Full name William Yardley
Born June 10, 1849, Altomont, Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra, India
Died October 28, 1900, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey (aged 51 years 140 days)
Major teams Cambridge University, Kent
Batting style Right-hand bat
Fielding position Wicketkeeper
|First-class span||1868 - 1878|
William Yardley, whose sudden death occurred at Kingston on October 28, will be remembered as one of the greatest cricketers of his day. After showing brilliant promise at Rugby he was in the Cambridge XI from 1869 to 1872, inclusive, and it is safe to say that Cambridge never possessed a more brilliant batsman. It was his distinction to make, in 1870, the first 100 ever hit in the University match. His score was exactly 100 and, as all lovers of cricket will remember, Cambridge in the end won the match by two runs, Mr. FC Cobden performing the hat-trick after a victory for Oxford had appeared inevitable. In 1872 Yardley scored 130 against Oxford, and his feat of twice getting a 100 in the University match remains to this day unique. He played more or less regularly for Kent between 1868 and 1877, and for Gentlemen against Players at Lord's in every year from 1869 to 1874. At the Oval he played for the Gentlemen twice and at Prince's once. Altogether he scored in nine Gentlemen and Players matches 435 runs, with the fine average of 36. Few batsmen, either of his own day or any other time, have been better worth looking at than Yardley, his style being free and commanding and his hitting brilliant in the extreme. He thought himself that the finest innings he ever played was 73 for South against North at Prince's on a very difficult wicket in May, 1872. It is no flattery to say that in 1870, 1871, and 1872, his only superior as a batsman was Mr. W. G. Grace. In those days when he and Mr. Grace played on the same side they always had a small wager on their scores and, long after he had retired from first-class cricket, Yardley was fond of recalling the fact that in the Gentlemen and Players match at Lord's in 1871, he beat the great man in both innings. Yardley was in his young days, a good tennis and racquet player. His name was at one time associated with the theatre almost as prominently as it was with cricket. He was part author of Little Jack Shepherd, one of the famous Gaiety burlesques, and more recently he helped to write The Passport, an amusing farce which still has life in it. He produced other pieces for the stage both alone and in collaboration, and he was for some time a dramatic critic.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
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