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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Fred Stedman
  • Born 4 March 1872, Cobham Surrey
  • Died 5 February 1918, near Bray, Co Wicklow
  • Occupation Professional Cricketer
  • Debut 25 July 1912 v South Africans at Woodbrook, Bray
  • Cap Number 285
  • Style Wicket keeper
  • Teams Surrey, London County, Woodbrook Club & Ground, SH Cochrane's XI

Fred Stedman was a good wicket keeper, who played 136 times for Surrey between 1899 and 1908 but lost his place to the brilliant, long serving England keeper Herbert Strudwick. The bulk of Stedman's 276 dismissals were made for Surrey, though he also made one appearance for WG Grace's London County XI. In 1908 he readily agreed to become one of the professionals at SH Cochrane's Woodbrook to keep in high-class cricket. Stedman had more difficulty establishing himself than the others who made up the groundstaff, because firstly he had a rival.

Cochrane believed himself to be a wicket keeper and kept in some of the matches and secondly the bowlers he had to keep to were of high quality. The fact that in the 11 major matches he played in at Woodbrook against first class sides, he made 28 dismissals including 10 stumpings off the googly bowling of the great South African Bert Volger suggests that he was a keeper of high class. Other bowlers who benefited from his glovework included SF Barnes, CB Llewellyn and the notoriously difficult bowler to keep to - Irish bowler TC Ross.

Stedman's one match for Ireland was against the South Africans in the Triangular Tournament year of 1912. Together with Baker and leg spinner Peter Clarke he owed his chance to the fact that his employer was bankrolling the match and so chose his professionals. He also chose himself but was persuaded to stand down. Neither in this match, nor in the CB Fry's XI (a team of near Test strength) v Australians, which followed later, was Stedman in anyway out of place. Cochrane closed his ground at the end of that season but Stedman remained in his employ.

His death was a tragic accident. He was hit by a train on the line between Bray and Woodbrook Station, which had been specially built for spectators at the ground. His obituary is in Wisden 1919.