Graham Barlow - Halls '61 to '63

Graham was son of Derek & Betty, who were friends of our family. In the late 50s/early 60s Derek was chauffeur to Sir Don Ryder, and my father was Transport Manager for Iliffe & Company, at that time part of the same group within Don Ryder's remit - which is how my father came to know him.

My father had few friends, but always hit it off with Derek, who was a good laugh. We often socialised with them and Derek helped us one year install central heating at our house in Surbiton.

Graham was a couple of years younger than me, and when he passed the 11+ his parents decided - on my recommendation - to send him to WHS. I wasn't a close friend of Graham (I HAD no close friends at WHS ...) but I did my best to look after him as far as I could. However, he never really settled; he missed his life in London, and left after two years in 1961 - but it might have been one year - I just don't remember and the database is unclear.

I don't remember much about his WHS days, except that we did junior cricket together and one day he took a fantastic catch in an informal game on a pitch just outside the old stables. Of course, he was pretty useful as a batsman, though we had no idea at the time how good he would turn out to be. I do remember Dickie Mayes being impressed with his technique. I was sorry that he left (and feel rather sad now I think about this after so many years) both because it seemed to be a sort of failure (I felt sorry for anyone who could not enjoy WHS as I did!) and also because it kind of reflected badly on my well-intentioned recommendation and example, but as far as I know it turned out OK for him in his new school and later career. Funnily enough, we saw less and less of the Barlows after that year - whether that was because of the WHS failure for their son I never knew. A few years ago I mailed with his parents in Australia where they emigrated, but have never kept in touch since. It is SO hard to keep in touch with everyone .....

I can't find any reference to Graham in "Janus". He might have played in the U12s side of 1962, but there is no report for the U12s that year.

However: Graham has a claim to be the best cricketer ever to pass through WHS, even
though he was there a short time. I don't know of any other WHS boy who played for England.

WIKIPEDIA: A stylish, confident and powerful player, Barlow was an important figure in the powerhouse Middlesex team of the late 1970s and early 1980s under Mike Brearley. He was described as a natural athlete, and his quick running between the wickets, often in partnership with the equally fleet of foot Clive Radley, and later in profitable partnerships with Wilf Slack, was a feature of his play. Barlow won many one-day games for his team. He was an outstanding fieldsman, ranked alongside Derek Randall and the youthful David Gower in the covers. He ran out many batsmen with a fine sense of anticipation, good ground coverage and a fast and accurate arm.

He played three Test matches, but was unable to play the major innings which might have cemented himself in the England team. His debut One Day International saw his best innings, an unbeaten 80 against a strong West Indies side, but he struggled in five more ODIs after that. He made a strong start in the first-class matches of his 1976-77 tour to India, but could not translate that form into the Test arena, and was dropped after another failure against Australia in 1977. In five Test innings, Barlow never reached double figures, and defensive flaws saw him ultimately overlooked.

He continued as a prolific player for Middlesex, often opening the batting, but ironically for such a fit and athletic player his career was ended prematurely by a persistent back injury. He turned to coaching and, in 2001, moved to New Zealand, taking charge of the Central Districts Stags in 2004. He later resided in Whangarei, teaching.

video: part of the ODI between England and Australia in 1977 showing Graham batting