Did Don Bradman and Jack Fingleton, the great batsman and his fiercest critic, ever see eye-to-eye?
With the legendary batsman and his former batting partner turned legendary cricket writer both up in the heavens, after a lifetime of disapproving the other's methods, the metaphorical question falls flat. However, at the Manuka Oval here the two have literally been in each other's 'faces' for well over two decades.
The quaint ground, with its distinct, old-world charm was a happy hunting ground for The Don in his playing days, and soon after he called it a day the authorities re-named the main stand as the Bradman Stand.
Where does Fingelton come into the picture? Explains a Cricket ACT (Australian Capital Territory) official, "In the 1980s, when MCG upgraded to an electronic scoreboard the old scoreboard (which had been at the Melbourne ground since 1901) was moved and installed here. Jack Fingelton, after his cricketing days, spent his winter months, when the cricket season was not on, in Canberra where he became quite well-respected as a political journalist and was a regular feature at Australia's Parliament House, just a short walk down the road."
"Soon after his untimely demise in 1981, during a heart-warming ceremony, the scoreboard from the MCG, which had recently been installed, was christened the Jack Fingelton Scoreboard."
The real irony, more so than the name of the stand, lies in its location — bang opposite the Bradman Stand. They may have never seen eye-to-eye on the pitch, or even off it, but at the Manuka Oval Jack Fingelton and Don Bradman are destined stare each other in the face for the rest of eternity.