Bill Alley

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Bill Alley
Personal information
Full name William Edward Alley
Born (1919-02-03)3 February 1919
Hornsby, Sydney, Australia
Died 24 November 2004(2004-11-24) (aged 85)
Taunton, Somerset, England
Batting style Left-handed batsman
Bowling style Right-arm medium-fast
Role All-rounder, Umpire
Domestic team information
Years Team
1957–1968 Somerset
1945/46–1946/47 New South Wales
First-class debut 23 November 1945
New South Wales v Queensland
Last First-class 31 August 1968
Somerset v Gloucestershire
List A debut 22 May 1963
Somerset v Glamorgan
Last List A 14 September 1968
Somerset v Warwickshire
Umpiring information
Tests umpired 10 (1974–1981)
ODIs umpired 9 (1974–1981)
Career statistics
Competition FC LA
Matches 400 17
Runs scored 19612 288
Batting average 31.88 19.20
100s/50s 31/92 0/1
Top score 221* 58*
Balls bowled 46034 1105
Wickets 768 25
Bowling average 22.68 16.20
5 wickets in innings 30 0
10 wickets in match 1
Best bowling 8/65 4/14
Catches/stumpings 293/– 4
Source: CricketArchive, 30 October 2007

William (Bill) Edward Alley (3 February 1919 in Sydney, Australia – 26 November 2004 in Taunton, Somerset, England) was a cricketer who played 400 first-class matches for New South Wales, Somerset and a Commonwealth XI.[1]

Whilst in Australia, Alley was also a middleweight boxer, and was undefeated in 28 contests when he was forced to give it up after being hit on the head in the nets at cricket practice. Later he was tipped to play Tests by Don Bradman, the Australian cricket captain, but missed out after fracturing a jaw. This prompted him to leave New South Wales and come to Lancashire, England,[2] playing league cricket there for Colne Cricket Club for five years from 1948, becoming the only player to score 1000 runs in each of five consecutive seasons in the league's history.[3] He moved to play for Blackpool CC in the newly established Northern League where he scored 19 centuries,[2] and joined Somerset CCC when he was 38. He played his last and 350th first-class game for Somerset when he was 49.

After stopping playing, he umpired first-class games for 16 years[4] and also stood in 10 Test matches and 9 One Day Internationals as umpire.[5] He so loved the West Country area of England that he chose to remain there after retirement rather than move back to his native Australia.

Alley was married to Betty, whom he met when playing cricket in the north of England, and they had two sons. His first wife died in childbirth; they had a son, who died in an Army accident.[4]


Alley was an all-rounder. He scored 19,612 runs[4] at an average of 31.88 batting left-handed. He took 768 wickets at 22.68 runs per wicket, with a best of 8 for 65,[5] bowling right arm medium fast. He also took 267 catches in the field. His best season was his testimonial season in 1961 when, at the age of forty-two, he scored over 3,000 runs for Somerset and achieved his highest score of 221 not out. It is the last instance of a batsman scoring 3000 in an English season.[6] His 10 centuries for Somerset in 1961 remained a county record for thirty years. In 1962 he received the honour of being one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year, based on his performances in 1961 and during his career. In the 1962 season, he made over 1,900 runs and took 112 wickets. It was in 1962 that he got his best bowling return of 8 for 65 against a strong Surrey side, that included Ken Barrington, Peter May and Bernie Constable.


  1. ^ "Bill Alley". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "A look back over 50 years of the Northern Cricket League". Northern Cricket League. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Post-war". Colne Cricket Club. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Bill Alley dies aged 85". Cricinfo. espn. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Bill Alley". cricinfo. ESPN. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Frindall, Bill (2009). Ask Bearders. BBC Books. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-84607-880-4.