Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Sir Walter Allen - letters from George 'Gubby' Allen, 1932-33, 1936-37
Jan 12 1932
Plum sends his love.
I had the most depressed letters from you and Mum this mail which really rather amused me. It was very sweet of you both to be so upset
about what because Warwick Armstrong said wrote some utter rot about my running on the wicket. Actually there was no trouble about it at all. Woodfull just said, "be sure to keep wide of the wicket" upon to which I I so replied "we have got to bat last so I am not likely to make a spot for Grimmett if I can help it". The subject never came up again or in the 2nd Test and noone ever bowled pitched a ball in the crack during either match. I saw W. Armstrong today and asked what trivel [drivel] what he was going to work up this time: he had a good deal
to say but I left him to tell the groundsman. The newspapers & general public in this country, though they have all been exceedingly nice to me, are simply dreadful & far worse than in England. They never leave Douglas Jardine alone for a minute and they publish the most unfounded statements which are certainly libelous but, of course, one can do nothing about it. D.R.J. asks for it with his (offensive) manner and is then hurt when they say nasty things about him. I certainly was depressed for a short time after the 1st Test as I bowled very badly & thought there was no chance of my playing again in a test out here. Now it looks as though I shall play in several as I have been picked to play again tomorrow in the 3rd Test.
They have left out Pataudi For Paynter, which I am all against; though Pataudi has not once impressed me the same may be said of Paynter and he has not made nearly as many runs.
I have also noted that the English papers talk
of me bowling leg theory & bumpers. That is all nonsense. I will now tell you the a story of what occurred on the morning of the 2nd Test to prove that to you I didn't tell you last week as I thought you might worry but, as now the leg theory is dying & the trouble is therefore very unlikely to reoccur [recur]you need have no fears.
D.R.J. came to me and said the following. "I had a talk with the boys, Larwood & Voce, last night and they say it is
all quite absurd you not bowling "bouncers" it is only they say it is only because you are keen on your popularity". Well! I burst and said (a good deal about swollen headed gutless uneducated miners and that if it had been a question only of brushed up by day & popularity I could have bowled "bouncers" years ago. I concluded by saying if he didn't like the way I
bowled he still had time to leave me out not only of this match but until he came to his senses: it also would give me time to complete a full statement of our conversation for the benefit of the M.C.C. committee.
doing it. Everyone is fed up with Douglas and there looks like being a fine row in the very near future especially if we lose this test. No one knows of my row with Douglas except Plum who I went & told officially directly afterwards. He besought me to do nothing & I said I would drop it but in the event of the matter coming up again nothing would prevent a nasty scene & the world would know what
it was all about it. The paper reporters love me out here specialy because I don't bowl leg theory & would love a story of that sort. It could easily be got to them without any interviews but don't worry I couldn't make a fool of myself. I am sorry Mum has not been too well but that will be all over, I sincerely hope, before
you receive this. Tell her this story about Clara Cuilen it may make her laugh. She
indecipherable met a very nice & amusing man, who was on the boat with us coming out, and was flattered when she was told that he wanted to talk to her. When she he said "I have always wanted to have a talk with you to try & find out just why you were so the most unpopular people person on the boat", she was not so pleased. I went down to Sorrento again last week-end, as I got out of going to Bendigo on the ground that my leg was not too sound, and had a 3 lovely days in the sun. The Baillieus are very nice and have been very kind to me.
We had a good journey over here, except when we passed through a dust storm.
I am still enjoying every minute of the trip. I am off to stay week end with the Davidson at Victor Harbour a lovely seaside resort 70 miles from here. They are friends of Joyce Verney. I hope I do well in the Test. Best love to Mum. Love Obbie
Jan 18th 1932
I shall start this now and finish it when I get a chance. I am at present sitting in the press box with Arthur Mailey watching Ames & Verity bat in our 2nd innings. They have put on 89 so far and this is the second time in the match that Verity has astonished everyone by batting like an opening batsman. It has been a most unpleasant match as you have gathered from the papers. There has been nothing but rows & barracking until I am fed up with everything to do with cricket. As you will see from the enclosed paper, which is only a typical example, that the press &
[indecipherable] more especially the public are taking their set-backs very badly. (Douglas Jardine is loathed &, between you & me, rightly more than any german who ever fought in any war.) Plum is worried to death and says the side may have to return at once to England, but that is rot. Premiers, Bishops and
the Board of Control are all up in the air. (That famous band of muddlers, i.e. B of Control, have stated that they are preparing a protest against the leg theory which they propose to take to the MCC. If they do, I forecast the following. I think M.C.C. is sure to ask Jardine to abandon it. If they do he says he will resign: at least 6 members of the team will cease to try, rows will follow, and several will be sent home.) I have not changed my mind in any way about the leg theory & all the side is aware of the fact. I just hate it & will not to do it. All the papers, like the one enclosed, have been very nice to me as have the crowds. You will be amused by the cartoon myself out LBW
indecipherable The broadcasting men asked me on Monday morning if I had seen in the paper that you had been listening in to my innings & I said "oh, dear and I was out LBW. He says I am always out that way". When I was out again in the 2nd innings this cartoon appeared so I presume he overheard my remark or was told about it. I can't imagine who gave away all the state secrets for the Article enclosed headed "English Team Not happy" as all the facts are accurate. There is no getting away from it Jardine is
a perfect swine and I can think of no word fit for him to see which describes him well enough. Plum simply hates the sight of him and so does everyone else. I have never had a scene with him in public but I have had one or two on the quiet of which not a soul knows: in fact we are thought to be good friends. Larwood & I bowled better on the Saturday night, when everyone said the wicket was dead easy and forecasted a huge score, than at any time on the tour. I had Ponsford missed at slip by Hammond & nearly bowled him twice and Richardson was never at home to me. For the third innings running, though I have bowled about the best of the side, I was not given a shot at the tail-enders:
that Douglas gives them to the pros to keep their support. So much for the cricket, let's talk about something nice for a change. I went to a party last night and in order to keep the subject conversation off that subject we had a 1/- fine for anyone who brought it up. I now hear the B of Control's protest has gone so
I will tell you a bit about that when I hear the details. I am going to stay at Langi Willi with Mrs Blackwood & Jean Russell for the Ballarat match. Freddie Brown is coming too so we may go tomorrow night instead of with all the team on Friday. I feel I want to get away for a bit and also it would be a great opportunity to go over a big station.
I went down to a place called Victor Harbour on Saturday night after the cricket & stayed with a friend of Joyce
indecipherable Verney's (nee V-Smith) for the week-end and had great fun. It was very cold and I enjoyed it but Sorrento & Moombara are much nicer.
I don't think there is any more news. Plum & I have some people to dinner tonight.
Later I need not give you the wording of the B of Control's protest as you will have seen it in every paper. I think they have been very stupid to send it especially without
trying having tried to come to some arrangement with Plum, Jardine, Palairet & Woodfull here first. The side, I understand, are considering sending a cable to the M.C.C. committee but if there is anything very definite or out of order Wyatt & I are going to refuse to sign it. (They are such of collection of half-wits that I
I doubt if they can word a sensible cable and, if they do, I am sure the M.C.C. will tear it up as Plum is not going to sign it.)
We polished them off fairly quickly today and "things" meaning troubles, seem a little quieter. The cable from the team to M.C.C. was a very reasonable one so that has passed off all right. What will happen remains to be seen. I came out with 8 for 121 in the match which will give some of the gentlemen (?) of the English press something to think over. I expect they get their laugh later. I shall be in Sydney next Wednesday morning which I am looking forward to. I think I have arranged with Douglas Jardine to play in Ballarat & miss the Sydney match so as not to have too hard a time before the next test. I forgot to say Woodfull was not at all badly hurt by his blow on the chest but
Oldfield had a bone cracked, they think, in the forehead. They both played bad shots
and when they were hit and were a little to blame.
Give my very best love to Mum.
(Plum sends his love. I am afraid he is worried but is very pleased that I have bowled so well in the last 2 tests. It is funny that I should have failed in Sydney where I should so liked to have done well.)
Plum has just handed me a note to enclose.