- Born 23 August 1936 Dublin
- Educated Blackrock College
- Occupation RTE Cameraman
- Debut 17 July 1954 v Scotland at Whitehaugh, Paisley
- Cap Number 464
- Style Right hand batsman; right arm leg breaks and googlies
- Teams Pembroke; Phoenix
Godfrey Graham was a good leg spinner, who won international renown a way from the cricket field. His early years were spent in the family home in 35 North Great George's Street, Dublin, now the site of the James Joyce Centre. His background may be said to have been an artistic one, suitable, perhaps for leg spin bowling, that most artistic of cricket's crafts. His grandfather Dickie Graham had a dancing academy there and was responsible for introducing the Charleston to Ireland. Godfrey himself had some ballet training and also auditioned for a film part at the age of 11.
His education at Blackrock was not always an easy one as he was an undiagnosed dyslexic, but he shone on the cricket field, playing for Pembroke with some success while still at school.
He left school at 16, making his debut for Ireland the following year, as is described below. His professional career, he joined RTE in 1961, limited his cricket, but after moving northwards over the river, he had a successful period with Phoenix. Making 101 appearances he took 116 wickets at 18.62, during rather a bleak time in the club's proud history.
His one and only match for Ireland came against Scotland at Whitehaugh, Paisley in July 1954. He was not, as has sometimes been stated the youngest player, at that time, to appear for Ireland. That honour belonged to Dublin University's David Trotter. Godfrey was, then, in third place, with RJ Barnes in second. Now he lies in fifth, Trotter having been overtaken by Eoin Morgan and Morgan by Greg Thompson, like Godfrey a leg spinner. Godfrey does, however, remain the youngest Irish cricketer to play in a first class match.
The wicket at Whitehaugh was far too good for a result, though Ireland contrived to get into some trouble after scoring 330, at the time their highest since the war, with Larry Warke making 120 his highest score for Ireland, Godfrey, at 11, was undefeated on 1. Scotland, facing an Irish attack which included three front line spinners, Godfrey being joined by Jimmy Boucher and Sonny Hool, piled up a massive 489. The inevitable Rev Jimmy Aitchison made one century and left handed all rounder James Henderson another. Hool sent down 38 overs to take 4-89 but "JCB" and Godfrey were not so fortunate, each taking two wickets while scoring the sort of hundred every bowler wants to avoid. In fact Godfrey bowled well, and, despite receiving some punishment from the Minister, flighted the ball cleverly and caused some confusion with his googly. His wickets came in his 17th and 18th overs. Hunter Cosh, the Scotland wicket keeper for most of the decade, a big hitting middle order batsman, failed to pick the "wrong 'un" and departed lbw, and middle order batsman, William Ellis, beaten in the flight, provided Eddie Marks with one of the four stumpings of his Irish career. Godfrey finished with 23 - 3 - 100 - 2, Boucher had 2-113. Ireland ended their second knock on 156-7, the Cambridge batsman Robin O'Brien saving them from defeat with a cultured 76.
Godfrey was not asked to play for Ireland again, nor for that was matter Boucher. In the great bowler's case, there was, perhaps evidence, that a long and magnificent career, had finally come to an end, but, surely Godfrey should have been given at least one more chance? He continued to play some representitive type cricket until well into his 40s, turning out, for example, several times for The Leprechauns in their annual match v Irish Universities in the 1970s.
He became, of course, an RTE cameraman of international fame. On retirement in 2001, he produced an autobiography, to which this study is indebted. In Forty Years Behind The Lens, he gives a fascinating account of his career and the people his many assignments brought him into contact with. As a taster for those who might wish to pursue it further, of all those he met only the ghastly Rumanian tyrant Nicolai Ceausescu intimidated him more than Ireland's own Charles J Haughey. Memories of, for example, Nelson Mandela, Edna O'Brien - no relation of Robin! - and JFK are more pleasant reading.
Godfrey Richard Graham may have been short changed by Ireland's selectors and it is to be regretted that a promising leggie was not seen again in Irish colours. However he more than made up for this loss with his remarkable career "behind the lens."
Edward Liddle, January 2010