Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

TRIBUTES FLOW; Invincibles Cricket Legend Sam Loxton Will Live on in Local's Memory

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

TRIBUTES FLOW; Invincibles Cricket Legend Sam Loxton Will Live on in Local's Memory

Article excerpt

Byline: = sport@dailyexaminer.com.au

IF Graham Mackie had to name one highlight of his cricketing career it would be his cherished friendship with cricket legend Sam Loxton.

Loxton passed away on Friday night aged 90 and for Mackie the 1948 Invincible was more than a superb cricketer, he was a mate.

Mackie met Loxton by chance on the Gold Coast 15 years ago and has kept in close contact ever since.

I sat down with Graham, who although saddened by the news of his close mate's final innings, gave an insight into one of cricket's greatest characters.

So Graham, how did your association with Sam come about?

I was coaching the Dolphins at the Gold Coast and the secretary said, C[pounds sterling]Sam's here, you better go and meet himC[yen]. Sam was also coaching at the time. I met him and from then on he came every Saturday to the ground immaculately dressed with briefcase in hand.

Both of you obviously hit it off from the start which is understandable given your great love and appreciation for the game.

We sat down one day and Sam wanted me to read a letter. I started reading it and told him I felt uncomfortable because it was a personal letter to him. He told me not to worry about it. The letter was from Bradman. Sam always did things like that. We became great mates after that.

So what was it like discussing the finer points of the game with a cricketing legend?

It was fantastic. Sam would sit there and analyse the game. I remember one day a young batsman got out and Sam asked if he could talk to him and I said sure, thinking the batsman would come in and get changed.

But Sam met him at the gate, took him over to the nets and started throwing cricket balls at him. And no one disputed him, he was so well-respected.

What was Sam's connection with Lower Clarence cricket and how did he end up being involved with cricket down river?

That came about through Kevin Styles. Kevin was the president of Lower Clarence and Yamba at the time and rang me to see if I could organise a guest speaker for their presentation night.

He asked if I could organise Craig McDermott, Mark Taylor or Mike Whitney who I knew. I told him I'll see what I can do. I rang Kevin back in two minutes and said how would Sam Loxton do?

There was dead silence on the other end of the phone and he said, C[pounds sterling]Are you kidding me ... one of the Invincibles?C[yen]

Was Sam a huge hit on the night?

He spoke to more than 100 people and there was not a sound. All the kids listened to him. He was one of the greatest speakers I've ever heard. He was simply fantastic.

Was there any yarn in particular you can recall that stood out during your 15-year association with Sam?

One in particular was when Kevin and I decided to show Sam the sights around the Clarence Valley. …

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