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Mike Barnard - All Round Sportsman

Mike Barnard PFC

Mike Barnard obituary

Born in Portsmouth on 18 July 1933, the former Portsmouth Grammar Schoolboy was an all-round sportsman and represented both his home city and county in the sports he loved - football and cricket.

The youngest of four sons of a local garage owner, Henry Michael Barnard, known as Mike grew up in Portsea before moving to Havant at he beginning of the war. The played football, cricket and rugby at school and won countless local and national representative honours before joining Hampshire on leaving school in 1951 and then undertaking national service.

He made his Hampshire debut as a 19-year-old right-handed batsman in 1952 against Glamorgan at Swansea and went on to make 276 first-class appearances scoring 9,134 runs, helping Hants to their maiden County Championship title in 1961.

In Boxing Day 1953, Barnard who had been spotted playing local football made his Pompey debut in a 1-1 draw against Tottenham.  Nimrod in his match report said that Barnard showed promise but needed more ‘Devil’ in his shooting, he was also up against a certain Bill Nicholson the Spurs Right Half. His first goal was to come at the Valley as Pompey won an FA Cup replay over Charlton 3-2 with Peter Harris netting the other two goals.

That led to a six-season association with the Fratton Park outfit, with the former Gosport Borough player racking up 123 appearances and 26 goals for the club.

The creative inside forward, whose football and cricket commitments often overlapped, meaning he would miss pre-season training with the Blues and be absent for the close Hampshire's season, departed Pompey at the end of the 1958-59 season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in 1958 and with relegation from the First Division.

He signed for Chelmsford, but the aim was to concentrate on his cricket, a career he extended until his retirement with Poole Town 1966.

Mike Barnard CricketerThe concentration on cricket proved the right decision as Hampshire, perennial strugglers in the county Championship showed a remarkable upturn in form under the leadership of Colin Ingleby-MacKenzie and in 1958 they finished as runner up to Surrey who had then won seven successive titles.

It was three years later in 1961 that Hants finally achieved their long term ambition and became County Champions  Mike made a major contribution making 1,533 runs the best of his career and in the win that sealed the title against Derbyshire at Dean Park, Bournemouth Mike scored 19 and 61!  Here is the Match scorecard - 

1961 Winning Scorecard

In 1969, a serious coach crash robbed him of much mobility after suffering a broken neck.

After Barnard recovered somewhat, he coached at the School of Navigation in Warsash, was a regular commentator with BBC Radio Solent, and for the Southampton Hospitals.

He also took up bowls, worked on drug testing with the sports council, organised the reunions of Pompey's footballers and Hampshire's cricketers, and bore his injuries with incredible fortitude and cheerfulness.

In a statement after his father’s death in 2018 his son John, described Mike as a '˜truly great example of humanity'.Mike Barnard

'˜With great sadness, the Barnard family announce the loss of our beloved  Father, Mike '˜Barney' Barnard,' the statement reads.

'˜Mike was a renowned all-round sportsman, perhaps even the last of those who made significant appearances in the top echelons of professional cricket and football.

'˜He was also a truly great example of humanity to everyone who knew him.

'˜Mike was involved in a major RTA nearly 50 years ago which left him horribly and permanently injured.  Most people would have been left with mental scars to match their physical injuries. In Mike's case he used his athleticism and will do attitude not only to fight his way back to his feet but to achieve  so much as a husband, father, teacher and sports commentator.

'˜He never bemoaned his misfortune or muttered a word of his constant pain.

'˜Instead he adopted a permanently positive attitude and searched for the best in every situation.  He never gave up and even at the end he thought he could still play for the draw!

'˜Mike Barnard was not just a man but a giant of a man, and someone who today's overpaid 'superstar' sportsmen could learn a lot from.'

Undoubtedly a man in a million as not many have played top flight football and won the County Championship.


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