A Stone in the Glasshouse
Dermott Monteith
Dermott Monteith

Dermott Monteith Publications, 2003, ASIN B000XNI4O8.
Paperback, 153pp.

Price: £10.00

Readers of this book will be left in no doubt of Dermott's obsession with Sport, and Cricket especially. It covers every one of the 76 games he played for Ireland and is a forthright account of his time at Middlesex and tours abroad with the MCC.

Review by Malcolm Brodie, Belfast Telegraph, 2003

Dermott Monteith, a colossus of Irish Cricket, awoke in the middle of the night a few months ago. At that moment the title for his autobiography flashe din front of his eyes. "A Stone in the Glasshouse".

How come? He admits that, during a remarkable career, in which he played 76 times for Ireland as well as becoming Irish Cricket Union President, many considered him, at the very least, a non-conformist.

Yet, despite his renowned reputation for blunt talking, especially at officialdom, he doesn't, as might have been imagined, "get stuck in" to the cricket authorities in the 153 page tome.

"I've probably mellowed in recent years, while the ICU, with the odd shove from myself, has generally done a good job", he says.

A left-arm spinner with Lisburn, Monteith captained Ireland 37 times, scored 1,700 runs, took a record 326 wickets, including 100 in a season, played for Middlesex in the early 1980s helping them to win the 1982 County Championship, participated in two MCC tours - to Bangladesh and then to Tanzania, Malawi and Kenya.

The world was his oyster thanks to sport. He was gifted, brilliant and very much his own man.

"A character" is a much too frequently and incorrectly used description in sporting journalism. Not so with Monteith, perfectly summed up in the foreword by his friend John Elder:

"Just as his team-mates were amazed by his cricketing performances, so also were we amused, bemused, dumbfounded and sometimes embarrassed by the man we dubbed The Humble One. He was great fun - inspiring to play alongside - the finest of Irish cricketers."

Readers will smile at his escapades, even as a schoolboy planting his stick in a hedge to pick up in the morning so his rugby-loving father remained unaware he played hockey which he called a "cissie's game".

Be amazed at that hilarious pub crawl with Michael Reith after defeating Wales at the Mardyke, Cork - a crawl which ended in Lisburn! Thankfully his devoted wife, Pamela, was the sober driver.

Chuckle at the risque stories, mainly about himself, especially that memorable one in Nairobi; they'll learn of his friendships with Reith, Elder, Des Cashell, Michael Bowden and many others. The'll agree with Dermott's tribute to hi former Lisburn captain, Cecil Walker, who has been such a major influence in his astonishing life and career.

And readers will be horrified at his injuries - fractured skull, shattered pelvis and multiple internal problems, sustained in 1985 when, while walking home from Bangor Rugby Club, he was struck by a hit-and-run driver in a 1982 Volkswagon Passat, lay for an hour on the road in a minus six temperature and three weeks later gained consciousness in the Ulster Hospital. Neither the driver nor the car have ever been traced.

A Stone in the Glasshouse is a gripping story, warts and all. It is the story about a distinguished career, an unimpeachable record, a man with a passionate love of cricket, indeed all sports. A story of camaraderie among colleagues, the difficulties experienced in life, the nomination of his outstanding teams and, of course, those forthright pragmatic views on various aspects of his beloved game.

Monteith contends: "The main problem now in Ulster cricket is not the lack of coaching. Surely it is the dwindling numbers taking up the game? The standard at senior level also seems to be much lower. Would it not be an idea to spend some of the £300,000 to £400,000 allocated to professionalism (with its diminished amount of coaching) more wisely at grass roots level in clubs and schools?"

The book, dedicated to his late mother Ruby, is a must for the shelves of every Irish cricket lover. A fascinating read.