Lilleshall, Shropshire born left half Lionel “Bill” Blaxland was an Old Salopian who played regularly for The Corinthians in the 1920’s. His best day perhaps was Corinthians’ January 1924 FA Cup giant killing when they beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 at Crystal Palace, his cross leading to Graham Doggart’s winning goal. He was a member of their 1924 Tour to Canada. He also played in their 1925 4-4 FA Cup draw with West Bromwich Albion.
He had been a First World War flying ace serving with 40 Squadron RFC and he also played first class cricket for Derbyshire between 1925 and 1947.
Blaxland made his debut for Derbyshire in the August 1925 season in a match against Northamptonshire. He played two more matches in 1925 and did not return to Derbyshire until the 1932 season. He was primarily a club cricketer and played mostly for The Friars and other club sides. He played for Derbyshire only in the month of August, during school holidays, between 1932 and 1935.
Blaxland was a right-hand batsman and played 31 innings in 19 first class matches with an average of 16.10. His best score was 64 against Warwickshire in the 1933 season. He was a right-arm fast-medium bowler and bowled 11 overs in the first class game without taking a wicket. He was described as “a fine club cricketer who hit hard and often, hooking anything short of a length with great power. As a bowler he was tireless, and always alert and sharp in the field.”
After the Second World War in the 1947 season, Blaxland reappeared for Derbyshire in his final first class match, against the South Africans, when he led the side and kept wicket. His career finished when he lost an eye playing for The Cryptics in Portugal.
His obituary in Wisden read as follows:
“BLAXLAND, LIONEL BRUCE, died at Temple Ewell, Kent on April 29, 1976, aged 78. He was born at Shrewsbury on March 25, 1898, and was in the Shrewsbury XI from 1914 to 1916. He became a master at Repton in 1922, retiring in 1958, when he took holy orders and became rector of Tansley and later vicar of Doveridge, both in Derbyshire, his adopted county. Bill Blaxland was a fine club cricketer who hit hard and often, hooking anything short of a length with great power. As a bowler he was tireless, and always alert and sharp in the field. He first appeared for Derbyshire in 1925 and in his last match in 1947 he led the side against the South Africans at Derby when Ian Smith took six for 1. His best score was 64 against Warwickshire in 1933, but most of his cricket was with The Friars and other good club sides until his career came to an end when he lost an eye playing for The Cryptics in Portugal. He was in charge of cricket at Repton for eleven years, in two spells. Blaxland played at wing half for Oxford University in 1920-21 and also for The Corinthians. In 19 matches for Derbyshire he scored 483 runs.”
He is the great-uncle of former Kent and Derbyshire cricketer James Graham-Brown.