Wilf Barber was an opening bat who played with text-book orthodoxy, with a sound defence, and favouring the off-side in attack. He was usually cautious in his approach, as befitting a player schooled in Yorkshire, and was a fine outfield. He was somewhat unfortunate to be a Yorkshireman in that as an opening batsman he had to wait until the demise of the Sutcliffe and Holmes opening partnership before cementing a place in the county side. His best year was 1935, when he scored over 2,000 runs, made 285 against Surrey and played for England twice against the South African tourists. Batting number three he failed to impress, despite making 44 in what was to prove his final Test innings. A very occasional bowler with just 16 first-class wickets, he tops the all time Test averages taking one wicket with his 2nd ball of Test cricket after which the match was abandoned as a draw. He also toured Australia and New Zealand with a non-representative MCC side, particularly enjoying the New Zealand wickets. After retirement he became a coach and groundsman at Harrogate School.
(Article: Copyright © 2003 Dave Liverman)
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