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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Henry James Stevenson
  • Born 12 July 1867, Stockbridge, Edinburgh
  • Died 8 August 1945, Corstorphine, Edinburgh
  • Educated Edinburgh Academy, Edinburgh University
  • Occupation Solicitor, Insurance Manager
  • Debut 21 August 1889 v I Zingari at Phoenix CC
  • Cap Number 206
  • Style Right-hand bat, slow underarm
  • Teams Edinburgh Academicals, Scotland, MCC, NICC, PF Warner's XI

Henry Stevenson was one of three Scottish Internationals to play for Ireland though the other two, David Duff and the well-known batsman JS Russel, only appeared in odds matches. Stevenson was a fine all round sportsman. On the cricket field, he was normally an upper order batsman with a good array of shots as well as being an accurate slow underarm bowler. He was also an excellent Rugby footballer, making 15 appearances for Scotland between 1888 and 1893, mostly at full back but also in the centre. He scored two drop goals, one each against Wales and Ireland.

For Scotland he played 19 matches scoring 327 runs at 10.55 and taking 31 wickets at 27.94. His best all round match was near the end of his career in 1903 v Gilbert Jessop's XI, when he made his highest score, 49, and took 6 wickets in the match. These included Jessop himself, a notable scalp, and the highly eccentric Gerry Weigall, who, though he talked one of the best games in first class cricket, was a correct batsman, hard to remove. Henry also had 3 wickets in an innings v the famous Australian side of 1902, claiming the worthwhile wickets of opener Reggie Duf, and long serving bat Sid Gregory, as well as that of Ernie Jones, a larger than life fast bowler, famous for bowling a ball through WG's beard, and for being possibly the only Test Cricketer to be a "bin man" by profession! Stevenson's best bowling figures were 4-43 v Yorkshire in 1888, his wickets including Ephraim "Mary Anne" Lockwood and Ted Wainwright, two top class all rounders. The latter made famous by Neville Cardus, who, as a young man, was Assistant Professional to him at Shrewsbury School.

Work took Henry to Belfast in the late 1880s where he followed Russel in playing for NICC. He was picked for Ireland v I Zingari at the Phoenix Ground in 1889. Rain almost wiped out the first day, so that IZ suggested postponing play until the next day and adding a further one. Ireland could not accommodate them as Stevenson and wicket keeper William Vint had to return to Belfast after two days. Thus there was never much chance of a result though the hosts were given a fright. Stevenson took one wicket in the IZ innings that of their opener WC Bridgeman, his most well known victim for reasons other than cricket. Bridgeman, later made a peer was to be Home Secretary and First Lord of the Admiralty in the 1920s, besides being President of MCC. Ireland collapsed in their first innings against HG Tylecote and Frank Cobden, hero of the University match of 1870, who now owned a hotel, which still bears his name, in Corwen North Wales, Stevenson making only 1. Ireland followed on and lost quick wickets, but Stevenson, 15*, batted out time to save the match.

He never played for Ireland again but continued to play for Scotland until 1905. He also appeared in 5 first class matches, with limited success. He totalled 105 runs at 11.55 and took 4/67. His best first class bowling was for HDG Leveson - Gower's XI at Oxford in 1902, when he captured 3 University wickets for 77. Almost two thirds of his runs were scored in one match for Plum Warner's team against the 1903 Philadelphians at The Oval. With 33 in the first innings and 35 in the second, he met the swing of Bart King with great resolution. Another member of the American side was batsman Eddie Cregar, a long time member of USA teams v Canada. His son was Laird Cregar, the actor, whose black and white 1940s B movies still sometimes appear on our TV screens.

Henry James Stevenson's obituary appeared in Wisden 1946. His nephew AJ Stevenson played several matches for Scotland in the 1920s.