Class of 1927

Frances Joseph Bryant, or Frank as he was known, was a first-class, headline-grabbing cricketer who shaped the landscape of cricket in Western Australia. He was the youngest son of a cricket-loving family, with his two brothers Dick who captained the state, and Bill a prolific run-getter at his peak. He gained a place in the College XI at the age of 13 and claimed a record winning 546 runs for Aquinas in one season. Frank was a good all-rounder on and off the field. He played golf, bowls and football and was handball champion. But cricket was his first love: he captained the record-breaking team of 1927 and made over 1000 runs in Darlot Cup matches, as did his friend and peer Ernie Bromley.

Frank made a first-class debut for WA at the age of 17, in March 1927, playing alongside his brothers against South Australia at the WACA. Perth’s Daily News announced his place in the India tour squad in 1935 under the headline “Frank Bryant for India – Brilliant Career”. It reported the “unassuming and popular” cricketer “… is the possessor of a wide repertoire of strokes and he is seen at his best when in an aggressive mood. His sparkling batting has made him the centre of attraction on many an occasion”

In a series of firsts, it was the first time a WA player had toured for Australia abroad, and in another Frank and his brother Dick scored a century in WA’s first innings against Victoria, the first time brothers had done this in the same game.

After serving in the army during WWII Frank moved to Albany to run the White Star Hotel but returned to cricket to be a manager and administrator. At the time WA was not in the Sheffield Shield and Franksuccessfully argued that the state should be included. He managed the Australian teams that toured New Zealand in 1966-7, 1969-70 and 1973-74. Throughout his life, Frank campaigned for the sport successfully and played a crucial role in the granting of the WACA’s Test status in 1970.

He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1981 and the Australian Sports medal posthumously in 2000 for his services to cricket. Frank would have approved of the manner of his passing had he but known. He died in 1984 while watching the Sheffield Shield final which WA eventually won, by two runs.