Monthly Archives: December 2022

The $140,000 Hit, by Neil Marks

Back in the ’90s, there was a monthly cricket magazine published in Australia, called “Inside Edge”, which as of the time of writing, doesn’t even have a wikipedia page.

In the middle of the magazine was always a double sided poster, each side featuring a picture of a player. Below we see an example, chosen for inclusion here because of the accompanying poem (which certainly was a one-off)

I don’t know which issue this poster came from. Steve Waugh hit the Mercantile Mutual Cup sign on 22 October 1995 (video (youtube), scoreboard (cricinfo)), and the only other reference I can find online for the poem is this Barker College magazine (pdf), dated April 1996, which puts bounds on when the poster was released. Perhaps some kind reader will know the exact issue, or I will stumble across my archive of Inside Edge magazines and update this post.

I now include the text of the poem.

In Perth, the WACA Cricket Ground
Has seen great feats unfurled,
And all those famous cricket deeds
Are known throughout the world.
Greg Chappell made his maiden ton
And Lockie showed his tricks,
The Windies fell to brave Mery Hughes
And Douggie hit that six.

It was here that Garth McKenzie
First bowled himself to fame,
Where the mighty Dennis Lillee
First learned to play the game.
Though their deeds will last forever,
The greatest deed, for mine,
Was a day in late October
When Tugga hit the sign.

The Mercantile Insurance Co.
Had offered lots of cash
To hit a little piece of tin,
So all would have a bash,
Around Australia’s major grounds
From straight hit down to fine,
In eight strategic places stood
A little painted sign.

Big hitters round the wide brown land
Had tried to no avail,
Jones, Ponting, Bevan, Border, Boon
Showed even champs can fail.
For two years unsuccessfully
Men slogged for all they’re worth
But never hit a bloody sign
Until that day in Perth.

The WACA’s not an easy ground,
On which to score a win,
But let me state it’s harder still
To hit a piece of tin.
The ground is fast and long and wide,
(I saw one hit score nine),
You’d give long odds to Bradman that
He couldn’t hits sign.

This day the Western Warriors
Were playing men in blue,
And Joey Angel made the break,
Knocked Slater’s stumps askew.
Then from the darkened locker room,
With countenance benign,
Out strode the great Steve (Tugga) Waugh,
His eyes fixed on the sign.

He took his guard and settled in,
For Reid was bowling well,
And with his nose down on the pitch
Survived a hostile spell.
Waugh then unleashed his finest shots,
Still playing down the line,
He smashed the ball all round the field,
But nowhere near the sign.

Tom Moody bowled to keep it tight
And sent a slow one in,
But Tugga saw it quickly and
He aimed it at the tin.
The clouds stood still, the strong wind dropped,
The sun began to shine.
The ball flew like a tracer shell
And crashed against the sign.

The crowd’s cheers rent the western skies,
The Blues let out a roar,
(No doubt the greatest hitting since
McDougall topped the score).
Tug’ clenched his fist and held it high,
Emotion to the fore,
Not much for ‘Slats’ or ‘Mo’ perhaps,
But quite a lot for Waugh.

All the rest was anti-climax,
Of that there is no doubt.
Soon after Waugh’s dramatic hit,
Young Stewart got him out
The skipper seemed quite happy, though
with Tayls’ it’s hard to tell.
But he asked the ump a Question:
“Did we win the game as well?”

Back in the rowdy locker room
We quaffed the beer and wine,
And we raised our glass to Tugga —
Our mate who hit the sign.
Still it makes you stop and wonder
Why Destiny’s design,
Made sure the greatest player was
The first to hit the sign.

And when the World’s Great Umpire gives
This faithful servant out,
I’ll journey to Elysian Fields
With not a care or doubt.
For I have seen the champions play
This golden game divine,
And was watching at the WACA
When Tugga hit the sign.

Neil Marks

For more cricket poetry, you might want to learn about How McDougall Topped the Score.

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