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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Right Reverend Thomas Arnold Harvey
  • Born 17 April 1878, Marsh's Library, Dublin.
  • Died 25 December 1966, Dublin
  • Educated Ellesmere College, Shropshire, Dublin University
  • Occupation Church of Ireland Clergyman later a Bishop
  • Debut 18 June 1901 v South Africa Phoenix Park
  • Cap Number 244
  • Style Right-hand bat, right-arm medium pace, off spin
  • Teams Dublin University, Phoenix

Tom Harvey was a fine all round sportsman at Ellesmere College in Shropshire. Entering University in 1896, he was in the XI from 1899 to 1903, captaining in his penultimate season. A good all rounder, he was tall and strongly built. A capable lower order batsman, who sometimes opened the innings, he defended well against good bowling and used his long reach to destroy the mediocre. Thus in 1903 he hit 115 out of 306-3 for the Long Vacation XI v the touring Incogniti. LV won by 280 runs!

He was however better known for his varied bowling which often showed to best advantage in 3-day matches with first class sides. For example, in 1900, he took 5-43 v Warwickshire as the County needing 80 to win got home by three wickets. In 1901 in a 12-a-side fixture with MCC, he had match figures of 11-107. MCC won largely because of a century from future England captain "Shrimp" Leveson-Gower. In the same season Oxford and Cambridge both played in a week's cricket in College Park. Both matches were lost but Harvey had 14 wickets at 28.14.

The match for whom he is most remembered was for the University v London County in College Park in 1903, the occasion of WG Grace's last visit to Dublin. Harvey had a good match, top scoring with 36 in the first innings and taking the wickets of future England captain JWHT Douglas and former Australian skipper Billy Murdoch (twice). His match return was 7-165. However on the last, Saturday afternoon, with the match a certain draw, Grace held himself back in the order for the sake of the growing crowd. Then he lumbered in and pushed his first ball tamely back to the bowler: WG Grace c and b TA Harvey 0.

Harvey had already played his three matches for Ireland. He probably owed his selection v South Africa in 1901 to a dispute among the Dublin Clubs, described in detail elsewhere on this site, which resulted in Ireland being represented by 8 Phoenix men, two University, (including Harvey), and 1 Co Kildare. Ireland lost by 5 wickets. He failed with the bat scoring 1 in each innings falling to the pace of JJ Kotze in the first knock and leg spinning all rounder JH Sinclair, later to score one of the fastest Test hundreds, in the second. He took 0-26 in the only innings he bowled in.

The following year the dispute was healed, and after batting well in a trial match, when most of his team mates crumbled to the "old firm" of Tom Ross and Bill Harrington, he was selected for Ireland's inaugural first class tour of England, under the eccentric captaincy of Sir Tim O'Brien.

He played in the last two matches. At Oxford where Ireland lost by 62 runs, Harvey took a first innings 2-67, including M Bonham-Carter, later private secretary to, and son in law of, UK prime minister HH Asquith. He also made a second innings 31, but the rest of the tail failed to capitalise on O'Brien's brilliant 167 and half centuries by Bob Lambert and Frank Browning.

At Cambridge, Ireland won by 58 with Harvey's first innings 62 at 8, being a crucial contribution. He shared in half century stands for the 8th and 9th wickets with TC Ross and Oscar Andrews respectively. His achievements on tour suggest that, in company with several others, he might have benefited from more stable captaincy!

Away from the cricket field, where he played his last major match in 1905, dismissing four Australian batsmen as the tourists overran a University Past and Present XI, Harvey shone on the Rugby pitch. Between 1899/90 and 1902/3, he gained 8 Irish caps in the front or second rows, being followed into the green jersey by his brothers Fred (2 caps) and George (5). Fred performed well on sterner fields, winning the Victoria Cross in France in 1917 with the Canadian Army, leaping off his horse and over barbed wire to destroy a machine gun post that threatened his men.

Fittingly for one born in a flat underneath a library of rare ecclesiastical books in the precinct of Dublin's St Patrick's Cathedral, Tom Harvey advanced far in his vocation becoming Bishop of Cashel and Waterford, after holding an academic post in the University. When he died his cricketing deeds were ignored by his obituarists. Indeed Wisden and the press in both England and Ireland had already credited his dismissal of "The Old Man" to RM Gwynn, on his death three years earlier. RM was not even playing in the match. It is doubtful if Harvey was concerned. This writer last saw him looking out over College Park, a smile on his face, on a drab June Saturday in 1963, as the University batsmen struggled against Alec O'Riordan. The thought occurred that Harvey was recalling 1903. No one could take from him that, with Arthur Conan Doyle, a fair cricketer when not writing immortal crime fiction or being willing to believe that two young girls did see fairies at the bottom of their garden, who, having had a similar encounter with Grace burst into verse, he (Harvey) could proclaim:

Once in my heyday of cricket,
O day I shall ever recall,
I captured that glorious wicket,
The greatest, the grandest of all.