In writing about the new President and his place in Irish cricket, I may be a little vague about dates. However when one is dealing with a larger than life character such as 'Big Roy', dates don't really matter.
I do know that he was one of the youngest players ever to be capped by Ireland when he turned up at Ormeau in 1966 aged 18 to play against Middlesex with his kit in a brown paper bag. I also know that his career for Ireland lasted for 20 years and the big fast bowler never really got the number of caps he deserved formany reasons; early on because his family was not keen on Sunday cricket and also because of the keen competition for fast bowling places along with such as Alec O'Riordan, Dougie Goodwin, John Elder, Podge Hughes, Simon Corlett and Peter O'Reilly.
Dermott Monteith hands over the ICU Presidency to Roy Torrens
Some Irish memories stand out. His best performance was against Scotland in Ayr in 1974 when he took 7 wickets in an innings and went a long way to winning the match. I remember he bowled extremely well in tandem with Simon Corlett against Gloucester in the NatWest Cup in 1981 and also against Middlesex in a friendly in the same year when in fact their captain Mike Brearley came extremely close to signing him for the county. When his North West colleague Alan Jeffrey came into the team, Roy took on the role of his mentor and helped greatly in his development and of course, there was also the famous occasion at the Oval when his bat nearly decapitated the square leg umpire-his comment went along the lines of "in the North West, that's what's known as throwing the bat"!
I played for Ulster Country in opposition to Big Roy on many occasions. He was always fast and competitive and occasionally Ossie Colhoun had the nerve to stand up to him. At these times the noise at both ends was almost deafening. I do remember getting stumped down the leg side on a pig of a wicket at Muckamore. I walked on appeal, feeling myself safer in the pavilion.
On another occasion at Limavady, we scored about 250 and had the North West 40 for 8 in reply. At this point Roy joined Ossie Colhoun at the wicket with about 20 overs left. Ossie decided to play only at the end at which I was bowling and refused to take singles or in fact score any runs at all. Roy likewise at the other end. To get to bowl at Roy I had to change ends. So the batsmen took a single. This went on amidst many remarks, funny and otherwise from Roy and Ossie while they both held out for a draw at 44 for 8, 20 overs later. We then moaned and groaned until we got the rules of the competition changed.
For the last 7 years Roy has been the North West selector and has been my companion on many trips around the British Isles and indeed the world. The most memorable occasions of course have been the two ICC Trophies in Kenya and Kuala Lumpur and the 1991 trip to Zimbabwe. Unfortunately Roy was ill in Nairobi but as usual he let it spoil no one's enjoyment of the trip-a great cricketer and a great and humorous man, a magician and sure to become one of the great Presidents of the Irish Cricket Union.