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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
William Vint
  • Born 30 June 1851 Belfast
  • Died 28 March 1897, Helen's Bay, Co Down
  • Educated RBAI
  • Occupation Chairman of Family Business
  • Debut 22 May 1879 v MCC at Lord's
  • Cap Number 166
  • Style Right-hand bat, wicket keeper
  • Teams Cliftonville, NICC, North Down, Victoria

In 1879,when only days past his nineteenth birthday, William Vint was one of those who founded Enfield Cricket Club, from which Cliftonville was developed. However he left to join NICC and soon established himself as one of the best batsmen in the NCU area. In 1875, he became the first Ulster batsman to pass 1000 in a season with 1028 runs. This was almost repeated in 1878 when he totalled 920 at 34.20. Ironically the highest score of his career had been made against NICC: when he assisted his old school in their annual match with the Club.

These performances gained him selection for Ireland against MCC at Lord's in 1879. With Leland Hone wearing the gauntlets, Vint failed at number 9, after watching the Irish openers David Trotter and Nat Hone put on 166 for the first wicket. Another failure followed against I Zingari; it was to be ten years before he played for Ireland again. He went to Australia in 1880 and remained there for five years. He impressed on the cricket field. Pat Hone claimed that only the great Jack Blackham kept him out of the Australian side. This seems unlikely. In the one match he did play for Victoria, he batted low in the order against South Australia, being dismissed for 0 and 4 by George Giffen. Blackham was not playing but Vint did not keep wicket.

In 1882, he accompanied Billy Murdoch's Third Australians to England as a camp follower. Even when injury reduced them to 10 fit men, he was not called upon. However he wrote his name in Australian cricket history by taking part in the first recorded last wicket stand in Australia. Vint (110*) and R Dixon put on an unbroken 136 in a senior club match in Melbourne.

By 1886, he was back opening the NICC innings and in 1889, at the age of 39 regain his place in the national team -even bowling against Scotland the following year - but he captained NICC to their first ever NCU Cup Final success, defeating Armagh by 8 wickets.

He was also closely involved in the setting up of the first, abortive, Irish Cricket Union in Dublin in 1890. Vint and the other Ulster delegate John Andrews were keen supporters of the idea, which foundered possibly for, political, rather than cricket reasons. The contacts he had forged there probably helped him gain selection for JM Meldon's team that toured USA in 1892. His last matches were his best. He, at last, showed his true form with the bat for Ireland, with good innings against the powerful Philadelphians but it was his glove work that caught the eye. The account of the tour in Lillywhite claims that "American critics" thought him "the quickest and best wicket keeper as yet seen in the United States". He did not play for Ireland, or regularly for NICC, again. He was Chairman of the family firm when he died. His obituary is in Vol 16 of Scores and Biographies.