Obituary

Warren Bardsley

BARDSLEY, MR. WARREN, who died in Sydney on January 20, aged 70, was one the greatest left-handed batsmen produced by Australia. Only two of his countrymen, Sir Donald Bradman and A. L. Hassett, surpassed his record of 53 centuries -- 29 of them scored in England -- in first-class matches. As a stylist, Bardsley compared favourably with any left-hander of his day. His upright stance and eminently straight bat never failed to exercise a special charm upon spectators, and he used his feet to perfection while employing a wide variety of strokes. If less brilliant in cutting behind point than Clem Hill, he was stronger in hitting past cover and to leg and he possessed a specially powerful straight drive.

Born at Warren, New South Wales, on December 7, 1884, he was named after his home town. Educated at Forest Lodge Superior Public School, he played as a youngster for Glebe in the First Grade Competition, displaying such skill that by 1903-4 he found a place in the New South Wales team which met Queensland at Brisbane. It was in 1907-8, however, that he first attained real prominence. Then, in the second fixture between New South Wales and the M.C.C. Touring Team, he scored a splendid 108, so that when rain, preventing cricket on the sixth day, caused the match to be left drawn, the State needed 12 runs for victory and had one wicket to fall.

Thenceforward Bardsley did not look back. In the 1908-9 season he scored in nine innings 748 runs, including 119 against South Australia, 192 against Victoria and, for the Australian XI against The Rest, 264. Despite these feats, he was not among the first men chosen to go to England in 1909, but on that tour he at once found his finest form and retained it. When hitting 136 and 130 from the England bowling at The Oval he became the first player of a list now grown to fourteen to hit two separate hundreds in a Test match. In that game, too, he and S. E. Gregory, by sharing an opening partnership of 180, set up a record for Australia against England. His total runs during the summer numbered 2,180, including seven centuries, average 46.39.

When next coming to England in 1912 he did even better with eight centuries, an aggregate of 2,441 and an average of 51.98. Again in 1921, this time with nine three-figure innings among his achievements, he exceeded 2,000 runs and, as vice-captain of H. L. Collins's 1926 side, he obtained his third century against England. This was a memorable effort of 193 for which he carried his bat through an innings lasting over six and a half hours and realising 383. No higher individual score had at that time been registered in a Test match at Lord's, and of it Wisden said: "Had Bardsley accomplished nothing else he would have justified his selection."

Altogether Bardsley represented Australia in 41 Test matches, scoring 2,469 runs in 66 innings, average 40.47. Besides the tours of England, he visited New Zealand in 1909-10 and 1923-24, South Africa in 1921-22, and also played cricket in Fiji, U. S. A., Canada and Bermuda.

Sir Jack Hobbs said of Bardsley: "I cannot imagine a nicer type of fellow. I probably played against him as often as any Englishman and he was one of the best left-handers of the upright, classical school that I have ever seen. I would not like to choose between him and Clem Hill as the best Australian left-hander, because their styles were so different. Clem crouched more and was more aggressive."

© John Wisden & Co