- Born 27 May 1870
- Died 11 October 1895
- Educated Rossall School
- Occupation Army Officer
- Debut 11 July 1890 v Scotland at Raeburn Pace, Edinburgh
- Cap Number 209
- Style Right-hand bat, right arm fast medium.
- Teams NICC
Tom Hughes, though primarily seen as an opening bowler was, at least at club level, a very useful all rounder. His career with NICC was brief but included two appearances in the early years of the NCU Challenge Cup Final.
In 1889, having just left Rossall where he was two years in the XI, at the age of 19, he was in the side which won a notable eight wicket victory over Armagh at Ormeau. Tom had 1-30 in Armagh's first innings 65 and, at No 9, made only one run before being run out as the hosts gained a 29 run lead. However he played a more important role when Armagh batted again with the impressive analysis of 16-3-28-4, which left North requiring 75 to win. The wicket must have eased by the second afternoon, certainly the weather and the crowd - both poor on the first day - were greatly improved. NICC recorded their first cup triumph, winning with some ease. Tom was not needed to bat again.
Two summers later once more at Ormeau - he was again well to the fore in a nail biting final with North Down. Batting first NICC reached a total of 176, owing much to Tom who topscored with 38 before David Brown bowled him. Replying the Comber side conceded a lead of 19, with Tom their main destroyer having 5-60, including the captain J Andrews, junior. However in their second innings the hosts collapsed to 82 all out which allowed North Down to emerge as winners by 2 wickets chasing 102. Tom bowled unchanged but, showing a regrettable but often seen tendency to be expensive, went for 51 runs.
His one match for Ireland had come the previous summer at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh against Scotland. Ireland had a very weak side, with Tom being one of five new caps whereas the Scots included long serving all rounder and rugby international HJ Stevenson, who had played for Ireland in 1889 while with NICC, the famous amateur wicket keeper Gregor McGregor and an Indian born Cambridge Blue MR Jardine, whose as yet unborn son was destined to become one of the most unpopular men In Australia 42 years later! Tom's fellow debutants included future South African Test cricketer, Clem Johnson and that fine batsman MW Gavin. However Scotland were on top from the start. They made 304 in their first innings with Tom, 2-62 in 28 overs, perhaps being more economical than usual. Out for 176, Tom 1* at No 11, Ireland had to follow on and saved an innings defeat thanks to a magnificent innings from Jack Meldon. Needing 96 the hosts fell 2 runs short with 6 wickets in hand. Tom had bowled 2 overs for 20 runs, before his captain Jack Nunn banished him to the outfield.
Thomas Hughes did not play for Ireland again, indeed his remaining appearances in major cricket in Ireland were limited to the following season.
Military service curtailed his career. He had risen to the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Irish Rifles before his untimely death ended both his prospects of military advancement and further success on the cricket field.
I am grateful to Philip Defriez for bringing the entries for this player in the Rossall School register to my attention.
Edward Liddle, December 2010, updated March 2017