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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
George William Evans
  • Born 1849 Dublin
  • Died 24 September 1931, Oxford.
  • Educated Kilkenny College, Dublin University
  • Occupation Schoolmaster
  • Debut 17 June 1865 v All England XI at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 144
  • Style Hand unknown
  • Teams Dublin University, Malahide

George Evans was a useful upper order batsman whose time in Irish cricket was curtailed by his decision to follow a teaching career "over the water." He developed his skills for the game at Kilkenny College, an ancient and still flourishing institution, which numbers Dean Swift amongst its distinguished former alumni. George was, to the best of my knowledge, the first international cricketer to emerge from the College, currently Ireland Women medium pacer Jennifer Gray follows, rather more successfully, the trail which he blazed.

Entering the University in 1867, George was a member of the XI in 1867 and 1868, one of eight current or future Irish internationals in his first year and seven in his second.

His form in these two seasons, in which the XI played 18 matches winning 7 and losing 4, saw him in the Irish side for its three matches in 1869, but it cannot be said that he met with resounding success.

Against the mighty All England XI at Rathmines in mid June, he, in company with most of his team-mates, found the attack of such legends of the game as Alfred Shaw, Crispin Tinley and George "Tear em" Tarrant too much, as the visitors, though facing 22, were only denied a victory by time running out. Up to a point Ireland did well, dismissing their famed opponents for 136 and gaining a four run lead. This was mostly due to the University captain Pat Casey who made a stand out 42. George, evading the clutches of the attack, was run out for 4, batting at 3in the first innings. However, in the second, when Ireland needed 128 for what would have been an historic victory, he was caught by Shaw off Tarrant for a duck. Ireland were 41-14 when time ran out.

Like lambs to the slaughter, Ireland regrouped later in the summer to take on the United South of England XI, again at Observatory Lane. Facing the formidable pairing of James Southerton and Edgar Willsher, the hosts XXII, could only manage 83, Southerton taking 9-65 and Willsher 11-13. Opening the batting George had reached 6 when Southerton, later to become the first Test cricketer to die as well as, at 49 England's oldest Test cricketer on debut, bowled him. Only two Irish batsmen reached double figures. The visitors made 142 before bowling Ireland out for exactly 100, George making his highest representative score, 14 before being stumped off Southerton. The wicket keeper involved was Edward Pooley who, should have played with Southerton in the first ever Test match at Melbourne in 1877. However he was in prison in New Zealand, following a betting scam. There is, it would seem, nothing new in cricket!

Back at Rathmines, USE went on to win the match by 6 wickets.

George kept his place for the 12 a side match against I Zingari at the end of the season, which Ireland won by 76 runs. However he contributed little to the victory, being, again, run out for 3 in the first innings and being dismissed for 2 in the second.

That match ended his international career but he had one appearance left in major cricket, turning out for XXII of the University against the USE in College Park in May 1870. Good bowling by the professional coach Jesse Richards troubled the visitors vaunted batting line up and they eventually won by only 23 runs, but their bowling was much too strong for their hosts. For George it was a case of dj vu, with Willsher dismissing him in both innings. His scores of 1 and 0 were hardly those on which he would have wished to bow out.

After graduation George Waller Evans left Ireland to become a French master at an Oxford preparatory school, where he remained until retirement. The 1901 and 1911 censuses show him as Housemaster of a boys, boarding house. He was still living in Oxford when he died, leaving the then not inconsiderable sum of 3199.