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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Richard Henry Scott
  • Born 28 January 1833 Dublin
  • Died 18 June 1916 Elm Park Gardens, Chelsea, London
  • Educated Rugby School, Warwickshire; Dublin University
  • Occupation Meteorologist
  • Debut 10 September 1855 v Gentlemen of England at Phoenix CC, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
  • Cap Number 11
  • Style Right hand bat; slow round arm bowler
  • Teams Dublin University, Phoenix

Richard Scott was a good batsman at the top of the order. However his name is better known for his activities beyond the cricket field. He was one of the seven children, six sons and one daughter, of John Scott, a prominent Dublin barrister, later a QC, and his wife Louise, daughter of an Archbishop, and sister of the 6th and 7th Earls of Middleton.

At the age of 11, he was sent to Rugby School, thus missing by two years the Headship of the famous Dr Thomas Arnold, and by three the Hughes brothers, Thomas, author of "Tom Brown's Schooldays" and George, said to be the model for Tom. Both gained cricket blues at Oxford. Cricket and the School's own brand of football - in vogue for some time before William Webb Ellis did -or did not- "pick up the ball and run." were well established by Richard's time. Ellis, incidentally, was Rugby's first cricket blue, batting at 3 for Oxford in the inaugural University Match, and making 12. His captain was Charles Wordsworth, the poet's nephew. Richard excelled at both games, though the outstanding sportsman of his time at Rugby was the Australian, Thomas Wentworth Wills, two years his junior.

They were later to play against each other in Ireland. Wills, the grandson of a "transported man" was a fine all rounder, who later was responsible, along with Charles Lawrence and "Terrible Billy" Caffyn for raising the standards of Australian Cricket. He has also been credited with the invention of Australian Rules Football. The historical jury must remain out on that one, but Wills certainly advocated developing a brand of football to be played during the winter to keep fit for cricket. He was also the first to teach cricket to Aboriginals, though he had narrowly escaped a, settler provoked, massacre of the rest of his family. He was in line to coach and captain the 1868 Aboriginal Tour of Britain, but was considered unsuitable as he was an alcoholic depressive. He committed suicide in 1880, stabbing himself in the throat with a pair of scissors.

Richard left Rugby in 1852 and established a name for himself as a sound batsman for Phoenix. His first major matches of which scores have been seen were in 1853. In late June he appeared for the Gentlemen of Dublin v The Players, in the first of a series of such matches organised by Charles Lawrence, in hopeful imitation of the annual contest at Lord's. The shortage of professionals in Ireland meant that the contest never really "took off", though it was played until 1873, twelve years after Lawrence had departed for sunnier climes. The Players were outclassed in this match, losing by an innings and 58 runs. Richard batted at 6 and made 70*, no mean feat against Lawrence who took 5 wickets. A further such fixture was held in August, with a similar result. Promoted to 5, Richard made 41, sharing in a big 5th wicket stand with future General and Surrey President, Fred Marshall. Richard also represented Phoenix v MCC and the United England XI that year, the latter fixture having been organised by Lawrence. The hosts were easily defeated by MCC but Richard's second innings 10, was joint second top score, only being bettered by Lawrence's 16.

Richard showed his worth against some of the best professional bowling in the match with the United England XI. XXII of Phoenix made a good start but their middle order fell away against the bowling of James Grundy, Jimmy Dean and the great John Wisden. Coming in at no 15, he made a sound 20 before being caught by the man destined to become "the most famous name in cricket" off Dean. Phoenix passed 200, enough to set up a win. Richard entered Dublin University in 1854 and was a member of the XI in his first summer. He was captain the following two years 1855-56, and continued to play for the team until 1859. In fact most of his cricket was still for Phoenix, as the University only played a handful of matches, five in 1857, and the College Park Ground was only cleared for use during his time in the XI. He was later to gain a reputation for being intolerant of those who disagreed with him. Perhaps this developed during his captaincy, one of his side being the young JP Mahaffy, who rarely agreed with anybody, save those who praised him.

Richard was a member of the first representative Irish team now recognised as such, which played the Gentlemen of England at Phoenix in September 1855. In a low scoring match his first innings 12 at no 7 had some significance in the hosts' victory. He was unfortunately run out. In the second knock he was leg before for 5 to the pace of William Fiennes. The visitors, though a number of the team were based in Dublin, were stronger the following year, when Richard renewed his acquaintance with Tom Wills. Ireland were defeated by 39 runs with Richard falling to Fiennes for 6 in the second innings, having been dismissed by all rounder Reggie Hankey in the first. Only Lawrence and old Etonian wicket keeper William Johnston showed much ability to cope with these bowlers. After the match Lawrence took Hankey Johnston, and Wills with him in his United Ireland XI tour of the South East. XXII of Cork were defeated by an innings at Mallow with Wills top scoring.

Richard's remaining two matches for Ireland were both for "Odds" teams against the Professional "Travelling" XIs from England.

For XVIII of Ireland against the United England XI in 1856, at Phoenix, he was again run out, this time for 1, in the first innings. He managed 6 in the second innings and, was, perhaps, sustained later in life by the thought that he had fallen to the Founder of the Almanack. His last game for Ireland was against the All England XI in 1861. This match was played at Coburg Gardens. The actual playing area is now covered by the National Concert Hall, but a stroll through the Iveagh Gardens can do wonders for the cricket historian's imagination. XXII of Ireland were shot out for 46, the top score being 6! Batting at first wicket down, Richard was bowled by ferocious paceman John "Foghorn" Jackson for 0 in the first innings. In the second he fell to the less quick, but equally devastating Edgar Willsher for 5. Jackson and Willsher both became first class umpires, Willsher "dying in office" aged 57. Drink cost "Foghorn" his post and he died in a Liverpool Workhouse in 1901.

Richard had entered University as a classical scholar, but graduated in Physics. He became Keeper of Minerals at the Royal Dublin Society and had a lecturing position in the University. After failing to become Professor of Technology at Edinburgh he was, in 1867, appointed Director of the Meteorological Office, thanks to the intervention of his friend, General Sir Edward Sabine, the eminent scientist. With a change of title to Secretary of the Meteorological Council, Richard was to hold this position until his retirement.

He was always an administrator first and scientist second, and owed his Fellowship of the Royal Society to Sabine rather than research, but, though he became increasingly intolerant and difficult to work with, having once been regarded as affable and humorous, he achieved much in his role, notably developing co-operation between different countries on meteorological matters. He wrote two books, the second of which Elementary Meteorology (1887) became a standard work and ran to seven editions. No cricket publication noted his passing, but his life, apart from cricket, is set out in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Volume 49 (2000). His Who's Who entry, as shown in Who Was Who Volume 2, lists cricket and football as his recreations, but adds "until 1860." Appearing after an impressive list of academic and professional distinctions it has a clear ring of "When I became a I man I put away childish things".