Leinster professionals 1986-2012

There have been many fine overseas cricketers who have visited, played and coached within the Leinster leagues over the past 25 years.

Selecting the best ‘Overseas X1' is virtually an impossible task however with much thought and reflection on those I have played both with and against I have come up with the following.

For the purpose of this article, players who started as professionals in Leinster but who stayed on and have since played for Ireland are not included.

Most, if not all of the following would have made an ‘Overseas X1'.

Bray, Masood, Shaukat, Johnston, Strydom, Sorenson, Anderson, Langford Smith, Botha etc

So, excluding the above, my side, in batting order is as follows:

  • Bryn Thomas (Capt.) - Terenure & The Hills Played several seasons with Terenure before returning some years later for a three-year spell with The Hills. Scored heavily during these years including a hundred of the highest quality in the 2005 Senior Cup final against Clontarf at North County. Winner of the SamuelsCup (Leinster all-rounder award) in 2006. Is currently involved in a teaching role at St Stithian's school in Johannesburg following many years playing and coaching at Hudson Park school in East London.

 

  • Ben Dunk - Terenure, Trinity & YMCA Was employed by Terenure, Trinity and YMCA over a two-year period. Remains in this writers view the most complete batsman ever to have played as a professional in Leinster. Currently playing ‘Shield' cricket with Tasmania (he left Queensland last season) and is also regularly seen participating in the Big Bash league. Unable to return to Leinster due to its strict rules regarding first class professionals but would be an excellent signing (if available) for any of the Northern clubs.

 

  • Brad Spanner – Merrion Merrion have a strong association with Queensland professionals and the likable Spanner was a huge success both on and off the pitch at Anglesea Road. Arrived as Merrion's professional in 1999 and then stayed on in Ireland for several seasons and completed a league double hundred in one of his final games against Railway Union. Shared five double hundred partnerships during his time here, three with Chris Torissi and two with Gus Joyce. Proved to be an inspirational figure for young Merrion players like Ben Ackland, Duncan Smyth, Rory Allwright, Simon Morrissey, John Blakeney, Patrick Tice and Tyrone Kane. During his playing time in Ireland he developed into a more than useful seam bowler and won the Samuels Cup in 2001.

 

  • Chris Torissi – Merrion, Trinity & Phoenix Another batsman from Queensland who formed a formidable middle order partnership with Spanner and made Merrion a very difficult side to beat during the seasons of 2000/01. Had a brief spell at Trinity before taking up a player-coach role at Phoenix. Phoenix became a formidable side then with Jeremy Bray, Jason Molins, David Langford Smith and Chris himself all scoring heavily and performing well that season. Narrowly edges in ahead of another very successful Merrion professional Greg Clarence for this middle order position.

 

  • Ian Hewitt – Railway Union Quality player who just had the one season with Railway Union in 2001. Left arm seam bowler, left hand bat and an outstanding fielder. Broke into the Victoria state team following his one-year stay in Ireland.

 

  • Rod Hokin - Clontarf Made an outstanding contribution both on and off the pitch during his five years at Castle Avenue. Was recently presented with life membership at Clontarf CC. The Sydney University cricketer had a big influence with junior players spending hours of his time coaching the different youth squads. The Delany's, Currie's, D'Arcy's, Makin's, Forrest, Dunn, Kirk, Craig, Collier, etc all benefited greatly as players from his presence. Scored 3054 runs (Ave 47), took 144 wickets and held 52 catches during his time here and contributed hugely to Clontarf's Leinster cup victories in 07, 08 and 09.

 

  • Henderson Wallace – Leinster & Phoenix ‘Hendy' was without doubt one of the great cricket entertainers. Following a lengthy service with Eglinton in the North West league, like several others, he came South, first to Leinster CC and then Phoenix CC. He played a huge role (800 runs and 54 wickets) when Leinster completed the ‘league and cup' double in 1998. Although aged 35 when he came to play in Leinster, and at this stage having dropped a few yards in pace he inspired many at Rathmines and proved a very popular person both on and off the field. Two seasons later Phoenix won the Lewis Traub league along with the Alan Murray cup with Hendy contributing 500 runs and almost 40 wickets. Currently in the process of writing a book which no doubt will feature quite a few stories from his playing days in Ireland.

 

  • Shahid Iqbal – YMCA & Rush After a spell with Glendermott in the North West league, Shahid took the journey South, initially to YMCA but has now been playing with Rush for the past nine years. A high class, wicket taking bowler when at his best was as good as anyone around. He struggles now somewhat with his bowling but remains a very useful middle order batsman who in recent times has won many games for Rush virtually on his own. His family from Karachi have now joined him in North County Dublin and Shahid has also recently obtained Irish citizenship.

 

  • Carlos Braithwaite – Leinster Currently playing on the Barbados 1st class team and unlucky in some people's eyes not to have got called up to the full West Indies squad for their recent tour to Bangladesh. In the end the selectors decided to blood fellow Bajan 6'7'' Jason Holder. One of my abiding memories in senior cricket was seeing him ‘switch hit' Alan Eastwood for a straight four during a league game at Rathmines. An outrageous shot. Played a big part in Leinster CC winning the Irish Senior cup in 2009. Like a lot of West Indian players he oozes class and another one of those players who made playing the game look so easy at times.

 

  • Wayne Murray (Wkt.) – YMCA Whether it was playing, umpiring, coaching or acting as club groundsman, ‘Wayno' must go down as one of the best all-round professionals Leinster cricket has had. An outstanding wicketkeeper (he had previously played provincial cricket with Adi Birrell's Eastern Province) who stood up to virtually all of the YM bowling attack. A destructive batsman too, who regularly opened the innings to take advantage of, the back then, newly introduced one-day fielding restrictions. Scored a memorable 180 at Rush in a league game where it would be fair to say, quite a few balls were lost. Pips Pembroke's Owen Gilchrist for selection onto this side.

 

  • Matt Petrie – Merrion Easy selection this one. Another from Queensland who dominated in each of the four seasons he played here. In my opinion, I think Ireland missed a trick in not selecting him as the overseas player during our time participating in the Friends Provident league. Regularly had opposition teams 20-3 with his pace, accuracy and outswing. Played an amazing inning when he and Damien Poder put on over 100 for the 8th wicket when beating Pembroke by 1 wicket on route to their Leinster cup victory in 2011. Always very generous with his time and attended many Leinster under-age coaching sessions to assist with the seam bowlers. Helped establish Leinster's ‘Find a Fast Bowler' talent identification programme for young bowlers. Rumoured to be returning to Merrion in 2013.

 

Some top cricketers listed here. Quite a few others were very close to selection and hypothetically were a game to be played, why not select the following X1 as the opposition!

  • Adrian Murphy (Leinster)
  • Greg Clarence (Merrion)
  • Kirk Edwards (Phoenix)*
  • Jason Brooker (North County)
  • Justin Kreusch (Malahide) Capt.
  • Johan Botha (Malahide)*
  • Owen Gilchrist (Pembroke) Wkt
  • Wim Jansen (Pembroke)
  • Shane Mott (Terenure)
  • Trent Copeland (Railway Union)*
  • Graham Charlsworth (Phoenix)

*Has since progressed to become a Test player.