- Born 27 September 1901 Greystones, Co Wicklow
- Died 6 June 1949 Dublin
- Educated St Andrew's College, Dublin Dublin University
- Debut 3 June 1921 v Military Ireland at College Park Dublin
- Cap Number 306
- Style Right-hand bat; right arm off breaks.
- Teams Dublin University, Phoenix.
Sam Middleton, fair haired and of average height and build, was a very good off spinner but a somewhat negligible tail end batsman. Receiving his secondary education at St Andrew's College in Dublin, always a good cricket school, he gained a regular place in the Dublin University XI in 1921, holding it also the following season. He was Secretary in 1921 and Treasurer the following year.
His bowling proved most effective, enabling him to finish second in the averages in both seasons. In the former year, in which he also won international recognition, he took 59 wickets in all matches at 18.50, these figures including four "5 fors" in the League.
However one of his best performances came for the University in a three day match against Derbyshire at Burton on Trent in July 1921, by which time he had - in his first full season of senior cricket - already won his solitary Irish cap. In the previous season, the County, by far the weakest in the Championship, had been humiliated in College Park. They were determined to gain revenge and, after dismissing their guests for a respectable 278, ran up a formidable 548, before bowling the University out again to win by an innings. Sam was the only bowler to make any show against them, having figures of 5-129, his wickets included John Bowden, a careful opening batsman, and Geoffrey Bell, captaining the side in the match, both of whom scored big hundreds in a 5th wicket stand of 301.
Bowden scored only four first class centuries but in 1929 took part in what remains the County's record opening partnership, 322 with Harry Storer v Essex. Bell played little first class cricket after winning his blue at Oxford, but became a successful public school Headmaster. One of Sam's other wickets that day was Arthur Morton, a good county all rounder for more than two decades. He later became one of England's best umpires.
Sam also appeared in one first class match for the University against Essex at Chelmsford the following year. Making 0* and 0 with the bat, he, strangely, bowled only four overs in the County's winning total of 276-6 declared.
His one Irish appearance had come v Military of Ireland in College Park in June 1921. This match ended in tragedy when two gunmen opened fire on the ground through the Nassau Street railings. They then made their escape on bicycles. The players had thrown themselves to the ground and were unhurt, but a young woman undergraduate Miss KA Wright was shot in the back and died shortly afterwards. The match was called off with Ireland in a commanding position. Sam had helped set this up taking two cheap wickets and holding a catch. He was never to play for Ireland again, which was, perhaps, a somewhat unfair selectorial decision.
Samuel Middleton played little more serious cricket on leaving University,.
Edward Liddle, August 2009