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Bardsley, Warren (1882–1954)

by B. G. Andrews

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

Warren Bardsley, by R. Empson &​ Co Ltd, 1909

Warren Bardsley, by R. Empson &​ Co Ltd, 1909

State Library of New South Wales, 420930

Warren Bardsley (1882-1954), cricketer, was born at Warren, New South Wales, on 6 December 1882, son of William Bardsley, teacher, and his wife Rachel Hannah, née Readford. At the Forest Lodge Superior Public School at Glebe, where his father taught for over forty years from 1883, he developed the dedication to practice that characterized his career; his schoolmates included 'Tibby' Cotter, the fast bowler. At 17 Bardsley played for Glebe in the Sydney first-grade competition, made his State début in 1903-04, and won selection in the Australian team to visit England in 1909.

On tour Bardsley became established as an opening batsman, topped his side's averages and aggregates with 2180 runs at 46, and was named as one of Wisden's cricketers of the year. Making 136 and 130 in the Oval Test, he became the first player to score a century in each innings of a Test match, sharing with Syd Gregory an opening partnership of 180 that stood as an Australian Test record for over fifty years. Bardsley made further tours of England in 1912, 1921 and 1926. On the first he again headed the averages and aggregates with 2441 runs at 51; on the second his consistency helped lay the solid foundation on which the successes of W. W. Armstrong's side were built; on the third he carried his bat for 193 in the Lord's Test and captained Australia at Headingley and Old Trafford. He retired from representative cricket at the end of the 1926-27 Australian season, having amassed 17,031 runs in first-class matches at an average of just under 50; against England he had scored 1334 at 33 and in all Tests 2469 at 40. Until 1933 he continued playing grade cricket with Western Suburbs, the club he had joined in 1919; his aggregate of 12,110 runs at 50 is a record for the Sydney first-grade competition.

A serious man, a non-smoker, teetotaller and vegetarian, Bardsley was of medium height, solidly built and round-faced. He had an upright stance at the wicket, was strong on the cut and the drive, and adept at working the ball off his legs. His orthodox batting lacked the flair of Clem Hill, the left-hander with whom he is most often compared, but English observers in particular paid tribute to his 'classical' style. His achievements, at a time of rapid advancement in bowling techniques, depended on the soundness of his play, to which were added unquenchable keenness and thorough preparation; on the 1909 tour he was invariably first at the ground, 'casing the joint for stealing runs'. Bardsley had most success in England; the habit acquired in childhood of early morning practice on damp wickets is usually advanced as the reason. He seldom bowled, but was a fine fieldsman in the deep.

Bardsley served briefly as a New South Wales and Australian selector, and in 1936 shared a testimonial with Jack Gregory, which yielded £1500. In 1899-1920 he had worked as a clerk in the accounts branch of the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice and from about 1920 was an agent for English firms. He died suddenly of coronary vascular disease at Clovelly on 20 January 1954 and was cremated with Presbyterian rites. He was survived by his wife Gertrude Muriel, née Cope, whom he had married at Strathfield on 15 September 1945.

Select Bibliography

  • E. H. D. Sewell, Triangular Cricket (Lond, 1912)
  • J. B. Selby (ed), 50 Years of Cricket: A Brief History of the First 50 Years of the Western Suburbs District Cricket Club (Syd, 1946)
  • J. Fingleton, Masters of Cricket from Trumper to May (Lond, 1958)
  • B. Frindall, The Kaye Book of Cricket Records (Lond, 1968)
  • R. Robinson, On Top Down Under (Syd, 1975)
  • Votes and Proceedings (Legislative Assembly, New South Wales), 1883-84, 7, 912
  • Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, 1909-10, 1913, 1922, 1927, 1938, 1955.

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

B. G. Andrews, 'Bardsley, Warren (1882–1954)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/bardsley-warren-5128/text8577, published first in hardcopy 1979, accessed online 19 December 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

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