Clive Dare Bondfield
- 214Wallaby Number
Clive Bondfield was a fine finishing winger who represented Australia both on both the battle and rugby fields.
Born in the north-western New South Wales hamlet of Glenugie, just outside of Grafton, Bondfield and his family moved to Sydney where he attended Ryde Public School. Aged 18, Bondfield enlisted as a trooper in the Australian Infantry Force and joined the 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment as a trooper before a transfer to the 11th Light Horse Regiment saw him take part in the defence of the Suez Canal. In September 1918, during the attack on Semakh (Palestine), Bondfield ‘displayed great energy and courage in subduing the enemy’, his actions were deemed ‘worthy of the highest praise’ and he was recommended for the Military Medal.
Little is known of Bondfield’s life upon his return to Australia however the first references to his rugby career emerged in 1923 where he showed in first grade for Glebe-Balmain and was a member of their side that lost the first ever Shute Shield final to University. The following season Bondfield caught the eye as a pacy, strong running and fearless winger however it was not 1925 that an opportunity presented itself for higher honours when he was named as a reserve for the 1st XV v 2nd XV state trial ahead of the inbound tour from New Zealand.
A mixture of good and bad fortune then played out as he missed out on a spot in the 1st Test as New South Wales were humbled 3-26. Unfortunately he was then ‘unavailable’ for the 2nd XV side that stunned the tourists 18-16 mid-week. As a consequence an incredible 11 members from that 2nd XV team were promoted to the run-on side for the second test three days later. Owen ‘Stumpy’ Crossman, the Randwick flyer, played in both fixtures and was selected to face the All Blacks for the third time in a week but withdrew due to an injured shoulder. As a consequence Bondfield was brought into the side on the right wing. Although he did not know it at the time that match was Bondfield’s official Test debut after an ARU decision in 1994 elevated the remaining 34 New South Wales matches played against international opposition in the 1920-28 period to Test status (the five 1927/28 Waratahs’ internationals were given Test status in 1986). An old cut, stitched earlier in the season, ‘hampered him’ during the match however it was reported that he played ‘fairly well’ in a narrow 0-4 defeat.
Later that season Bondfield toured regional New South Wales with the Metropolitan XV however he was not selected in the representative trials for the home series against New Zealand in 1926 or for the northern hemisphere tour of the Waratahs in 1927.
Later in life Bondfield played number one pennant lawn bowls for the Ryde Bowling Club and served as the Mayor of Ryde from 1944-47.
Clive Bondfield played one Test for Australia and will forever be Wallaby #214.
Bondfield won his first Test cap on the right wing in the 2nd Test, 0-4 loss to New Zealand at the Sydney Showground.