|Born||18 December 1926, Dublin|
|Died||4 August 1968, Dublin|
|Educated||Christian Brothers' School, Westland Row, Dublin|
|Debut||6 July 1949 v Yorkshire at Ormeau|
|History||Stan Bergin was the best Irish opening batsman of his generation: some would stretch that timescale further. Bespectacled, sandy haired and short in stature, he had technical limitations, but overcame these by harnessing his tremendous powers of concentration to his natural ability as a games player. He was "our best defender against high class bowling," wrote Pat Hone in Cricket in Ireland. He scored mainly square of the wicket. Hone, a shrewd judge of a player, if an imperfect historian, wrote that Bergin "exploits with unerring eye his two chief scoring strokes, a square cut and a square pull." This writer, who saw him play several big innings cannot recall many shots played in the V.|
He was a key member of the South batting line up in the annual match with the North from the inception of the series in 1949. His one century and four fifties, showed that, whatever his limitations in style, he was the most consistently reliable Irish batsman of his era. He began, at No 4, with 50 in the first innings of the 1949 match, bolstering the South as wickets began to fall following and elegant 71 from Noel Mahony at the start. Three years later he was one of only two South batsmen to show resolution and defiance as the visitors collapsed twice to lose by an innings at Ormeau. However Stan and Louis Jacobson delayed things with a second innings opening stand of 105, Stan going on to make 73 before being caught off Jack Bowden.
He was in the runs again in 1955 at Rathmines when he and Joe Caprani ensured that there woud be no repeat of the 1952 debacle with an unbroken second wicket stand of 116 as the hosts followed on again. Stan, presenting an impeccable defence to all that came at him, finishing on 64, having batted for 223 minutes and hit 9 fours. He was in altogether different mode at Ormeau the following year, when he made the highest score in the series. Batting for 253 minutes and hitting 15 fours he had reached 148* when stumps were drawn with the score on 328-5. Rain, however, prevented any play on the second day. Unfortunately his final fifty in the series was somewhat undistinguished. The South, with Pat Dineen making 102, had secured a first innings lead of 98 as the North at declared behind to try to force a result. Stan, however, was in a somewhat obdurate mood, batting 138 minutes for 57. As this knock included 9 fours it can be seen that much of the rest of it was somewhat passive. he was eventually caught off Given Lyness (4-41) but by this time a draw was almost a foregone conclusion.
At school, he played Gaelic games, excelling at both football and hurling and winning Interprovincial honours for Leinster at that level. He also became a leading junior player of Association Football and played senior rugby for Monkstown at full back. A league table tennis player, he had a golf handicap of 15.
Cricket was always his first love; in 1944 playing for Pembroke Schoolboys against Phoenix he scored "about 250," a monumental knock for a teenager against any opposition. He first appeared for Pembroke aged 14 and by the time he retired in 1965, had scored 7713 runs, then a record in Leinster competitive cricket, at 36.90. His early seasons were played under the nom de guerre of B Stanley to avoid the GAA ban. He still ranks among the top 10 Leinster batsmen. Four of those above him honed their early skills in sunnier climes than Sydney Parade! His 8 hundreds and 47 fifties stand up well against those of his competitors. It is true that the cricket he played might have been made for him: play to a finish cup matches and no overs limits in the league allowed his innings to be long and drawn out resembling Trevor Bailey's description of a Ken Barrington knock, " Like a musical hall mother-in-law: unattractive to look at and mostly stays a long time."
Edward Liddle, April 2007, updated May 2015
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