Name:Laver, Frank Jonas
Date of Birth:7 December 1869 (d 24 September 1919)
Career:1889-90 to 1911-12
Teams:East Melbourne
Batting Style:RHB
Bowling Style:RAMP


Laver was instrumental in the establishment of the District competition and was a prolific and influential player, selector and team manager in his time.

He was a dominant player pre the creation of the District competition. He turned up from Castlemaine at East Melbourne looking for a game in season 1887/88. Two years later he hit three centuries and captured 52 wickets and in 1892/93 he hit 352 not out in a club fixture against St Kilda.

A decade later, in early 1903, he played a hand of 341 against Fitzroy as an opening batsman in an astonishing score of 2/744. He and Peter McAlister made an opening stand of 366 and Laver and Harry Stuckey added 247 before Laver was out with the score on 613.

He was a Victorian selector in 1903 and as an East Melbourne delegate he was deeply involved in the creation of the District competition. He stood firm by claiming at a special meeting that it would be improper for one club (the MCC) to dominate all the other clubs.

Laver, McAlister and Sam McMichael formed the backbone of the great East Melbourne team that ventured into District ranks. Between 1887 and 1910, they contributed 25,198 runs between them in 705 innings, together averaging 41.24.

Laver was the players’ person. He was the player/manager of the first Australian team to tour England in 1909. The majority of players around the nation adored Laver and when the Australian Cricket Board decided to send one of its own delegates as manager on the 1912 tour of England, a revolt resulted. Clem Hill, Sammy Carter, Albert Cotter, Warwick Armstrong and Vernon Ransford signed a letter. They refused to tour if Laver was not manager, and they did not.

Laver played 78 matches for Victoria from 1891/92 to 1911/12, scoring 3496 runs including four centuries at 27.74 with a highest of 164. He also took 154 wickets at 33.03 with a best of 6/17.

He ended his association with cricket in 1912. He believed his club secretary had canvassed against him in the poll for committee when he was defeated for the first time in more than quarter of a century service to the club, which included 15 as captain, a long stint as a VCA delegate and 12 years as a state selector. He died seven years later, aged 50.

He was remembered as an all-rounder who, on his day, was exceptional. He captured 8/31 against England in a Test innings and two triple centuries in club matches. In 1905 he captured 115 wickets on the tour of England and 68 in 1909 even though he was supposed to be concentrating on his managerial duties. In 1909 he took 13/80 against Hampshire, exceeding the 13/133 he captured against Yorkshire four years earlier.

Laver continued to play first-class cricket until he was 44. In Test matches, Laver played 15 games for a modest return of 196 runs at 11.52 an innings. His bowling earned him 37 wickets at 26.05 apiece.


From "100 Not Out" by Rod Nicholson and Ken Williams.


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