Greenwich, London born inside forward Wally Hardinge played for amateur clubs Eltham in 1902, Tonbridge in 1903 and Maidstone United in 1904 before signing for Newcastle United in May 1905. He made his Football League debut at Sunderland in September 1905 scoring once in 9 appearances that season, his only first team action during two and a half years there. He moved to Sheffield United in December 1907 for a fee of £350. There he flourished scoring 46 goals in 152 games for The Blades in six seasons at Bramall Lane, becoming one of the trickiest inside forwards in the game. While there he won one England cap in April 1910 against Scotland at Hampden Park in a British Home Championship match that England lost 2-0 having been a reserve 2 months earlier for the match against Ireland.
In the summer of 1913 Hardinge returned to the south, signing for Woolwich Arsenal (who had just moved into their new Highbury ground, and would drop the “Woolwich” from their name a year later) for £500, and played there either side of the First World War. He retired as a professional footballer in 1921, having scored 14 goals played 55 appearances for The Gunners and he also made 70 war time appearances for Arsenal in between his military service.
Hardinge served in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force as a mechanic during the War. He joined the Royal Naval Armoured Car Division in 1915 before transferring to the Royal Naval Air Service as an air mechanic at Crystal Palace and Blandford. In 1918 the RNAS was merged with the Royal Flying Corps and Hardinge transferred again to the newly formed Royal Air Force before being discharged at the end of the War.
After retirement he had a spell as a coach of Tottenham Hotspur’s reserve team in the 1930’s and for a short period became caretaker manager in April 1935 after the departure of Percy Smith, taking charge of the last 6 games of the 1934-35 season.
Hardinge is one of only 12 football and cricket “double internationals”. In a first-class cricket career lasting 32 years from the age of 16, Hardinge scored 33,519 runs and made 75 centuries, playing 623 matches for Kent between 1902 and 1933, when aged 47. He played a single test match for England against the touring Australian side in 1921 at Headingley in a match where Jack Hobbs had to withdraw on the opening day because of appendicitis. Hardinge scored 25 and 5 and was not picked again. He was refused leave of absence to tour Australia in 1928-29 by his employer, Wisden & Co, and had been unable to tour with England whilst he was playing professional football. As well as playing for Kent, Hardinge played six times for the Players against the Gentlemen, scoring 127 at The Oval in 1921.For a short time after finishing playing he coached Leicestershire.
NB there are several more images of Wally Hardinge throughout his career as a cricketer on our sister site Vintage Cricketers, see www.vintagecricketers.com.