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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
William Crook Ronyane Harman
  • Born 23 May 1869 Crosshaven, Cork
  • Died 4 July 1962 Dunlea, Cobh, Co Cork
  • Educated Monmouth Grammar School
  • Occupation Land agent
  • Debut 2 May 1907 v Yorkshire at Woodbrook
  • Cap Number 263
  • Style Right-hand bat; slow bowler - hand unkown.
  • Teams Cork County

Willie Harman, a dark haired man of medium height and build, was one of the mainstays of the Cork County batting line up for a decade or so before the First World War. He was one of three cricket playing brothers, the others being SHP Harman who played for Dublin University in 1891 and the rugby international George Harman, a member of the Dublin University XI in its inaugural first class match v MCC in College Park in 1895. George, who was a somewhat ordinary cricketer, but a very good centre three quarter, thus has his place in the history of both sports. Not only did he take part in the initial first class cricket match played in Ireland, but, besides being a member of a Triple Crown winning Irish XV, he was, at the time of his death on 14 December 1975, aged 101, the longest lived rugby international in the Home Countries.

Willie was a regular in the County side from 1904 until the outbreak of hostilities, often doing well in the annual match with Na Shuler, whom he frequently then joined for the rest of their tour. Thus in 1904, he made a key contribution in a low scoring match, which the hosts won by three wickets. His first innings 33* at No 6, the second highest of the match, enabled the county to gain the slenderest of first innings leads. Though he failed in the second innings - in which a 40 by Pascoe Stuart was the key- his contribution had been vital in a match in which none of the four innings passed 100.

His highest innings for County came in the 1906 match with the Shulers, who had batted first and reached 187. Going in at 1 in the reply, Willie dominated the visitors attack for a magnificent 140, out of a total of 327, the next highest being 33. Na Shuler easily played out time but Willie's innings remained the talking point.

In 1911, he was joint secretary of the club and celebrated with a brisk 60 in the second innings of a two day match with Dublin University, putting on over a hundred for the first wicket with Stuart, who passed 50 in both innings. Willie also took one of his few wickets for the County in this match, having the University opener RA Lloyd caught in the second innings. Lloyd had, however, made 123! The following season saw Willie take part in a then record opening partnership for County v Na Shuler. Opening the batting with MC Parry, one of three English county cricketers in the side, Willie reached 73, helping Parry (89) put on 170. Their team-mates failed to capitalise on this, 10 wickets falling for 95. However County won by 5 wickets, with Willie 15* at the end, seeing his side through another collapse, after Parry had gone for 40.

Willie, "a good player" according to Pat Hone, made his one appearance for Ireland in 1907. This was the first match played at Stanley Cochrane's Woodbrook ground and was marked by weather typical of Ireland in early May. Strong sunshine was intermingled with gale force winds and squally showers. The opposition was Yorkshire, led by the formidable Lord Hawke, who - inevitably perhaps - had an on field altercation with Ireland's captain Sir Timothy O'Brien who tried to run him out when he (Hawke) was patting down the pitch between balls. The visitors were bowled out for 292, but were still able to win without batting again. In Ireland's first innings, Willie at 6, was bowled second ball for 0 by the great George Hirst. In the second he got to 6, before being bowled by the fast bowler George Deyes. Deyes only played 14 first class matches in his career and this was by far the most successful. He took 6-62, finishing off with a hat trick by removing Tom Ross, Bill Harrington and Gus Kelly.

William Crook Ronyane Harman did not play in major cricket after the War. He did, however, share the family characteristic of longevity. Though unable to beat brother George to three figures, he was 93 years and 41 days old when he died at his home in Cobh.