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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Stuart Campbell Smith
  • Born 19 August 1868 Rathmines, Dublin
  • Educated
  • Occupation Insurance Inspector
  • Debut 15 July 1887 v Canada at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 193
  • Style Left hand bat
  • Teams Leinster; Woodbrook Club and Ground

Stuart Smith - was a free scoring upper order batsman, who often opened the innings. A stylist, who did, however, have a penchant for big hitting, he was unfortunately only able to produce his club form for Ireland on rare occasions. Thus in 29 innings, including the 12-a-side match against I Zingari in 1906 which will not be found in his statistics on this site, he scored only 261 runs at an average of 9.00. He passed 50 on only one occasion and made only eight other double figure scores. He was a brilliant field, normally in the covers. In this area he most certainly did not show a loss of form on the international scene.

For Leinster CC he was a heavy scorer. A tall and rather aristocratic looking figure, he was happiest on the front foot, dominating average bowling and putting mediocre attacks to the sword. In 1892 he headed the Leinster Club averages with 647 runs at 26 and a highest score of 126*, leaving the young Bob Lambert some way behind in terms of both average and aggregate. On Leinster's London tour of 1896 in a match against Pallingswick at Shepherd's Bush, he came in at No 4, after two early wickets had fallen, and raced to 89. The next highest score was 33.

However representative matches usually failed to bring out the best in him. Thus in the trial match held before the 1902 tour of England, Ireland's initial first class venture, he failed twice with 15 and 0 as the "Old Firm" of Harrington and Ross swept their opponents away. Trial is rather a misnomer as eight places had already been filled. A reasonable knock would surely have put Stuart on to the Holyhead mail boat. As it was Jack Meldon, who had emerged from semi retirement to play in the match was selected, though SCS was named as one of two travelling substitutes He did not, however, make the trip. Meldon was an almost total failure and was dropped before the end of the tour.

The press at the time thought that Stuart should have been selected in the first place. His form in "big cricket", however suggests that he would have been no more successful. He did do rather better the following season when Dublin University took on the Gentlemen of Ireland in a match designed to give both sides practice before they each took on WG's London County side. Though weakened by several cry offs, the Gentlemen won by an innings, Stuart at 5, made 29 before being caught at slip by JT Gwynn, another who had failed completely in the previous year's match, off the spin of SH Crawford. Stuart's Irish debut had come against Canada at Rathmines in 1887. This was an extra match arranged because the visitors had been overwhelmed well inside two days. Three of the Irish side stood down, and SCS - presumably because he was, as a Leinster man, on the spot, came in as a substitute. Batting at 10, he made the first of his six ducks for Ireland caught off the fast roundarmer A Gillespie, who played for Canada for over 20 years, and, with 58 wickets was one of the successes of the tour.

In fact Stuart did not score a run for Ireland until his fourth innings when he reached 6. In 1894, however, he was in the side against IZ and opened the batting with Dan Comyn. The weather was perfect and the crowd large but the wicket was unpredictable and both men were unduly subdued. Comyn was soon out but Stuart won high praise for an hour long innings of 19, played at a time when the wicket was at its most difficult. This enabled to post a total of nearly 300, which was enough to secure an innings victory.

He also had a good innings against MCC at Rathmines the following year. The visitors, captained by TC O'Brien, had just lost to Dublin University in the first ever first class match either played in Ireland and the first involving an Irish side. Ireland built a comfortable first innings lead totalling 228 then bowling MCC out for 143, with Bob Lambert and Tom Ross doing the damage. For Ireland the batting stars had been Comyn and SCs whose 30 was the second top score. Opening, he had gone on the attack from the outset, four of his five 4s coming in the first two overs. He was eventually caught behind off the medium pace of JT Hearne, member of a far famed cricket family, who took 3061 first class wickets in a career that included 12 Tests. Unfortunately Ireland collapsed to him in their second innings and MCC had a simple task.

Stuart was one of the few Irish batsmen to make any impression in the IZ match of 1899. This game was, as is related elsewhere in these biographies, ruined by a selection dispute, Phoenix withdrawing their players on the grounds that they did not have sufficient men in the XI. They had six and wanted a seventh! The much weakened Irish side was destroyed by O'Brien who made a brilliant hundred and the bowling of BJT Bosanquet. Inventor of the googly, but then a fast bowler, he made the ball rear alarmingly off a length on the somewhat under prepared Vice Regal wicket, taking 16-102 in the match. Bowled by the destroyer for 12 in the first innings, Stuart went on the attack in the second. He and all rounder Robert Adair put on 50 for the 6th wicket, Stuart benefiting by being dropped at the wicket by William Findlay, future long term MCC Secretary. He was eventually bowled by Bosanquet attempting to drive.

His best match with the bat for Ireland came at The Mardyke five years later, when Cambridge University brought virtually their full side to Ireland to play two matches, the second being played at Rathmines. For the Cork game the selectors appear to have chosen a somewhat experimental side, a number of whom then withdrew. Ultimately only three of the originally chosen team took the field. SCS was among the substitutes as was local man Pascoe Stuart who captained the side. Ireland lost by 5 wickets but good batting by Stuart Smith and George Meldon in the second innings almost saved the day. Opening in the first knock, Stuart Smith fell to the slow right arm of FB Wilson for 11. However, coming in at the fall of the third wicket in the second innings, he batted 75 minutes to make 55, joint top score with Meldon, who, surprisingly was as low as 8 in the order. Stuart hit five 4s and one 6, driving the fast bowler Percy May clean out of the ground. Eventually, though, he fell once again to Wilson. Ireland were back at something like full strength at Rathmines and won by an innings. In another odd selection Stuart was captain. Well down the order he failed with the bat. but had the satisfaction of leading his side to victory.

Apart from a second innings 20 against a poor I Zingari team in the 12-a-sider at Vice Regal - the last match played on the ground - in 1906, Stuart did not make a significant contribution to an Irish match again. He deserves to be remembered, however, for his fluent stroke play and positive attitude to the game.

NB: We would welcome any further details as to his life away from cricket, particularly those concerning his education and date and place of death. A study of various family history websites reveals that, though he is clearly shown in the 1901 and 1911 Census returns as Stuart, he seems to have been registered at birth as Stewart. Another Stuart Campbell Smith appears on family history sites but is some 10 years too young to have been the cricketer. He died in 1936. Both men were married in the Dublin South district in 1909.

The 1911 census reveals that the SC Smith identified as the cricketer was married to Marjorie who was 15 years his junior. At the time of the 1911 census they had an eight month old son Edward Ian Stuart.