- Born 22 May 1914, Donacloney, Co Down
- Died 9 April 1059, Downpatrick, Co Down
- Educated Armagh Royal School
- Occupation Welfare officer
- Debut 20 August 1947 v MCC at Lord's
- Cap Number 434
- Style Right-hand fast medium
- Teams Donacloney, Armagh, Waringstown, Downpatrick.
Lloyd Armstrong was a wholehearted cricketer. An aggressive batsman, who often opened the innings, but was probably more suited to the middle order, he was a fine all rounder as he was also a combative and successful opening bowler. The Armagh CC's History, 125 years of Cricket in the Primatial City describes him as "one of the greatest all times all rounders of Irish Cricket." That may be regarded as over patriotic loyalty, but in Cup and League cricket, this man of many clubs was a formidable opponent. His first Cup Final was in 1934, opening the batting for Donacloney, but having moved to Waringstown, he played a leading role in their Finals of 1942 and 1944. These wartime matches were single innings affairs. Thus in 1942, his 4-31, was not quite enough to defeat Lisburn who won by one wicket, but in 1944 he scored 46 to help his side to a match winning total of 253 against Cregagh.
He joined Armagh for the 1946 season and was to play for them until 1954, scoring 2777 runs at 28.34 and taking 320 wickets. He had several outstanding performances, as his record of two hundreds and five returns of 7 or more wickets in an innings suggests, but - apart from two memorable Cup Finals described below - his greatest all round performance came in a League match against Woodvale at The Mall in July 1951. He took 7-19 to send the visitors crashing to a meagre 45 all out, then, as Armagh batted out the afternoon, he was undefeated on 107, with Armagh winning by 10 wickets.
His two most memorable matches, however, were probably the Cup Finals of 1947 and 1952 in which Armagh suffered defeats despite his Herculean efforts. In an epic encounter in the former year the NWCU club Sion Mills won by one-wicket thanks largely to a brilliant century by veteran master batsman Andy McFarlane. Armstrong was the Armagh hero with 5-74 and 4-44, as the villagers scrambled home. If he and his teammates felt that there was no justice they might have reflected that their side included no fewer than three clergymen! In the latter year, when Armstrong was captain, Armagh again lost narrowly, this time to Woodvale by three wickets. Eleven wickets in the match for 109 can have been little consolation for Armstrong but his bowling had been magnificent. His cousin Harry, also a former Donacloney man, was the leading bowler for the victors. His Irish performances were less spectacular. Between his debut at Lord's against MCC in 1947, the day after the Sion Mills Final, and his last match, in the extraordinary game with Glamorgan at Megrim in 1953, he scored 267 runs at 14.05 and took 14 wickets at 27.86. However some of his best performances were against strong opposition.
In 1951 v South Africa in College Park, though Roy McLean destroyed his bowling, he was the only Irishman to reach double figures in both innings. The following year, he was top scorer in the first innings of both matches against the Indians, with 33 at College Park followed by 29 at Ormeau, his highest scores for Ireland. His finale was against Glamorgan on a wicket at Magram, unfit for first class, or indeed any class of cricket. In company with almost all the other players in the match, he failed with the bat, but, having been ignored in the first innings, had a second innings spell of 5-0-14-4; his best figures for Ireland. It set up run chase for Ireland, though they ended just holding out for the draw.His rather disappointing career record for Ireland is in keeping with those of many of his colleagues and better than a number of them. It is to be explained by the fact that the Irish side was pulled out of weekend cricket, to play against Test and County players, with no preparation. Had Armstrong played in today's different set up, he had the talent to have justified the Armagh historian's fulsome tribute.
His cousin Harry a tireless and accurate from Ballygomartin Road gained an overdue two caps in 1939 but Lloyd would have been thrilled by the performances of his daughter Donna Karen Armstrong who gained 29 caps for Ireland Women between 1983 and 1991. Her best match came against Netherlands Women at Phoenix in 1983. Chasing a score of 167 Ireland were in potential trouble at 76-3 when Donna came in after captain Mary Pat Moore had gone for 0. She proceeded to make 38 in 67 minutes and, by the time she was out at 147-5, Ireland were all but home.
Edward Liddle, April 2007, updated July 2015