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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
E Walshe
  • Born
  • Occupation
  • Debut 22 August 1876 v I Zingari at Vice Regal Ground, Phoenix park
  • Cap Number 156
  • Style Right-hand bat, slow right arm
  • Teams Phoenix, Leinster

E Walshe was a useful all round cricketer but unfortunately it has proved impossible to discover many details of his life outside cricket. He is, therefore, referred to as EW throughout this biographical note and we would be very pleased to hear from anyone who can supply - or help to supply - any of the missing information.

Though EW was a Phoenix player, he played several important matches for Leinster. As these were against major opposition it is safe to presume that he was appearing as a guest. He is not included in the Leinster Club's list of irish Internationals. The first of these was in 1874 when XXII of Leinster played host to the United South of England XI, one of the several travelling elevens of the time but also a means of raising money for those leading examples of shamateurism, the Grace brothers. The visitors included WG and his younger brother Fred as well as the XI's manager, James Lillywhite, jnr, a bowler renowned for his accuracy, who, three years later would captain an England side in what has become known as the first of all Test Matches. Leinster made 245, with Lillywhite taking 6 wickets and Fred 5. There were several good innings, but EW did not contribute one of them. He was caught and bowled by WG for 4, coming in at No 17.. WG (154) and Fred (103) then took the hosts' bowling apart, but Leinster were able to play out time when they batted again.

Two years later the Rathmines club fielded an XVIII, this time against powerful professional opposition in the form of the Yorkshire United XI, who were bowled out for 65 after winning the toss. However the XVIII fared even worse being dismissed for four runs less, with the pace bowler Robert Clayton, who on his day could look one of the most formidable fast bowlers in first class cricket. However as his Wisden obituary noted, "It cannot be said that he ever fulfilled his promise." This, however, was one of his days. He took 9 wickets including that of EW whom he had caught by fellow paceman, the legendary Tom Emmett for 0. In the visitors second innings of 116 EW took the wicket of Ephraim Lockwood, one of the county's best batsmen, for 22. Leinster were routed by Clayton and the fast roundarmer Allen Hill in their second innings, the latter who would join Lillywhite in the inaugural Test, bowling EW for 5.

However EW's Irish debut came later that summer, when he played an important part in securing a draw against I Zingari at the Vice Regal Ground. Batting first the visitors ran up a useful 278, thanks largely to a fourth wicket stand between the two Oxonians WH Hadow and RAH Mitchell. Hadow, who also played for Middlesex, was one of seven cricketing brothers and the best of them, while Mitchell would probably have gone far in the game had he not devoted his life to teaching at Eton, where he produced many outstanding cricketers. EW sent down 22.1 four ball overs, taking 2-27, the wickets of Lord Willoughby de Broke, a frequent visitor to Ireland with I Zingari teams but not much of a cricketer. and slow lob bowler Charles Eccles. EW gave valuable support to DN Neill who bowled 70 overs to take 6-121. The Lord Lieutenant's Chaplain James Byrne, a lethal bowler in this fixture in previous years, took only one wicket. Ireland were then dismissed for 101, the bowling of Eton captain Walter Forbes and William Middleton. Forbes, later an Oxford Blue, was good fast bowler who, earlier that year, had thrown a cricket ball 132 yards. Middleton, unrelated as far as I am aware to some other better known bearers of his surname, was a highly regarded amateur jockey who unfortunately was to die after a fall in a point to point 16 years later. However EW, at 11, escaped both their clutches finishing undefeated on 14, having added 27 for the last wicket with Byrne.

Ireland had to follow on but did much better, reaching their then highest score of 382. This was largely due to a fine undefeated century, the first for Ireland, by Frank Kempster but he would never have got there without sterling help from EW. They put on 38 for the last wicket with EW making 20. IZ needed 206 to win but finished on 170-7, EW having helped keep their score in check with 2-40. He again disposed of de Broke and also Charles Hoare, a useful batsman who had made five appearances in county cricket.

After this match EW was again in the Leinster side, this time against the Vice Regal XI which included several of the IZ team. However he made little contribution failing to take a wicket and falling to Forbes in both innings.

EW retained his place in the Irish side for the IZ match the following season. This again proved to be one of historical importance. Batting first Ireland were dismissed for 135, the pace of Charles Francis, an Oxford Blue who never lived up to his high reputation gained at Rugby School, proving too much for most batsmen. EW, however, batting at 8, was dismissed by the more gentle medium pace underarm of Arthur Ridley another old Oxford Blue. However IZ fared no better being bowled out for 99 with Neill and the fast underarmer from Ulster CC, Tom Hanna sweeping all before them. However Ireland collapsed again, leaving their visitors only 108 to win. Hanna, however, took a hand in the most dramatic fashion, finishing the match with a hat trick to see Ireland home by 23 runs. This was the first hat trick to be achieved for Ireland and stood as the only one until Trent Johnston's against Gloucestershire at Castle Avenue 130 years later.

E Walshe, who had 0-10 amid the second innings carnage, was not to play for Ireland again. He had, however, taken part in two matches which have a never to be forgotten place in our cricket history.