Richard Gorton Barlow
May 28, 1851, Barrow Bridge, Bolton, Lancashire
July 31, 1919, Stanley Park, Blackpool, Lancashire, (aged 68y 64d)
Right hand bat
Left arm medium
Dick Barlow was a dour and resolute opening batsman who was the first to really use forward play defensively, and was so passionate about the game that he continued playing club cricket well into his sixties as well as being a capable umpire who stood in one Test in 1899. Hard to dismiss, Barlow is remembered for his association with fellow Lancashire opener Albert Hornby, who was his antithesis with the bat, and they were immortalised in one of the game's most famous poems by Francis Thompson:
"As the run-stealers flicker to and fro,
To and fro,
O my Hornby and my Barlow long ago"
He also developed into a very good slow-medium left-armer with immaculate length, clever variation, and a good eye for batsmen's weaknesses. He took a wicket with his first ball in first-class cricket and took four first-class hat-tricks. He carried his bat 11 times, including a two-hour innings of 5 not out (made out of 69) against Nottinghamshire in 1882.
Barlow toured Australia three times, playing in every match on each occasion, and he also played against Australia seven times at home. Although his highest Test score was only 62, Barlow played several valuable defensive innings in difficult circumstances. As a bowler he was more successful; his 7 for 44 at Manchester in 1886 was a match-winning performance. Playing for North of England against the Australian tourists in 1884 he took 10 wickets in the match, and then made a superb hundred (one of only four first-class centuries in his career) against Spofforth at his best. For the Players in the same year he captured a remarkable hat-trick of Gentlemen - WG, Shuter and Read falling to successive deliveries.
Close to the end of his life Barlow was quoted in the Manchester Guardian as saying: "I don't think any cricketer has enjoyed his cricketing career better than I have done, and if I had my time to come over again I should certainly be what I have been all my life - a professional cricketer."
Away from cricket, he kept goal to county level at football and was also a top sprinter.
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