A Llandudno author has chronicled the life of all time great cricketer Sydney F Barnes who lived in Colwyn Bay.

The book, the Legendary Cricket Genius Sydney F Barnes, tells the story of a man born into Victorian poverty in northern England, who became such a celebrated cricketer he not only made Cricinfo’s all-time England XI, but also Richie Benaud’s Greatest XI. Sydney Barnes helped to win the Ashes for England.

It details the time during a 20 year period of his life when Barnes was living in Colwyn Bay and how familiar a figure he became at The Oval, Llandudno and at the Colwyn Bay ground on Penrhyn Avenue, Rhos-on-Sea.

Llandudno-born local author Jeff Nicholls said, “He was a talented cricketer who challenged the Establishment, insisting on being paid a fair wage for his efforts. He was a man with a keen sense of his own value as a cricketer and realised he was becoming a commercial attraction. If you paid, he bowled.”

Between 1901 and 1914, Barnes played Test cricket for England in 27 matches and will always be remembered for one of the lowest Test bowling averages ever achieved. He helped England win the Ashes in Australia by taking a mammoth 43 wickets in the 1911-1912 series and in his final Test series against South Africa in 1913-1914, he took a world series record at the time, a magnificent 49 wickets.

Barnes, at the age of 90, was named by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in its hundredth edition as one of its 'Six Giants of the Wisden Century. The other five players chosen were Sir Donald Bradman, W.G. Grace, Sir Jack Hobbs, Tom Richardson and Victor Trumper.

Jeff added: “He is the only man ever to be picked for England while not playing first-class cricket. Barnes played relatively little first-class cricket.

“There is no doubting he was a genius, whose final balance sheet showed no fewer than 6,225 wickets in all forms of cricket at the puny average of 8.31.”

The book is available as a hardback on Amazon and other online retailers.