- Born 26 November 1940 Belfast
- Educated Grosvenor Grammar School, Belfast Stranmillis College
- Occupation Schoolteacher
- Debut 13 June 1959 v Scotland at College Park, Dublin
- Cap Number 488
- Style Right hand batsman; right arm medium pace.
- Teams Cregagh; Saintfield
Charlie Corry was a technically correct upper order batsman, who normally opened the innings, and a very useful medium pace bowler. He always looked capable of scoring runs in good company; the mind's eye sees a commanding batsman in a match long forgotten almost 50 years ago. Thus his performances at international level must be seen as rather disappointing. However he appears to have suffered from selectorial inconsistency, and, from never knowing where his place in the batting order was likely to be.
His club cricket was mostly for Cregagh, for whom he always batted consistently, though the Club had the reputation of being under achievers at this time. Charlie would be exempt from this criticism as, for example, his selection for Ireland, when still almost six months short of his 19th birthday reveals. Later in his career, he joined the Co Down club, Saintfield, and was one of those whose performances were responsible for the Club's rapid rise to Senior Division 1 status, which, unfortunately, was not maintained.
Charlie had played Ulster representative cricket before the institution of the Guinness Cup and was an automatic selection for Ulster Town when that competition was inaugurated in the summer of 1966. Unfortunately, he had the worst possible start. Travelling to The Mardyke at the end of May, to play Munster, captained by future International Rugby referee John West, Ulster Town batted first and lost Charlie caught off Bradford League paceman Dennis Leng for a duck in the first over. The match ended in a draw, with the hosts batting well above themselves. Charlie had a better match in the next game v North Leinster at Cliftonville. He took 3 good wickets for 23, namely veteran batsman Joe Caprani, Alec O'Riordan and Clontarf wicket keeper/batsman Fergus Carroll. The visitors were 132 all out. Rain came to their rescue with Charlie on 23 not out.
His best match the following year was in a closely fought encounter with Ulster Country at Downpatrick. Ulster Town were bowled out for 138, Charlie top scoring with 38. It was not quite enough, the hosts getting home by 1 wicket. He was to top score again the following season in another closely fought encounter, this time a draw with North West at Ballygomartin Road. Batting first, the visitors were all out for 219. In reply Ulster Town narrowly failed to reach their target, Charlie, at 3, being undefeated on 56. After a second wicket stand with captain Jimmy McKelvey had fallen just short of three figures, he held the side together as they finished on 214-8
Yet for Ireland, as has already been pointed out, he must be accounted a failure. As has already been mentioned, however, he was certainly subject to some inconsistent selection policies. He never had an extended run in the Irish side, and, when he did play, his place in the order varied between 1 and 8. These decisions were hardly likely to instil confidence. He began against Scotland in College Park in a wonderfully fine June 1959, fielding while Scotland amassed 355-4 declared. The innings was chiefly notable for a massive career best 190* by Reverend James Aitchison surely the Church of Scotland's answer to David Sheppard. Charlie possibly prevented another century by catching prolific opener Ronnie Chisholm off Scott Huey for 51, when he was well set. It was, perhaps, surprising, that he was not given a bowl, as 144 overs were bowled, with seven turning their arms over, including Tom McCloy, bowling his only over for Ireland at a cost of 15 runs. Charlie coming in, when Ireland batted, at 175-2 was bowled by paceman JS Wilson for 4. He did not bat again as Ireland easily saved the game. He was not reselected for two years. It has to be said that the other 18 year old in the match had a rather more prominent career thereafter. Also batting at 4, this was a Scottish schoolboy called Mike Denness.
College Park on a sunlit August Saturday in 1961 saw Charlie's next appearance, watched by this writer, who had that morning, received exam results gaining him university entrance. Sadly it was not an equally memorable day for Charlie. At No 1, he was out early on caught by Hampshire dentist David Blake off Jeremy Cook, a quick bowler on the MCC groundstaff and, in those undemocratic days, the only professional in the match, for 5. Ireland won by 35 runs thanks largely to the bowling of Ray Hunter in the first innings and Given Lyness in the second. Charlie however failed again bowled for 0 by John Hall an amateur paceman, who played a handful of matches for Surrey and one for Sussex, besides making two minor overseas tours.
Charlie was not selected for the Australian games the following month but reappeared against Scotland the following season. Batting down the order, he made a second innings 17, in a match lost by 5 wickets. This proved to be his top score for Ireland, being ended by his old adversary JS Wilson. Charlie's reward for his effort was to be dropped again. Four years passed before he was selected again. He was then selected as batsman, but placed at No 8, by captain Donald Pratt, for what was, probably, the toughest match of his Irish career.
Ironically, it was the only one he played for Ireland that was not first class, a two day game against the full Middlesex side, at Ormeau, in July 1966. The match is probably best remembered as marking the debut of four players who were to make a great contribution to Irish Cricket, Ivan Anderson, David Pigot, Roy Torrens and Ginger O'Brien. Ireland did well enough with the ball, dismissing the county for 246, but collapsed twice. David Bick, a useful batsman and second string off spinner to Fred Titmus, took nine wickets in the match, including 6-19 in the second innings. He removed Charlie in both innings for 0 and 4. For once the selectors persevered with him for the Scots match at Raeburn Place. Ireland lost again in a rain affected game. In the first innings Charlie was 1* at the rain enforced declaration. In the second, his last knock for Ireland, he was stumped by James Brown off the slow left arm of Keith Hardie. Brown was an outstanding gloveman, as ever present for Scotland as Ossie Colhoun was for Ireland. He kept wicket for his country for twenty years and played for the Gentlemen v Players - at Scarborough- in 1960. Here he achieved the rare distinction of stumping Ken Barrington, not a man known for leaving his crease, even though it was a festival match and he had passed three figures. Brown was awarded an MBE for services to cricket. Hardie's father and brother also played for Scotland, the latter, Brian, being better known as a reliable batsman for Essex for almost twenty years.
Away from cricket Charlie was also a talented Rugby footballer, playing several seasons at full back for the Belfast club, Malone. Otherwise Charlie was an accomplished teacher, holding posts at Campbell College and Regent House in Newtownards, where former Irish all rounder James Macdonald was Headmaster. An indication of Charlie's success may be seen in the fact that, for example, that of the Regent House 1st XI in 1968, seven went on to play senior cricket. One, Clarence Hiles also becoming a distinguished administrator and writer on the game, while another Ronnie Elliott (Donaghadee and North Down) was capped once at Rugby full back for Ireland in 1978 - 79, besides playing for both Ulster Town and Country in the Guinness Cup.
Edward Liddle, October 2008