Isles recalls record 360-run partnership with brother

KEN Isles might be 85 but he still remembers the day he and his brother shared a 360-run partnership for Nestles 64 years ago.

Memories came flooding back to Isles this week after he learnt of the efforts of West Warrnambool batsmen Karl Turner and Alastair Templeton on Saturday.

Turner was 200 not out and Templeton had 111 to his name when the Panthers declared at 0-341 against Nirranda at Davidson Oval.

But impressive as it was, the stand was 19 runs short of what Ken and Stuart Isles produced for Nestles against St Joseph’s on January 28, 1950.

The day had started encouragingly for St Joseph’s, which removed opener Bill Bruce for seven with the score on 25.

But from then on, the Isles brothers wrote themselves into the record books by smashing the attack to all corners of Allan Oval.

Ken, then 21, lost his wicket for 219 with the score 2-385. But Stuart, then 23, pressed on to make 170 not out. Nestles finished at 3-426.

Records are hard to come by, but The Standard has been unable to find a bigger partnership in Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) history.

“It was pretty special. The reason why was my father (Henry Isles) and Stan Halliwell held the record at 311. That was around 1930. We broke that,” Ken said.

“They held it once, it was beaten, then they got it back again. 

“Stan had a whole lot of records in his own career. He was an outstanding cricketer at the time. He played for what they called the Indians. Their home ground was down where they play soccer at South Warrnambool.”

Ken said he and Stuart, who died 15 years ago, were at the crease for just 2½ hours. “I was dropped on 136 and it went for six. They were big boundaries. If we had played on the ground they play on today, we would’ve got to 500,” Ken said.

Ken also scored a double century two days later in a one-day match against Dennington on a public holiday.

His 214 not out helped Nestles to 2-395 — and 433 runs in three days. Ken made more than 1100 that season.

“The remarkable thing about the holiday game was, to start, we only had five men,” he said. “Chris Testro was captain of Dennington at the time and I said ‘Chris, we’re going to have to cancel it’. He said ‘no, we’ll give you six subs.”

Ken said he “occasionally” watched WDCA matches if he was driving around town, although he lamented the direction cricket was headed.

“Cricket has changed, really changed. I don’t like this Twenty20 stuff. Traditional stuff I think is better,” he said.

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