The Numbers Racket, No.2
By Ger Siggins (CricketEurope)
CONGRATS – and commiserations – to Simi Singh on his brilliant batting feats for Ireland Wolves against Gloucestershire 2s last week.
The YM man has been in stupendous form, with more than 1,300 runs so far for his club, province and country. In Rockhampton he made 107* and 87*, thus missing out one of the rarest feats in Irish cricket, a brace of centuries in the same match.
I can only find six previous instances, with the first two being by Phoenix men – Jack Meldon’s 130 and 150 v Royal Artillery in 1909, and George Morrow three years later with 150 and 138* in the same fixture.
In the pre-Guinness Cup interpros, Con McCall made a pair of centuries on his debut for Ulster against Munster at the Mardyke in 1963 – his fellow opening bat, also a debutant, Wilfie Ridge of Ballymena, made a less-welcome pair.
The great Ivan Anderson is responsible for the only occasion the feat was achieved for Ireland, making 147 and 103* v Scotland in Glasgow in 1976.
The legend that is Decker Curry achieved it in the 2002 NW Senior Cup final, scoring 108 in both innings against a Bready side that included Boyd Rankin.
The double was also achieved against Ireland, in Clontarf in 1986, by a 21-year-old who had made his first-class debut for New South Wales just the winter before, although his twin was already a Test cricketer.
Mark Waugh was unbeaten for MCC that day, making 239* and 101*, and as ‘Afghanistan’ (the Forgotten Waugh) it would be five years before he won the first of his 128 Test caps.
Besides that 1976 feat, Ivan Anderson also had two near misses, making 110 and 75 against Combined Services at Aldershot in 1967 and 103 and 81 * v MCC at Lords’s in 1977.
Five other men have made a century and a fifty in the same game for Ireland –
Twenty-three years before Meldon became the first back in 1909, John Dunn almost did so in a three-day game for the Dublin Garrison, making 92 and 178 against LA Shuter's XI.
But perhaps the most agonising near-miss was that of Trinity student George McVeagh, who made 100* and 99 against Cork County at the Mardyke in 1928.
THE first column last week listed all the cricketers born in Ireland to take 100 first-class wickets.
As with all such exercises, a line has to be drawn somewhere and that one was drawn at Ireland being their place of birth.
Of course that is no measure of skill, or commitment to Irish cricket – indeed the man that topped it, Martin McCague, had no links at all to Irish cricket besides being born in Larne.
It meant that several men who played for Ireland were left out, although the list of Ireland internationals with 50 first-class wickets, regardless of place of birth, includes Steve Waugh whose Ireland record is 6-1-27-0.
CRICKETERS WHO PLAYED FOR IRELAND BUT WEREN’T BORN HERE (and took more than 50 FC wickets)
Only Corlett (54) and Johnston (97) took more than 50 wickets for Ireland
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