|Born||17 July 1901 at 32 Cliftonville Road, Belfast|
|Died||11 May 1976 Farnborough, Kent|
|Educated||Royal Belfast Academical Institution; Queen's University, Belfast|
|Debut||13 July 1922 v Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow|
|Style||Right hand bat; right arm fast medium|
|Teams||Queen's University, Cliftonville.|
|History||Lawrence Walker was a very good fast medium bowler whose career in Irish cricket was first limited by his medical studies, then prematurely ended by his decision to enter general practice in England, where though he almost certainly continued to play cricket, no record of his having done so has been found. Lawrence was born the second son and sixth child of Lawrence Walker, senior and his wife Mary. The eldest child was Arthur who, also an exponent of fast medium bowling, gained one Irish cap before the First World War. Lawrence, senior was a Professor of Music, with a Dublin University degree and a Cambridge doctorate. |
Lawrence, junior, developed his skills for the game at RBAI, though his chances at 1st XI level must have been somewhat limited due to war time conditions. However in 1920 he burst upon the senior cricket scene taking 42 wickets at 4.92 to help Cliftonville to their first outright league title. They had shared the honours with NICC in the competition's inaugural year of 1896. However in 1920, with Lawrence topping the averages, they won 12 of their 15 League matches and, in all fixtures, 19 out of 27.
They reached two finals of the NCU Challenge Cup during Lawrence's time with in the 1st XI. In 1922 they took on Waringstown in what became a low scoring and tense encounter at Ormeau. Winning the toss, Cliftonville posted a modest 155. Lawrence, never much of a force with the bat, contributing 5 at No 10. Then he proceeded to bowl the Villagers out for 55. In a devastating spell he had 6-35, including openers Jimmy Hampton and future Irish batsman Willie Irwin. 55 in front the Belfast men found themselves ousted for 44, with Waringstown's Tom McKenzie doing the hat trick. Waringstown needed exactly 100. Nothing loath, Lawrence grabbed the initiative again and sent Hampton pavilionwards. He finished with four wickets to make it a 10 for the match. Waringstown were bowled out for 32, giving Cliftonville, eventually, a comfortable margin of victory. They were to be less fortunate in 1925 when NICC beat them by 10 wickets. This defeat could not be laid at Lawrence's door. He had figures of 3-60, including the wickets of William Pollock and Oscar Andrews. Had it not been for two fifties from policeman JC Walton, North would have been in some trouble. Lawrence had already shown himself a formidable opponent at Cup level. Thus playing for Queen's University in a first round match against Downpatrick in 1920, he took 7-13 including the hat trick to set up a 6 wicket victory. The following season, however, his outstanding figures of 8-68 against NICC were in vain, as some equally hostile bowling from Willie Pollock, saw Queen's go down to a heavy defeat.
Lawrence's three Irish caps comprised two against Scotland and one, the only the second such a match had been played, against Oxford University. Though he took 3-60 in his debut match at Hamilton Crescent in a match which Ireland dominated but just failed to win, his best figures came in his last match, against Scotland at Glenpark, Greenock. Ireland, far below full strength, made only 210 on a near perfect wicket. They then had to field while the hosts ran up the little matter of 464-9 declared with John Ker making a sublime 127, scoring freely all round the wicket. There was one other century, but unfortunately it came from Lawrence's bowling. However though he went for 125, he sent down 42 overs and took 5 wickets. They were all good ones, Ker and the other top four in the order. Lawrence almost caused a mid order collapse and was the only bowler to trouble "Wee John" and his cohorts. Ireland lost by an innings and 147. Lawrence, for reasons of non availability, never played again. He took up an appointment in Manchester and was later in general practice in Bromley. He was still living in the county of Kent when he died at the age of 75.
Lawrence Walker played for only a short period in our cricket. He did, however, do enough to make this a matter of regret. English medicine's gain was very definitely Irish cricket's loss.
I am indebted to Clarence Hiles' History of the NCU Challnge Cup , published October 2011.
Edward Liddle, February 2010; updated September 2012
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