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Biography
Charles Edward Posnett
  • Born 29 May 1914 Belfast
  • Died 25 September 1997 Belfast
  • Educated Connell's Institute, Belfast
  • Occupation Council Sanitary Officer
  • Debut 23 June 1947 v Craven Gentlemen at Muirfield
  • Cap Number 432
  • Style Right-hand bat.
  • Teams Woodvale, Dowmpatrick.

Charlie Posnett was a sound upper order batsman, who was usually to be found opening the innings. He had a successful career in NCU senior cricket for both Woodvale and Downpatrick, but, in his six matches for Ireland - all of which were played in 1947 - he was almost totally unable to reproduce his club form.

One of his most important innings for the Ballygomartin Road side was played in the 1937 NCU Challenge Cup Final at Cliftonville. Woodvale's opponents were, almost inevitably, North Down, led, of course by the formidable Willie Andrews. In the previous year, the two sides had also met in the Final, with the County Down team winning by one wicket. They seemed to be on course to do so again, posting a challenging 337 in their first innings, with the Shields family well to the fore among the successful batsmen. Woodvale finished trailing by 95, which would have been a lot less had not Charlie defied the left arm spin of James Macdonald to notch a hard earned 52. In the end Woodvale emerged with a one wicket victory, chasing down 237 to win. There were several heroes, but had it not been for Charlie's first innings, they would not have come close.

Like many other fine players, he lost vital years of representative cricket to the War, and was arguably past his best when he received the call to Irish colours in 1947. It was a tough baptism, something which must be born in mind when his comparative failure is recalled. He began on Ireland's brief tour of northern England in 1947, in the two day match against the Craven Gentlemen, a strong Yorkshire wandering side, captained in this match by the 52 year old former England opener, the great Herbert Sutcliffe. Herbert became another of Jimmy Boucher's Test victims, but Charlie did little, making 17 in the first innings of a drawn match. Ireland then moved on to play the full Derbyshire side at Buxton.

The ground at Buxton, comfortably the highest in England to have staged first class cricket, is no longer used for such matches, its site meaning that much time is lost to rain. This writer recalls attending a Sunday league match there in 1971, in which, having driven through pleasantly sunny Staffordshire and Derbyshire countryside, he was suddenly faced with a cricket ground shrouded in low cloud and drizzle. The match was still played, unlike the second day of the Derbyshire v Lancashire championship game in 1975, when snow covered the field. Needless to say Dickie Bird was umpiring!

No such weather affected Ireland's visit in 1947, but the visitors collapsed twice, though it was the leg spin of AEG "Bert" Rhodes, rather than the County's formidable pace attack, that caused most trouble. After Ireland had won the toss Charlie came in at 58-3 and was one of the few to play Rhodes, a former pace bowler, with any confidence whatsoever. He was still there; joint top score on 26, when with the score on 111-7 Rhodes began another over. Three balls later it was 111 all out, Charlie, undone at last by a googly, having been the first victim of a hat trick. Rhodes became a Test umpire and was the father of controversial England fast bowler, Harold. Charlie contributed a stalwart 20 in the second innings as Ireland tumbled to defeat. In between, Derbyshire had posted a moderate total which was enough to secure their innings win. They owed much to 96 from all rounder Alan Townshend, whose sixteen 4s innings was deprived of three figures when Charlie caught him off Boucher.

Charlie was also in the side for the three matches against the South Africans, the third, arranged because the second, scheduled for two days, ended in one, resulted in a remarkable Irish victory. Charlie, however, contributed little with the bat in any of these matches. In common with the majority of his team-mates, he found the off spin of Athol Rowan - probably the leading exponent of the art then playing - and the medium pace of Lindsay Tuckett, who troubled Len Hutton that summer, hard to deal with. He was retained for the MCC match at Lords but contributed little to a 7 wicket win. His final innings for his country was, also, a duck, dismissed by the 53 year old hosts' captain Desmond Roberts, who had played for Surrey 26 years earlier.

Charles Edward Posnett did not play for Ireland again. He was, no doubt, unlucky to come out of weekend cricket to pit his skills against Rhodes, Rowan et al.

Edward Liddle, May 2009

International Matches
View Match Craven Gentlemen drew with Ireland (2 Day, Muirfield, 23 June 1947)
View Match Derbyshire beat Ireland by an innings and 8 runs (3 Day, Buxton, 25 June 1947)
View Match Ireland drew with South Africa (2 Day, College Park, 10 July 1947)
View Match Ireland lost to South Africa by an innings and 125 runs (2 Day, Ormeau, 12 July 1947)
View Match Ireland beat South Africa by 6 wickets (1 Day, Ormeau, 14 July 1947)
View Match MCC lost to Ireland by 7 wickets (2 Day, Lord's, 20 August 1947)