- Born 30 April 1886 Dublin
- Died 24 July 1942 Dublin
- Occupation Barrister; Hon Secretary of Irish Cricket Union
- Debut 3 June 1921 v Military of Ireland at College Park
- Cap Number 303
- Style Right hand bat, right arm off breaks
- Teams Pembroke
George Bonass is best remembered in Irish cricket circles for his work as an administrator. As the first Honorary Secretary of the Irish Cricket Union - if earlier unsuccessful attempts at creating such a body are ignored - he saw the nascent organisation through almost 20 years of difficult times and deserves a high place among the game's administrators in our annals.
He was renowned for his hospitality to visiting teams and also for many other social activities. He used to organise races for Dublin' then plentiful - horse drawn - cabs in Phoenix Park. The cabbies were awarded prizes for such achievements as Best Turned Out and First Past The Post. Never an enthusiast of motor transport George once declared to his friends the Bourke family "When I die, I don't want any stinking motor cars at my funeral. When I go on my last journey to Glasnevin, let me have good old Dublin cabbies." As he died during the wartime petrol shortage, he had his wish.
A barrister by profession, and later a senior civil servant, he was in 1911 practising at the Irish Bar, and living with Teresa his widowed mother, Henry, and two grown up sisters. The two lawyers appear to have been the family breadwinners. George was, by this time, already playing for Pembroke and proving himself a useful member of their attack. He was an accurate off spinner, perhaps denied further irish caps by the presence in the irish side of the inevitable Bob Lambert.
The war, as it did to so many other players, robbed him of his some of his best years but he was in the Irish side for the first home match played after the resumption of major cricket.
Tragically, this match against the Military of Ireland is remembered for all the wrong reasons. Having disposed of the opposition for 108, with George (2-1-1-1) taking the last wicket to fall - that of an NCO called Stevenson - Ireland, with Bob Lambert and Jack Crawford well to the fore, were storming to a commanding first innings lead, when two gunmen opened fire on the match through the Nassau Street railings which run along one side of the ground. The players and umpires threw themselves to the ground and were unhurt, but one young woman spectator was shot in the back and died in hospital shortly afterwards. The match, which arguably should never have been played at so vulnerable a venue, was abandoned.
George was not picked for the Scotland game at Rathmines which followed shortly afterwards and was not to play again. He continued, however, to play for Pembroke for several years, being one of those to have taken the wicket of Samuel Beckett, during the literary giant's interesting, useful, but somewhat less than outstanding cricket career George Joseph Bonass was probably no more than a good club cricketer, but his work as an administrator ensured that cricket did not follow football and divide on political lines after the partition of the country. For this he deserves to be remembered. In all competitive cricket for Pembroke George took 201 wickets at 16.81. He also penned verses for the Evening Herald, a now long defunct Dublin paper. These appeared once or twice a week over the signature of P.O.P. Some appeared in book form as The Collected Works of P.O.P.
NB: We are most grateful to Gerard Bourke for sending us his father's childhood memories of George. Any further details about George's life and/or work would be most welcome.
Edward Liddle, May 2011, updated August 2011 and February 2016