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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
John Frederick Adair
  • Born 20 January 1852, Ballsbridge Dublin
  • Died 1 April 1913, Ballsbridge Dublin
  • Educated Mr Sharfer's, Dublin University, Pembroke College, Cambridge University
  • Occupation Barrister, Schoolmaster then University Academic
  • Debut 5 July 1883 v MCC at Lord's
  • Cap Number 172
  • Style Right-hand bat, wicket keeper
  • Teams Dublin University, England XI, Cambridge University

Privately educated in Ireland, John Adair was four years in the Dublin University XI, at a time of growing strength for cricket there. The Professional XIs from England, were regular visitors and, against odds, were not always successful. Adair was a useful batsman, though his sole recorded century was in 1872 for the Second XI against Drogheda Grammar School. Even if the School were, as was common practice then, strengthened by several adults, the opposition was probably not very taxing. He must have been held in good repute by his peers was he was elected captain of the University XI in 1874, his last year. The side included players such as David Trotter and J Byrne, as well as future Gloucestershire batsman John Kerr-Fox.

Adair's academic career had been distinguished, being a Scholar, he then entered Pembroke College, Cambridge and became one there also. He appears at this stage to have been reading Law; certainly he was called to the bar in 1881. His academic career had another twist to come. As far as cricket was concerned, he appeared in two first class matches while at Cambridge. For an England XI against the University at Fenners in 1875, his first summer there, he made 14* in a drawn match. He also held one catch off WG Grace who took 6-39. Six weeks later Adair had a game for the University against MCC. He was not unsuccessful, scoring 17 and making a catch. He possibly owed his two matches for Ireland to the fact that he was in England at the time. In two matches, against MCC and the Aldershot Division, he totalled 27 runs from three innings and made three catches. He appears to have kept wicket for at least part of the time, seemingly sharing the duty with AJ Fleming and Leland Hone.

That was the end of his major cricket: however he had other prospects opening up for him. He taught briefly at Derby School, before becoming a Fellow of Pembroke and, as has been mentioned was called to the Bar. He then went to Australia and took up an appointment as a demonstrator in Physics at Sydney University. This was a rather more important post than the title suggests, though why Adair decided to emigrate, having seemingly changed disciplines, is a mystery. He co-authored several research papers in Physics in the late 1880s, which are to be found amongst the proceedings of The Royal Society. However in the early 1890s, he returned to Ireland and resumed his career at The Bar. Still in practice at the time of his death, he was unmarried.