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Those who came to know cricket half way through the last century could have been forgiven for thinking that Jack Ledward was a one man band as an administrator.

The former Richmond and Victorian batsman was secretary of the Victorian Cricket Association and the Australian Cricket Board in the early 1950s, as well as ensuring the up-keep of Cricket House in Flinders Street.

He did it all with his aplomb and charm. Nothing that could better the game was any trouble for Ledward.

He enjoyed a remarkable career as a player, combined with his love of administration.

He began his playing days with Richmond’s First XI in 1927/28 and played 228 games before retiring after the 1948/49 season. The right-hander scored 7726 runs (a club record) for the Tigers, with 14 centuries. He played for 17 seasons and averaged 37.14, winning the batting trophy seven times, the club championship in 1938/39, and leading the team from 1942 to 1949. He was captain of the First XI when it won its first District premiership in 1946/47. He boasts the club’s highest season run aggregate of 834 set in 1938/39.

He was still in his 20s when he was selected to the club committee after only four years at the club in 1931. During the next 20 years he filled in as chairman of selectors, on the executive committee and as VCA delegate, resigning only when he was appointed secretary of the VCA in 1951.

He first became a delegate for Richmond in 1947 and was immediately appointed to the pennant committee. He was appointed secretary of the VCA in March, 1951, following the death of Harry Brereton. He was 42 and had worked at the National Bank for 24 years. He was an outstanding sportsman, representing Victoria in cricket and baseball, and he played amateur football and social tennis and golf.

Ledward was born in East Melbourne in 1909 and attended Ivanhoe and Melbourne Grammar Schools. In 1927 he tried his luck at Richmond and was given a game in the thirds. He made 138 not out in his first match and was promoted to the seconds and played the last match of the season in the seniors. In 1938/39 he scored 834 runs. In 1935/36 he averaged 91.6.

Ledward, a jovial character, loved his playing days at Richmond alongside Les Keating, Charlie Stuckey, Ernie McCormick, Doug Ring, Bill Johnston, Leo O’Brien and Stan Smith.

“They made the game more enjoyable. We were lucky to have those characters. They were a popular side with other clubs, who liked playing against us. There was no sledging in those days,” he recalled.

He was good enough to represent Victoria, scoring 1252 runs at an average of 39.12 in 22 games from 1934/35 to 1938/39, including two centuries with a highest of 154.

When he took over as VCA secretary in 1951 he had one young clerical assistant. His duties also included managing the Association’s seven-storey building in Flinders Street which had about 20 tenants. Three years later, in 1954, Bill Jeans retired as secretary of the ACB and Ledward was appointed to fill the vacancy, which he did for the next six years while still running the VCA. He took on an assistant at the VCA, a role filled for 13 years by Hawthorn-East Melbourne’s secretary Alec Kelso and followed by Bryan Cosgrave.

After six years the workload became too much and he resigned as ACB secretary in 1960, the post going to NSWCA secretary Alan Barnes. Ledward was awarded an MBE for services to cricket in 1962.

In 1964 he went to England, India and Pakistan as assistant manager to Ray Steele.

He was seconded in 1970 to organise the Rest of the World team following the cancellation of the South African tour. He was given 16 names - no addresses - and managed to muster all the players from England, India, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand and South Africa on time for the successful venture, before handing the team over to manager Bill Jacobs.

He retired as VCA secretary in 1973 aged 65, but became president of Richmond for three years from 1980.

 


Batting
InningsN.O.RunsBatting AvgHigh Score50s100s
25039764636.231864714

Bowling
RunsWicketsBowling AvgBest5wi10wmCt/St
18336428.644/26  75