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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Reverend Francis Cole Lowry Hamilton
  • Born 24 June 1869 Dundrum, Co Dublin
  • Died 16 December 1938 Wicklow
  • Educated Hailebury, Hertfordshire; Durham University; Wells Theological College
  • Occupation Schoolmaster then Anglican Clergyman.
  • Debut 06 August 1888 v Scotland at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 197
  • Style Right-hand bat.
  • Teams Durham University, Durham CCC, Leinster, Dundrum, Cheshire CCC, Vice Regal XI.

Lowry Hamilton, often known by the nickname of 'Smoucher', was one of three brothers who played cricket for Ireland. He followed his elder brother, the better known WD Hamilton into the Irish XI, in which he was later joined by his younger brother Blayney. Another, Willoughby won Wimbledon in 1890. There were a further two, elder brothers, one of whom played cricket for Dublin University. Lowry was a good opening batsman who was three seasons in the Hailebury XI from 1885. In his final year he captained the XI, averaging 55 with the bat.

The previous season he had shown his class with scores of 71 v Uppingham and 65 v the powerful London club side Kensington Park. He also distinguished himself as a Rugby player, and, following in the footsteps of his brother Drummond (WD) was a successful athlete, being particularly successful as a hurdler, and as a singer. In this discipline, he was, like Drummond a tenor, though he never achieved such distinction as his sibling. Going to Durham University, he captained both the 1st XI and 1st XV with success and also played cricket for the County in 1889 and 1890. He then joined the teaching profession at Bengeo in Hertfordshire, but, having decided that his vocation lay in the ministry, entered Wells Theological College in Somerset in 1893.

Holidays from University, school teaching or College enabled him to appear with some regularity in Irish cricket in the late 80s and early 90s. He played four times for the national side, but it has to be said that he was far from successful. His best match was his first: the Scotland match of 1888. Played at Rathmines, this was an historic fixture, being the first in which the two teams played each other. Ireland won a low scoring match by an innings and 26 runs with Lowry contributing an undefeated 13 at 10. Thereafter he was never to reach double figures for Ireland. His three remaining matches were all v I Zingari and brought him scores of 0, 1, 0, 1. For an undoubtedly talented player these figures border on the inexplicable. That he had the ability to succeed at this level is clearly shown by his performance in a match in 1897.

That year, and the following season, there was no match between IZ and Ireland. In part this was due to the weakness of the IZ team of 1896 which had been destroyed by the batting of Dan Comyn and Drummond Hamilton and had been denounced by 'The Irish Times' as "holiday makers." Thus the main matches the visitors played were against the Vice Regal XI or a side raised by Jack Hynes for The Lord Chief Justice. For the former XI in 1897, Lowry, opening the batting, made a well received 86 in 2 hours with three 4s and no fewer than sixteen 3s. The match was severely curtailed by rain and each side only managed one innings. However the home batting struggled; apart from Lowry, only Lucius Gwynn (54) looked confident. They added 83 for the third wicket, easily the largest partnership of the match.

Ordination in 1894 saw Lowry take up a curacy in Cheshire. He was to hold a variety of posts in this county until 1932, apart from war service as a Chaplain to the Forces 1915-16. He became a Canon and Rural Dean, but eventually returned to Ireland as Rector of Cellbridge in Co Kildare in 1932. His Cheshire appointments gave him a qualification for that County for whom he appeared, somewhat spasmodically, between 1895 and 1910. He was captain in his final two seasons. He began with a score of 8, batting at 6, against Staffordshire at Stockport in 1895, the only match he played in that season.

Not all the scorecards of matches in which he was involved have been seen by this writer, but those examined suggest that his contributions, while a significant improvement on those he made to the Irish cause, were, in the main useful, but hardly outstanding. Thus he had 23 and 10 v Northumberland at Jesmond in 1909 in a drawn match and 14 and 23 against Durham later that year in a match lost by 82 runs. His 14 being one of only three double figure scores in the first innings. In his last season he contributed 1 and 27* v Nottinghamshire 2nd XI at Trent Bridge. The hosts, who lost only one wicket, won by an innings with a teenage Arthur Carr, a future England captain, making an undefeated 102, probably the most dramatic match in which ' Smoucher' appeared for his County was against Staffordshire in 1909. The captain must have felt that his side had done well to dismiss their powerful opponents for 151, before disaster struck. This was in the shape of SF Barnes, probably, how he would have disputed the qualifying word, the greatest bowler in the World at the time. Barnes, who was shortly to destroy South Africa and Australia on their home grounds, preferred to play League cricket because the work was less and the money more than in the county game. Thus he was available for Staffordshire. He bowled Cheshire out for 29 and 14 with match figures of 19.5 - 11 - 13 - 14! Lowry's scores were those achieved by a number of his team-mates, but, at least, Barnes only got him once.

In 1898 Lowry married Minna, daughter of George Kinahan, who had played for Ireland in the first official match in 1855. This marriage further united the families as his elder brother Drummond had married Minna's sister Alice in 1891.

I am much indebted to Mr Toby Parker, Hailebury Archivist, for his help in providing some vital information for the above biography.