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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Alexander Thomas Young
  • Born 25 February 1848 Coolkeeragh House, Co Londonderry
  • Died 25 February 1878
  • Educated Holyville Park School; Dublin University
  • Occupation "Gentleman"
  • Debut 31 July 1871 v MCC at College Park
  • Cap Number 143
  • Style Right-hand bat, Slow right round arm
  • Teams Dublin University, Holyville Park, Phoenix

Alexander Young, the second of four sons - and three daughters - of a land owning father, also Alexander Thomas, was a good right hand batsman and useful bowler, though he never quite gained the reputation of his younger brother, Francis, who also played for Ireland, but only in matches where Ireland had more than eleven players. The eldest brother, Richard was a well known amateur cricketer in England, turning out for MCC on a number of occasions, scoring 42 and 46* to help the Club to a four wicket win over Northamptonshire, not then a first class side, in 1873.

Alexander and Francis were both educated at Holyville Park School, which produced many excellent cricketers, and also ran a club side, evidently composed of some past and present students as well as members of staff. Alexander was not a regular member of the XI at Dublin University, though he did play for a Past and Present XXII against the United South of England XI, captained by GF - Fred - Grace in College Park in May 1873. The hosts triumphed by an innings, with a team which included not only Alexander and his brother Francis, but also JP Mahaffy, whose bowling played a key part in the victory, and Arnold Graves, father of the poet and author Robert Graves. Alexander did not make a significant, being caught off James Southerton for 9. Southerton, father of a Wisden Editor, would later become the first Test cricketer to die. Fred Grace was the second!

Alexander's debut for Ireland came against MCC at College Park later in the summer. This was the first visit of an MCC team to Ireland and was meant to provide funds to foster professional cricket in Ireland. The game was a great disappointment, with Ireland's two innings totalling 82 between them. The MCC team was also a disappointment to spectators as it included six Irish based amateurs, including three who had played for Ireland. The six also included Alexander's elder brother Richard.

Ireland's batting was no match for the bowling of MCC's professionals Alfred Shaw and Frank Farrands. Shaw, regarded as the outstanding bowler in England at the time, would, six years later, bowl the first ball in Test cricket, Farrands was a useful fast round armer who went on to become a well known umpire. Alexander, batting at 8 made the top score of the first innings, bowled by Shaw for 14. There were only two other double figure scores. A rejigged second innings batting order saw him opening with Tom Casey, but he was caught off Farrands for 3. This time Ireland were bundled out for 24 surviving just long enough for the Prince of Wales to see the last rites.

Alexander's next match for Ireland was more successful. It was a twelve a sider against I Zingari at Phoenix in September 1873. As it involved teams of more than 11 players, it will not be found on his stats page, but full scores and Derek Scott's report may be found by following the links in the Statszone. The match was closely fought with Ireland recovering well from a potentially disastrous start thanks to remarkable bowling by Rev J Byrne, the Chaplain at the Vice Regal Lodge, who took 18 wickets in the match. However Alexander took a notable part also. He was one of the many to fail in Ireland's first innings collapse, being bowled for 0 by William Law, a fast bowler who had gained an Oxford Blue and played several matches for Yorkshire. Then after Byrne had put them back in the game, he rescued Ireland's second innings, top scoring with an undefeated 23, which was to prove crucial. Byrne again held sway, taking 9-37 to go with his first innings 9-48, but the margin of victory, 11 runs, shows how valuable Alexander's innings had been.

His last Irish match came against the same opposition, at the Vice Regal Ground two years later. Ireland won convincingly - by 201 runs - but again had Byrne, this time well supported by DN Neill, to thank for their victory. Alexander with scores of 0 and 4 had little to do with the win. In his first innings he was beaten for pace by Edgar Lubbock, one of eight members of his family - or nine if his brother-in-law is counted - to play first class cricket over three generations, for a duck. In his second knock, Alexander made 4 but then fell to Lubbock's co paceman Henry Sutherland.

Alexander Thomas Young did not play for Ireland again. Less than three years later, he was dead. Like all of his brothers, but not his two sisters, he went to an early grave. The longest lived was Richard, and even he died a week short of his 40th birthday.