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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
John William Hynes
  • Born 1864
  • Died 16 July 1930, Dublin
  • Educated Clongowes Wood College, Dublin University
  • Occupation Barrister later County Court Judge
  • Debut 5 July 1883 v MCC at Lord's
  • Cap Number 174
  • Style Right hand bat, right arm leg breaks.
  • Teams Dublin University, Phoenix, Leinster, Vice Regal XI, Lord Chief Justice's XI

Jack Hynes, a tall man with a prominent moustache, was an outstanding opening batsman at School and University, who, arguably, never quite justified himself in an Irish sweater, though he produced a number of very good performances. He was also a good enough bowler, to be classed as a batting all rounder. A dominant figure at Clongowes, he was then seven years in the University XI from 1883, being captain in 1886 and 1887.

Like many of his contemporaries Hynes benefited greatly from the coaching of the University professional Jesse Richards. References to Richards will be found elsewhere on this site and such was his influence in producing some of Ireland's best batsmen, that it seems appropriate to quote from a vignette of him which appeared in Ernest Ensor's article Irish Cricket, in PF Warner's Imperial Cricket (1913). "Jesse Richards was Lord of College Park for twenty years - a small man with a good conceit of himself, and immense powers of sarcasm, though his higher flights were obscured by the uncouth dialect of rural Nottingham. His life's work was to teach the art of batting on Irish wickets, which meant that his pupils could all play back. His scorn of stylish strokes was perhaps excessive but would that all coaches had the same theory."

Jack scored 10 centuries in all matches, with six being for the First XI, for whom he totalled 3022 runs. His most productive season was 1888 when he scored 589 runs at 58.90.

The highest of his hundreds was a double, 241* v The Dublin Garrison in 1888. This might suggest a reputation as a "flat track bully," as The Irish Times was scornful the "wretched bowling and fielding" of the military. It did concede that Hynes' "fine all round hitting" was the main feature of his innings. He was missed once, when he had already passed 200, his innings remains the highest score made by a University batsman in a First XI fixture. That day rain, as he neared 250, saved the soldiers from further humiliation.

He had previously made a double hundred for the University Long Vacation XI against the touring Bangor side (North Wales not Co Down) in 1884. Bangor had been bowled out for 38, Jack taking 5 wickets. The LVC then reached 329-7 by close. Jack, having gone in first was undefeated on 210, to complete a good day's work. Bangor, who were without several key players, had also been heavily outmatched by Leinster the previous day.

Other notable performances include 115 v Civil Service in his debut season and two centuries in successive seasons v The Curragh Brigade, who were apparently always weak in bowling as several other University men piled up large scores against them over the years. He made 100 v Phoenix in 1886 and a further 134 v Co Meath in the following year, when he and Dominic Cronin (117) shared a big stand. Arguably though, his finest innings were not hundreds. In 1883, after the MCC match at Lord's several of the Irish team were asked to play for MCC v Esher the following day. He accepted as did Walter Johnston and Jack Nunn. All showed good form, with Hynes making 113, while Nunn got 33 and Johnston 29. In 1884 against the Philadelphians, he made 41 and 58 in two splendid knocks, to give the lie to any late Victorian John Bracewell! The long lasting periodical The American Cricketer called him, "The Champion Bat of Ireland."

His leg spin was also most effective. He took 233 wickets for the University, meaning an average haul of 32 a season, with 58 in 12 matches in 1887 his best. He holds one record which, surely, will never be equalled or broken. In 1884, playing for the Lansdowne Club he made the only century recorded at Lansdowne Road. Perhaps, however, his feat will not remain unique. In this day and age of floodlit T20 and six a side tournaments, who knows what use the Aviva Stadium might not be put to."

On leaving University, he did not at first find his legal work as a barrister too taxing. Runs continued to flow from his bat for Phoenix, Leinster and a host of other sides. However the statement in a Dublin newspaper in 1895, that he was nearing his 100th century seems unlikely. It is more probable that the fact that WG reach the coveted target that year caused the Irish media to look for a possible emulator.

He was fortunate that he soon became the "Junior" to "Peter the Packer," aka Lord O'Brien, the Lord Chief Justice. O'Brien, who gained his nickname from his policy of ensuring that juries were always pro government in any trial of a remotely political nature, was no cricketer, but very much part of Dublin society. Thus the LCJ's XI v I Zingari was not only a cricket match but an annual event of high social importance. Whether Jack's duties included organising the make up of juries is unknown to this writer, but he did raise and captain his superior's XI and could no doubt plead that he needed to play constantly to remain in practice. His captaincy of the XI in 1898, when IZ had a really strong side though there was no Irish match, was highly praised by the weekly paper "Sport," which declared, "Mr Hynes is a past master at the art of captaincy. He is probably the best and coolest captain that Ireland has ever had." This view does not always seem to have been shared by the national selectors or by his peers. He was to captain Ireland only twice, winning one and drawing one.

His Irish debut, appropriately at Lord's, came in his first summer of senior cricket. He made 19 and 23 v MCC. He also claimed one wicket, that of Thomas Atwell, brother of William the Test player. Back in Ireland he made 46 v a strong I Zingari side which included two of the Studd brothers and future England captain AG Steel, who dismissed him for 46, second top score to David Trotter's 57. Steel, who wrote the chapter on bowling in the Badminton Library "Cricket" was talented all rounder who bowled either slow medium, or fast, round arm.

In 1887 Hynes set an Irish record for the ninth wicket of 96 with Drummond Hamilton v Canada at Rathmines. Hynes making 31 and Hamilton 62*. It must be said that they were two exceptionally fine batsmen to be batting a 9 and 10 in the order, but with the exception of Tobin, the fast bowler, who was deservedly number 11, the Irish batting was strong and the order could have been reversed without injustice. Ireland won by an innings and the record was to stand until David Dennison and Michael Halliday surpassed it v MCC at Castle Avenue in 1986. Their fame in this match was eclipsed by an unknown Australian called Mark Waugh scoring a hundred in each innings, the first a double!

In 1888 Hynes was responsible for organising the second Irish tour of North America. He had some problems raising a side and it was mostly composed of past or present Dublin University players, only three of the party not being so. It may seem strange therefore that, when a shipboard election for Captain was held, Dominic Cronin was chosen, rather than Hynes who had, as we have seen captained the University, in 1886 and 1887. Hynes however did not react in the way in which almost 120 years later some feared a leading Test all rounder might have done!

He was the success of the tour, whereas Cronin, though hailed for his captaincy, was an almost complete failure with the bat. Hynes scored over 500 runs in all matches, including the non cap odds games, besides taking more than 60 wickets, his leg spin proving troublesome to all but the best batsmen. He had a fine all round match against an Ottawa XV scoring 61 and taking 16 of their 28 wickets. He also dominated the first match v Canada with 62, as opener. Then, opening the bowling also, obtained match figures of 8-39, to allow Ireland win in two days. The standard of cricket, in the cap matches, in the USA was much higher and Jack found the going harder. Nevertheless he took 11-61 v Longwood, in a match that will not be found in his statistics on this site as it involved more than 11 a side. His best innings in the States, indeed his best, though not highest, of the tour was 72, in the first innings of the first Philadelphia match.

Ireland lost this by 7 runs with an inebriated number 11 at the wicket. It s a pity that Hynes' form deserted him in the second innings when he gave a return catch to WS Lowry, a skilful slow left armer, who took 35 wickets at 7.51 in 5 matches for USA v Canada. In the last match of the tour- a 12 a side cap match v Philadelphia, Hynes, who considered it a mistake to have played 12 as Ireland's last player "was something of a passenger" failed to make a telling contribution with bat or ball. Perhaps it is unfair to blame him after a triumphant our, but the 39 run defeat might have been avoided had he performed in one discipline.

He was back in North America again with Jack Meldon's team in the autumn of 1892, he and the captain being the only survivors of the previous expedition. On this occasion he was not so successful managing only 182 runs in all matches at 15 and taking 20 wickets. However the leading bat on the tour, the left handed opener MW Gavin made only 227 at 25.80. Hynes did, on this occasion performs in a vital match with Philadelphia. He took 5-23 and 3-50 as Ireland won by 127 runs, Gavin (90*) and Meldon (81) having set a target. Hynes also had 33 and 27 in the final, drawn, match against the hosts.

He continued playing for Ireland until 1896, saving his highest innings for his penultimate tour, again under Jack Meldon's captaincy, in England in 1893. Against Combined Services at Portsmouth, in a drawn two day match, he came in at 7 with the basis for a big score already on the board. Together with Dan Comyn, he added 114 for the 6th wicket before being caught and bowled for 91 by Sir Reginald Arbuthnot, who, despite sounding like a character from a Conan Doyle novel, played two first class matches for Kent nine years apart and was not known as a bowler.

Four days later Ireland had an innings win over WH Laverton's XI at Westbury. Again Hynes was able to come in with a healthy score on the board to join Comyn. When the Glaswegian was out at 270-5, Bob Lambert, who had not been injured in the match, joined him with a runner. No doubt the laws were relaxed as Ireland only had 11 players in their party, LH Gwynn and D Rutledge having not been able to travel. Lambert destroyed the bowling, Hynes playing second fiddle in a partnership of 163 for the sixth. Missed once, he hit 9 fours but just failed to get his hundred, being bowled by Laverton's professional, Newman, for 97. His last match for Ireland saw him bat far down the order v MCC, a very weak side, at Rathmines in 1896. Ireland's innings win was obtained with some ease. Hynes did not bowl as two other spinners, Lambert, with off breaks, and Blayney "Bud" Hamilton, a classic slow left armer, ran through the visitors twice.

Though Jack was only 32 that year, his legal work became increasingly demanding, even with an accommodating Chief. He developed into a skilful advocate and was made a KC in 1913. In 1916, he became a County Court Judge in Cork. There is no doubt where his heart still lay. His last Who's Who entry contains more references to cricket than the law, and the game is the only recreation that he listed. Jack Hynes is deservedly featured in Siggins and Fitzgerald "Ireland's 100 Cricket Greats.

I am indebted to Gerard Siggins and Malachy Clerkin Lansdowne Road - The Stadium, The Matches, The Greatest Days for the details of Jack's innings at Lansdowne Road.