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Biography
JH Smith
  • Born
  • Died
  • Educated
  • Occupation Professional cricketer
  • Debut 17 June 1869 v All England XI at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 130
  • Style Batting hand unknown, slow round arm hand unknown
  • Teams Leinster

JH Smith is, unfortunately, among Ireland's early players, another of whom very little has been discovered, a situation exacerbated by the fact that although he was engaged as a professional by the Leinster club, the name under which he played was very possibly an assumed one.

JHS was, it would appear, a somewhat negligible batsman, but a useful and accurate bowler. His two appearances for Ireland both came in the summer of 1869, in matches in which Ireland took two of the great English Travelling Elevens of the time.

On 17 June, the All England side came to Rathmines and, after a somewhat rough sea crossing, during which they had fortified themselves " with copious liquors" were put into bat by Ireland. They were dismissed for 136, reaching that total thanks to a fine innings of 39 from the Cambridgeshire batsman Bob Carpenter, who was well supported by Yorkshireman John Smith with 32. JHS had a long and accurate bowling spell sending down 26 four ball overs and taking the wicket of Tom Hayward (15) at a cost of 24 runs. It should be remembered that Ireland had all 22 of their players on the field.

Nevertheless, Hayward, another member of the then all powerful Cambridgeshire side, was a notable scalp, being, like Carpenter, one of the leading batsmen of his day. His brother and four nephews all played first class cricket, one of the latter, also Tom, playing 35 Test Matches, besides scoring104 first class centuries, and being the mentor of Jack Hobbs. Ireland managed to secure a 4 runs lead on the first innings, almost entirely due to a stand out 42 from Pat Casey - JHS, coming in at No 17 was run out for a duck - and then disposed of the visitors for 131. JHS failed to take wicket on this occasion, though his figures of 29-13-26-0, again suggest that he bowled with his customary accuracy. However any thoughts of a home victory were dispelled by a clatter of early wickets, the match ending with the hosts on 41-14, JHS not batting.

He retained his place in the side for the visit of the United South of England XI in September, but made scant contribution to the match. Again winning the toss, Ireland batted first and were bowled out by Edgar Willsher and James Southerton for 82, a total containing only two double figure scores. At No 19 JHS was bowled by Willsher for 3. He could console himself with the thought that not only was Willsher one of the greatest bowlers of the day and a pioneer of overarm bowling, but he (JHS) had at least made three more runs than eight of his team-mates! The visitors also found batting difficult but posted a score of 142, JHS dismissing Tom Humphrey for 2, on his way to figures of 10-4 -9-1.

Humphrey, one of a well known brotherhood of cricketers, was one of the leading all rounders of the day and had toured USA and Canada, under Willsher's captaincy the previous year.

JHS then disappears from the match. In Ireland's second innings, of 100 all out, he is recorded as absent and he did not bowl as the visitors made their way to a 5 wickets victory. He was not seen in a representative Irish side again.

Edward Liddle, October 2014

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