|Born||25 April 1987, Hammersmith|
|Occupation||Cricket and Hockey Coach|
|Debut||27 June 2008 v Bangladesh at Eglinton|
|Style||Right hand batsman, right arm off spin bowler|
|Teams||Sunbury Club Cricket Conference Middlesex Clontarf|
Andrew Poynter, elder brother of Stewart and nephew of Deryck Vincent, is a good all round cricketer. Strongly built, he has earned his 44 Irish caps as a middle order batsman who has proved himself capable of either building an innings patiently, or forcefully taking the game to the opposition. At club level he has also always been a more than useful off spinner with a number of worthwhile performances to his credit.
He showed early promise as an opening batsman, catching the eyes of Middlesex age group selectors and finding a place in the County's U14 XI in 2001 and the U15 XI against Berkshire in July 2002. In a high scoring game on the latter occasion, he scored freely in an opening stand with Jake Lofdahl, making a belligerent 39 out of 61 for the first wicket. Middlesex, chasing 250, won by 4 wickets. He was, however, less successful the following season when he played for the U17 side under the captaincy of James Gatting, son of Mike, now making his way with Leicestershire 2nd XI. Andrew fell for a duck. The batting success of the side was pace bowler Chris Whelan who made 118, a total he was to struggle to reach in a whole season when he broke through in first class cricket for Middlesex and Worcestershire.
Andrew also found an early place with Sunbury, a strong club side playing in the Surrey Championship, Cockspur Cup and other tournaments, showing good form in some tough matches in 2005. Thus in the Evening Standard Trophy he made 41against Dulwich, helping Sunbury chase down a target of 196 to win by 4 wickets. Later in the same season, he was in the Sunbury side which lost a Cockspur Cup match to Horsham, he contributed a well-made 36 to a score of 170 before being caught and bowled by off spinner/ opening bat Chris Nash, now vice-captain and opening partner to Ed Joyce for Sussex. Nash was the Man of the Match in this game, making 89 as Horsham won by 3 wickets. We may also note a good innings against Watford in the Standard Trophy in 2006 - a match which Sunbury won by 182 runs. Andrew made 58 from 65 balls with six 4s. That season, of course, saw his career with Clontarf begin but Sunbury still valued him. Thus early in 2007, he piloted them to a 7 wicket Cockspur Cup win over Uxbridge with a painstaking 33* from 78 balls with three 4s. Later in the season, in a rain ruined Surrey Club Championship match with Sutton on the latter's ground he had bowling figures of 3.4-0-23-3, as the hosts posted 281-8 before declaring. Andrew was on 9* when the rains came.
The 2005 season saw him play several matches for Middlesex Second XI and one - against Cambridge University Centre of Cricket Excellence - for the County side. He was in good company in the Seconds where players included not only some soon to become team-mates in the Irish side Eoin Morgan, and Boyd Rankin but also two who would, like Morgan become known on another international field in Steve Finn and Nick Compton as well as Jamie Dalrymple who was to represent England in over 20 ODIs. However Andrew was never able to show his true class in these games though he played a useful innings in the Second XI Trophy (50 over knock out) against the Minor Counties U25 side. Facing a total of 219-6 Middlesex collapsed with only Andrew and Dalrymple reaching double figures. Dalrymple made the top score of 37, Andrew hitting 30 from 44 balls with two 4s and one 6.
He first appeared for an Irish representative side in the 2005/06 U19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. He distinguished himself with the bat in a warm up game with Uganda making 59 from 87 balls with nine 4s, adding 67 for the 3rd wicket with Fintan McAllister (34). Eoin Morgan, captaining the side made 1. The match was lost by 41 runs. He had one fine innings in the actual competition in the match with New Zealand which was lost by 3 wickets. Coming in at 96-3 he put on 160 for the 4th wicket with Morgan. Andrew faced 86 balls and, batting for 91 minutes hit eight 4s. He was eventually caught and bowled by future test all-rounder Martin Guptil. He had also had a productive partnership with Morgan against Nepal, though again the match was lost. They added 66 for the 4th wicket, with Morgan making 86. Andrew's score was a useful 28.
His Leinster senior cricket career for Clontarf began in July 2006 and was immediately successful producing an excellent all round performance on debut. Facing Malahide at The Village he had figures of 10-0-36-4 when the hosts batted first, then, coming in at 3 he finished undefeated on 47, the match being won by 8 wickets as he and Trent Johnston added an unbroken 72 for the third.
In the penultimate match of the season he hit his first century for the Castle Avenue side against Rush at Kenure, unfortunately in a losing cause. Rush batted first to post 310 off their 60 overs, then took the first two Clontarf wickets for 10 to bring Andrew to the crease. He was still there at the end on 148* but his side was 61 runs short of their target with 3 wickets standing. Maintaining this batting form he finished the season with a not out 69 at home against Malahide.
He was to reach three figures again in 2008 in the Second Round of the Cup against Leinster at Rathmines. The hosts looked to be in a strong position after a total of 322-5 based around a fine 158* from Brian Vermark. However Clontarf never really looked in trouble, winning the match by 6 wickets. Andrew came in at 100-1 and took complete charge finishing with 130*, having shared in a 3rd wicket stand of 127 with Alex Cusack (42).
To date (2012) he has hit two other senior centuries. Against Pembroke at Castle Avenue in 2009 he made exactly 100 as Clontarf, playing at home, beat the Sydney Parade side by 6 wickets, Andrew being stumped just after reaching his century. The following season against The Hills at Castle Avenue he made 106 as Clontarf with Australian Rod Hokin also in the runs with 83, posted 262-6 which was enough to win the match by 61 runs.
To the end of the 2012 season Andrew had scored 2435 runs in Leinster Senior Cricket at an average of 39.08 and taken 85 wickets at 26.11. He was Man of the Match in the Cup Final of 2012 against Pembroke at Claremont Road. Pembroke - almost playing at home! - scored 236-8 in a match which had to go into the reserve day because of rain. Andrew bowled tightly with 0-26 from 7 overs. He then made a crucial 56* from 55 balls with seven 4s and one 6 to see his team to victory.
He has also done well in the Alan Murray T20 competition, producing two Man of the Match performances during the 2011 season. Against Old Belvedere at Cabra he and Honkin saw Clontarf to a winning total with a 3rd wicket stand of 96, Andrew being the dominant partner. In all he made 88 out of 139 runs scored while he was at the wicket, facing 35 balls and hitting six 4s and seven 6s. The Final, at The Inch, saw another fine performance, Leinster being the opposition. In the field he held one catch and made a run out as the total was restricted to 154. Then he brought victory with 58* from 41 balls including nine fours and one six.
His opportunities have, of course, been more limited in the Irish Senior Cup but, so far, he has hit only one half century, 55 against Carrickfergus in a big win in 2009 while his best bowling came in his first appearance in the competition in 2007 against Killymallaght. Then with 3-19 and 2 catches, he played a major part in a 100 runs win.
Before considering Andrew's Irish career we should note that he has also played for Ireland A on several occasions. Here he has shown some consistency of form with his best match being that against Susses 2nd XI at Chichester in 2010. Sussex began by posting 245-8 and then bowled Ireland out for 178. This total would have worse had it not been for a fine display from Andrew who was batting at No 6. Facing 133 balls and hitting eleven 4s, he made 66 by far the highest score. Batting again Sussex declared on 281-4 and then took 7 Irish wickets for 83, Andrew with 18 helping to avoid defeat.
At the time of writing he has played 44 matches for Ireland scoring 635 runs at 20.48 with four 50s. His bowling, which has been barely used, stands at 0-2. His batting record suggests that he has not, as yet, really fulfilled his potential on a permanent basis, but he has, nevertheless, played several notable innings.
The first such came against The Netherlands in an Intercontinental Cup Match at Rotterdam in 2008. This was a match in which he badly needed runs to justify his selection as he had made only 16 on his previous four visits to the crease. Further he probably not have been playing had not county calls deprived Ireland of Morgan, Niall O'Brien and William Porterfield. Put in with conditions favouring seamers, Ireland were 28-3 and, even following a rescue act by Kevin O'Brien (79) and Andre Botha were by no means safe at 189-4 when Andrew came to the wicket. Together, through several rain breaks he and Botha took the innings to the third day and the second new ball, adding 139 before Botha was out for a superb 172. Helped first by Gary Wilson and then by Kyle McCallan, Andrew took the score to 400 before Kyle declared. Andrew finished on 76*, having faced 157 balls and, batting for 197 minutes hit eight 4s. One of the best of them had been a glorious square drive which brought him his 50. Unfortunately the gilt soon came off his gingerbread with guilt in the slip cordon as he put down two slip catches early in the Dutch innings; one at third slip came from a dive in front of O'Brien at second who would have had an easier chance. However "the force was with him" as neither miss proved expensive. The hosts were dismissed for 127 and though they showed to better effect in the follow on, Ireland won by an innings and 67 runs.
Two years later Ireland took on West Indies A at Stormont in two matches both of which were lost. In the second, however, Andrew showed some fine batting form, rescuing Ireland from a near disastrous start of 29-3. Helped by Andrew White (56) in a 4th wicket stand of 88, Poynter topscored with 64 from 76 balls with five 4s. Ireland thus reached the semi respectability of 217 but it could have been more as both batsmen perished rather tamely, Poynter to a rather simple catch to long on.
He was again to the fore later in the summer against Afghanistan at Rotterdam in the World Cricket League, again owing his place to the absence of the county players. Batting at No 5 he played what Ian Callender described as "an innings of great maturity." Coming in at 29-3 he made 77 in 150 minutes off 109 balls five of which were hit to the boundary. After putting on 79 for the 4th wicket with Kevin O'Brien (44) and 73 for the 5th with White (31) Andrew was eighth out at 219. It was a good day for Clontarf as Cusack then took 5-20 to see Ireland to an emphatic victory. Andrew was Man of the Match.
His last half century - to date - for Ireland came against Scotland at Raeburn Place also in 2010 in a match which Ireland would rather forget. It was part of a Tri Series tournament also involving Sri Lanka whose meeting with Ireland was washed out by rain. Against Scotland Ireland batted first and Andrew and the other batsmen must have been well satisfied with their work as they posted an impressive 320-8 from 50 overs. At No 4, Andrew's share was 51 from 34 balls with five 4s and two 6s. Clontarf were again to the fore as he and Cusack had a 3rd wicket stand of 85. Unfortunately the Scots replied in kind reducing the Irish attack to near impotence and winning by 5 wickets.
Andrew David Poynter still has time on his side. His four innings described above suggest that he has the talent to perform consistently at international level and to show on this wider field all the talent often seen at Castle Avenue and elsewhere on the Leinster circuit. With an interprovincial tournament of 3 day matches planned for future seasons, as well as Ireland's other fixtures, he surely has the opportunity to do so.
Edward Liddle, November 2012
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