Boyle played for Victoria and had the distinction of visiting England with the three earliest Australian representative touring teams, in 1878, 1880 and 1882. The slightly reticent Boyle was chosen as captain for the 1880 tour but a shipboard team meeting voted to replace him with the more outgoing Billy Murdoch before their arrival. An outstanding medium-pacer, Boyle's greatest strengths were said to be the accuracy of his deliveries and his ability to probe a batsman's weaknesses. His bowling was considered to be particularly effective under English conditions. His achievements with the ball were often overshadowed by the exploits of his brilliant team mate, "The Demon Bowler", Fred Spofforth.
He was an exceptionally good close-in fielder, too, and a brave if limited batsman. In all, he played 12 Tests, taking 32 wickets at an average 20.03.