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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Henry Monck-Mason Hackett
  • Born 1 March 1849 Bray, Co Wicklow
  • Died 24 December 1993 Finchley, Middlesex
  • Educated Portora Royal School; Dublin University
  • Occupation Anglican Clergyman. Theological College Principal
  • Debut 26 August 1874 v I Zingari at Vice Regal Ground, Phoenix Park, Dublin
  • Cap Number 130
  • Style Batting hand unkown. Slow round arm bowler.
  • Teams Dublin University, Cork County

Henry Hackett was a good round arm bowler and useful lower order batsman who would probably have been seen to better effect in Irish cricket, had his vocation not taken him abroad. He was born one of the eight children of John Winthrop Hackett, a Church of Ireland clergyman, and Jane Sophia Monck Mason. The eldest son also John Winthrop Hackett, emigrated to Australia where he became a newspaper magnate and politician, being knighted in 1911. His son, Henry's nephew, was destined to become General Sir John Hackett, one of the most astute British commanders of the Second World War, who was later to prove to be an equally astute self-publicist.

Henry entered Dublin University in July 1867, having developed his game at Portora where, his contemporaries included the somewhat younger and definite non cricketer, Oscar Wilde who also overlapped with Henry at University. Henry having spent two years in the University Second XI was a 1st XI regular from 1870 to 1873 winning his colours each season, besides captaining the side in 1871. Full averages are not available for every year, but his highest score appears to have been 39, while in his final year, 1873, he took 50 wickets at 8.70 easily heading the bowling and being presented with a ball for his efforts. This was a time of some strength for University cricket, with thirteen of his contemporaries - apart from those former students who played in the Past and Present sides - also winning Irish caps.

The most important matches which he played at University were for the Past and Present XXII against the English professional XIs. The hosts did well in these though Henry, himself, contributed little. Thus in 1871, the United South of England XI was defeated by an innings and 7 runs with the hosts owing much to a stalwart 48 from Pat Casey in their score of 243 as they batted first against an attack of Edgar Willsher and James Southerton, supported by James Lillywhite. Southerton took 11 wickets, including Henry, batting at No 10, for 1. However, possibly fortified by local ales and stout, the visitors collapsed twice in the face of the underarm lobs of JP Mahaffy and the skilled round armers of the University coach Jesse Richards. A year later the All England XI scraped home by 4 wickets needing only 42 to win. They owed their success to Alfred Shaw, generally regarded as the most accurate bowler of his or possibly any - time and the fast left armer Fred Morley. Henry, again coming in at 10, failed twice being dismissed by Shaw for 3 in the first innings and by Morley for 0 in the second. He did, however, take two of the visitors' first innings wickets as the professionals fell for 98. His victims were opening bat and all-rounder Fred Wyld of Nottinghamshire and John Selby, also of that county, who was to play five times for England in the early days of Test cricket.

In 1873, against the same opposition, Henry again did little with the bat being caught by Wyld off Shaw for 9 as good batting by the upper order saw the University post a competitive total. Their famed visitors then collapsed twice for 64 and 54. Henry failed to take a wicket but, by catching Robert Carpenter of Cambridgeshire, one of the best batsmen in the side, for a first innings top score of 22, helped his side to victory. The match was drawn the following season with Henry contributing 0 and 2 to the hosts' totals.

1874 saw him play twice for Ireland, though the first match is not regarded as an official one. This game, played on the Phoenix ground was a two day one against a side entitled American Baseball who fielded 19 to Ireland's 12. The Americans, captained and managed by their best batsman, AG Spalding, were on a mission to spread baseball to England and Ireland. They had played six, undefeated, matches against weak opposition in England, all odds games, at which they also gave baseball exhibitions. They defeated Ireland by 86 runs in a match in which neither side reached three figures. The Irish batsmen found the bowling of Yorkshire born Harry Wright, whose father and brother were also in the side, too much for them, Henry falling to him twice. However he also proved a handful for the baseball men, taking 9 of their 18 wickets, including the three Wrights and the side's best batsman Andrew Leonard, who was born in Co Cavan.

This performance probably ensured Henry of his one and only genuine Irish cap, against I Zingari, in a match which began the following day at Vice Regal, being played at 12 a side. Ireland won a closely fought encounter by 15 runs owing their victory to some fine second innings bowling by David Neill. Henry, coming in at No 12 was lbw for 5 in the first innings, to William Middleton, described as " a rowdy swell and practical joker", who took 2 first class wickets in a 12 match career, and 0* in the second. Henry also took 1-36 in the IZ first innings, having Oxford Blue William Law superbly caught by Rowley Miller, one handed and low down at long off, for 0.

Henry's subsequent life appears to have left little time for cricket. Accompanied by his wife Anna Kennedy, whom he married in 1879, he spent much of it as a missionary in India, where he was Principal of St Paul's Divinity School, Allahabad from 1894 - 96. He also spent some years in Canada, being Principal of Montreal Theological College from 1898 - 1903. Years in between and after were spent in various parishes in England and Ireland, where he was Dean of Waterford 1904 - 1913. He and Anna had eight children, two of their sons distinguishing themselves in the First World War. His eldest son George, who followed Henry's vocation being Vicar of Finchley in North London for many years, was a Chaplain to the Forces and was mentioned in despatches while the second son Harold, became a Colonel in the Ghurkha Rifles, winning the Military Cross. The only cricket connection found lies with George's son another John Winthrop Hackett who was in the Cranleigh School XI in 1943, though in the one match of which a score has been seen, he batted at 10 and did not bowl.

Henry Monck - Mason Hackett was living, together with Anna, at George's vicarage in Finchley at the time of his death. A long life of dedicated service brought him little financial reward, his will shows that he left only 114-10s-2d, even in 1933 a far from princely sum.