From The Archive: St Patrick's Day

To celebrate St Patrick's Day Hampshire Cricket historian Dave Allen looks at the Irishmen that have featured for Hampshire

When Tom Prest made his first-class debut against Surrey last year he became number 569 on Hampshire’s list of first-class cricketers since we entered the County Championship in 1895. Of those men – many of course great Hampshire cricketers – only 28 can claim to have played in our Championship winning sides of 1961 & 1973.

One of them, Peter Sainsbury was there on both occasions and pre-boundary changes, a further 10 were Hampshire-born; four had played for other counties and six were from ‘over seas’. The obvious names are of course West Indians Roy Marshall, Gordon Greenidge and Danny Livingstone, Barry Richards came from South Africa and New Zealand spinner David O’Sullivan. But the sixth man who crossed the water might be less obvious. He was Andy Murtagh who came from Dublin to Southampton University and was our 13th man in 1973, playing in five matches. Two years later he played in half our matches as we won the Sunday League for the first time and in the mid-1970s was something of a one-day specialist.

In total, just six Irish-born cricketers have played for Hampshire and Andy, whose nephew Tim still plays a leading role in the Middlesex side, is the most recent and the only one post-war. Despite his role in 1973, the finest of them was surely Brigadier-General RM Poore. He was an amateur, whose cricket was limited by Army life around the time of the South African (Boer) Wars – in early 1896 while serving in South Africa he represented a South African XI against a touring English side in three matches that were later designated Test Matches. In 1899 he came late to our season and departed overseas again after a match at Leicester in mid-August but in exactly two months he scored over 1500 runs with seven centuries and three half-centuries at 91.23. He became the only man to score centuries in both innings of a match in Portsmouth and his innings of 302 at Taunton was our first triple century, during which his partnership of 411 with ‘Teddy’ Wynyard remains a Hampshire record for the sixth wicket.

Of our four other Irish-born players, Edward Bowen an influential schoolmaster at Harrow appeared in one match at Hove in 1864, our inaugural season as a County Cricket Club while former Harrow schoolboy, Tom Jameson made his Hampshire debut age 27 in 1919, the same year as Irishman Edward Armitage; Jameson played more than 50 matches for the county. Harrow also loomed large in the short life of Robert Fowler, who while captain of Eton won a famous victory against their traditional opponents at Lord’s. He scored 21 and 64 – both top-scores, took 4-90 in the first Harrow innings and with just 55 to win, Fowler took 8-23 as Harrow fell ten runs short. He played most often for the Army with three Hampshire matches and a best score of 51 v Middlesex. He died at home in Ireland age just 31.

Three other Hampshire cricketers have connections with cricket in Ireland: Harold Denham (Hampshire 1896) was born in India but played once for Ireland v South Africa (Dublin 1901) and more recently, wicketkeeper Mark Garaway was Director of Cricket Ireland and Sean Terry played domestic cricket in Ireland and for Ireland in ODIs and IT20s. Hampshire’s cricketers went on two short tours of Ireland in 1909 & 1911, in 1965 we played a three-day match in Dublin which was Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie’s last first-class appearance, while between 1996-2009 we met Ireland in five ‘white ball’ matches, winning four with one abandoned

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