- Born 3 December 1850 Dublin
- Died 11 December 1888 Dublin
- Educated St Columba's College; Dublin University
- Occupation Army Officer, Ist King's Dragoon Guards
- Debut 25 September 1879 v Philadelphia at Nicetown
- Cap Number 169
- Style Right-hand bat, occasional wicket keeper.
- Teams Phoenix, Dublin University, Na Shuler.
Jeffrey Hone, who seems to have been equally happy to spell his name with a G, was a member of one of Ireland's most well known cricket families. Two of his brothers also played for Ireland, a third would have done so had he not died in tragic circumstances, shortly after gaining his blue at Cambridge. His three first cousins all played for Ireland also, as did one of their sons. Jeffrey's middle name indicates a slightly more distant relationship to wicket keeper batsman Frank Browning, while the Hones also shared a common ancestor with all rounder and academic JP Mahaffy. In addition Jeffrey's sister married John Ormsby Jameson, they became the parents of Hampshire and Ireland all rounder Tom Jameson.
Jeffrey entered St Columba's in 1862, joining three other members of his family, including his brother William, always seen as the best bat in the family, and his cousin Nathaniel, seen as the most attractive, Though in the XI, which at that time was more of a club side including staff and old boys, for two years, Jeffrey won more fame as a runner while at school.
At Dublin University, he was three years in the XI with such fine players as the Casey brothers and John Ker Fox, who was to play for Gloucestershire before embarking on a long and distinguished military career.
Jeffrey played much of his cricket for Na Shuler often joining William and their cousin Leland on the annual tour of Cork and its environs. Two innings he played, in successive years, v Lord Bandon's XIV were crucial in gaining victory, so are worthy of mention. In 1879, he failed in the first innings, being bowled by Dr Orpen Beamish for 1; however in the second, his 36 was top score and gave the Shulers a big enough lead to set up a 62 run victory. The following year, his contribution was even more telling. After another first innings failure, he contributed 49, easily the top score of the match, in the second. NS then squeezed home by 4 runs.
His best innings for the Shulers came in 1880 against the Dublin Garrison, never the strongest of sides. Opening the batting with William Alexander he made 223 before being bowled by GC Ormerod. THe Shulers, whose next highest score was 53 from RL Pike, totalled 441. Clearly the Military's batting was as weak as their bowling as they folded to Pike for 78, after losing 3 wickets to run outs! In 1879 he made his debut for Ireland v MCC at Phoenix CC, in a team captained by his cousin Nathaniel, and including four members of his family. This was a 12-a-side match so will not be found in his statistics on this site. He kept wicket tidily, but, in common with most of his team-mates found the pace of WF Forbes too much for him. Forbes, 12-54 in the match, a former Eton captain, was a fast roundarmer who never played county cricket, but was often devastating at lower levels. As an 18 year old he had thrown a cricket ball 132 yards.
Jeffrey then joined the team selected by Cousin Nat to tour the USA and Canada in the autumn. Though a privately raised side it lacked only four or five players to be the best available. Jeffrey, who kept wicket on the Canadian leg of the tour after first-choice keeper HW Brougham had returned to duties at Wellington College, was one of five Hones in the party, though his cousin Joseph did not play in either of the cap matches. Jeffrey had a sound tour with the bat, particularly outside of the two main matches v Philadelphia. All told he headed the averages with 238 runs at 19.83. He had several good scores including 70 against XV of Whitby, in Canada, in a match which Ireland racked up a total of 396, with only the last two in the order failing to reach double figures. Against Philadelphia, however, the Irish batting crumbled. In the first match, lost by an innings the Irish batsmen could make little of the bowling of the Newhall brothers, who took all the wickets between them. Jeffrey was out for 1 at 7 in the first innings. However in the second, he showed more skill and fortitude than some of his colleagues, in making an undefeated 15, including a 9th wicket stand of 17 with Horace Hamilton, playing through 7 consecutive maidens.
In the one day match which followed, and which was narrowly won by Ireland, he opened the batting. He again reached double figures before being caught and bowled by Charlie Newhall, deceived by a slower ball.
Jeffrey never played for Ireland again, only partially surprising considering the sparseness of the fixture list at the time. He was also a fine rackets player, and like his younger brother Thomas, excelled at polo. He and his brother William died within just over three months of each other, both before their 40th birthdays. "They died," wrote a Columban contemporary of literary bent, "in the flower of their lives." His biography is in Scores and Biographies Volume XV.
Edward Liddle, November 2007, updated May 2015