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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
John Griffiths Price
  • Born 1827
  • Died Unknown
  • Occupation Army Officer
  • Debut 4 August 1856 v United England XI at Phoenix C
  • Cap Number 23
  • Style Batting hand unknown, slow round arm
  • Teams Phoenix, Gentlemen of Dublin, Gentlemen of England

John Price was a useful roundarmer but, apparently, a somewhat negligible batsman, at least against bowling of any quality. His Irish connection was purely a military one, he had been commissioned Cornet (equivalent to Second Lieutenant) in 1827, and, his captaincy in 1853, though whether this was by purchase or military ability is unknown.

He was, however, cricketer of some ability and was welcomed into the Phoenix side, as were many others of military rank. His performances for them gained him selection for the Gentlemen of Dublin in two matches against the Players of Dublin in 1853. These games, inaugurated by Charles Lawrence in imitation of the contests at Lord's and elsewhere in England, were mismatches as the Gentlemen could select the cream of Dublin cricket, whereas the Players, apart from Lawrence and fellow professional Pat Doyle, a first-rate all-rounder, had to rely on soldiers of the garrison.

However, John's contributions to two innings victories were slight indeed. In the first match fell to Lawrence for a duck and failed to take a wicket while in the second he took a wicket but again fell to Lawrence for - to borrow the language of the time - " the dreaded cypher."

Later in the same summer he was in the Phoenix XXII which took on the mighty United England XI, established by John Wisden still a decade away from making his lasting contribution to cricket, and John Lillywhite as they felt that the All England XI was run to much in the financial interests of its captain the one-eyed bricklayer William Clarke. Phoenix batted first and amassed an impressive 202, owing much to Doyle and the captain JN Coddington, and little to John who was caught by Lillywhite off Kent all-rounder Tom Adams for his usual score! The visitors then collapsed twice against the bowling of Lawrence, who bowled either fast roundarm or slow lobs. to give Phoenix a memorable victory.

On this occasion John did justify his place with three second innings wickets, including Wisden who, though primarily a fast bowler, was also a very good batsman. The following summer Phoenix again recorded a notable victory over the United men with the batting of Doyle and bowling of Lawrence being the main causes of their success. John failed to take a wicket. No prizes are offered for guessing his score.

The following year, 1855, he was member - as a late replacement - of the Gentlemen of England side which played Ireland at Phoenix in what is now regarded as the first official Irish match. Opening the bowling John had the upper order wickets of Robert Cook and Joseph McCormick when Ireland batted first and were dismissed for 90. However, the visitors were able to make little of the bowling of McCormick and Tom Quinn, ironically a Vice Regal Lodge employee and were dismissed for 47. Batting at 9 John made 7*, which was joint second topscore. Only William Nicholson, one of the most powerful figures at Lord's at the time, with 27 managed to cope with the bowling. John failed to take a wicket in Ireland's second innings of 105 but was undefeated on 2 when his side collapsed again leaving Ireland victorious by 105 runs.

The following year "England" again lost to Ireland before, reinventing themselves as MCC they played a Vice Regal Lodge XVI for whom John turned out. However, he made little impact being dismissed for 0 and 5 by McCormick who had also "changed sides" and failing to take a wicket.

Early September saw him play his one match for Ireland against his old foes the United England XI again at Phoenix. The Park was clearly an unhappy hunting ground for Wisden and Lillywhite as they lost by 6 runs. John, however, had a somewhat strange match. When Ireland, batting 18 though 15 had been previously agreed, he came in "one above the roller" and made 3 before being bowled by Lillywhite as Ireland totalled 116. He then bowled accurately to take 2-17 from 21 four ball overs. His victims were both well-known players "Jemmy" Grundy and William Martingell. Grundy a fast bowling all-rounder would later play one match for Ireland v MCC at Lord's in 1862. However, John then disappears from the match. He is recorded as Absent in Ireland's second innings and did not bowl as the visitors fell 6 runs short of a 64 run target. No explanation is offered in the press of the time as to where he was.

That match marked, in my opinion, John's final appearance in a major match in Ireland. A player shown simply as Price played for Dublin v Lawrence's United Ireland side in 1858, batted low in the order and did not bowl. Apart from his batting position, there is no evidence to suggest that this was John. By this time his regiment was in India so he may well have been involved in the fighting of the Indian Mutiny.