Francis James Anthony Reddy

Born15 June 1906 Harold's Cross, Dublin.
Died11 December 1901 Dublin
EducatedSt Mary's College; Rathmines Catholic University School. Dublin
OccupationInsurance Company Executive
Debut22 July 1929 v The Catamarans at College Park
Cap Number367
StyleRight hand bat, right arm medium pace, occasional wicket keeper.
HistoryFrank Reddy was a stylish upper order batsman, whose elegance off the back foot was much admired, though his most prolific stroke was his trademark straight drive. He was also a useful change bowler and a brilliant short leg. His cricket skills were developed at St Mary's College, and when that institution closed its doors in 1916 - happily they were later reopened - CUS. He made his Leinster debut in 1924 and was to play Senior Cricket in Dublin for 31 years, scoring 3724 runs in competitive matches at 20.41. His best season was 1931 when he headed the Leinster provincial averages with 312 runs at 44.57, winning the Marchant Cup in the process. In fact the provincial averages that year were dominated by the men from Observatory Lane, with Eddie Ingram in second place, veteran double international Louis Bookman third and Frank Connell sixth. The season also saw the first of Frank's three hundred at this level 101* against Dublin University made in 135 minutes, made at Rathmines, as were his other two. His highest came in 1950, the season in which he captained the League winning side. Again against the University it was a brilliant 123, which recalled his best days. The other hundred came in 1935 against YMCA. His batting played no small part in Leinster's run of League successes in the 1930s, a decade in which they won the title on eight occasions. He also, made at least one hundred for Leinster 2nd XI, 115* against the University in College Park in 1925. The two sides were very strong, the hosts, for example, including seven of their then 1st XI.

Frank's international debut, as a late replacement, came in July 1929 against The Catarmarans, a team of Indian students based in England. They were probably not really above good club strength, though they included two future Test players in the Nawab of Pataudi, who played for both England and India and Syed Nazir Ali, a good all rounder who bowled fast medium and was to play in his country's first ever Test at Lord's in 1932. Later a prominent administrator in Pakistan, he was too much for Ireland in their first innings taking 7-34, including Frank, who went in at 10 and made 10. The match was played on a rain affected wicket, the first day's play having been abandoned. However Frank was promoted to open in the second innings and defied Nazir to make a highly praised 26. This helped Ireland set the visitors a challenging task which, thanks to excellent bowling by Frank's fellow debutant, a young off spinner called Boucher and the fast medium swing of Tom Dixon, they failed to reach by 76 runs.

His highest score for Ireland came against Scotland at Glenpark, Greenock in 1932, a match which Derek Scott has described as, "Undoubtedly one of the finest games between the two countries." Frank, batting at 9 in the first innings contributed only 2 in Ireland's 242 before the hosts gained a 73 runs lead. Ireland were only just over 100 ahead whwn Frank, again seventh wicket down, joined George McVeagh who was batting superbly. George completed his hndred but was then out. He was shortly followed by Ham Lambert, strangely low at 10. Fast bowling RUC man and future Lions hero, Bob Alexander then joined Frank. Bob had few pretensions as a batsman, but he stood firm to make 22 more runs than his team-mates expected of him, staying until Frank completed a splendid 50, allowing Ireland to finish on 318. The hosts fell 58 runs short in their run chase.

Frank also had good innings against the MCC that same summer and against the Indians four years later. Against MCC in College Park, again down the order his second innings 40*, made in an hour, enabled Ireland to post 226 which set MCC 314 to win a task which proved far beyond them. Against the Indians in 1936, Ireland took a narrow first innings lead, with Frank scoring 22 at No 5, before being bowled by hostile paceman Mohammed Nissar, regarded by some as the only genuine Indian fast bowler until the advent of Kapil Dev. Unfortunately Ireland collapsed in their second innings against the clever slow medium off spin of the great Indian all rounder CK Nayudu. Frank with an undefeated top score 32 was the only batsman to withstand him after the second wicket partnership between David Pigot and James Macdonald, which had seen 50 on the board, was broken. India needed 120 and won, in some style, by 10 wickets.

In all Frank played 15 times for Ireland over a ten year period, scoring 315 runs at 16.70. He suffered from never being certain of his place in the side or, when he was picked, in the batting order. However all who saw him play regarded him highly, for example WP Hone, inaccurate historian but a fine judge of batting talent, singled him out for praise in his "Cricket In Ireland."

Francis James Anthony Reddy was not only highly regarded as a cricketer. He was highly popular not only in the Leinster Club but throughout Irish cricket. "For Reddy," wrote the late Sean Pender in the Club's 125th anniversary History, "life without a laugh and a bit of good clean fun was unthinkable. He really loved his cricket - and the Leinster Club and all that made it tick."

Edward Liddle, April 2010

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