54-year tale of a legend’s gifted bat

IT’S not every day you get to drop into the home of one of Australia’s greatest batsmen to talk cricket.

But the Kilby family did just that during a visit to the Central Coast recently.

With son Thomas captaining the Riverina PSSA team at the NSW championships near Gosford, the New City Cricket Club organised through Cricket NSW to catch up with the former opener.

It all came about after an incident 54 years ago.

Thomas’ grandfather Neil was a student at Canberra Grammar and went to watch the Prime Minister’s XI play at Manuka Oval.

Neil asked batsman Lindsay Hassett for his autograph as he left the ground after being dismissed — but he gave him his bat in a gesture that impressed everyone, including then prime minister Sir Robert Menzies.

It was only revealed later that Hassett had borrowed Morris’ bat for the day.

Morris has told the story hundreds of times since, which prompted the Kilbys to catch up with the 46-Test member of Sir Donald Bradman’s 1948 Invincibles earlier this month.

“Arthur was fantastic,” Thomas’ father Andrew said of the meeting with the 92-year-old.

“He’s spoken about dad getting his bat a lot over the years and we just thought we would try and catch up with him.

“He signed the bat again and it was great to meet up with him.

“The boys had no idea what Arthur had done, but they have a lot better understanding now.”

Andrew, his wife Vicki, and three boys, Angus, Thomas and Nicho, and parents Neil and Gwen, spoke to Morris for about an hour.

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