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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Septimus Drummond Lambert
  • Born 3 August 1876 Rathmines, Dublin
  • Died 21 August 1959, Dublin
  • Educated Rathmines School; St John's College, Preston; Dublin University
  • Occupation Solicitor.
  • Debut 20 August 1896 v I Zingari at Phoenix CC Phoenix Park, Dublin
  • Cap Number 234
  • Style Right-hand bat; wicket keeper.
  • Teams Dublin University.

Sep Lambert was a fine all round cricketer. Tall and slim, he was a stylish batsman who often opened the innings and, according to the periodical 'Cricket' in 1902 was a "more finished player", than his elder brother Bob. He was also a very good wicket keeper, even if a contemporary description of him as, "one of the best wicket keepers who ever stood behind the stumps", is slightly overdone! The presence of Arthur Gwynn in his first years in the University XI and of Frank Browning in the Irish side, to say nothing of David Milling for Leinster, meant that he was not always to be seen as a gloveman. However, as the late Sean Pender wrote in 'Leinster Cricket Club 1852-1977', "he stood out as a brilliant outfielder, who could throw the ball over 100 yards with deadly accuracy and precision."

He began his cricket at Rathmines School, always a fine nursery for Irish cricketers numbering - in its somewhat brief existence - not only the Lambert brothers, but also players such as David Trotter, CR Fausset and Jack Brunskill amongst its alumni. Sep followed Bob in completing his secondary education at St John's College, Preston, before entering Dublin University in 1896 and going straight into the XI that summer. He was to remain a fixture in the side until he left the University at the conclusion of the 1902 season. He was captain in his penultimate year.

His best season statistically was 1897 when he headed the averages, with three Gwynns behind him, besides scoring 197* against his own Leinster team-mates. He also did well for that club on their English tour, scoring 91 v MCC on a difficult Lord's wicket. The previous season, in what appears to have been an internal Leinster match, he had gone in first and been last out for 75 out of a total of 86, with nine of his colleagues failing to score.

His highest score for the University was 204* against a Phoenix attack led by Tom Ross in 1899. He also hit three hundreds the following season. One was against the perennial whipping boys, the Curragh Brigade, but he also made 118 v Phoenix and 113 v Leinster. In 1901 he hit 102 for Leinster v Pembroke, overshadowing brother Bob in a century stand.

He made 12 appearances for the University XI in three day matches v first class opposition. He scored 398 runs at 18.09, but had several good matches. In 1900 v MCC in a 12-a-sider at College Park, he (53) and Robin Gwynn (31) were the only two batsmen to cope with the left arm spin of Somerset man Beaumont Cranfield as the hosts collapsed for 151. Cranfield, who returned figures of 25 - 14 - 26 - 9, was a fine bowler who took 100 wickets in a season three times, before in 1909 he contracted pneumonia watching a football match and died aged only 35. Sep failed in the second innings but Gwynn again stood firm, well supported by Fausset and the match was drawn. Many worse players have appeared for Ireland than Charlie Fausset who was a sound and courageous opening batsman and died in action in 1915.

Later in 1900, the University toured England playing Gloucestershire at Bristol and Warwickshire at Edgbaston. In the former match, despite fielding two Lamberts, Sep being joined by his younger brother William, a useful leg spinner, and four Gwynns, they were overwhelmed. Three county batsmen made hundreds including the "Croucher," Gilbert Jessop, himself. However Sep did not have a bad match, He made 28, at number 1, highest score in the second innings, before being leg before to the multi talented sportsman WSA Brown. He also shared wicket keeping duties with Frank Browning, who had left University, but had come on tour to stiffen the batting. Each made a stumping, Sep disposing of left armer, EJ Spry off the occasional leg spin of Jack Gwynn, youngest of the brothers.

Moving on to Birmingham, the visitors did much better, going down by only three wickets, the difference between the sides being the pace bowling of Frank Field, whose second innings return of 5-4-4-4, was too much for the University batsmen. In the first innings they had posted 254 with Sep getting a personal best in these matches of 57. He also had a fair match v Oxford in College Park the following season, the year of his captaincy. He did little in the other major matches v Cambridge and the South Africans, but was second top score in both innings v the Dark Blues with 37 and 30 at 1. The top men were WS Caldwell with 86 in the first and Jack Gwynn with 84 in the second. Caldwell became a Church of England clergyman and played with some success for Worcestershire for a number of years, a appearing in Minor County cricket for Cheshire and Oxfordshire.

Sep's last appearance in a match of this nature was in 1905. Though he had left the University three years previously, he returned to College Park as one of the University Past and Present XI which played the Australian tourists as the University authorities would not allow the Park to be used for a representative Irish match. In company with most of his team mates Sep found the Australian bowling too formidable. he fell to the medium pace off spin of the great all rounder Monty Noble in the first innings for 7 and was bowled by the less vaunted Reggie Duff, better known as opening partner of the 'incomparable Victor Trumper' in the second. Only Browning, and to a lesser extent Fausset and future bishop Tom Harvey faced the tourists attack with lasting confidence.

Sep's figures for Ireland must be classed as somewhat disappointing for a batsman of such obvious class. Those shown on this site do not include his scores in the 12-a-side match v I Zingari match of 1906. However, though he top scored in Ireland's first innings in this game, the abiding impression left is one of under achievement.

He began well enough with two matches against IZ. In 1896, on debut, he opened the batting with Dan Comyn and put on 57, before falling for 22. Comyn, aided by Bob and by Drummond Hamilton, went on to destroy the Zingaros bowling, setting up a comfortable innings victory. Though the visitors bowling were weak, Sep could take heart from having seen off the distinctly pacey AH Evans, who had troubled Irish batsmen in previous matches. In 1899, it was the hosts who were weak, a selection dispute having seen Phoenix withdraw their 6 players from the team because they were not allowed to include a seventh. Ireland were outclassed by the brilliant hitting of Sir Timothy O'Brien, an Irish resident by this time but still three years from being an Irish player, and the bowling of Bernard Bosanquet, progenitor of the googly, but then simply a good county fast bowler. O'Brien scored 121 in even times and Bosanquet had 17 wickets in the match for 102. In all this carnage Sep stood out with a brilliant first innings 46, made out of 60 while he was at the wicket. He failed in the second innings as Ireland slumped to a rather humiliating defeat.

Though he captained the University v the 1901 South Africans, he missed the Irish match as most of the other clubs now took their turn to withdraw players, in protest against Phoenix organising the match.

Interestingly Sep stood down as a member of Leinster; DUCC had no quarrel with the organisers. He was thus a mirror image of Bill Harrington, who played, despite being a member of Leinster, because his other club, Co Kildare was not involved in the dispute. In 1902, through the intervention of Lord Cadogan, the Lord Lieutenant, the dispute was healed and Ireland made their inaugural first class tour of England. Four matches were played, O'Brien being captain. Sep did not have a particularly distinguished match in the Trial in College Park in April, but he was an automatic choice for the tour. He shared the wicket keeping duties with Frank Browning and had two good matches with the bat. In the opening match v WG's London County side at Crystal Palace he made a brace of twenties, commendable innings on a drying wicket. They helped the visitors to gain a big advantage and allowed Tom Ross and Bill Harrington bowl Ireland to a memorable victory.

Like most of his team-mates, he could make little of a strong MCC attack on an atrocious wicket at Lord's, rain, never far away, saved Ireland in the end. His best innings came in the penultimate match v Oxford in The Parks, where, despite a magnificent 169 by O'Brien, Ireland fell short in an epic run chase. However they would have never been in this position without a sterling 60* from Sep. Batting at 6, he came in at 49-4 with the visitors staring down the barrel of follow on and innings defeat. He added 57 with Bob, before the latter was out with one needed to make the hosts bat again. That achieved, Sep, who was badly missed by off spinning Old Etonian Ellis Whatley as he neared 50, went on to 60* thus allowing the dramatic final innings so take place. He did little in the last match, when a satisfying win was secured over Cambridge.

He played a prominent, though often unsung part in another famous Irish victory, when the South Africans were defeated at The Mardyke in 1904. Tom Ross, with 9 first innings wickets, was justly the hero, but Sep's free hitting 27 in the second innings was important in building on Ross' success. He added 49 with Irish Rugby half-back Harry Corley, who also hit well, to lift Ireland from a tottering 41-4 towards respectability. The visitors were only two short of their full side and lost just two other matches on their tour.

In 1906, I Zingari paid what was to prove their final visit to Ireland. The Vice Regal Ground was specially reopened for the occasion and the wicket was rather rough. Sep's first innings was the second top score of the match. Ireland 253 run victory was partially due to his batting and that of Oscar Andrews and Louis Meldon, but owed much too some bellicose hitting and fast bowling from Gus Kelly. In his second knock Sep was bowled by the celebrated traveller and writer, Hesketh Vernon Hesketh - Pritchard for 3.

Sep continued to play for Ireland until the Scots match of 1921, but though he passed 20 in each of his last four innings, looking particularly formidable against the Military of Ireland in the tragic game of that year, he was never again to make a notable score. He did not remain long in the newly formed Leinster Senior League. Perhaps he was one of those who found the long break too much to bridge.

Septimus Drummond Lambert died three weeks after his 83 birthday.