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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Arthur Knight Wallis
  • Born 4 January 1868, St John's, Donnycarney, Dublin
  • Died 27 November 1905, Dublin
  • Educated Dublin University
  • Occupation Doctor
  • Debut 25 July 1894 v I Zingari at Phoenix CC, Phoenix Park
  • Cap Number 225
  • Style Batting hand unknown, slow right arm bowler.
  • Teams Dublin University.

Arthur Wallis was a useful slow bowler, who had the knack of taking important wickets, but a negligible tail end batsman. He entered Dublin University in 1887, but was not a regular member of the XI until 1894, in which year he also made his only appearances for Ireland. His first important match, that season, was for the University against Gloucestershire in College Park, a match in which the home side was heavily defeated. It was a disappointing and poorly attended match, with WG Grace being "farmed" out for 44, for once hoist with his own petard. Wallis made 2, caught off WG and 0, but took 2-76 getting the wickets of Harry Wrathall, a "powerful opening batsman" and the amateur fast bowling all rounder Arthur Newnham, who was well known in Indian cricket at the time.

Wallis also failed to make much impression, appearing for the University Past and Present XI v the South African tourists. They were a weak side heavily troubled by financial problems, particularly on the Irish leg of their tour. He failed again as a batsman, with 0 and 1, though he was not alone among his colleagues in finding the pace of the 1894 University captain, CL Johnson too much for him. Bowling, he failed to halt the visitors march to victory, but had two good wickets. These were Cyril Sewell, who stayed in England after the tour to become a distinguished Gloucestershire batsman and, eventually, captain, and Frank Hearne, who played one match for Ireland, besides playing Test Cricket for England and South Africa, caught behind by Frank Browning for a duck. These wickets gave Arthur respectable figures of 14-8-21-2. The University were on almost level terms after the first innings, but then collapsed to their former skipper.

In 1895, the University played four first class matches, the first so designated to involve an Irish side. Wallis played in two matches v Cambridge and one v Leicestershire. His batting was, predictably, poor and his 6 wickets were taken at 53.17. In the first Cambridge match, at Fenner's, he took 3-110, including the worthwhile wickets of the Druce brothers, as the University, despite brilliant batting by Lucius Gwynn, went down to a heavy innings defeat. Nor was Wallis any more successful at Leicester where Gwynn made another century, but the County won by 126 runs. He had two wickets in the match, including the second innings scalp of Albert Knight for 81. Knight was a deeply religious man who used to pray for success before each innings. Perhaps he forgot to ask for the extra 19 this time! The final match was the home fixture with Cambridge. Rain was needed to save the hosts from defeat, though Arthur Gwynn made a century, but Wallis, with figures of 1-108, made little impression. However his wicket was, again, a good one, that of Frank Mitchell a remarkable all round sportsman who played two Tests for England in South Africa on the 1898/99 tour, then captained South Africa in the ill-fated Triangular Tournament of 1912. He gained blues for Cricket, Rugby and Athletics, also winning England Rugby caps and being a well-known amateur goal keeper.

Arthur's two matches for Ireland showed the same traits, useful bowling but batting of the ferret class, i.e. he went in after the rabbits. Both matches were played in 1894. He made his debut as late replacement v I Zingari in July at Phoenix. This match also saw the debut of everlasting off spinner Bill Harrington, whose career was to span 27 years. Consistent batting saw Ireland reach 296 (Wallis 0* at 11) before "Bud" Hamilton destroyed a poor IZ batting line up with match figures of 12-109. Arthur had one wicket in the match, holding a return catches from GJ Mordaunt. a perennial in these matches, a useful batsman who was to captain Oxford the following season and have a highest first class score of 264*. The following week Wallis was in the side which played South Africa at Rathmines, just before the University match described above. Ireland were easily defeated with their former team mate, Clem Johnson, shining as a batsman, with a brilliant 79. Wallis had 2-34 in the first innings, including Sewell stumped by Browning. As a batsman, Arthur failed again with 0, the last of a 3/0 spell by Johnson and 1.

He was rather better known as a Rugby player. He played for the University for several seasons and gained five Irish caps, in the pack, in the, then, Four Nations, in the 1891/2 and 1892/3 seasons. Unfortunately four of these matches were lost, though the 9-0 victory over Wales in 1893, must have given him pleasure.

He was only 37 when he died. Early death caught up with several Irish players of his era. The Gwynn brothers predeceased him, while the Grim Reaper was soon to claim Clem Johnson. Eleven years later, though no longer a young man, Frank Browning still had years of life ahead of him, when he became the only first class cricketer to die in the Easter Rising of 1916.

+ The IRFU and Scrum.com websites show Wallis' date of birth as 1 July 1868. Here the date established in cricket records has been used. We would welcome any definite clarification on this matter.