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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Walter Joseph Synott
  • Born 23 January 1861 Dublin
  • Died 18 October 1924 Glenmore Road, Hampstead
  • Educated Stonyhurst College, Lancashire; Dublin University
  • Occupation Barrister then Solicitor.
  • Debut 30 August 1888 v Canada at Toronto CC, Toronto
  • Cap Number 203
  • Style Right hand bat; slow right arm bowler.
  • Teams Dublin University, Kensington Park CC, Incogniti

Walter Synott came from a long established Anglo-Irish landed family, which claimed descent from Richaied De Clair, aka Strongbow, the first Norman invader of Ireland. Walter probably owed his initial selection for Ireland to having been a Dublin University student in the 1880s, as the team, chosen by JW Hynes, but captained by Dominic Cronin, that toured North America in 1888 was predominantly composed of current or recent members of the University XI. In fact, Walter, who entered the University aged 17, in 1878, never played regularly for the 1st XI, though he was a member of the seconds in 1884 and 1885. He had left the University by the time of the tour and appears to have been playing club cricket in London, but, as another barrister, may well still have been in contact with Hynes. The fact that a number of better known cricketers declined Hynes' invitation may also have helped Walter's selection.

He was not a great success on the tour, either in the matches against odds, or in the six cap matches, two of which were 12 a side and, thus, his figures in them are not included in his statistics on this site.

In the odds matches of which a score has been seen, Walter, generally batting at 10, scored 27 runs, HS 15, at an average of 9.00, though even this paltry achievement was gained only by 5 not out innings. Nor was his bowling much better. He took 7 wickets, though the runs scored off him are not known.

In the first cap match against Canada, in which Ireland gained an easy victory, he failed to score, batting at 10, in the only Irish innings and was not given a bowl. He was dismissed by Dr Edward Ogden, possibly the best cricketer in Canada at the time. Ogden, who had captained Canada on their tour of Britain and Ireland in 1887, scoring 60 v Ireland at Rathmines, was a medium pacer, as well as being a hard hitting left hand bat and capable wicket keeper. Walter did get him out in the match against XVI of Hamilton. Walter was no more successful in the second Canada match, which ended in a draw. He took 0-14 and did not bat.

Crossing into the United States, the team took on a Longwood XII in a cap match. Ireland won by 5 runs, and, it could be argued that Walter made a telling contribution with the bat as his scores were 3 and 2. He again chose a prominent player to lose his wicket too, falling in each innings to "Ike " Saunders, generally regarded as the best cricketer in Boston.

The first match v Philadelphia, finished in dramatic scenes, graphically described in Pat Hone's Cricket in Ireland with the hosts winning by 7 runs. Walter failed to take a wicket in the match and was 0* in the first innings. In the second, with Ireland needing 127, he came in at 10, the score being 104-8. Percy Clark, a fast bowler on the Philadelphian tours of 1897 and 1903, was among the spectators, and, years later, described what happened as Walter joined a young Jack Meldon, who was batting well. "Meldon was missed by Brewster at point through over confidence on an easy chance; the runs came slowly, when Synott jumped into one of Brown's slows and gave Brockie, at silly point, a chance to make one of the greatest catches the old Germantown ground had ever seen." (quoted in Hone Cricket in Ireland) That was 113- 9. Number 11, paceman Tobin, did not long survive and the hosts got home by 7 runs. Francis Brewster was one of the best known American cricketers.

Opening batsman and slow right arm bowler, he was known as a brilliant fieldsman so his drop must have causes great surprise. William Brockie was born in Birkenhead but learned his cricket in the US where he was taken at an early age. He toured his native land in 1884, and was known as a stylish bat and one on America's most brilliant ever fieldsman. It obviously was not Walter's day! He did, however play a prominent part in the 9 wicket victory over a strong All New York side at Staten Island. In the hosts first innings, after Ireland had posted a large score thanks to a century from brilliant Army bat, John Dunn, Walter, having just made a tour best 13* dismissed England all rounder Charles Absolom for a top score 36. In the second innings, Walter and Australian born JP Fitzgerald did the bulk of the bowling, each returning figures of 3-33. Ireland won by 9 wickets and faced the final match, the second Philadelphia match, with some confidence. At the last minute it was decided to play this as a 12 a side match, something which Hynes later regretted agreeing to. Alas, Walter was unable to keep up his new found form. He failed to take a wicket, not bowling in the second innings, when he was ill. This had also prevented him from batting in the first knock. In the second Ireland failed to give Dunn adequate support, and lost by 39 runs, Walter, reverting to type with the bat, made 3.

His final appearance for Ireland was v Scotland at Raeburn Place in 1890, the second match in this long series. He had a better game than usual, but hardly set the Forth on fire. He had one wicket in the Scots first innings, then made 13 and 20 with the bat, Ireland following on. In the first innings he was stumped by the captain Gregor McGregor off HJ Stevenson. McGregor was one of the best wicket keepers in first class cricket at the time, and captained Middlesex for eight years, besides being a Test selector in 1902 and a Scottish rugby international, as was Henry Stevenson, a lob bowler who had a long career for Scotland, as well playing for Ireland v I Zingari in 1889. In his second innings, Walter was out to the bowling of Lanarkshire insurance agent Frank Weir, being caught by Oxford blue, MR Jardine, whose son was to become "the most hated man in Australia!"

Walter did not play for Ireland again, though he played good class club cricket in England, often turning out for the wandering side, Incogniti. In his private life he married the widow of Charles "Corney Grain" Danby, a well-known musical hall performer, though his fame has not survived the passing of time, Unfortunately, Walter's finances were not always what they should have been, and he was declared bankrupt in the early 1890s.. This meant that he had to give up his barrister's practice, though he later practised as a solicitor in London. He must have recovered somewhat financially. When he died at his Hampstead home in 1924, he left 1590 12s 6d (1590.625). More than eighty years ago, that was a far from insubstantial sum.