|Born||12 March 1980 Londonderry|
|Educated||Strabane Grammar School|
|Debut||4 May 1999 v Northumberland at Jesmond|
|Style||Right hand batsman, right arm fast medium bowler changed to right arm off breaks.|
|Teams||Donemana, Ireland U15, Ireland U17, Ireland U19, Ireland Development XI|
Dwayne McGerrigle may well be remembered as a good and very determined, but unlucky cricketer. As a teenager he appeared to be a tremendous pace bowling prospect as well as a useful and aggressive batsman. As such he shone in Schools' Interprovincial and Ireland age group cricket before making a sensational debut for the national side in 1999. However fate, in the form of a serious shoulder injury reduced his bowling to what has been described as "dibbly dobbly off spin", which has , however proved to be a more than useful part of the Donemana attack on more than one occasion. His batting remains vigorous, he "hits a heavy ball" and, appearing anywhere in the upper and middle order, has often proved invaluable when quick runs are needed. |
His representative career took off in 1994 as a member of the North West U15 side in the Interprovincial tournament held in the NCU area. Rain badly interfered with play, but Dwayne, besides bowling, showed his batting prowess, with a hard hitting 30 which helped set up a 45 runs victory over a fancied Leinster team. The following season saw him in the Ireland U15 XI which played Wales at Llanelli. The match was lost by 3 wickets but Dwayne impressed with 4-30 in the first innings. The Irish Cricket Annual also appreciated his batting noting," Dwayne McGerrigle shone as an all rounder. He was undefeated in both innings and bowled with pace and hostility."
He had another successful season in 1996, by which time he was establishing himself in the Donemana senior side. At the beginning of July he was in the Ulster Schools team which played two matches v Leinster in Dublin. Both were lost but he distinguished himself with the bat in the second game scoring 55, one of the few who coped well with the off spin of a Leinster bowler known better for his batting - Ed Joyce. They were both selected for the Irish School side which then played 3 day match against Wales at Pontarddulas. Ireland gained a 49 runs lead on the first innings, thanks to impressive bowling by Dwayne (15-3-29-5) and his new ball partner Shane Harrison (2-25), but despite a second innings hundred from Joyce were unable to press home their advantage and force a win. Ireland also played England U15 at Ormeau where he was again among the wickets, including that of future Gloucestershire batsman and England fielding coach Chris Taylor. Dwayne had 4-53 in the second innings, but to no avail as England eventually squeezed home by 8 runs.
1997 saw him, in company with Joyce and Neil Anderson, in the Ireland team, captained by future stalwart of The Hills Joe Clinton, for the U17 International Youth tournament in Bermuda. Ireland did well to finish second headed only by an England team led by Rob Key and including Michael Gough, now one of the ICC's elite umpires and Graham Napier who was to do stirring deeds for Essex. Dwayne, who neither for the first nor last time, often removed opposition openers early in his first spell, bowled with great hostility throughout the competition, having best bowling figures of 4-43 against Scotland. He also had a vital 3 wickets against Denmark in a must win match which enabled Ireland to finish second.
January 1998 which saw Ireland U19, again led by Clinton, in South Africa for their first ever participation in the U19 World Cup. Dwayne, who together with Joyce "had already been earmarked" as a player of the future, justified this assessment bowling with tenacity and fire. He was particularly impressive in the opening match against Denmark, even though Ireland lost by 2 wickets.
Writing in the Irish Cricket Annual team manager Dessie McCall said that he delivered, "a superb display of pace bowling which produced figures of 10-1-26-5." Unfortunately when he finished his spell, having reduced the Danes to 117-8 chasing 161, Ireland were unable to capture the last two wickets.
The summer of 1999 saw him a tower of strength in the Donemana XI and make his debut for the full Irish side, which is described below. He also featured in the U19 team, now captained by Peter Shields, which reached the Final of the European Colts Championships, held in the NCU area, before being beaten by an England team which included - among several names later to become well known - Matt Prior, current Glamorgan keeper and former captain Mark Wallace, and Ricky Ponting's favourite 12th man Gary Pratt. Sharing the new ball with Adrian McCoubrey, he was at his best against the Netherlands, taking 3-14, combining with McCoubrey to dismiss the Dutch for 79.
He was again in the U19 side for the 2000 World Cup held in January in the torrid heat of Sri Lanka. He was once more praised for his pace and commitment , his best return coming against Bangladesh in a match lost by 67 runs. Taking 4-54, well supported by Conor Armstrong 3-44, he was the main reason for Bangladesh being dismissed for 196. However, notwithstanding a typically gutsy innings from Niall O'Brien, Ireland fell well short of their target.
From his late teens Dwayne has been a stalwart member of the Donemana club and would feature in any pantheon of its most loyal and notable players. The 1999 season, saw several fine performances with both bat and ball. In a low scoring 3 wickets win over Strabane he had 6-29 to dismiss the local rivals for 86. Later in the season the return match saw Donemana pile up 294. Strabane finished n 231-7, Dwayne having taken 4-66. HIs outstanding knock that season came in the Cup Semi Final against Sion Mills. He top scored with 55, thus, well assisted by Junior and Roy McBrine, helping his side home with 15 overs to spare.
In more recent times Donemana have often been well served by his batting. In June 2011 against Glendermott at The Rectory he came in with trouble brewing at 49-4. He batted in typically robust fashion to add 122 for the 5th wicket with Kamran Sadiq . He went on to an undefeated 81, setting up a target which proved beyond the hosts' powers to reach. To rub it in he made 51 in the return match six weeks later. He out in a noteworthy all round performance against Coleraine at The Holm in the Premiership in 2014, playing an almost lone hand in what became a 9 runs defeat. Coleraine batted first and were restricted to 162-7, which would have probably been much more if he had not removed the Cooke brothers while taking 3-30. The hosts crumbled to 31-5 before Dwayne and William McClintock(19) added 66 for the 6th wicket. He went on to make 86 but with Junior Mc Brine (16) the only other double figure score, the task proved too much.
He has also shone in the Ulster and Irish Senior Cups. In the former he destroyed the Lisburn batting at Wallace Park with 5-26 bringing his side to a 76 runs victory while three years later a destructive 74 against Downpatrick at The Holm set up a 70 runs win. In the latter two performances in 2003 stand out. In a First Round match at The Green Donemana struggled to 133in 43 overs against the spin of Andrew White and Robin Haire. However the hosts also lost wickets until a stand by Haire and Peter Shields seemed to rectify matters. Then Dwayne entered the attack, bowled his allowed 9 overs - the match had been reduced to 45 a side - and removed both of them. Though North Down still had wickets in hand at the end, they lost by 2 runs.
In the Quarter Final Donemana entertained Dublin side CYM at The Holm. The hosts batted consistently headed by Junior Mc Brine (83). However Dwayne was not far behind with 64, having come in first wicket down. He then removed two of CYM's top 5 to finish with the Man of the Match award.
His style of play has been described as ideal for T20 which was certainly the case in the NWCU T20 Quarter Final against Ardmore in 2014. Coming in at No e he made a rapid 44 then, proving yet again how effective good spin bowling is in the short game, deployed his "dibbly dobblers" to good effect taking 3-14.
In his one season for Ireland he took 17 wickets at 17.59 in 7 matches, besides showing that he could at well at this level also. He began with a sensational debut against Northumberland at their Jesmond ground in the First Round of the Nat West Cup. He took a wicket in his first over, the second of the match, and in his tenth and last took 3. This was the vital over of the match as the hosts slumped from 215-3 to 217-6.
In between times he had taken one more but come in for some punishment from opener Wayne Falla, but he got him in the end to finish with figures of 10-2-66-5, thus becoming the first Irish bowler since Charles Kenny in 1952 to take 5 wickets on debut. Kenny's figures, incidentally, were 5-65!
Dwayne took a further 2 wickets in the next match, against the Essex County Board XI at Castle Avenue, before coming in at No 10 to join Gordon Cooke with 10 runs needed, he made 9 of them including the winning hit, a boundary, which according to Philip Boylan in The Irish Independent "scorched the grass to the long off boundary." In fact he went on to reach double figures in all three Triple Crown matches with a highest score of 23* from 25 balls. against Scotland at Castle Avenue. With this innings he helped Gus Dunlop (56*) take Ireland to a barely respectable score of 230 but though Dwayne then took 3-28, the good batting conditions and fast outfield meant that a Scottish victory could not be prevented.
Injury may have destroyed Robert Dwayne McGerrigle international and club career as a pace bowler but there is no doubting the tremendous contribution he has made to Donemana cricket for well nigh two decades. He will be long remembered at The Holm and elsewhere throughout Ireland's cricketing circles.
Edward Liddle, February 2017
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