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Best of the east: A NSW XI who played 16 Tests or fewer

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Roar Rookie
16th April, 2022

Following on from my critically and universally panned debut article, the insatiable and baffling lust for spurious team lists again reared its bizarre head. But deep down, we all love a “best of” list, don’t we? As tempted as we are, as soon as we see a link to a “best of” team, we are inextricably drawn in.

As empirical proof of this, you’re reading this right now. Sucker.

After selecting the WA team (2022 champs in pretty much everything), the Best of <16 Tests needs an opposition for the West to defeat. And due to unpopular demand, here’s another list: the best NSW XI who played for two or more states in the Sheffield Shield. Henceforth known as the NSW Twin-State All Stars (NSWTSAS) XI.

Now in truth, I misread Big Daddy’s criteria so I started by trying to identify the best two-state players in Shield history. Seemed simple enough: find a website with every twin-state player listed Simple? Pffttt. But as stated by Mrs Cohen in Life of Brian, “There’s a multitude out there!”

There sure is.


For starters, the overall Multi-State All-Star (MSAS) XI, which is made up of players who represented at least two Pura states, is ridiculous. Ridiculous! I’m not even kidding! This team could and would beat most, if not all, international teams from any decade you care to mention. But I’ll save this team for another time.

So, back to the NSWTSAS. Because of the ridiculous amount of talent in the NSWTSAS XI, it wouldn’t be a fair fight against a state team whose players are capped at 16 Tests. So, like the triple-crowned WA, I’ve capped the NSWTSAS players at 16 Tests, so the likes of Usman Khawaja and Phil Hughes (who didn’t even make the MSAS) and Adam Gilchrist (who did) don’t qualify.

The other bit is the difficulty finding enough Bruce Waynes to fill Big Daddy’s requirement of playing for Australia after moving interstate. So, it’s definitely weakened this lot, mainly because Ed Cowan, Andrew Hilditch, Michael Bevan and Fred ‘The Demon’ Spofforth all played 18 Tests. Boy, that really is annoying. So, sorry about that, Big Daddy.

So, after a lot of unnecessary fiddling about like the flatulent violinist, here is the <16 Tests NSW All Star team to take on WA.


(Note: any player selected in Matth’s all-time great alphabet team, the link to that article is below)

1. Nic Maddinson


With Ed Cowan, Andrew Hilditch (both 18 Tests, although all of Ed’s Tests were after he defected), and Percy Stanislaus McDonnell (19 Tests) ineligible, Nic will be opening.

I like Nic. Not only is he plundering runs in a losing Shield-final effort, he’s also an exciting cricketer to watch, which is crucial coming in before Dirk ‘Insomnia’ Wellham. Picked prematurely in 2016 with fellow debutants Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb against South Africa, he has a better Test record bowling (27 off 36 balls) than batting (27 runs off 78 balls). Nic would surely rocket back into the Test XI if he just moved back to New South Wales.

2. Peter ‘Who’ Taylor

Batting way too high in this team but he was mistaken for Mark Taylor for his Test debut in 87, so it’s just easier to run with this mistake and have him open the batting. He moved to Queensland in 1990-91 and played the last of his 13 Tests in 1992. More of an ODI bowler, but if he played in the 1800s, thanks to his two Test 50s (highest score 87) at 27 he would be considered an all-rounder.


3. Dirk Wellham

The bespectacled, barnacle-like former NSW, Tasmania and Queensland player was described by Wisden as “sturdy, pugnacious and well-organised”. Others described him as “boring”. The last of his six Tests was played before he relocated to Tassie, and he scored one painstaking Test century at The Oval in 1981.

4. Hampden Stanley Bray Love

Wicketkeeper Hammy Love, who also tops the list for the best name ever, played one Test in 1933 (5 runs) due to being stuck behind some NSW bloke called Bert Oldfield. He must have loved it so much he left NSW to go to Victoria then rightly back to NSW so he could keep loving being Oldfield’s deputy for another six seasons.


His lovely first-class batting record sees him shuffle up the order: 2906 runs at 35 with seven hundreds, 11 half-centuries and a top score of 192.

5. Hunter Scott Thomas Laurie Hendry

Hunter ‘Hearst’ Hendry, or ‘Stork’ due to his height of 6’ 2 (it’s not that tall) was an 11-Test all-rounder between 1921 and 1929. Moving to Victoria in 1924, he scored a lone Test century in putting on 215 with fellow Vic Bill Woodfull in 1929.

Triple H’s Test record (335 runs at 25 and 16 wickets at 40) was knocked because selectors liked to move him up to first drop and get him to open the bowling; like an olden-days Alec Stewart, I suppose. Well, no, not really. ‘The Game’ shows his class through his excellent first-class record: 140 matches, highest score 325 not out, average 38, 229 wickets at 29. That’s some pedigree.

Generic cricket ball

(Steven Paston – EMPICS/Getty Images)

6. Samuel Percy Jones

Sammy played 12 Tests between 1882 and 1888. When exactly he moved to Queensland is a bit of a mystery but he played for Brisbane and Queensland in 1885-86. He was described as a lively medium-pace bowler and solid batsman who averaged 21 with the bat and his six wickets averaged 18.66. Heads a really ordinary lower order, with apologies to Travis Head.

7. Frederick Burton

Because Gilly turncoated and played loads of Tests, we plumb for Victoria-born Fred Burton. Unlike Gilly, Fred’s batting wasn’t the best: in two Tests in 1887-88 he scored a total of four runs with a top score of 2 (but hey he was not out). Amazingly, he was retained for his second Test as a batsman when Jack Blackham returned despite averaging 15 in first class. We will need to have a look at him before deciding to demote him down the order.

8. Harry Boyle

A medium to medium-fast bowler who looked like a science teacher was an excellent foil for The Demon; particularly in England which suited his metronomic line and length.

His move from NSW to Victoria may have coincided with The Demon’s own in 1885. His 12 Tests between 1879 and 1884 yielded 32 wickets at 20 (FC – 140 matches, 370 wickets @ 15.38) and he was regarded as a brilliant and fearless fielder close to the wicket. Was actually chosen as skipper of the 1880 tour but was replaced by Billy Murdoch during an onboard ship meeting; most likely because Murdoch wisely chose to remain in NSW.

9. JJ Ferris

I love these guys who played around this era because they played so few Tests. Historians debate as to why this was the case to this very day, probably something to do with the Wi-Fi at the time, but John James was a left-arm swing bowler who played nine Tests between 1887 and 1892.

Fifth on the all-time bowling averages (minimum ten wickets), his 61 wickets came at a lousy 12.7 bowling with Charles ‘Terror’ Turner. Terror. The Demon. They didn’t mind some PR in the nicknames in those days. Not only did JJ play for NSW and SA, he played one Test for England, taking 13 for 91. He later died in the Boer War, probably while looking for a new team to join.

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The Australian cricket all-time great alphabet teams: Letter F

10. Bill Whitty

Or Will Bitty, as we’ll call him. A left-arm fast-medium bowler whose 65 Test wickets across 14 Tests at 21 all took place after he moved to SA in 1908. Will was selected in Matth’s best-ever Aussie team surnames starting with W, and the profile there does him more justice than my pointless ramblings.

11. Gerry Rignold Hazlitt

What a wonderful name! Although he’s no Hammy Love, he had nine Tests to his name between 1907 and 1912; playing for Victoria in 1906-07 and 1910–11. That’s a weird timeline, but anyway.

At The Oval in 1912 (while with NSW, of course) he took 7–25 off 21.4 overs yet England still won. Took 23 wickets at 27 which was clearly not acceptable for the times, and his batting average was very average. Passed away in 1915 aged 27, which was also very average.

So, who wins? That’s easy: WA cause they win everything. NSW don’t have the strongest batting line up, thanks largely to a group of players who selfishly played 18 Tests, and the fact they have Dirk Wellham.

WA, on the other hand, have a load of proven match-winners with excellent Milk records and they don’t have Dirk Wellham. Their batting tail is also extremely capable. If NSW were permitted to play Cowan, Hilditch, Bevan and Spofforth, then that would be cheating and we aren’t cheaters.

Somehow, this has turned into a series and oh, look, this rabbit hole keeps going. Next will be the Best Ever Pura Milk Cup Team of Twin-Team Players from/to NSW, and a team of “Strays” (non-NSW).