- Born 6 January 1874, Donnycarney House, Dublin
- Died 5 June 1900, Lindley, South Africa
- Educated Harrow School, Dublin University
- Occupation Barrister; Officer in Imperial Yeomanary
- Debut 14 May 1896 v MCC at Rathmines
- Cap Number 232
- Style Right-hand bat, wicket keeper
- Teams Dublin University, Phoenix
At Harrow Marshall Porter was "a fine natural athlete," and "a charming personality" (WR Lyon The Elevens of Three Great Schools 1907). He was seen by Lillywhite as a "Very hard hitter and plays with any amount of confidence; very good wicket keeper, and very quick." In the XI in his last year, 1892, he made 0 and 18 against Eton at Lord's. He had a brilliant academic career at school also, though he refused to take up an Oxford Scholarship, preferring to return home for higher education. Only one episode at Harrow blighted his career there: in a racquets match, a fierce smash from Porter cost his opponent his left eye. His father a Baronet, was MP for Londonderry 1881-83 and then Master of the Rolls in Ireland 1883-1906. Porter had a distinguished academic career at Dublin University also, finishing as a Scholar and Gold Medalist.
His winters on the hockey field were profitable gaining him not only selection for ireland but also captaincy while as a cricketer, this strong driving, front foot player gained a place in the XI in 1894, and playing on after his graduation, was ever present until 1899, when he joineed Phoenix, though he still made some appearances for the University. Sharing wicket keeping duties with Arthur Gwynn, he was one of the Club's major batsmen. He hit three 100s, including a domineering 181 v Pembroke in 1899, when his team totalled 372-6. He also helped them to their record innings total of 452-6 declared, against Phoenix in 1894, his share being 101*. Cork County felt the force of his drives when he struck two 50s in the match against them in College Park in 1897.
In the Club's matches with first class teams, he was less successful. In 1895 four games were played, which were accorded such status. However against Leicestershire he made 44 before being run out. He dealt with the fast bowler Arthur Woodcock, who took over 100 wickets that season and was one of the quickets in England, by taking guard two yards out of his ground and smashing the ball back over the bowler's head, twice clearing the boundary. He also made 32 against Cambridge in College Park and, the following year, again against Leicestershire, a powerful 50.
His sole match for Ireland was against MCC at Rathmines in 1896. He came into the match fresh from scoring 37 against the same opponents in College Park. For Ireland, he made 18, batting at 8 in a strong batting side. An innings win prevented him from improving on this, but with the match ending at lunch on the third day, a pick up game was played to entertain the crowd. Only Ireland batted and Porter top scored with 48. His last act in Irish cricket, was to become the central figure in a selection dispute which dragged on until 1902. In 1899 six Phoenix men were chosen to play in the annual match with I Zingari. When the other selectors refused Phoenix representative, Frank Browning's demand that a seventh, Porter, be added, the Phoenix players withdrew.
When volunteers were demanded for the Dublin division, the 45th, of the Imperial Yeomanary to fight in South Africa in the Second Boer War, Porter was quick to rally to the Colours. In May 1899, he was badly wounded in the fighting at Lindley and died shortly afterwards. Thus this "good looking clever Irishman" as WR Lyon recorded him for posterity, was never to return home to achieve the bright future which seemed so assured. His obituary is in Wisden 1901.
Edward Liddle, April 2007, updated March 2012