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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Francis Alexander Young
  • Born 9 October 1851 Coolkeireagh House, Londonderry
  • Died 18April 1886 Gowanbrae Bournemouth
  • Educated Holyville Park School Dublin University
  • Occupation His will describes him as "Gentleman"
  • Debut 2 September 1869 v United South of England XI at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 25
  • Style Right hand bat
  • Teams Holyville Park, Phoenix, Dublin University, MCC

Frank Young was an elegant stroke maker. "The prettiest bat I ever saw, " wrote "An Old Cricketer" in The Weekly Irish Times in 1905 though he qualified this by adding that this was with the exception of David Trotter and Drummond Hamilton. He describes Frank's cutting and leg hitting as being superb. Frank came from a long established Co Donegal land owning family Young of Culdaff and was the last of the four sons of Alexander Young and Frances Mary Johnston. There were also three daughters. The eldest of the four sons, Robert, was also a cricketer, playing several matches for MCC including an unsuccessful one at first class level. The second brother Alexander also played for Dublin University and Ireland but all three died well before their time.

The researches of the indefatigable Billy Platt in his latest book Cricket in County Donegal 1850-1912 have revealed several matches played by the Culdaff Club with a GL Young opening the batting, George being a popular name in the family. We may note that Billy also shows that Robert played for the Gentlemen of Londonderry, Donegal and Tyrone against MCC in 1878, however he made only 2 and 0.

Frank's cricket was developed in Dublin at Holyville Park School, which, besides the Young brothers, produced several excellent cricketers notably WS Ashton, probably the best Irish batsman of his time. Holyville Park not only played as a School XI, but, aided by a few members of staff, also took on the Dublin Clubs, often with considerable success.

Frank's selection for Ireland in September 1869 was on account of his performances for Holyville and Phoenix as he did not make his University debut until the following summer. He was, however, a member of the Irish XXII which took on a strong United South of England XI at Observatory lane in a match which began on 2 September. The Irish team, selected by the sports entrepreneur John Lawrence, who had put up the money to entice the USE over the water, was crushed by its mighty opponents for whom the two great bowlers Edgar Willsher and James Southerton were outstanding, taking 39 of the 40 Irish wickets between them.

In the first innings, after Ireland had won the toss and batted, they dismissed their hosts for 83 with only two batsmen making double figures, both former Holyville Park students. One was the opening bat, R Jones, whose father was the School's Headmaster, the other was Frank, who batted far too low in the order at No 19. He defied the master bowlers to reach 10 before being dismissed by Willsher, Jones having made 12. Though Army officer Thomas Harris took 5-42, the USE ran up a score of 143 before Southerton and Willsher struck again to dismiss Ireland for 100, this time Frank was not among the run makers, being bowled by Southerton for 1. USE went on to win by 5 wickets. Strangely Frank never played for Ireland again, though he remained prominent in Irish cricket for some years to come.

He was five years in the University XI from 1870, receiving his colours each season. His best years were 1871 and 1872 when he finished second in the batting averages, scoring 227 runs at 15.20 in the former season and 205 at 17.10 the latter. Uncertain wickets in College Park were undoubtedly the reason for his- and others' - rather poor records.

His highest score was 61 made in 1872 but one of his best matches had come back in his first season in the XI back in 1870. The opposition was the USE with both Willsher and Southerton again to the fore. In a low scoring contest the visitors batted first but fell for 62, the round arm bowling of University coach Jesse Richards who took 6 wickets proving their undoing. However the hosts, playing as a Past and Present XXII did little better, the old firm bowling them out for 82. This would have been considerably less had it not been for a fine knock from Frank who topscored with 24 at No 7, before being dismissed c Willsher b Southerton. Out for 91 in their second innings the professionals made light work of winning, the University being bowled out for 48, Frank with 10, the only man to reach double figures. This time he was bowled by paceman Frank Silcock, a formidable opponent. He again reached double figures against the USE the following year before being bowled by Willsher. This was a memorable match which the University Past and Present won, thanks to a sturdy innings of 42 from Pat Casey and fine bowling from Richards and JP Mahaffy. Frank again showed to good effect against a professional XI in 1874 topscoring in the first innings of the match against the All England XI, before being caught off JC "Jemmy" Shaw for29. He was well supported by Mahaffy (20*) and Jack Kempster (21) to enable the University to reach 142. Thanks to the bowling of Old Etonian JB Storey, they gained a first innings lead of 73 and had set their visitors a target of 208 before rain intervened, Frank's second innings share had been 9.

In company with his elder brother Robert, he also several matches for MCC, though not at first class level. In August 187, he made the top score in the first innings against Cambridge University Long Vacation XI at Fenners, hitting a stylish 24 at No 3. The match was a low scoring affair which MCC went on to win by 7 wickets.

We may also note a remarkable match he played in during the 1877 season when, having left the University, he was assisting Phoenix. Appearing for Phoenix against the University at Phoenix, he (31) helped Aloysius Hussey (30) put on over 50 for the first wicket. A collapse then ensued, the hosts crumbling for 88. The University replied with a massive 485, David Trotter hitting a magnificent 234 while his brother Edward weighed in with a mere 128! Phoenix were 157/4 at the finish, Frank having made 4.

Francis Alexander Young was unmarried at the time of his death. He appears to have been living alone as his Will records him as having died "on or about 18 April 1886."