- Born 27 December 1835
- Died 11 March 1915 Woodside Nursing Home, Plymouth
- Occupation Army Officer
- Debut 28 June 1858 v Birkenhead Park Phoenix CC, Phoenix Park
- Cap Number 36
- Style Right-hand bat; slow right hand round arm.
- Teams Phoenix, 80th Regiment, XXII of Dublin
John Greene is somewhat of a mystery as little is known about his cricket. An Army officer, he appears to have been serving in Ireland at the time of his debut - and only - match for the national side, but to have been regarded as one of the more prominent cricketers in Dublin at the time.
Thus a week before the Birkenhead Park match, he had played for XXII of Dublin against Charles Lawrence's United Ireland XI. The United men won with some ease after a closely fought first innings by each side, but John, was one of the few successes for Dublin, having a good all round match. The XI batted first, John taking the wickets of opening bat Robert Gordon and of Lawrence himself, the latter top scoring with 11 out of 53. When John opened the batting for the XXII, being second top scorer with 8, his victims returned the compliment, Gordon catching him off Lawrence. When the United men batted again, they reached a match winning total of 132, with John again taking two. Finally, as his side collapsed for the second time against Lawrence and Arthur Samuels, He had the satisfaction of top scoring with 20, the only man to reach double figures.
The following week he was in the Ireland side to play Birkenhead Park, for Lawrence's benefit, again at Phoenix. Unfortunately for Lawrence, the crowds were small, but the match was well contested, with the visitors departing victorious by 31 runs. John was not, or so it would seem as full analyses are not available, used as a bowler. Batting, he was at No 5, making 13 in the first innings before being dismissed by Robert Carpenter, a member of a well known Cambridgeshire cricket family, who must have been appearing as a professional for the visitors. In the second knock, he again got rid of John, this time for 0, caught by Lancashire batsman and part time wicker keeper, builder's merchant Richard Blackstock.
John William Greene pursued his military career with some success but was not seen in major Irish cricket again. Prior to his playing for Ireland, he had seen service in the Crimean War, being involved in heavy fighting at Sevastapool. Coincidentally, two other military Irish cricketers, JG Boothby and JR Hume also fought there. Subsequently, John took part in the Afghan War of 1878-80, being one of those on General (later Field Marshal Lord) Roberts' epic, though ultimately fruitless, march on Kandahar. The bravery and endurance of the troops on this venture was to prove, half a century later the only topic, which Douglas Jardine and MCC Manager Plum Warner could agree upon and discuss, during the Bodyline Tour of 1932/33. When Major-General Green died in a Plymouth nursing home, he left £6243 to his son, also an Army officer.
Edward Liddle, September 2008