Throughout its history, Goulburn has welcomed several great cricketers to its fields.
In 2019, legendary fast bowler Glenn McGrath visited Seiffert Oval and took part in training drills with local children. From 1917 on, Bill O'Reilly, rated by Donald Bradman as the greatest bowler he had ever faced, attended school in Goulburn and played in town.
But the first Australian cricketer to be regarded unequivocally as the best of his time, Victor Trumper, was also one of the first to ply his trade for Goulburn crowds.
On Saturday, April 14 1906, Trumper played for a composite Sydney team against a Goulburn and District side at the now-unused Kenmore Oval.
By this point, Trumper was almost exactly halfway through his 13-year test career, which spanned 48 matches and wrought 3163 runs at an average of 39.
Those familiar with professional cricket might wonder why Trumper was so revered - a batting average of less than 40 in the modern game would be an adequate effort, but certainly not extraordinary.
The difference lies in the surfaces on which Trumper and his colleagues played.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, wickets were uncovered and not cared for in any great detail, which made batting a much more treacherous affair than it is on current wickets. It was not uncommon for proficient batsmen to average in the 20s and, if they were lucky, into the 30s.
"The wicket played fairly," the Goulburn Evening Penny Post wrote of the match, "but some balls went high over the batsmen's heads, while others kept low or shot [through]."
The local team batted first and managed a total of 206, of which sundries contributed the "unusual" total of 59.
Trumper himself was responsible for a number of said extras, though he was poorly aided by questionable wicketkeeping.
"Trumper only bowled a few overs, but his pace was fast, and byes profited greatly," the Post wrote.
"The behind the wicket management was not the best."
Though the great Australian batsman nabbed two wickets for five runs, he was outshone in the bowling department by his teammate, referred to only as Cotter, who snared 11 for 45 (18 men batted for Goulburn) with his "lightning speed".
On a wicket which was playing tricks, 209 was an imposing score. However, as Wisden wrote following his death, it was Trumper's "ability to make big scores when orthodox methods were unavailing that lifted him above his fellows."
So it was in Goulburn.
As expected of the main drawcard, Trumper opened the batting for Sydney.
"Those who attended were regaled with a fine exhibition by Trumper, who ... gave of his best," said the Post.
"The first part of his innings was a scientific display of the finest type. His timing and placing were superb. He cut and drove and hit all round the wicket, choosing his direction and placing the ball there.
The paper speaks for several paragraphs about Trumper's display, but the most telling comment comes toward the end of its paean.
"His scoring was phenomenally rapid, as at one time he put on 50 runs in a quarter of an hour."
Assuming the current average rate of 15 overs bowled per hour, which equates to 90 balls, Trumper scored at a strike rate of roughly 227 runs per 100 deliveries faced, which would be extraordinary today.
Eventually, Trumper was bowled by D. Shepherd for 182, and his total included six sixes (several of which were struck out of the ground), and 22 fours. It was an innings which displayed the sheer class of the man, and left Goulburn to rue the chances dropped off him.
Sydney's score was 383 at the end of its innings, with Trumper ably supported by Cotter (48) and P. Dive (33).
177 runs in arrears, Goulburn could only cobble together 85 in the second innings for ten wickets and the visitors claimed victory on the first innings scores.
After his incredible batting display, Trumper was forced to miss Goulburn's second knock, because he had to return to Sydney.
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