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REMINISCENCES OF MR. L. C. BOTT Junior Grade Suggested.
One of the best-known cricketers in this State, though retired from the game now, in Mr. L. C. Bott, has been advised of aDDointment to the position of assis
tant superintending engineer in the Post master-General's Department in Victoria. It is not definite when Mr. Bott will leave Perth, but when he does cricket in West ern Australia will lose a keen worker. He was an attractive, fast-scoring bats man and since his retirement from the game he has done good work as an exe cutive officer and by coaching juniors. Mr. Bott considers that cricket in this State must improve as a result of the recent decision to reduce the number of 'A' grade teams to eight, but is of the opinion that other improvements can be made. He said yesterday that there was plenty of cricket played here but that the quality was missing. He favoured strongly the inauguration of a junior grade, with an age limit of 17 years. Each of the eight 'A' grade district clubs should be invited to place a team in that grade, with one or two older men to play with the juniors and coach them. Nonwork ing boys should be able to play in that
grade practically free of expense. Ma terial should be bought for the teams and travelling allowances made. The immediate outcry against this suggestion would be that clubs could not bear the cost, but the influential international and interstate cricket committee could finance the teams. If this junior grade were formed, the boys should be kept together as much as possible. Only the exceptionally good junior should be taken out of the side. If juniors were catered for in this way, they would be made to feel at home on the turf immediately and there would not be such a drift to matting cricket In the past some of the State's leading players came from matting ranks and undoubtedly there were fine cricketers there now. Improvements were necessary in the methods of practice. Practice should be systematised. In the case of North Perth nearly 50 players attended practice and some of the most promising players had to bat in a bad light against tired bow lers. If a club did not have a good 'A' grade team it would get nowhere, and Ihe best plan would be for the 'A' play ers and perhaps two or three of the 'B' men to have a night to themselves for practice. Keener and better organised practice must have beneficial effects. Brighter Batting Needed. Mr. Bott was emphatic in his denounce ment of the slow, plodding batsman. The man who took hours to make many runs was not much use to 'a club in Saturday afternoon cricket,* and, furthermore, did not ' attract the much-needed public patronage. 'Men like A. C. Randell, Ernie Parker, S. H. D. Rowe and A. Christian were a treat to watch when they were set,'' Mr. Bott added. 'Their cricket was entertaining; they had strokes and they used them. They hit the loose ball as hard as they could; but today the majority of batsmen just look at it Randell used to punish any ball short of a good length but on the wicket by stepping back and clipping it hard past point or through the covers. Rowe would pull any short ball with impunity. Parker would send it anywhere and Christian never wasted any opportuni ties. Foot-work is the secret of good batting and the ball is meant to be hit hard and clear of the fieldsmen.' Mr. Bott pointed out that last year Lovelock, the best left-hand batsman here now, improved considerably by trying to hit the ball harder and place it between the fieldsmen. Asked who was the best West Austra lian batsman he had seenr Mr. Bott im mediately referred to Parker. He had all the strokes, timing and wrist-work mak ing him a great batsman. He seldom lifted the ball and was the type of bats man who could make a century in 45 minutes. He made 68 while Tom Hogue scored 18 in. an opening stand against New South Wales in one match. The best left-hand batsman was Tim Howard, a nightmare to bowlers owing to his soundness and inexhaustible patience. Halcombe was probably the fastest bow ler in this State (excluding, of course, Ernie Jones) but W. Hughes was a fine left-hander of pace. Of the slow bowlers R. Selk and Christian were outstanding. Selk was, in Mr. Bott's opinion, the more dangerous because of the pace with which he made the ball fizz off the pitch. H. Evers he ranked as the State's best wicket-keeper and R. Blundell was the finest fieldsman Western Australia had had. He was brilliant at cover point and taller than R. Bryant, another excel lent man for that position. In one match Blundell ran out three New South Wales batsmen. / School Performances. Mr. Bott was keen on cricket as a youngster and at the W.A.C.A. ground often helped the curator, Joe Fountain, to keep the scores posted. At Perth Boys' School, from 1901 to 1904, he did well with the bat, having as team-mates play ers like F. Buttsworth, W. Wynne and V. Allen. Mr. J. A. Klein, now Acting Director of Education, was then head master and a successful fast bowler him self, he used to coach the boys. At Christian Brothers' College Mr. Bott was an outstanding batsman, in the days when Dr. A. Juett, Jack Savage, George Medcalf, P. Higham, H. Walker, C. Fleay and L. Davey distinguished themselves for their respective schools. From school Mr. Bott went into club cricket, and not being able to link up with a Perth team, played for North Fre mantle under T.om Hogue, whom he con sidered one of the best of Western Aus tralia's all-rounders. In 1907 the Perth team was formed and was comprised mainly of young players. He and his brother, Reg, had a good season, each scoring nearly 500 runs and taking about 30 wickets. Against the strong Wan derers team the brothers opened one day and scored 170 for the first wicket. Mr. Bott made 102— his first century on turf.
A year later H. Evers and the now Sir Thomas Coombe strengthened the team. Evers was a great enthusiast and the other was a fine batsman, able to hit very hard on the off. Under Lionel Gouley, Mr. Bott next ?played with North Perth and then went to East Perth when electorate cricket came into being. When the Mt. Lawley Club was formed, Mr. Bott left East Perth and the new team was runner-up in its first season. After two seasons with Mt. Lawley he went to North Perth and two seasons ago played his last game for that club, scoring 86. His highest score was 208 not out against North Perth, making 156 not out in two hours on the first Saturday and the rest in one hour on the next. He has made about 20 cen turies in all games. In one match against North Perth, in the 1924-25 season, he made 100 in the first innings and 99 not out in the second when time was called, the side's total runs being only 322. Last, year J. Ditchburn made a century in each innings for Mt. Lawley in the final against Claremont. Mr. Bott went on tour with a State team in 1912 and 1925.