Joe Hardstaff (snr)

HARDSTAFF, JOSEPH, senior, died suddenly at his Nottingham home on April 2, aged 66. Rather short and strongly built, he played for Nottinghamshire from 1902 to 1924, scoring altogether in first-class cricket 17,146 runs, average 31.34. He toured Australia in 1907-08, when A. O. Jones, his county captain, led the English side, and he met with marked success, averaging over 51 in all matches, with much the highest aggregate--1,384, and his three centuries surpassed the efforts of all his colleagues. His average in the five Tests was 31.10, only George Gunn and Jack Hobbs doing better. Free in stroke play all round the wicket, he could put up a stout defence in a way quite in keeping with the best of Nottinghamshire batsmen. He helped Nottinghamshire to carry off the Championship in 1907, and by scoring 124 not out and 48 against the South African team, influenced his choice for the tour in Australia; Nottinghamshire won the match by five wickets. A brilliant field, especially in the deep, he occasionally bowled rather fast but with moderate success. Sir Home Gordon credits him with 182 catches.

Hardstaff soon became a favourite with the Australian spectators, who showed their appreciation by calling him Hot Stuff. He died while his son was on the way home from Australia. The Hardstaffs provide the only case of a father and son representing England in Australia; but Fred Tate played in one Test match in England against Australia twenty-two years before his son, Maurice Tate, first went to Australia in 1924. After retiring from the Nottinghamshire team, Hardstaff senior became a popular first-class umpire and stood in several Test matches. He would probably have officiated in many more but for the fact that he was not allowed to umpire when young Hardstaff was playing in such games. Of course, he could not officiate when Nottinghampshire were engaged, and so he saw comparatively little of his son as a player.

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