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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
George King
  • Born 1820
  • Died 20 January 1876
  • Educated
  • Occupation
  • Debut 26 August 1856 v Gentlemen of England at Phoenix CC, Phoenix Park
  • Cap Number 13
  • Style Right-hand bat
  • Teams Coolattin, Carlow

George King was a regular army officer, who played for Ireland while stationed in the country, mostly at Fermoy. He had, while still in his teens seen service in the China campaign, of 1839-40 being involved in heavy fighting at Chusan and Amoy. He was also involved in the Crimean War, fighting at Alma and Sebastopol, battles in which two other future Irish cricketers, JG Boothby and JR Hume, also took part.

His debut for Ireland came against the Gentlemen of England at Phoenix CC in 1856, indeed all the matches in which he has been found playing are in that year. The previous summer had seen a weak Gentlemen of England side defeated by Ireland in what has become accepted as the first official Irish match. This time the visitors were much stronger and emerged victorious by 39 runs. They gained a first innings lead of 38, with Oxford Blues WSTW Fiennes and Reginald Hankey bowling Ireland out for a paltry 45. George was the only batsman to reach double figures. At No 8, he made 12 before Fiennes bowled him. However in the second innings, when Ireland, thanks to Charles Lawrence and WH Johnston, did rather better with the bat, George was out for 0, caught off Hankey, the fielder being Fiennes' brother Charles, also awash with initials.

George also made two appearances against the United England XI just over a week later. The United XI were a splinter group from William Clarke's All England XI. The breach had taken place some four years earlier because several leading professionals, with John Wisden and John Lillywhite the driving forces, had objected to the division of the profits of their matches, being convinced, probably correctly, that Clarke was keeping too much and denying them reward for their labours. It will be seen that Kerry Packer, the IPL and the West Indies Test side are nothing new in cricket! Wisden, the Almanack not yet even a gleam in his eye, was a very good fast bowler. Lillywhite, a member of a remarkable cricket family and cousin of James who was to become England's first Test captain, was also a good bowler, originally a paceman also, he had now cut down his speed and bowled slow round arm. Together they were too much for XXII of Coolattin, in a two day encounter at the Earl of Fitzwilliam's Wicklow estate. "The Little Wonder", as Wisden was known, disposed of George, at no 3, in both innings for 0 and 7 respectively. The following day XVIII of Ireland took on the professionals at Phoenix. This match resulted in a six run victory for the hosts, with the bowling of Lawrence and James McCormick being the main instrument of their success. However George made a noteworthy contribution in the first innings. Opening the batting he made the XXII's second top score, 19 to Johnston's 22, in the first innings, before being caught by Wisden off the medium pace of "Terrible Billy" Caffyn, who, together with Lawrence was to be responsible for the development of cricket in Australia. In the second Lillywhite had George leg before for a duck, but his first innings was clearly a major contribution to Ireland's somewhat unlikely success.