Sobers Six Hit Perfection At Swansea: That Was The Day by Gareth Huw Davies - Read Online
Sobers Six Hit Perfection At Swansea
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Summary

1968 was a year of rebellion and uproar. There were student riots in Paris. Czechoslovakia staged a crazy, doomed bid for freedom from the Soviet oppressors. There were huge demonstrations against the Vietnam war throughout the West. Sit ins and protests continued on UK university campuses, over a variety of issues. It was a year of assassinations: Martin Luther King cut down in Memphis; presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy slain in Los Angeles.
A week before Sobers’ feat Basil D’Oliveira was left out of the England team to tour South Africa. The subsequent furore was a significant factor in the ultimate collapse of Apartheid. On October 18, at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, Bob Beamon set a world record for the long jump with a leap of 8.90 m, bettering the existing record by 55 cm.
The year closed on a serene, unearthly note as man, for the first time, circled the Moon. Within a year two Americans would have landed there and returned safely to earth.
With so many remarkable, frantic, tragic, heroic things happening in ’68, the greatest cricket player might as well go and smash the ultimate cricket record. It was part of the iconoclasm.
And the writer was there.

Published: Gareth Huw Davies on
ISBN: 9781476036144
List price: $1.79
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Bibliography

Introduction

On the 30th of August 1968 Those Were the Days, sung by Mary Hopkin, was released. Hopkin was born in Pontardawe, West Wales. Two weeks later it unseated Hey Jude to become the number one hit in the UK music charts.

The next day, 31st of August 1968, eight miles from Pontardawe, at the St Helen’s rugby and cricket ground in Swansea, West Indies cricketer Garfield St Aubrun (Garry) Sobers became the first player in the, roughly, 200 year history of the sport to hit every ball of an over for six, playing for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan.

In his book 1968: The Year that Rocked the World, Mark Kurlansky wrote: There has never been a year like 1968, and it is unlikely that there will ever be one again….people were rebelling over disparate issues and had in common only the desire to rebel.

There were student riots in Paris, three weeks of cobble breaking and banner hurling that almost brought down President de Gaulle.

In Czechoslovakia the people staged a crazy, wonderful but at the time doomed bid for freedom from the Soviet oppressors.

There were huge demonstrations against the Vietnam war throughout the West. Sit ins and protests continued on UK university campuses, over a variety of issues. It was a year of assassinations: Martin Luther King cut down in Memphis; presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy slain in Los Angeles.

A week earlier Basil D’Oliveira had been left out of the England team to tour South Africa. The subsequent furore was a significant factor in the ultimate collapse of Apartheid.

On October 18, at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, Bob Beamon set a world record for the long jump with a leap of 8.90 m (29 ft. 2½ in.), bettering the existing record by 55cm (21¾ in.) At the same games American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave the raised fist gesture at the 200m medal ceremony. Smith said later it was not a Black Power salute, but a human rights salute.

The year closed on a serene, unearthly note as man, for the first time, circled the Moon. Within a year two Americans would have landed there and returned safely to earth. Did that mission succeed because it was not politically ill-fated 1968?

With so many remarkable, frantic, tragic, heroic things happening in ’68, the greatest cricket player might as well smash the game’s ultimate record. It was part of the iconoclasm.

And I was there.

This is an account of one of sports’ greatest moments

A Street in Swansea

"Malcolm Nash was pre-eminently a highly skilful manipulator of medium-pace seam bowling. A thoughtful and sensitive cricketer, he was never a bowler to settle for the slavishly defensive; but sought to attack and to outwit opposing batsmen. He is, as he ruefully accepts, best known for being hit for six sixes in a six-ball over by Garfield Sobers in 1968. It is less often remembered that he himself once hit four consecutive balls from Dennis Breakwell of Somerset for six. That memory is some balm for him." - John Arlott, 1984.

"Sir Garfield Sobers [was] the finest all-round player in the history of cricket. Everything he did was marked by a natural grace, apparent at first sight. Once he was established, his sharp eye, early assessment, and inborn gift of timing enabled him to play almost any stroke. Neither a back foot nor a front foot player, he was either as the ball and conditions demanded. When he stepped out and drove it was with a full flow of the bat and a complete follow through, in the classical manner. When he could not get to the pitch of the ball, he would go back, wait—as it sometimes seemed, impossibly long—until he identified it and then, at the slightest opportunity, with an explosive whip of the wrists, hit it with immense power. His quick reactions and natural ability linked with his attacking instinct made him a brilliant improviser of strokes. When he was on the kill it was all but impossible to bowl to him—and he was one of the most thrilling of all batsmen to watch." - John Arlott, Cricket’s Most Versatile Performer, Wisden, 1975.

Long before the days of the frantic slog of 20 20 Cricket, when the game proceeded at a gentle rhythm, the draw was a standard result, and the ball cleared the boundary rope without bouncing far less often than it does today, there occurred cricket’s perfect storm. Without warning, almost as if he just felt like it, the greatest cricketer of his day hit all six balls in an over for six.

Scene: a street in Swansea on a quiet