- Born 19 March 1976 Dublin
- Educated The High School, Dublin
- Occupation Family Jewellery Business (A Molins)
- Debut 2 June 1996 v Wales at Rathmines
- Cap Number 604
- Style Right hand bat, slow left arm
- Teams Carlisle, Railway Union, Clontarf, MCC
Greg Molins hails from one of Dublin's most distinguished cricket families. HIs father Rodney and uncle Stephen were stalwarts of the Carlisle club before its enforced demise, won Schools International Caps and played at interprovincial level. Greg was, of course preceded into the Irish side by his brother, Oxford Blue Jason Molins, while their cousin Lara, Stephen's daughter, has won caps for Ireland Women at both full international and U 21 Levels. Greg is, however, a formidable cricketer in his own right, not being in need of the family name to boost his reputation. He was, and indeed remains, a very good orthodox slow left armer but is also a good lower middle order batsman with many useful scores to his credit, though this attribute seems to have largely been ignored by his captains during his representative career.
Developing his skills for the game at Dublin's High School, he first came to a wider notice in the U18 Interprovincial Tournament in August 1993, when - already a senior player with Carlisle - his bowling and the batting of Ronan O'Reilly were mainly responsible for Leinster claiming the title with apparent ease. They were in fact to win at U15 and U13 level also, but the U 18s' wins were by far the most convincing. Against Munster at Sydney Parade, Greg took 5-2 as the opposition were dismissed for 72 before losing by 7 wickets. North West proved more formidable opposition at Castle Avenue the following day, posting 169, though never mastering Greg who had figures of 6-44. O'Reilly then made an undefeated century to secure another 7 wicket win. The NCU had also won their two games, a young off spinning all rounder called McCallan being prominent, but they too fell to Greg who took 7-25 to bowl them out for 105 and allow O'Reilly see Leinster to an 8 wickets victory.
Greg was Player of the Tournament and appeared again the following year but without the same success, his best figures being 3-28 against Munster. However Leinster retained the trophy He also gained two Irish Schools' Caps in that - 1994 - season. The matches, against Wales at Pontardduulais and England at Wolverhampton, were both left drawn, with Owen Butler impressing with his captaincy and fast bowling. Greg bowled long and accurate spells in both matches but had little luck. However Des McCall noted in "Irish Cricket Annual" that "his poor return in no way reflects his outstanding performances." He had better fortune with the bat. Thus in the second innings of the Welsh match, he topscored with 48 including five 4s, while on the somewhat open parkland of Wolverhampton Cricket Club, he made a useful, undefeated 42 again in the second innings.
In 1995 he was a member of the Irish side which played in the Youth International Tournament in the Netherlands. Against Canada at Haarlem, some 15 miles from Amsterdam not an area of down town New York, he made 15* as Ireland totalled 205-6, then with the match in the balance, took a crucial 4-41 to bring about a 19 run victory. He also batted effectively in the victory over the Netherlands, his undefeated 33 helping Ireland total 226-7, which proved too tall a task for the hosts.
He has had a long career in senior cricket in Leinster, though this would at last seem to be coming to an end as he made only one competitive appearance for Clontarf 1st XI in the recent (2011) season. Having shone with both Carlisle and Railway Union, he has spent the past decade with Clontarf, for whom he has played some outstanding cricket, taking a leading part in several of their League and Cup triumphs. Apart from saluting his leadership which brought such success to Castle Avenue in the 2007 and 2008 seasons, we may here examine just two of his many fine performances for the north Dublin club.
In a Leinster Senior Cup First Round match with Merrion at Anglesea Road in 2003, Clontarf found themselves chasing 207 to stay in the competition. Greg had bowled accurately and without luck to take 1-33 in his 12 overs. They then lost two quick wickets and were in some danger at 21-2 when Greg came in to join Alex Cusack. Together they got on top of the bowling, adding 105 before Cusack was out for a well deserved half century. Greg however stayed to see his side home by 6 wickets, finishing undefeated on 74 and winning the Man of the Match Award. Merrion provided the opposition again the following season when both sides had reached the semi final.
Then, batting first, Clontarf were 116-4 with Cusack (38) and Trent Johnston (2) both out. However Greg was not the man to be unsettled by such a situation and he proceeded to make 72, lifting the score to 277, which, thanks to Cusack's bowling, brought about a 58 runs victory. Greg's bowling at senior level has brought him over 400 wickets. His best bowling figures for Clontarf came in 2003 against Leinster, when he took 6-31 in 10 overs bowling the Rathmines side out for 177 and thus setting up victory. That year was also his best all round season for the Club, scoring 423 runs at 35.25, he disposed of 28 batsmen at a cost of 29.93.
Greg's career in interprovincial cricket, which began in 1994 for South Leinster, was sound rather than spectacular. Changes of team, as he moved clubs, or as the format of the competition changed probably did not help him, nor did his captains' lack of faith in his batting ability. Nevertheless, he always bowled accurately and though he never ran through a side, had several useful sets of figures, often against the North West. Thus playing for the Development XI in 1996, he had 3-23 helping bowl out NW for 143, thus helping his team to a 52 run victory. It was a good day for slow left armers, one of the few bright sparks for the North West having been Junior McBrine's 4-22.
In 2003, his move to Clontarf having brought him into the North Leinster side, he had figures of 10-3-26-3, as the NW crumbled for 157. His wickets included dangerman Peter Gillespie, just getting into his stride, caught by Andre Botha for 21. The following year at Limavady, Greg helped set up a 7 wicket win, having 3-29 in 7.3 overs, with NW, bowled out for 170 grateful to Mark Gillespie's 70*. The visitors knocked off the runs in style, thanks to John Mooney and Barry Archer.
We may mention one other feature of interest, before passing on to his Irish career. In the overseas season of 2001-02, Greg was a member of an MCC side which toured Namibia. It must be said that they found Namibian cricket a great deal more formidable than it was to prove to be in Belfast in 2011. Neither Greg nor the team as whole had much success, even when - towards the end of the tour - they were reinforced by a promising young Middlesex batsman called Strauss.
Greg gained 26 Irish caps between 1996 and 1999, taking 29 wickets at 38.76, but scoring only 52 runs at 7.43. However his supposed batting failures are easily explained. He had only 16 innings, 9 of which resulted in a not out. He consistently found himself low in the order and thus never had much of a chance to reveal the talents which brought runs at Kimmage, Park Avenue, Castle Avenue and elsewhere. His highest score, 18, came against the England Amateur XI in the Triple Crown competition at Stourbridge in 1997. It was not, however enough to help Ireland avoid a 19 run defeat. That tournament also saw him win a somewhat bizarre Man of the Match award against Wales at Mosley CC in Birmingham. The match finished in a bowl out with rain having intervened after Wales had made 186-7 from 47 overs. Greg, hitting the stumps twice, gave Ireland a 4-0 victory enabling them to avoid the wooden spoon.
He was seen to some advantage on two other occasions that season also. Late April saw Ireland record their first ever competitive cricket win over a county side when Middlesex went down by 46 runs at Castle Avenue. While the superb batting of Decker Curry and Hansie Cronje had much to do with the victory, the role of the bowlers should not be forgotten. Greg claimed two vital middle order scalps. Wicket keeper/batsman Keith Brown was superbly caught by Peter Gillespie at long on and all rounder Keith Dutch stumped by Andy Patterson for 1.
Greg never took more than three wickets in an innings for Ireland, his best figures also coming in that 1997 summer when he had 3-36 in a single innings match with the Earl of Arundel's XI at the picturesque Arundel ground. Ireland fielded two pairs of brothers in this game, Greg being joined by Jason, recalled after two years, while the Davy twins were also in the side. Batting first the visitors made 220-7 before declaring, Ed Joyce topscoring with 68. The Earl's men had reached 120-3 when Greg struck, taking three quick wickets to change the scoreboard to 123-6.
Despite some late order hitting the hosts never recovered, Ireland winning by 38 runs. He also helped Ireland to a notable win over the South African Academy side at Rathmines in 1999, a match in which Duckworth/Lewis took a hand. The South Africans became somewhat reckless in a charge for runs towards the end of their rain affected innings and two of Greg's three, including future Test player Justin Ontong, were stumped by Alan Rutherford .
He remained a formidable player in senior cricketer for more than a decade.
Edward Liddle, September 2011