Richie Benaud


Andrew McGarry of the ABC has written a beautiful tribute to Richie Benaud. It sent me off thinking.

Richie was one of the first players I followed when I was developing my interest in cricket. He has been a guide for me since 1961. I did not see his second innings bowling performance in the Fourth Test at Old Trafford but did listen to some of it on the wireless. I spent the rest of that summer imagining how I would play against spin on a turning pitch.

This image from the National Archives of Australia brought back all those memories.


Two years ago, I was walking along a path at Coogee, and passed Richie on his walk. I nodded, he smiled and I was back in Manchester batting against him as the elegant Ted Dexter.


Photo Credits

Richie Benaud – Cricketer (National Archives of Australia, Open Access)

Richie Benaud – a cricketer for NSW (National Archives of Australia, Open Access)

Bruce Scott Old

8101697807_0e75438a5e_zLast week, a friend shared a link to a Carl Bialik post in FiveThityEightSports.

Carl wrote about Bruce Scott Old.

“In his spare time, he brought a notebook to tennis matches and collected statistics for further analysis”.

I have a particular interest in the sociology of knowledge in sport and was delighted to be introduced to Bruce.

I should have picked up on his work when I was reading Jake Downey’s (1970) Tennis Notation text and added Bruce to the pantheon of notational analysts.

Carl provides a fascinating insight into Bruce’s analysis of tennis performance. He uses Bruce’s diary entries in his account. There is some detailed background to the research for Bruce’s first book, The Game of Doubles in Tennis. He “spent three years charting matches, analyzing his data and writing up the results”.

Bruce collected data in real time. Carl notes “based on his diary, it sounds like he drew points out on court-shaped diagrams, then extracted the stats later”.

I do think knowledge of pioneers’ work is essential if we are to develop our understanding of sport performance in a digital age.

Like Lloyd Messersmith, Bruce was an active sportsperson with a strong interest in tennis.

He led a very interesting professional life. During WWII he was an adviser on metallurgy and engineering to Julius Furer, the Research and Development Coordinator of the National Research and Development Board. He was a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee from 1951-1956 and was invited to join the Technological Capabilities Panel in 1954. At the time he was a Senior Vice President at Arthur D Little.

He wrote three other tennis books: a book on singles tennis (1962); stroke production (1971); and Tennis Tactics (1983).

Just as Charles Reep continued his interest in football into his 90s, Bruce was following tennis in his 90th year.

Bruce died in 2003.

Photo Credits

Australians John Bromwich and Adrian Quist with the Davis Cup, Pratten Park, Ashfield, Sydney, November 1939 (Sam Hood, no known copyright restrictions)

Bruce Old (image shared by the Old Family)

Planning for the Centenary of the 1919 Peace Regatta

David Headon, Bruce Coe and Ross Gibson
David Headon, Bruce Coe and Ross Gibson


This is a third post in a record of planning for the centenary of the Royal Henley Peace Regatta in 2019.

An introductory post about the project can be found here.

David Headon joined the conversation today.


One of the main topics for conversation at this meeting was the place of water in Australian society. This water theme is a very strong component of Ross Gibson‘s research interests in the 1919 project.

This led us to discuss amongst other items:


We discussed story telling too and learned of an archive of World War 1 diaries that Ross will be exploring.


Bruce Coe has made contact with some of the families of the 1919 crew. This will be an important part of the group’s research.

I am particularly interested in the stories of the second Australian crew in the Peace Regatta. This crew was defeated by the victorious Australian crew in the first round of the Regatta.

Andrew Guerin lists this crew as:

  • Lieut. J. Howieson (bow)
  • Sergt. G. M. Penny (2)
  • Sergt. E. J. Harrison (3)
  • Lieut. H. A. White (4)
  • Major W. A. Audsley, D.S.O. (5)
  • Corpl. J. K. Cogle (6)
  • Gunner J. A. Begg (7)
  • Lieut. H. R. Newall (stroke);
  • Lieut. O. J. Wood (cox).