June 21, 1939, Leeds, Yorkshire
April 15, 1980, Drighlington, Yorkshire, (aged 40y 299d)
Left hand Bat
Left arm Fast medium
For almost two decades one of the most riveting sights in county cricket was the
frantic, scuttling approach to the crease of fast-medium left-arm bowler Barry Stead, news of whose death from cancer on April 15 saddened the cricket community. He was 40. Born in Leeds, Stead had a dramatic debut for his native county, taking 7 for 76 against the 1959 Indians at Bradford. One further appearance for Yorkshire followed, but in 1960 and 1961 he played for Combined Services and then joined Nottinghamshire, whom he was to serve regularly
until 1976, the year of his benefit. Capped in 1969, when he was top
wicket-taker with 71, he returned the best figures of his career three years later, when Somerset were demolished for 107, Stead 8 for 44 (including a hat-trick - Virgin, Cooper and Close), the other two wickets falling to Sobers. Stead's match figures were 12 for 111, and that season he went on to head the Notts bowling with 93 wickets at 20.33. In 1973 his 49 Championship wickets
were the most for the county, too, and after having waited for several years to establish himself, he was now a game, willing and valuable member of the attack.
Cricket was Barry Stead's life, and in 1975-76 he followed the sun to South Africa, playing for Northern Transvaal. And as the Rice-Hadlee era dawned at Trent Bridge, and Stead's pace began to wane, he enjoyed some league cricket. Not always, perhaps, the luckiest of cricketers, he was called back by an injury-hit Notts in 1978 and had the desperate fortune to miss a difficult, lofted catch from Lancashire's Jack Simmons which decided the John Player League match before the eyes of millions of television-viewers. Through his discomfiture, characteristically he managed a wide and ruddy grin. Recently he ran a pub in Drighlington with great warmth and hospitality, taking time off last year and the year before to help the English Press XI in its annual labours in the 'Press Test' at Harrogate. In 1978 one of his pull shots on the small practice ground shattered a plate-glass front door. Again, the flush and the toothy grin.
Wisden Cricket Monthly
Batting & Fielding