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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Albert Baker
  • Born 28 November 1872, Hale Farnham Surrey
  • Died 17 April 1948, Hale Common Upper Hale Farnham Surrey
  • Occupation Professional Cricketer
  • Debut 25 July 1912 v South Africans at Woodbrook
  • Cap Number 281
  • Style Right-hand bat
  • Teams Surrey, Woodbrook Club & Ground, SH Cochrane's XI

Albert Baker was " a good batsman" according to his Wisden Obituary. Sound and well organised, if rather cast in a defensive mould, he played 108 matches for Surrey between 1900 and 1907 scoring 3863 runs at an average of 25.75. He hit 5 hundreds with a best of 155 not out. However though he was awarded his county cap in 1904 and made 1257 runs the following season, he never established himself Another opener, nine years younger, called JB Hobbs tended to take the limelight and though they once shared a big opening stand of 166, Baker spent much time in the second XI, for which he made useful but not dominating contributions.

Having been asked to umpire a Surrey first class "friendly" in 1908, he was more than willing to join Stanley Cochrane's groundstaff shortly after the Woodbrook ground opened in 1907. The rather friendly Irish bowling benefited him as did the friendly wickets. Runs flowed from his bat in the club matches and in the three-day games with county sides he scored 90 against Nottinghamshire and had four other scores of over 50. In a "freak" match against Co Galway in 1909 he scored 82 in little more than an hour. His feat was dwarfed however by fellow professional AE Volger who made a hundred and took all ten Galway second innings wickets and the Galway all rounder WW Meldon who took all ten in the Woodbrook first innings.

As it happened 1912, the last year of Woodbrook cricket was the year of the ill-fated Triangular Tournament. Both touring teams came to Woodbrook. For the club match against the South Africans Baker made 90 run out as he and the Dublin University Australian PF Quinlan added 186 for the first wicket,

The Ireland v South Africa match which followed had a bizarre background. As he was staging the match, Cochrane picked the home team. He broke with practice and picked his three professionals, Baker, wicket keeper Stedman and leg spinner Clarke. He also nominated himself as captain. He was persuaded to stand down, but the others played. This time the English / Australian opening stand failed as did most of the Irish batting. The visitors won by an innings, Baker falling for 3 and 13. One match remained. CB Fry's XI against the Australians. This was a team of near Test strength. In such exalted company, Baker did not fail. He had only one innings as Fry's men won by an innings, but in making 28 he outscored the famous Test opening pair of Hobbs and Rhodes and also made more than Frank Woolley. This was no bad way to end a career for he never appeared in major cricket again. HIs obituary, which makes no mention of his time in Ireland is in Wisden for 1949.