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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Herbert Rollins
  • Born 29 December 1899 Dublin
  • Died 17 June 1921 Dublin
  • Educated St Andrew's College, Dublin; Dublin University
  • Occupation University Student
  • Debut 22 July 1920 v Scotland at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh
  • Cap Number 302
  • Style Right-hand bat.
  • Teams Dublin University,Pembroke

Herbert Rollins was a brilliant stroke making opening bat, who seemed to many observers to be on the threshold of greatness, when meningitis struck him down, six months short of his twenty second birthday. An outstanding sportsman at St Andrew's College, he entered Dublin University in 1917, but left the following year to join the newly formed RAF. Back in University after the Armistice, he established a place, not only in the 1st XI, but also in the 1st XV, where he was awarded his Colours.

In just over two seasons in the XI he scored more than 1500 runs including one century and six fifties. The "ton" came in 1920, 133 against University College. That season he also made 94 against Pembroke for whom he played in the vacation. A History of Trinity College Dublin 1892-1945" KC Bailey recorded that "Rollins had a disconcerting habit of playing a long hop cautiously then hitting a good length ball out of the ground.

The same summer saw him not only win his Irish cap, but open the batting for the University against two first class sides. Derbyshire, comfortably the weakest side in that year's Championship, came to College Park at the end of May. They were routed by the fast left armer Basil Ward, the University winning by 6 wickets. Herbert had a first innings 18 but was to do better against Cambridge, just below full strength at the beginning of July.

The first innings of the match were closely fought, with former St Columba's leg spinner Charles Marriott, troubling the home batsmen. Herbert must have been annoyed to have been run out for 27, his side's second top score when going well, but he did have the consolation of not being out to the Old Columban. Then the future "one Test wonder" JC McBryan took the game away from the hosts with a belligerent 99, before being caught at deep square leg. Marriott, also to play once for England when he captured 11 West Indian wickets 12 years later, then carried all before him. Herbert fell to him this time, but reached a respectable, in this company considering his inexperience, 21.

In late July Ireland played their first post war match v Scotland at Raeburn Place. Herbert was one of 8 new caps to take the field under the captaincy of Bob Lambert. Scotland had an easy 9 wicket win. Opening with University team- mate AP Kelly, Herbert had a double failure, falling for 3 and 8 to the medium pace of TD Watt.

He began 1921 as captain of the University, but soon had to withdraw as his last illness claimed him. He died at the height of the cricket season to be mourned, like Archie Jackson of Australia as the great batsman who never was. His parents presented a scorebox to DUCC in his memory, though the club's "Pictorial History "is in error in describing it as the present one. The Rollins score box stood at long on in College Park, if a right hand batsman was facing at the Pavilion End. Regrettably it was destroyed by fire one weekend in June 1963. Its replacement appears more manageable, but lacks its period character.