Former Australian, New South Wales and St George batsman, Bill Watson, has passed away aged 87.

Watson played four Tests for Australia in 1955 and, during a First Class career that spanned eight seasons between 1953/54 and 1960/61, he made 1,958 runs including six centuries and five fifties.

The right-handed opener made five of his six First Class centuries for NSW. Twenty-nine of his 41 First Class matches were played for his state.

His highest First Class score was 206 playing for NSW against Western Australia in Perth during December 1956.

From 1949 to 1972, he played 22 seasons in the Sydney First Grade – now Premier Cricket – competition with Waverley and, then St George, where he spent the majority of his career. He played 18 seasons with the Saints and became a legendary figure of the club.

In 258 First Grade matches, Watson scored 10,757 runs at an average of 43.20 including 16 centuries and 70 half-centuries.

Watson made his maiden First Class century, in just his second match against the touring English team of 1954/55.

He posted 155 during the first innings of a tour match at the SCG in November 1954.

Watson made his Test debut later that season at the same venue against England in February 1955.

During that match, Watson played alongside some of the all-time greats of Australian and NSW cricket including Richie Benaud, Neil Harvey, Alan Davidson and Ray Lindwall.

He then went on to tour the West Indies during the first half of 1955, where he batted at No. 4 in three of the five Tests.

Watson scored one of his six First Class centuries during that tour when he posted 122 against Barbados.

At 18 years of age, Watson made his First Grade debut with Waverley, against Glebe, on 22 October 1949.

After four seasons with the Waverley  now Eastern Suburbs  club, he made the move to St George. His maiden century in First Grade, which also became his highest score at that level, came in his second season with the Saints.

Watson made 181 not out for St George against his old club, Waverley, in 1954/55. He had passed fifty on 20 previous occasions before scoring his maiden First Grade century.

However, it was a relatively short wait for his second century, when Watson made 119 against Manly-Warringah in his next innings.

Cricket Australia CEO and former NSW Blues allrounder, Kevin Roberts, said Mr Watson made a valuable contribution both to the state and now Premier system in NSW.

“Our thoughts are with Bill’s family at this time, and all the friends he made throughout his time in cricket,” Mr Roberts said. 

Mr Watson passed away on Saturday night.

Bill Watson

Born: 31-01-1931, Randwick, NSW.

Match Type

Mt

Inn

N.O

H.S.

Runs

Aver.

100

50

Wkt

Runs

Best

Ct

Tests

4

7

1

30

106

17.66

0

0

0

5

-

2

First-Class

41

66

5

206

1958

32.09

6

5

0

40

-

26

NSW

29

45

4

206

1418

34.58

5

2

0

18

-

22

           (First-Class figures include his Test figures and his New South Wales figures)