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Clem Hill

Batter

Bats Left Hand.
Bowls Right Arm Leg-Break

Batter

Bats Left Hand.
Bowls Right Arm Leg-Break

AGE
143
HEIGHT
175cmCM
BORN

Adelaide

COUNTRY

STATE

VIC

VIC

Bio

Ashes Tests: 41

Captain: 5

Record: 1-4

Off the Mark

Clem Hill was widely regarded as Australia’s greatest left-handed batsman until the emergence of Neil Harvey. With 41 Ashes caps under his belt, Hill was one of the most experienced players in the pre-war era. His 3,412 runs (helped by an impressive record against South Africa) saw him leave the game as the highest run scorer at the time.

Noted for his ability to pull the ball from anywhere, Hill will be remembered for a number of stirring innings. His 188 at the MCG in 1897/98 was truly spectacular, especially given Australia’s predicament at 6/58. He also went on to get consecutive scores of 99, 98 and 97; a record that will never be repeated.

His Stint

Hill assumed the captaincy following a bitter dispute between Monty Noble and the Board. After defeating South Africa in his first series in charge, Hill led his men against arguably the strongest English side sent to Australia.

Although Australia won in Sydney, the series was an unmitigated disaster for the hosts. In Melbourne, Hill elected to bat first on a pitch that looked ripe for bowling. He declared that past statistics suggested bowling first would lead to defeat. He was horribly wrong as Barnes took 4/1 in his first seven overs.

A fighting 98 from the captain wasn’t enough to save defeat in Adelaide as the rest of the team struggled against the ferocious English attack. In fact, only Victor Trumper managed to score a century all series in a sign of Australia’s batting woes.

In his final match at the helm, Hill watched Frank Woolley plunder 133 batting at seven as England built a healthy total of 324. Five Australians passed 20, but no one reached 35 as they were bowled out for just 176. Five wickets to Ranji Hordern restricted England to 214, but 363 proved too much for the hosts to chase down. Half centuries to Victor Trumper and Roy Minnett weren’t enough, as Australia lost by 70 runs.

His Legacy

Clem Hill would not go down as one of Australia’s greatest leaders. As a player, he was hard to fault. An ever-reliable first drop, Hill was Australia’s premier batsman in a side filled with precocious talent. Hill could have easily registered ten centuries in his career, but fell in the nervous nineties on six separate occasions.

Bickering with the Board in 1912 led to Hill’s banishment from the game. In fact, bickering turned to brawling when Hill lost his patience with controversial selector Peter McAlister. The incident was a poor look for Hill, who was asked to pen his resignation at the end of the Ashes.

While leadership didn’t pan out the way he would have hoped, Hill was still a revered man in Australian cricket. His exploits at home and abroad made him a quintessential part of the so called “Golden era”. To honour his achievements, the South Australian Cricket Association named the southern grandstand at the Adelaide Oval the “Clem Hill Stand”.

Played and Missed

In 1901/02, Hill topped the scores in both innings of the Adelaide Test with 98 and 97. This was preceded by 99 at the MCG.

In 1902, Hill became the first player to reach 1,000 Test runs in a calendar year.

Hill was one of 16 children; a normal occurrence in the early 20th Century.

Hill brought up his triple century against NSW with an eight. After running four, Hill was able to raise the bat courtesy of a wild throw that reached the fence.

Hill blamed photographers for costing him a double-century against England at the MCG. Claiming that photos made him superstitious, Hill was annoyed that the paparazzi mobbed him as he made his way off the ground on 182. He only added six runs the next day.

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