General Alfred Dudley (Dudley)
Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


The first of the following two unsigned newspaper portraits captures Dudley Webb, one of the best of the early Australian lawn tennis players, in 1890, at the mid-point of his lawn tennis career. The second portrait was published in May 1895, just before Webb lost his New South Wales singles title to Henry Crossman. An ankle injury sustained around this time had a detrimental effect on the 29-year-old Webb’s further lawn tennis career and, although he continued to take part in tournaments for several years, he never recaptured his old form.

From The Illustrated Sydney News, 20 March 1890

Mr Dudley Webb – The Tennis Champion of New South Wales

Mr Dudley Webb, whose splendid play on March 8th gained him the Silver Shield generously given by Mr Edward C. Mereweather, the President of the Sydney Lawn Tennis Club, was born at Balmain on 21 February 1864. He is five feet, ten inches in height; weight: ten stone. He has a splendid record and possesses a more correct, graceful and scientific style than any other player in New South Wales. He went to Ballarat when about twelve years old, and afterwards to Melbourne, which city he left in April 1887 for Sydney, where he holds a responsible position in the London Chartered Bank of Australia. He belongs to the Me Mel and Sydney clubs.

He was a member of the first Victorian inter-colonial team in the year 1885. In October 1886, he again played for Victoria; in the same year he was second in the championship singles, being beaten by Walter Riddell, and second in the doubles with Ernest Raleigh for his partner. In 1887, he played at Sydney, in May, for Victoria, and at Melbourne in October for New South Wales.

He was second in the all-comers’ singles in 1887, won by a set by Robert Fitzgerald; he won the challenge pairs with Miss Constance Greene, and the doubles championship of New South Wales with Walter Riddell. In 1888, he won the captaincy of the Sydney Club, and the doubles with Charles Cropper, as well as the championship of this colony (beating Cropper by 6-0, 6-4, 7-5), and the challenge pairs with Miss Ellen Mayne. In 1890, he was in team; won the doubles with Charles Cropper, won the captaincy of the Sydney Club, beating J.R. King, but was beaten by his now vanquished foe, Cropper (by 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4) in the asphalt singles.

Dudley Webb’s style is almost perfect; the accuracy and strength of his favourite forehand strokes are very telling. He never gets flurried, seems as cool as a cucumber, even when the thermometer is over 90° in the shade, has an admirable temper and a finely proportioned physique. He practices less than any other crack player, and yet he is always to be relied upon. His recent victory proves him to be the facile princeps of lawn tennis players in New South Wales.

From The Bird of Freedom (Sydney), 11 May 1895

Our Portrait Gallery – No. XLIV – Dudley Webb

Whenever the average supporter of New South Wales begins to talk big about the supremacy of the mother colony in the tennis field, the name of Dudley Webb is sure to crop up as an example of what New South Wales can do, and invariably the Victorian will retort, “What, call Webb a Welshman? Why, he was born and bred in Victoria, and you have to get one of our own men to beat us.”

As a matter of fact, this is not the case, the New South Wales tennis man first saw the light in the suburb of Balmain. There is a dim legend in the family that as the age of two, when out with his nurse, he climbed out of the perambulator and challenged her to play him battledore and shuttlecock for a rattle. He left Balmain at the early of seven and went to Newcastle, and it was in reality in Coalopolis that he first began to pick up wrinkles in tennis work.

Just eighteen years ago Webb left the coaly city, and crossed the border, finally settling in the mining centre of Ballarat. Eight years ago he came over to Sydney to do battle on behalf of the Cabbage Garden in the inter-colonial tournament of that year, and since then he has taken part in every tournament that has been played, a record exceeding that of any other player.

The chief players of the 1887 team, of which Webb was the bright, particular star, were Messrs Haworth W. Bartram, Walter Riddell and Miss Ellen Mayne. In the All-Comers’ singles of that year Webb had to strike his colours to Robert Fitzgerald after a bitter battle, the scores reading 6-3, 2-6, 6-8, 7-5, 6-2. As Charles Cropper ran over Fitzgerald in the championship, beating him three sets straight, it would appear that Webb had not then fully developed his powers. In conjunction with Riddell, however, in the All-Comers’ doubles, he and his partner put down J.R. King and Fitzgerald, taking three sets running, and then half-masted the flag of Cropper and Charles Metcalfe, defeating them by three sets to one.

When the team returned to Victoria, Webb remained behind, and it is owing to the fact of his having first represented Victoria against the home colony that has led to the popular fallacy that Dudley is a native of the Cabbage Garden. Since residing here, Webb has had an almost unbroken run of successes. Since 1888, he has won the New South Wales Championship five times, the last three having been in succession. He has won outright two Captaincy Shields, never having sustained a defeat for six years, after which he retired. He also won outright the Strathfield Championship Shield, having got the verdict for two years in succession.

Among heaps of other trophies, perhaps the chief one is the Cooper Championship Cup, which is now Webb’s property, he having defeated all comers three years running. Mr Webb had the misfortune a short time since to strain the sinews of his ankle while playing at Newcastle, and this has severely handicapped him in the present inter-colonial tournament, and has largely to do with his defeat by Ben Green last Saturday. It would seem that, while the Victorian champion almost invariably beats Webb in the inter-colonial singles, the Welshman comes to the front again in the New South Wales Championship. Only that Green was obliged to return to Melbourne, history seemed likely to once more repeat itself.

Mr Webb, who is rather above the middle height, and of somewhat slight build, occupies the responsible position of accountant in the Pitt Street branch of the London Bank of Australia. Of a quiet and unassuming disposition, Mr Webb is wonderfully popular with all who know him, and everyone is unanimous in wishing him every success, both in business and on the tennis field.


Archive statistics 1884 - 1910

Tournament wins 1894 - New South Wales Championships (Amateur)
1894 - Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships (Amateur)
1893 - New South Wales Championships (Amateur)
1893 - Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships (Amateur)
1892 - New South Wales Championships (Amateur)
1890 - New South Wales Championships (Amateur)
1888 - New South Wales Championships (Amateur)

Tournaments New South Wales Championships - 1910 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1909 New South Wales Championships - 1908 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1908 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1903 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1899 New South Wales Championships - 1898 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1898 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1897 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1896 New South Wales Championships - 1895 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1895 New South Wales Championships - 1894 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1894 New South Wales Championships - 1893 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1893 Victorian Championships - 1892 New South Wales Championships - 1892 New South Wales Championships - 1891 New South Wales Championships - 1890 New South Wales Championships - 1889 New South Wales Championships - 1888 New South Wales Championships - 1887 Victorian Championships - 1886 Victorian Championships - 1885 New South Wales Championships - 1885 Victorian Championships - 1884

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