Born in Arnold on 24 May 1878, John Davison Barnsdale was a fair right-hand bat and useful wicket-keeper. He was educated at Nottingham High School, Sedbergh School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.
He played in one First-Class match, namely Notts v Oxford University in June 1905, scoring 0 and 10 and stumping one. His club cricket was played with Nottingham Forest CC and Magdala CC. He was a good association footballer appearing 25 times as a half-back for Nottingham Forest FC in 1904 and 1905. He served as a Major in the Lancashire Fusiliers.
A Director of Raleigh Bicycle Company Limited, he retired to Frensham in Surrey where he became a farmer. He died on 5 August 1960 at Lower Bourne, Farnham in Surrey aged 82 years.