Bert Oldfield

Bert Oldfield
Studio Portrait of William Oldfield, ca. 1925.jpg
Personal information
Full name William Albert Stanley Oldfield
Born (1894-09-09)9 September 1894
Alexandria, New South Wales, Australia
Died 10 August 1976(1976-08-10) (aged 81)
Killara, New South Wales, Australia
Batting Right-handed
Role Wicket-keeper
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 109) 17 December 1920 v England
Last Test 3 March 1937 v England
Domestic team information
Years Team
1919–1938 New South Wales
Career statistics
Competition Test First-class
Matches 54 245
Runs scored 1,427 6,135
Batting average 22.65 23.77
100s/50s 0/4 6/21
Top score 65* 137
Balls bowled 0 0
Bowling average
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling
Catches/stumpings 78/52 399/263
Source: Cricinfo, 29 September 2009

William Albert Stanley Oldfield MBE (9 September 1894 – 10 August 1976) was an Australian cricketer and businessman. He played for New South Wales and Australia as a wicket-keeper.[1] Oldfield's 52 stumpings during his Test career remains a record several decades after his final Test.

Life and career

Oldfield was born in Alexandria, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, the seventh child of John William Oldfield, an upholster born in Manchester and his Australian wife Mary Gregory.[2] During World War I, Oldfield served with the first Australian Imperial Force as a Corporal in the 15th Field Ambulance. He was wounded and knocked unconscious at Ypres Salient in 1917, and spent six months recovering from shell shock.[3] At the conclusion of the war he was selected to be part of the Australian Imperial Forces cricket team which played 28 first-class matches in Britain, South Africa and Australia between May 1919 and February 1920.

Oldfield made his first-class debut in England in 1919, and played his first Test match against England in his hometown of Sydney in the 1920–21 season. In 1921, it was reported that he entered into negotiations to play for Lancashire as an amateur.[4] He had injured himself on the passage to the UK in 1921, giving Carter the chance to restore his position, although Oldfield replaced him for the last two tests.[4] He was dropped for several matches over the next few years, but established himself as Australia's automatic selection for wicket-keeper in the 1924-25 Ashes series against England.

He missed only one other Test in his career, the fourth Test of the 1932–33 Bodyline series. In the notorious third Test at Adelaide, the English Bodyline tactic of bowling fast balls directed at the Australian batsmen's bodies reached its most dramatic moment when a ball from fast bowler Harold Larwood hit Oldfield in the head, fracturing his skull (although this was from a top edge off a traditional non-Bodyline ball and Oldfield admitted it was his fault). Oldfield was carried from the ground unconscious. He recovered in time for the fifth Test of the series. Always an easy-going personality, Oldfield immediately forgave Larwood for the incident, and the two eventually became firm friends when Larwood later emigrated to Australia. Oldfield played Test cricket for four more years, ending his career in 1937. He was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 1927.

Oldfield played 54 Tests for Australia, scoring 1,427 runs at an average of 22.65, and taking 78 catches and 52 stumpings. His tally of 52 stumpings remains a Test career world record; 28 were off Clarrie Grimmett alone. In first-class cricket he played 245 matches, scoring 6,135 runs at an average of 23.77, and taking 399 catches and 263 stumpings.

After retiring from cricket he coached, taking several schoolboys teams on overseas tours.[3] In 1964, he spent a month coaching cricketers in Ethiopia, and met Haile Selassie.[5] He was awarded an MBE in 1970.[3]

In 1988, a public school in Seven Hills, New South Wales was renamed as Bert Oldfield Public School to commemorate his life.[6] An oval in the Sydney suburb of Killara is named in Oldfield's honour.


See also


  1. ^ "Bert Oldfield". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  2. ^ R.I. Cashman. "Oddfield, William Albert Stanley (Bert)". Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  3. ^ a b c The Oxford Companion to Australian Cricket, Oxford, Melbourne, 1996, p. 401.
  4. ^ a b "The Cricketer Vol I No 18 1921". Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  5. ^ Wisden 1965, p. 127.
  6. ^