Career tragically cut short - tribute to Ron Archer
by Peter Martin
DateLine: 29th May 2007
Former Australian allrounder, Ronald Graham Archer, who died of lung cancer in Brisbane on Sunday, May 27th, 2007 at the age of 73, had his Test career sadly cut short prematurely by a knee injury at the age of 23.
In his final Test against Pakistan in Karachi, he sustained a knee injury that eventually put him out of the game.
After making his Test debut against South Africa at Melbourne in February, 1953 when both Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller were unavailable due to injury, he toured England in 1953 and '56, as well as the West Indies in 1954-55, where he scored his only Test century, 128 at Kingston in a high-scoring Australian innings of 758-8 declared, with four other batsmen scoring centuries.
In 1956 in the third Test at Leeds he rocked England by shooting out their first three batsmen at little cost - Peter Richardson (5), Colin Cowdrey (0) and Alan Oakman (4 on Test debut) - before Peter May and Cyril Washbrook staged a recovery. Archer finished the innings with figures of 3-68 off 50 overs, but his effort was not enough to avoid an innings defeat, with England spinners Jim Laker and Tony Lock grabbing 18 of the 20 Australian wickets to fall.
In 19 Tests Archer scored 713 runs at 24.58 and captured 48 wickets at 27.45, with a best performance of 5-53.
In all first-class cricket he played 98 matches and scored 3,768 runs (31.93) with four centuries and 21 half-centuries. He also took 255 wickets (23.36) with a best of 7-56.
He retired after the 1958-59 season after playing as a batsman only.
He retained his links with the game by acting as Cricket Australia's Code of Conduct commissioner and was the ICC match referee in an international Twenty/20 match between Australia and South Africa as recently as January, 2006.
Archer's older brother, Kenneth, now 79, toured South Africa with Lindsay Hassett's 1949-50 team and later played five Tests at home between 1950-52.
Ron Archer is survived by wife, Margaret, and daughters Jacklyn and Jo-Ellen.
(Article: Copyright © 2007 Peter Martin)