- Debut 9 August 1926 v MCC at Ormeau
- Cap Number 351
- Style Right hand bat, wicket keeper.
- Teams Leinster
NOTE Connie Nash - as he is remembered in the annals of Leinster CC - is another player whose biographical details have proved elusive fully to trace. The 1911 Census suggests that he may be Cornelius Nash who was born in Rathdown, Co Wicklow in 1903 and was living with his mother Agnes Nash in Dublin at the time of the census. However this identification raises two problems. A Cornelius Nash died in Rathdown in 1915, though his birth is recorded as having been in 1904. If, on the other hand, the identification is correct he began to play for Leinster at the age of 16 which, one feel, would have been slightly unlikely in those days. The name Connie suggests that his first name may have been Connor, but no Connor - or Conor - Nash has been traced in the Census. We would be most grateful for any help which might enable us to fill this and other gaps in Connie's life away from cricket.
He was an outstanding member of the Leinster side for most of the 1920s, being regarded as a stylish free scoring batsman in the upper order and a wicket keeper "in the best Leinster tradition." In 86 competitive matches for the club he had 95 innings 5 of which were not out, and scored 1362 runs at 15.13, with a highest score of 55. Evidence, perhaps, to suggest that he never fully realised his potential as a batsman. As a wicket keeper he made 68 dismissals, 39 caught and 29 stumped, before handing the role over to RL Davidson, who was to prove another highly regarded Rathmines gloveman. Connie kept to an attack based on off spin of varying kinds, the near medium pace fizzers of Bob Lambert and the veteran slow square armers of the ageless Bill Harrington, being augmented by the prolific wicket taker JR Graham at the outset of his remarkable career. Their success and therefore Connie's keeping had much to do with Leinster's two League titles during his time behind the stumps.
We might note here two useful matches with the bat for Leinster against Dublin University. At Rathmines in 1925 Lambert and Harrington bowled the visitors out for 84, Connie made one dismissal, rubbing shoulders with future literary genius by catching Samuel Beckett off Lambert. He then made 46 at third wicket down before falling to the fast medium of medical student Charles McCausland, but had done much to see his side home by 5 wickets. The following year, against Observatory Lane, the University batted consistently to make 260 with Beckett hitting his highest senior score of 61, Leinster replied with 220. Coming in at 7, Connie played well for 36 before McCausland caught him off WJA McMahon, later to hold a commission in the RAMC and to captain Armagh for a season.
Connie's one Irish appearance in 1927 came in a season of seemingly rather bizarre selection policy, though selection was bedevilled by late withdrawals and, seemingly in those rather fraught political times, a desire to show a North South balance in the side . Nevertheless the fact that Ireland played five matches under four different captains and also used four wicket keepers, does hint at inconsistency. As far as the keepers were concerned AP Kelly kept in the first and last matches, leading the side on the first occasion, Jack Deardon of North Down kept in the second, AD Cordner of Pembroke in the third while Connie was introduced for the fourth against MCC at Ormeau. He was one of six new caps, the others all being from the NCU. Selection was not helped by the late withdrawal of seven players, though Connie was an original choice. The captain was also a rather strange pick, Sir George Colthurst of Cork County and Blarney Castle whose ideas of leadership were, to say the least, questionable at times. He was the second of that name to represent Ireland, his father having been on the inaugural tour of North America in 1879. A further oddity was the appearance in the MCC side of naval officer Hubert de burgh, who had played for Ireland against Oxford University earlier in the season.
Winning the toss in a two day match, MCC batted first but were bowled out for 188, Connie keeping well allowed only three byes. Ireland responded with 219 to which Connie, batting at 6, made what was described as "a faultless 26." This would seem to confirm the opinion that his Leinster performances suggest namely, he was inclined to get out when seemingly well set. The visitors declared their second innings on 168-8, Connie on this occasion allowed 10 byes but with a catch and a stumping helped keep the total in check. Probably in search of quick runs he was sent in to open the Irish second knock but was out for 1, having fallen in both innings to medium pacer Leslie Hancock, an officer in the Royal Engineers who was to die in action in Normandy in July 1944. Ireland finished on 56-4, the match being drawn.
Connie Nash was undoubtedly a fine wicket keeper but at a time when Ireland had glovemen of the standard of Kelly and Deardon available, his chances were always going to be limited. Here he was in good company, four of the Irish team's other debutants in the match never played again either.
Edward Liddle, May 2011