But for a couple of days she could think she was safe. She had suggested that she and Fantasy Bob visit an old friend of hers up country during their short visit to Australia. Her friend is a horse person and lives in a small horse and cattle town in northern NSW. Conversation would surely be dominated by important matters like fetlocks and withers. She had lost count of the number of times that FB had excitedly pointed out a cricket ground to her as the train made its way through the countryside. As the train drew into the small station of Dungog, she leaned forward in anticipation. Relief was at hand.
|Rush hour traffic in Dungog NSW|
FB's worldwide readership will already be ahead of him at this point. They will recognise that Dungog may well be celebrated for its annual rodeo and for having the first continuously operating enclosed cinema in the whole of Australia - the James Theatre has been in existence for over 100 years.
But they will know that its more important claim to reknown is as the birthplace of Doug Walters, legendary Australian batsman of the 1960s and 70s. His name is still revered locally, and in a fitting tradition the pavilion at the local cricket club is named after him. Talk of fetlocks therefore was abandoned as FB dragged Mrs FB off in search of this hallowed building.
For KD Walters was just about everyone's favourite Australian player throughout his Test career from 1965 to 1981. In 74 Tests he made 5357 runs at 48.26 - in the words of EW Swanton 'if he ever played a dull innings I never saw it.' He scored a century in his first Test innings, against England at Brisbane and followed with another century in the next Test. He rapidly gained a reputation as a man of the people - he seemed carefree, down to earth, a man who liked a beer. The Australian crowds loved him - so much that the Hill at Sydney Cricket Ground became known as the Doug Walters Stand - a name which stuck until its more recent corporatised redevelopment with rows of plastic seats. It was Walters who became the first batsman to score a double century and a century in the same Test; it was Walters who brought up his century by hitting the last ball of the day from Bob Willis for 6 at the Gabba in 1974; and it was Walters who borrowed a bicycle to pedal round the boundary when he was put at deep third man at each end by Ian Chappell as punishment for oversleeping.
|Signed photo in SCG museum - |
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The FB Stand....FB's eyes misted over - it has that ring to it, he thought to himself.
'Are you going to stand there all day with that stupid look on your face, or are you coming for lunch?'
His reverie was broken, the mirage of the FB Stand receded. But the memory of KD Walters still burns bright.