|Born||12 July 1922, Dublin|
|Died||12 September 1978 Worthing, Sussex|
|Educated||Diocesan College, Dublin|
|Occupation||Insurance Company Executive|
|Debut||31 May 1947 v Scotland at The Mardyke|
|Style||Right-hand bat; wicket keeper.|
|History||Reggie Lyons was a good wicket keeper who might well have added to his sole Irish cap, had not some of his best seasons overlapped with the Second World War. However even if the Treaty of Versailles had been more happily managed or Hitler met his fate on the Somme, as he almost did, Reggie would still have been contesting a place on the national side with George Crothers and Charles Cuffe, the latter, from the Leinster Club, a very good wicket keeper, and the former a gauntleted genius. |
Reggie did head the LCU wicket keepers, table with 20 dismissals in 1944, sharing the top spot with Cuffe. Two years later however, Reggie with 17 victims was out on his own at the head of the pack. Unfortunately there was no Hopkins Cup to cherish in those days, but Reggie, particularly skilful standing up - not an area in which Charles Cuffe excelled - had marked himself as a gloveman of considerable ability. He did not head the stumpers' list again, Cuffe managing the last laugh with 19 in 1955, sixteen years after he had first headed the table.
Reggie's form in 1946 went unrewarded by the Irish selectors that summer, a season in which Ireland played only one match, but he was in the side for the Scotland match in May 1947 at The Mardyke, being joined by two other new caps in all rounder Derry Gill and left armer "Sonny" Hool.
1947 is remembered as one of the finest for many years, but the weather did not clear up until July. The early part of the season was dank, cold and depressing, and three days in Cork were no exception. Rain took great chunks out of the first and third days and prevented any play at all on the second. This was possibly just as well for the hosts, Wisden recording that "Scotland came near to an easy victory." Their opening pair Aitchison and Crerar were the only batsmen in the match to master the conditions with The Mardyke being far from its usual benign self.
Reggie did, however, make an impact on the game. In the visitors first innings of 140, he made three stumpings, all off Eddie Ingram, who, bowling with great accuracy, returned the remarkable figures of 27 - 15 - 31 - 3. Ireland could only manage 103, Reggie at No 11, being undefeated on 0. In the visitors second innings the main damage was done by Hool, but his 5-73 came off 17 overs, the Scots trying to get after him. These tactics led to one stumping, Reggie thus finishing his Irish career with four such dismissals. Ireland, set 219, just held on at 106-8, Reggie not being asked to go to the wicket again.
That was that for his Irish career. Ireland had, what was by the standards of the time, a long season in 1947, but Crothers returned behind the stumps. In a final attempt to make Reggie's one appearance for his country as anonymous as possible, Wisden did not grace his solitary appearance in its hallowed pages with any initials. The scorecard for the match, which - for the curious - may be found on p 603 of the 1948 Almanack, records the presence, for example, of EDR Shearer, NB Hool and JC Boucher, though awarding the sole initial T to Paddy (PHP) Waldron. At No 11 however appears - Lyons.
Edward Liddle, April 2009
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