Leopold George Plantaganet Filgate

Born20 August 1843, Lissrenny, near Adare, Co Louth
Died1 May 1906, Ballycastle, Co Antrim
EducatedCheltenham College
OccupationMagistrate and Militia Officer.
Debut11 September 1867 v I Zingari at Vice Regal Ground, Phoenix Park
Cap Number89
StyleRight-hand bat.
TeamsCo Louth, NICC, Na Shuler
HistoryLeopold Filgate, a sound opening batsman, came from a long established County Louth family, which traced its descent not only from a Cromwellian colonel who received a land grant, but also, as Leopold's third name would suggest, from England's blood thirsty, ruthless and self destructive medieval kings. He was the fourth of six cricket playing brothers who founded and maintained the Co Louth Club. The eldest William played for Ireland, but only in odds matches while Charles, the youngest and much the best cricketer in the family, not only followed his brothers into the national side, but played for Gloucestershire with some success.

Leopold also turned out for the newly formed North of Ireland Club. On 22 July 1866, he was in the NICC side that played Na Shuler in a match to mark the opening of the Club's new ground....Ormeau. The cricket matched the occasion but, eventually, the Shulers, who included several players not unknown to NICC ranks, won by four wickets. The late arrival of the hosts', Flintoff like all-rounder Charles Stelfox, was blamed by many for the result.

Leopold's first match for Ireland was a 12-a-side affair and thus does not appear in his statistics on this site. Played, as his other two matches were, against I Zingari at the Vice Regal Ground, it ended in a big win for Ireland due to weather in which no cricket should really have been played, a poor wicket, and the slow underarm bowling of Trinity academic John Mahaffy backed up by the roundarmers of army officer Christopher Oldfield. Filgate's contribution was not a great one. Opening the batting, he was run out for 3 in the first innings, not it must be said an uncommon fate for those who accompanied William Hone, snr, father of Pat, to the wicket. GF Barry at 3 went the same way for 7. In the second innings, by which time keeping a foothold on the wicket was very difficult, Leopold made 5 before being bowled by round armer RHB Marsham, one of three Oxford Blue brothers.

His second match, which appears as his debut on this site's statistics, was played a year later. The wicket, this time, was good, but the weather again deplorable, sleet intervening. IZ won convincingly with slow underamer William Rose causing chaos as he took 16-73 in the match. Filgate, at 3, did little to counter his first innings domination being out for 0. He opened in the second innings, and, falling again to Rose having made 10, could at least have the satisfaction of being one of the five Irish batsmen to reach double figures in the match. Hone, who went in down the order, did so twice. IZ won by 7 wickets despite a hostile final spell from Oldfield. Leopold's third and last match, the following year, again ended in personal failure. He opened with Hone and reached 14, before being dismissed. The match ended in a draw, largely, it was said, because Hone batted so long for his 91, that there was no time for the hosts, who forced IZ to follow on, to win the match.

That ended Leopold George Plantaganet Filgate's somewhat inglorious career. It seems that public service took up an increasing amount of his time on s personal estate in Co Antrim, where he was a magistrate. After his death, his body was taken to Lissrenny and buried in the family vault.

Edward Liddle, October 2007

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