Junior Cricket a 100 years ago

An article penned by David Penney from Greenland. Something for the Winter evenings.


There were still only two Junior Leagues in 1920: an Intermediate league split into two sections, and a Junior league. Old Belvedere dropped out, as did Avoca School and RHMS 2nds. However, both the Sandymount and Clontarf clubs got going again, having been in abeyance since 1914. Clontarf tried to restart in 1919, but couldn’t, as they had to reclaim their patch from market gardeners who had been allowed in during WW1. Sandymount attracted players from, in particular, Pembroke Wanderers, who had to withdraw their 2nds team from the Junior League. The Great Southern & Western Railways, in their last year of existence, had to play all their matches away, as they had lost their space at Inchicore. New arrivals were also the Nomads, and Ringsend Utd. The latter occupied the back pitch at Lansdowne Rd. while it seems as if the Nomads actually lived up to their name and did a bit of wandering. Raheny, who had only played friendlies in 1919, joined the Junior League. They played in St. Anne’s Park, and their ground is now Pitch 10, one of Raheny GAA’s pitches.

The following 14 teams played in the Intermediate League: CYMS (Richmond Hill), Civil Service II, Clontarf II, Dublin University II, Great Southern & Western Railway, Leinster II, Merrion, Nomads (who withdrew after a few matches), Pembroke II, Pembroke Wanderers, Richmond Asylum (Grangegorman), Sandymount (Sandymount Avenue), UCD II (Terenure Park) & YMCA. I have been unable to split this up into the two sections as this information has not been forthcoming.

The Junior teams were Sandymount 2nds, Ordnance Survey (Phoenix Pk.), Merrion 2nds, Leinster 2nds, Raheny, Nomads, Carlisle, CYMS 2nds and Ringsend Utd; in all 23 teams in the junior leagues. Again, Leinster 3rds and Dublin University 3rds only played friendlies, and Phoenix would still operate with only one team until the late 1920’s.

All records from this period are based on the newspapers, in particular the Sunday Independent. Team lists were rare. In addition, the quality of reports for the Juniors was poor compared to 1919, as more often than not, there was only a result, but no names or a score card.

It is important to point out that there was no knockout cup competitions until 1924.

The first Saturday of the season was a wash out and rain was again the spoilsport at the end of June. During the whole season, one hundred was achieved by both teams in the Intermediate league on only six occasions. Civil Service 2nds was the only team to pass 200 when it knocked up 215 against Clontarf 2nds (113) in late August. In this match, Aldwin G. Francis of Trinidad (and UCD) was unbeaten with 87 and William Parsons Worthington got 51.

As to big individual scores, W.H Lambert (Leinster) was undefeated with 122 against Civil Service in early June, and that seems to be his only 100, but at the end of the season he got 56 against Y.M.C.A. One wonders why he wasn’t a feature on Leinster’s 1st team. There were two half centuries for Pembroke 2nds against Leinster 2nds in a draw on the 21st August: Claude Hillyard and Reginald John Binnie, who both scored 51. C. Nash (presumably the ex International, Corrie) collected two 50’s (a 73 and an unbeaten 58) and there were only a few others. The trundlers dominated in a lot of matches. The most violent of these was F.H. Fryer (Merrion 2nds) with 8-8 against The Ordinance Survey in June in the Junior League (12/6: 2 innings), and R. Maguire  for Leinter 2nds (Intemediate L.), with 8/34 against Trinity 2nds (22/5; Intermediate L.) and 8/27 v. Civil Service 2nds in the Junior League. H.V. Cordner bagged 7-7 in a Junior League match for Leinster 3rds against Merrion 2nds. T. Kenny (for Merrion) went home with 7/8 (v. CYMS) & 6/9 (v Nomads). There were many others. Presumably, wicket standards weren’t what they are today.

Outside Dublin, almost nothing happened. Kildare (5 teams), Meath (2) and Kilkenny (2) were close to quiet. There were four clubs in Cork, who had as their opponents military teams. Ballinasloe, the birthplace of Irish club cricket, practiced, but no matches were reported, and the ‘County’ team in Carlow only played tennis. One suspects poor newspaper coverage outside Dublin, or a threat from the GAA, who were venomously opposed to the four foreign games (Cricket, Rugby, Soccer and Hockey), but the political tensions at the time may have been a deciding factor

Another thing that happened in 1920 was the short reappearance of some sort of ladies’ cricket, which had existed in Dublin for some years before the war, based then at Railway Union or in Bray. This time it was the Harrington, Leach and Magee daughters, together with a Ganly, a Heaslip and a Lambert, all probably from Leinster C.C, who were involved.  Many of these girls were only twelve years old. I’ve found most of them in the 1911 Census. There are photos of them in the Irish Independent. They didn’t wear pads, and they wore tennis skirts, which were about 9 inches off the ground in 1920. The lack of pads suggests underarm bowling, or they were used to a few bruises from playing hockey.

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