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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

South Australian stalwart turns 80

Alan Shiell in The Independent Weekly pays tribute to a well known South Australian cricketer and administrator, Neil "Nodda" Dansie, who turns 80 tomorrow.

Shiell, who would have played in South Australian teams with Dansie in the 1960s,relates a couple of interesting anecdotes and is spot on in his description of the latter's batting style:

As a young batsman with Kensington in district (now grade) cricket, he played with Clarrie Grimmett and Don Bradman - and, indeed, was batting at the other end when Bradman played his final innings for Kensington, against Port Adelaide at Alberton Oval in January, 1949.

"I made 22 but I never faced a ball in the first six overs," Dansie recalled. "Bradman made 38. He was caught behind off Maurie Roberts, an off-spinner, off the first ball after a drinks break. The big crowd booed the umpire and promptly adjourned to the Alberton Hotel."


Dansie's involvement with the SA Cricket Association spans 65 years, from his early days with Kensington to now as a selector for the SACA's under-age squads (13s, 15s, 17s and 19s) and the Scorpions (women).

He remains optimistic about the Redbacks' future because he says "we have some good young kids coming through". "These things go in cycles," he says. "When I first played for SA we used to field for two days and then have two hits."

Dansie was a state cricket selector for 30 years and was on the SACA board for 25 years. The SACA honoured "Nodda" and his late, great mate Les Favell with the naming of the Favell-Dansie Indoor Centre at the southern end of Adelaide Oval, behind the Sir Donald Bradman Stand.

It is as a player - a hard-hitting batsman with a liking for the pull, sweep and cut shots and a steady off-spin and leg-spin bowler - that he will be most remembered. He scored 7543 runs (average 34.44) and took 90 wickets (av. 33.31) in 124 first-class matches for SA from 1949 to 1967.

'Nodda" was always one of the great characters of the SA players' dressing room, apart from being the world's fastest eater. Batting at No. 5 or No. 6, he used to get under Ian Chappell's skin by putting on his thigh pad and protector while the opening batsmen and Chappell, to go in at No. 3, were putting on their pads and other gear. 'Nodda' simply wanted to be ready to go, but Chappell saw it as a lack of confidence in the top-order batsmen, especially himself.

Happy birthday, Nodder (which until now I'd always thought was the correct spelling of his soubriquet).

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