Sydney Francis Hird
January 07, 1910, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales
December 20, 1980, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa, (aged 70y 348d)
Right hand Bat
Syd Hird, who died on December 20 in South Africa, where he settled before the war, was one of a remarkably talented quartet to emerge from Rozelle Junior Technical School in Sydney. Born on January 7, 1910, he and his school pals Archie Jackson, Bill Hunt and Dick Nutt struck terror into the hearts of all opponents, and were marked down for adult honours some time before entering the grown-ups' world. Jackson, of course, was one of the most brilliant batsmen the world has known, and made two centuries in a match for NSW at the age of 18, a century on Test debut against England at 19, and died from tuberculosis at 23; Hunt played once for Australia; Nutt was a State player. Hird, a fine batsman and leg-spin/googly bowler, had a number of successes for NSW before trying his luck in English league cricket and then moving on to South Africa to coach.
The Rozelle prodigies had the good fortune to have as their mentor Arthur Mailey, the Test spinner who was captain ing the Balmain club, and Hird's brief Sheffield Shield career began in 1931-32, after a good all-round performance the previous season in a NSW v Victoria 2nd XI match. Success soon came in the shape of a century against the South Africans. A year later, with Jardine's team in Australia, Syd Hird began well again, taking 6 for 56 against Victoria (including Woodfull, Ponsford, O'Brien and Darling) and making a dashing century off Queensland. His 6 for 135 - when two batsmen were stumped by Hammy Love, who was keeping wicket as a substitute - for NSW against MCC brought him selection as twelfth man in the first Test match. But that was as close as he came to Test honours. His bowling in State matches faded, and in 1934 he took an engagement with Ramsbottom in the Lancashire League, leaving his mark in 1938 with a Worsley Cup record innings of 205.
Tall and affable, he is remembered by his contemporaries as a robust batsman and
a 'leggie' who flighted the ball cleverly and had a well-disguised wrong'un. His Sheffield Shield figures make respectable reading: in 11 matches - 554 runs at 32.58
and 25 wickets at 29.04.
Wisden Cricket Monthly
Batting & Fielding