DateLine: 28th August 2005
A former Springbok cricketer, David Ernest James Ironside, has died in Birmingham, England last Sunday at the age of 80.
Ironside started his career as a tearaway fast bowler but later, due to knee problems, slowed down his pace and became a most effective medium-paced swing bowler and represented South Africa in three Tests against New Zealand in 1953-54.
"He could swing the ball like a boomerang," said renown fast bowler Neil Adcock, who partnered Ironside for Transvaal and South Africa.
"He was the definately the best swing bowler in South Africa in the mid-50s," Adcock added.
"I'm sad to hear about his death. He was always full of fun and was never really aggressive."
In Ironside's debut Test match at the old Ellis Park ground in Johannesburg - the second of the series - he captured 5-51 and 3-37.
This was the dramatic match in which New Zealand collapsed on Boxing Day 1953 to Adcock and Ironside, and their champion batsman Bert Sutcliffe was hit on the head while hooking Adcock and had to leave the field, while one or two other batsmen had been hit about the body and also had to retire.
Earlier that day it was learnt that a train disaster in New Zealand had claimed the life of the fiancee of one of the New Zealand players, fast bowler Bob Blair.
Ironside missed the final Test of that series in Port Elizabeth having ricked his back in the aircraft from Johannesburg en route to the match and his place was taken by Eastern Province allrounder, Anton Murray.
He never played for South Africa again despite capturing 15 wicket at only 18.33 in the series.
Ironside was born in Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique on May 2nd, 1925 and was educated at Parktown Boys' High. He represented Transvaal Schools in the 1942 Nuffield Week.
In all first-class cricket between 1947-48 and 1955-56 he took 130 wickets at the excellent average of 21.13.
After running an accountancy business in Johannesburg for many years he went to live with his daughter in England about three years ago.
(Article: Copyright © 2005 Peter Martin)
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