Deryck Vincent (CricketEurope)
Charles Stewart Marchant
The award was first presented in 1921, as the Cup to recognise the Senior batsman with the highest average.
Clontarf Cricket Club has a close association with the Cup as it honours a former Clontarf member and player.
The trophy was presented to the Leinster Cricket Union in 1922 by Thomas Frederick Marchant in memory of his son, who had been killed in World War 1.
Charles Stewart Marchant, (known as Stewart) was born on 21 June 1895 to Thomas and Kathleen Marchant of 16 Castlewood Park, Rathmines, only a stone’s throw away from Leinster Cricket Club.
Stewart joined Clontarf CC in 1914 and before his 19th birthday was opening the batting for the first team.
He did so with some success too, in his first and what would be only season, he played in 14 games, scoring 237 runs at an average of 19.75 with a top score of 49.
Between 1914 and 1918, there was to be no cricket and like many young men, Stewart joined the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.
Sadly, he was killed in action on 4th June 1917 and was buried in Belgium.
The Marchant Cup was presented to the Leinster Cricket Union at their Annual General Meeting held in the Engineer’s Hall, Dawson Street in January 1922.
Appropriately, it was J.G. (John) Aston who presented the trophy on behalf of the Marchant family to the Union.
Not only was Aston the finest Clontarf cricketer of the time, he was also the person who had proposed young Stewart Marchant as a member to the club.
In a touching speech he spoke about the loss of a young man who had shown not just bravery in his military life but also of the loss of a talented sportsman.
It then fell on His Honour Judge Green, a vice president of the Union, to present the award to R.H. (Bob) Lambert who had topped the list for 1921 with an extraordinary average of 217.
Lambert was 46 during the 1921 season but he was possibly the greatest of Irish cricketers and it was entirely appropriate that his was the first name on the cup.
Interestingly, he used the occasion of accepting the award to comment on the dearth of first-class bowlers in Ireland.
Clearly, despite his age, he still wanted to be challenged.