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Person Details
11 Aug 1888
Newstead Village Nottinghamshire
John Riley and Catherine Quinn married in 1893 and had three children. They spent their lives living in 109 Newstead Colliery where john worked as a miner. Their first child, James was born in 1886 but died at the age of six in 1893. They had another son named William on 11th August 1888 and a daughter, Bertha Mary in 1896. William Riley followed in his father's footsteps and became a coal miner. He lived in Newstead Village and worked in the Newstead Colliery whilst also playing for the Colliery cricket team. His performances were such that he came to the notice of the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club authorities, had a trial, impressed and was offered a contract for the 1909 season. His coal mining days were over. His performances were such that he came to the notice of the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club authorities, had a trial, impressed and was offered a contract for the 1909 season. His coal mining days were over. He alternated between the Nottinghamshire first and second elevens but did sufficiently well on his senior ap-pearances to be kept on as a contracted player through to 1913. Having left the county club by mutual agreement, he did appear for the county again in two games in August 1914 but it was only on a casual basis as he was not then on the staff. By that time he was professional at Oldfield Cricket Club in Uttoxeter where his figures were very impressive.
Professional Cricketer. William was active from 1909 to 1914 and played for Nottinghamshire. He appeared in 80 first-class matches as a left handed batsman who bowled left arm slow medium. He scored 740 runs with a highest score of 48 and took 235 wickets with a best performance of seven for 80.. Played for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club from 1909 to 1914. He played 80 times for NCC taking 235 wickets and scored 740 runs.
09 Aug 1917
90290 - CWGC Website
109 Newstead Colliery Village
133rd Siege Bty Royal Garrison Artillery
He was recruited for Army service, (now a professional cricketer) and attested on 23rd Feb 1916 at Hucknall. He was immediately put on reserve but mobilised 26 April the same year. As a member of the 133rd Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery he was posted to France on 11th May 1917. He had spent 90 days there, when on the 9th August 1917 he was hit by a shell splinter and died as a result. He is buried in the Coxyde Military Cemetery at Koksijde, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
Coxyde Military Cemetery Grave Reference: 2 E 30 Article published 23rd August 1917 in the Hucknall Dispatch :- “The last photograph depicts William Riley, the well-known cricketer of Newstead Colliery, who has given his life in the country’s cause. The only news to hand is that he was killed on August 9 by a shell splinter, two days later he would have been 29 years of age. He entered the Royal Garrison Artillery on April 26, 1916. He was trained at Yarmouth, Winchester, Hull, and went to France three months ago. The Garrison Artillery are undoubtedly engaged in close quarters with the enemy for he was located at Dunkirk and at the same time seven men were killed. “Riley was best known as a cricketer. Early in life he showed great ability as a bowler with the Newstead Colliery Cricket Club, and joined the Notts. County Cricket Club, for whom he rendered good service, one of his most notable performance being against Surrey, when he secured six wickets for 32 runs. “Afterward he was engaged as a professional for Oldfield Hall, near Uttoxeter, where he was a great favourite. On one occasion, when playing with them, he took nine wickets for nine runs against Longden. “He was the only son of Mr. John Riley, whose wife died last November and now there is only his daughter, Miss Bertha Riley, the well-known soprano vocalist, left to cheer him. Much sympathy is shown toward Mr. Riley, who is a respected Newsteadite, and to show that he has given close study to the war he submitted to the War Office a scheme for checking the progress of the Zeppelins.” Further article published 24th August 1917 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “GUNNER W. RILEY KILLED. “MEMORIES OF ALLETSON'S RECORD HITTING. “TOOK AUSTRALIAN WICKETS. “Another addition has to be made to the roll of well-known cricketers who have died for their country. William Riley, the Notts, left-arm bowler, who was attached to the Royal Garrison Artillery, has been killed by a shell splinter, in Belgium. “The only son of Mr. John Riley, of Newstead, and 29 years of age, Gunner Riley early showed exceptional promise as a slow-medium left-arm bowler, and accomplished many fine performances for the Newstead Colliery C.C. His easy action and command of spin, attracted the attention of the Notts. County Cricket Club, and was appointed member of the Trent Bridge ground staff, and made his debut for his county against Leicestershire at Trent Bridge in May, 1909, taking four wickets for 69 in the first innings, and none for 56 in the second. “In the Whitsuntide fixture with Surrey, be disposed of Hayward, Ducat, C. Kirk, H. D. G. Leveson-Gower, Rushby, and Lees, in the first innings, cost of only 27 runs, and followed it up with six for 88 in a long innings by Essex during the same week. His record for the season was 21 wickets for 22.76 runs apiece, but, for some reason never explained, dropped out of the later matches. In 1910 his aggregate of wickets rose to 56, at cost of 22.07 each, and in the following year be headed the bowling avenges for the county — though taking part in fewer games — his 47 victims costing him 23.57 runs each. His average fell to 24.38 in 1912, for 36 wickets, and in 1913 his 45 wickets cost him 25.88 runs each, while in 1914, the last year in which county cricket was played, he figured in only three matches, taking seven wickets. Summed up, his performances for Notts, with the ball, in County Championship matches only, worked out follows: “Overs. “2466.3 “Maidens. 629 “Runs. 6486 “Wickets. “212 “In matches other than those grouped under the County Championship competition, Riley’s best achievement was against the Australians at Trent Bridge in 1911 when, in the course of 54 overs (in the two innings), captured nine wickets for 145 runs — a capital record against a powerful batting side. His complete record in all first-class matches for the county was as follows: “Overs. 2642.4 “Maidens. 675 “Runs. 6872 “Wickets. “236 “As a batsman Riley never excelled, but he made 48 (his highest score) against Middlesex at Lords, in June, 1911, the match which the visitors won brilliantly by five wickets, after being set 177 to get to win in less than two hours. But perhaps the batting feat which gave him greatest delight was his partnership with Alletson at Brighton, in May of the same year, when the professional gave one of the finest displays of hitting known to first-class cricket. Riley made only 10 (not out) but he helped to add 152 for the last wicket in 40 minutes, of which Alletson’s share was 142, 89 of the number being scored in less than 15 minutes! “After dropping out of Notts, cricket. Riley became professional for Oldfield Hall, near Uttoxeter, and in one game there, took nine wickets for nine runs. “The deceased was also an enthusiastic devotee of football, and did excellent service for the Newstead Colliery F.C., which at one period he was captain.” Above articles are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Remembered on


  • William Riley -
  • William Riley
    Courtesy of Brian Szowkomud - William Riley
  • William Riley's CWGC headstone in Coxyde Military Cemetery
    Courtesy of Murray Biddle - William Riley's CWGC headstone in Coxyde Military Cemetery