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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Edward Henry Moeran
  • Born 19 June 1848, Ireland
  • Died 5 December 1904 Southampton Long Island New York
  • Educated Marlborough College; Dublin University
  • Occupation Lawyer
  • Debut 17 June 1869 v All England XI at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 129
  • Style Medium Pace Round Arm
  • Teams Dublin University, NICC, St George's CC of New York, Staten Island CC, All New York, English Residents United States

Edward Moeran was a versatile all round sportsman and a very good round arm medium pacer, who, perhaps, never quite fulfilled the expectations aroused by his devastating form while a schoolboy at Marlborough College. He was the son, and one of nine children, of Reverend Edward Busteed Moeran, Church of Ireland clergyman and theologian of some note, who was married twice. EBM was, incidentally, Dean of Down at the time of his death, a post held many years later by North Down all rounder Rev Hamilton Leckey.

Despite some confusion on various family history websites, it seems that Edward Henry was one of the two children of his father's first marriage to Christina Mills. His second, to Isabella Barton, resulted in seven more. There is also some confusion over Edward Henry's birthplace, it being given variously as Cork or Kingstown (Dun Laoghaire), on the evidence I favour the latter. Certainly Cricinfo's assertion that he was born in England does not appear to be correct.

Whatever his exact antecedents, Edward was a tower of strength to the XI during his last two years at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, later to produce that fine Irish captain and wicket keeper/batsman Frank Browning as well as "one cap wonder" Henry Etlinger, a victim of the carnage of "The War To End All Wars". In his two seasons, Edward, usually opening the bowling took 112 wickets, easily the leading bowler in what, because of weak batting, was not a particularly successful side. Complete analysis are not always available but, where they are he is shown as having been a bowler of great accuracy. He was also a force to be reckoned with in House matches.

Early in his first 1866 season, he surprised a strong Cheltenham College batting line up, with 3 quick second innings wickets as the Gloucestershire side were building a winning position. Among his victims was Charles Filgate, later of Ireland and Gloucestershire, besides, together with his brothers, playing a leading role in founding and maintaining Co Louth CC.

Edward had two "5 fors" that summer, besides impressive figures for the XI against the next XXII. The five wicket hauls came against a strong adult side RJ Ward's XI which was played twice, the second time in late September when most thoughts would have been turning to football, at which he also excelled. In the first game against Ward's XI, Marlborough batted first and made 179 before bowling their opponents out for 54. Edward did not bowl in the follow on when the visitors were dismissed for 93.

The main match of the Marlborough season was, and remains, the annual fixture against Rugby School. Then, and for many years afterwards, it was a 2 day affair played at Lord's. Rugby began by scoring 233, with Edward taking 3-61 in 36 four ball overs, including future Oxford Blue William Goschen. After Marlborough had replied with 224, he was at it again taking 4-59 as Rugby finished on 189-7, the match being drawn. John Crowdy later to play for both MCC and Hampshire featured among those he dismissed.

The following season saw him take 5 or more wickets in an innings five times in 11 a side matches, bowling well in tandem with James McGregor. Four of these performances came against adult sides with a 7 wicket haul against University College, Oxford his best return. He had 6 against both Trinity College, Oxford and MCC but perhaps his most devastating spell was against the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester when he and McGregor took 5 each, dismissing the trainee farmers for 19. However he went wicketless against Rugby who included one JT Souter later to feature with Edward in several matches in the United States.

Back in Ireland in 1868 Edward quickly became an established member of the NICC XI, the Club having been formed in 1859 and played its first major match the following year. Regarded as one of the side's best bowlers, he is to be found in the teams which took on the strongest opposition, for example Na Shuler and the All England XI in 1868, though strangely, in the latter match, he batted at No 20 in the XXII and did not bowl. With scores of 6* and 0 he was not the most unsuccessful batsman in the side. His batting, incidentally, was never very highly valued. He usually went in low down the order and was evidently a hitter, who sometimes came off.

The following summer saw him a member of the Dublin University XI and winning his colours with a batting average of 27.66 and a highest score of 52, one of his best recorded efforts. Interestingly he is not shown as having entered the University until June of that year. That month he also gained his solitary Irish cap for XXII of Ireland against the All England XI at Rathmines.

This match was interfered with by the elements but not before Edward had proved his worth with a fine bowling display in the visitors' first innings, which, after they had been put in, totalled only 136. His figures were 15.1 - 5 - 15 - 4, his wickets included the Cambridgeshire batsman Bob Carpenter, then one of the best in England, and Yorkshire all rounder George Freeman, also a formidable opponent. Ireland were then dismissed for 131, Edward being bowled for 0 by the ferocious paceman George "Tear Em" Tarrant. He had one wicket in the All England second innings of 131 but did not bat again when Ireland, lucky to escape with a draw, collapsed to 41-14.

Arguably, however, Edward's most telling contribution to sport in Ireland was not on the cricket field at all. In November 1868 he became, as Hon Secretary and Treasurer, one of the founders of the North of Ireland Football Club (NIFC). The cricketers of NICC had not been too keen on allowing shared ground facilities to the developing game of Rugby Football, which had - for the most part - been introduced into Ireland by boys returning from their English Public Schools, Edward, of course, being no exception. There can be little doubt that his membership of NICC greatly helped in persuading the Cricket club to allow the footballers use their ground. The first recognisable laws of the game were drawn up in Dublin University in the same year as NIFC came into being . The first match played by NIFC was against the then Queen's College, Belfast and took 3 Saturday afternoons to complete. Though Edward was singled out by the Belfast Newsletter's reporter as one of the outstanding players, at full back in modern parlance, Queen's eventually won by two goals to nil. North, however, won a return match some three weeks later.

By the second half of the following decade Edward was established in New York where he was well known beyond the cricket field. He became a noted lawyer, acting - towards the end of his life - for the Marconi Company's interests in the United States and numbering the radio pioneer among his personal friends. He also maintained his rugby interests, being a committee member of the British Football club of New York, besides appearing in both tennis and golf tournaments with some degree of success.

His cricket was mostly played for the St George's Club of New York, of which his old Rugby v Marlborough rival Souter was captain, composed mostly of ex pats and the better known Staten Island side.

Oddly, however, the first match in which he achieved any real prominence came when he played for American Born against English Residents! he must have been a last minute replacement. The match was drawn but not before he had taken 5 wickets. The following year saw three "5 fors" one against the Philadelphian club Merrion, saw both him and Souter take five in the opposition's innings, despite the presence in the Merrion side of the four Newhall brothers, who were among the best cricketers in the country at the time. Edward had two of them.

1878 saw the first of several matches he played against touring sides, in this case Dave Gregory's Australian team on their return journey from their ground breaking tour of England. They played six matches in total, beginning by defeating XXII of All New York by 5 wickets. Edward only bowled in the second innings, sending down 4 wicketless overs for 6 runs and failed with the bat, as did most of his team-mates, "The Demon" (FR Spofforth) accounting for him in the first innings and Co Cork born Tom Horan, later to captain Australia, in the second.

He played against two English sides the following year. In May, Lord Harris' XI returning from their controversial tour of Australia, played one match in America. Edward was chosen as part of a representative USA XX11for the last match of the tour. The hosts were heavily outplayed. losing by an innings and 112 runs. Edward, however, had the satisfaction of taking the wickets of two of the side's better batsmen AP Lucas and AJ Webbe, though neither had done particularly well Down Under.

At the end of the summer Edward was in action again against an English touring side when the much stronger professional XI led by Richard Daft of Nottinghamshire, who played against Ireland on occasions, took on XXII of All New York at Staten Island. The result was a predictable rout with Alfred Shaw taking 21-56 in the match, but Edward had two wickets as the visitors were dismissed for 188, including that of Arthur Shrewsbury bowled for 26 and all rounder Billy Bates caught for 15. Shrewsbury was, perhaps, the best batsman he ever dismissed. Certainly WG would have agreed. When asked who the second best bat in England was - no prizes whom he adjudged the first - The Doctor replied, "Give me Arthur!"

Between these two matches Edward was mainly responsible for organising the first tour of the USA and Canada by an Irish side. Led by Nathaniel Hone the tourists began with a non cap match against St George's from whom the invitation to tour had come. The hosts were heavily defeated, being bowled out for 25 and 36, Ireland making 184. The spin of Arthur Exham and raw pace of Horace Hamilton was too much for St George's though Edward was able to show his countrymen that he retained his old skills with the ball, taking 3-50 in 30 overs including Nat Hone and Sir George Colthurst. While noting that he was also to play against the 1882 Australians - when he was out for 1 and 0 to Spofforth - having made his first class debut - and solitary appearance at this level - for English Residents v American Born two years earlier, we should perhaps concentrate on some of his more notable performances.

Thus for St George's against the Musical and Social Society in 1883 he set up an innings win, after St George's had been bowled out for 106, by taking 5-9 in 4 overs as the Social Musicians crumbled for 19. He did not bowl again in the match but an easy victory was recorded. Another good match against minor opposition came in the same year when he had match figures of 9-47 (6-8) in the second innings against St Paul's School. The match still ended in a draw with the club side running out of time.

His highest score that I have traced was 61 made for St George's against The Thespian in 1882 before being caught off Harry Lambkin, the previous year's Secretary of Cork County who was to become a prominent cricketer in New York. Edward also made 48 for St George's against the amateur league in 1889. His career ended two seasons later when he played for All new York against Lord Hawke's XI but did not bowl. He was dismissed cheaply in each innings by the Anglo-Australian Sammy Woods.

Away from sport and the law he was also a keen local historian unravelling the lives of the Native American tribes in Long Island before the coming of the Europeans. He married Elizabeth Susan Steers, they had one son and two daughters. The son, also Edward Henry, was a well known amateur golfer besides being an academic, some of whose works are still obtainable today.

Edward Henry Moeran, senior, may not have been a great cricketer, but he was certainly a very good one when in his prime. He contributed to the development of Irish Cricket by his organisation of the 1879 tour while his contribution to our rugby is, surely, incalculable.

The NICFC Centenary History (1959) was not overstating its case when it compared his contribution to the game with that of William Webb Ellis, "Webb Ellis may have picked up a football in 1823 at Rugby and ran with it, but in 1868 EH Moeran not only picked up a football and ran with it but also inspired many others to do the same. Under such a man and in such circumstances the North of Ireland Football Club began."