William Ward was a prominent right-handed batsman and an occasional slow lob bowler. His first-class career began in the 1810 English cricket season but it was interrupted by the Napoleonic War until 1816. Ward played until 1845.
His score of 278 for the MCC v Norfolk at Lord's in 1820 was the highest individual innings in first-class cricket until W. G. Grace scored first-class cricket's first triple-century in August 1876, more than 27 years after Ward's death. The ball used is thought to be the oldest in existence and is kept in the MCC Museum.
In 1825 Thomas Lord was negotiating the sale of his cricket ground as a building estate when Ward stepped in and saved Lord's for cricket. The price was £5000. He was celebrated in the following anonymous poem.
And of all who frequent the ground named after Lord,
On the list first and foremost should stand Mr Ward.
No man will deny, I am sure, when I say
That he's without rival first bat of the day,
And although he has grown a little too stout,
Even Matthews is bothered at bowling him out.
He's our life blood and soul in this noblest......