Modern approach and pitches behind demise of one man shows

WITH the recent success of Alex Welsh and Michael Hillier routing batting orders, this week we can look at some best bowling performances of 1st grade in Ipswich.

Before the First World War, first innings leads were not counted towards victory only the outright result - drawn otherwise.

Most matches were timeless or a minimum three-day time frame, unless played in the countryside, where they were one day matches, starting at 10am and they played til 6pm.

So batting was haphazard and reckless, as scoring quickly and two-innings team totals was key.

Add in, that there were no covers or rollers (only very light hand-drawn ones) and sometimes fields at North Ipswich were not mown or more correctly, scythed by hand.

The high calibre batters were still just as hard to dislodge but wickets tumbled easier than now when a non batsman/tailender is at the crease.

Hence the best figures were in and around the First World War.

However, that is not take anything away from the early trundlers, such as Bert Ironmonger, Joe McCormack, the Campbells and Harry Von Lossberg.

They were state-class players and would regularly humble Queensland and NSW batsman throughout that period.

After the First World War batsmen improved immensely.

Bowlers needed the occasional wet weekend to pull back some respect.

At the very start and end of each season, pitches were generally in a poor state due to the rugby league season or overuse respectively.

So Len Johnson stands heads and shoulders above everyone.

Others would have a good season or two, but for sheer durability and brilliance, he did collected about 30-plus wickets in 14 seasons in a row.

Booval used him as a part-time bowler in the mid-1950s and later would bring him on to dismiss a stubborn batsman.

After John Christopherson's 10-for in 1979, the introduction of covers and heavy rollers has seen fewer bowlers taking six-plus wickets in an innings.

Teams generally have more than two or three high quality bowlers capable of taking a few wickets, each with fewer overs available for one bowler to run through a team.

The best performance: Merv Twigg's figures of 6.5/1/23/10 have been the best figures in 1st grade for the best part of 70 years.

The pitch was soft from the previous nights' thunderstorm (no covers in those days).

The ball reared alarmingly from a length for the first half an hour of play, but the pitch flattened out to be quite benign and batting was quite easy in the late afternoon.

But by the end of Twigg''s seventh over, Brothers were out for 47.

Twigg finished with match figures of 14-64.

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