A right-arm medium paced bowler bringing the ball in from the off, James William Barnes played in the Professionals v Amateurs Trial at Trent Bridge in 1907 and subsequently appeared in three first-class matches for the County – v Philadelphians in 1908, scoring 0 and 1; v Essex at Leyton in 1909, scoring 6 and 12 and taking 1-43, and finally v Leicestershire at Trent Bridge in 1910, scoring 0 and taking 1-62. For the Second XI in 1909, he was decidedly successful, taking 55 wickets @13.49 and though not so profitable in 1910 he took 10-101 in the match against Yorkshire Second XI at Trent Bridge. In 20 Minor Counties matches for Notts Second XI he took 87 wickets @16.32. He was on the Trent Bridge ground staff for several seasons and was later engaged as coach at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Mansfield. Barnes was a miner by occupation and resided in Mansfield where he died aged 77 on 9 September 1963, having been born in Sutton-in-Ashfield on 14 August 1886.
His father was William Barnes, the Notts and England cricketer; his uncle, Thomas Barnes also played for the county.