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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
R Jones
  • Born circa 1842
  • Died Unknown
  • Educated Holyville Park School
  • Occupation
  • Debut 22 June 1868 v All England XI at College Park
  • Cap Number 114
  • Style Right hand bat
  • Teams Holyville Park, Phoenix, Kingstown, Leinster

R Jones - as his first name has not been discovered he is referred to as RJ throughout this piece - was a very useful upper order batsman who did better than many of his contemporaries against the English professional bowlers of the time and some of the leading amateurs who appeared in I Zingari sides. He learned the game at Holyville Park School in Dublin, where his father WR Jones was Headmaster. For several years in the 1850s and 1860s, Holyville Park was not only the best cricket academy in the Dublin area, it was also one of the strongest club sides in Ireland. As was quite common with Irish Schools of the time, the School played as a club side with masters and some former pupils forming the team in company with the best of the boys. In one match in 1858 against a strong Dublin University XI, RJ and WS Ashton, later to become the best Irish batsman of his day, both scored hundreds in a total of 341, after Ashton had dismissed the visitors for 13. In the mid 1860s, however, the school changed hands and - though the club resurfaced briefly sometime later, the greatness of its cricket was gone.

WP Hone in Cricket in Ireland states that two of the Jones family played for Ireland. However the records of the time show only RJ as having appeared for the national side, though his father turned out - as did RJ - for Phoenix and Leinster. It is, worth noting that three other players named Jones were prominent in Irish cricket at the time. G Jones and J Jones opposed each other when Charles Lawrence's United Ireland XI played a team styled XXII of Ireland in 1860, while an M Jones also appeared for Leinster at this time. It seems possible that, as Hone states that four members of the family - apart from WR himself - played for Holyville Park, that these were the other three.

Apart from his appearances for Ireland, RJ turned out for the Leinster Club against major opposition. Thus in 1874 he was in the XXII which entertained the United South of England XI at Rathmines. The USE was, by now, very much a money making instrument of the Grace brothers, though its composition was mainly professional. In this match the XXII batted first and made 245. However RJ made little contribution being bowled by Fred Grace, youngest of the brethren, for 6. He did not get the chance to redeem himself as USE batted out the rest of the match, with WG making 153 and Fred 103.

in 1876 RJ was in the Leinster side against the powerful professional XI, Yorkshire United. Leinster were overwhelmed, most of the XXII succumbing to the pace of Allen Hill, who was shortly to play in the first of all Test Matches at Melbourne the following March. RJ, however, went to Hill's fast bowling team-mate the Welsh born Robert Clayton for 3 in the first innings and to Tom Armitage, a medium pacer who also played in the inaugural Test Match, in the second.

Leinster were heavily defeated with only Army medical officer Thomas Cox showing any real ability to deal with front rank bowling.

RJ played six matches for Ireland. However only the last of these against I Zingari on the Vice Regal Ground was 11 a side so only it appears in his statistics on this site. However full scores and reports of the other matches may be found by following the links in the stats zone. In these matches three of which saw Ireland playas a XXII against the English professional XIs and two of which were 12 a side affairs against I Zingari, RJ scored 105 runs at 13.12 with a highest score of 26 made against IZ in 1874. These figures may not seem very impressive but the quality of much of the bowling should be taken into account as should the state of some of the wickets. His aggregate and average stands up well against those of his contemporaries.

His best match against the professionals came against the All England XI at Rathmines in 1869. The AE XI began by being bowled out for 136 with EH Moeran, best known perhaps as the founder of NICFC taking 4-15. Ireland - playing of course as XXII - replied with 140, RJ making 14 one of four double figure scores. he was stumped by Yorkshireman George Pinder off the bowling of George Freeman. Pinder, whose real surname was Hattersley, was also a very useful bowler. He must have been on top form that day, or the bowler was taking things easy, as Freeman was a roundarmer of great pace. In the hosts' second innings RJ saved the match. Coming in halfway down the long batting order, he made an undefeated 12, the only double figure score, as Ireland finished on 41-14..

He also batted well in a 12 a side match with I Zingari at the Vice Regal ground in 1874. His innings of 26 was described as "good". in a low scoring match he was involved in two partnerships which were probably crucial. At No 5 he put on 46 for the third wicket with George Casey, easily the highest Irish stand of the match, then added 27 for the 4th with William Hone, junior. Nevertheless Ireland struggled against the lobs of Belfast man AJ McNeale and were lucky to post 137. The visitors' batting was equally bad with DN Neill experiencing little difficulty in running through their order. RJ was promoted to open in the second innings and made a long and careful 20 before being stumped. It was to help Ireland set IZ 107 to win, a target they failed to reach by 15 runs.

His last match for Ireland against the Zingaros in 1876 again at the Vice Regal Ground also saw his top score, though his - and Ireland's - first innings performance gave no indication of what was to follow. The visitors batted first and reached a useful 278. In reply Ireland were shot out for 101, RJ, who batted at 5 in both innings, making just a single. However in the follow on he and Ireland did much better. The innings is best remembered for a superb display by FG (Frank) Kempster who hit the first century recorded for Ireland, but RJ also contributed well. His 46 was second top score in the innings and he was unluckily run out taking on a 40 yard throw. Ireland reached 382, but this was not enough to prevent an ultimate I Zingari victory at 207-7, Ireland's star bowlers Neill and Reverend J Byrne failing to strike.

This was the last Irish match in which RJ appeared. He had done enough during his career to uphold the traditions of good cricket played at Holyville Park.