955), p.18.
- Beames, P., "Australia's First Test Rubber in Four Series", The Age, (Monday, 23 May 1955), p.18. Aussies Capture Cricket Verdict, The Ottawa Citizen, (Saturday, 21 May 1955), p.24.
- Exercising for Summer, The Age, (Thursday, 9 August 1956), p.10.
- Beames, P., "Cricket Coaching School to Open in Melbourne", (Wednesday, 19 September 1956), p.16.
- District Cricket Scores, The Age, (Monday, 17 November 1958), p.20. District Cricket, The Age, (Monday, 17 November 1958), p.20. District Cricket Scores, The Age, (Monday, 24 November 1958), p.22. Six Outright Wins in V.C.A. Games, The Age, (Monday, 24 November 1958), p.22.
- Bowlers in Race for 500, The Age, (Wednesday, 1 November 1961), p.18.
- Hill First to 500 Wickets, The Age, (Monday, 6 November 1961), p.18. District Cricket Scores: Prahran v. St Kilda, The Age, (Monday, 6 November 1961), p.18.
- Fitzroy Drops Bowler, The Age, (Friday, 13 March 1964), p.23
- Essendon in Trouble Despite Good Bowling Effort, The Age, (Monday, 16 March 1964), p.22. Underdogs Finish on Top to Make Cricket Final, The Age, (Monday, 23 March 1964), p.22.
- Taylor, "Introducing Ivan Porter, of Prahran, The Argus Week-End Magazine, (Saturday 21 January 1950), p.2.
- Skelton, P., "Dedicated to teaching and cricket" The Age, (4 May 2009).
- St Kilda Cricket Club Records 2009/2010 Season.
- Cricinfo Player Profile: Jack Hill
- Victoria Premier Cricket biography: John (Jack) Charles Hill
- Ballarat Sports Museum's Hall of Fame Player Profile: Jack Hill
- Taylor, P., "Introducing Jack Hill, of St Kilda", The Argus Weekend Magazine, (Saturday, 24 December 1949), p.2.
- Jack Hill appealing for the wicket of Colin McCool, in the Sheffield Shield match against Queensland, on Monday 15 December 1952, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, The Argus, (Tuesday, 16 December 1952), p.8.
- Jack Hill appealing for the wicket of Trevor Bailey, in the Victoria v. M.C.C. match on Saturday 11 December 1954 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, The Mercury, (Monday, 13 December 1954), p.9.