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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
David Richard Pigot (Snr)
  • Born 14 January 1900 Dublin
  • Died 10 August 1955 Sandymount, Dublin
  • Educated Mount St Benedict's College, Gorey, Co Wexford; St Stephen's Green School, Dublin; Dublin University
  • Occupation Solicitor
  • Debut 28 July 1922 v Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow
  • Cap Number 314
  • Style Right hand bat, right arm fast medium
  • Teams Dublin University; Phoenix

David Pigot was born into a family with a strong legal and cricket tradition. This had been carried on by his father John Henry Pigot, who played for Dublin University between 1886 and 1888 as wicket keeper. He later became a KC and a judge, having played for Phoenix and was President of the Irish Cricket Union in 1925 and 1928. David was the second of five sons, there also being one daughter. All David's siblings were cricketers. Thus his elder brother Walter T Pigot, an Irish hockey international, represented the University and Phoenix before the First World War, his immediate younger brother JPM (Jim) an attacking bat and leg spinner, played with distinction for the University and Phoenix, besides distinguishing himself in India's Madras Presidency Match. Their sister Ann was a prominent woman cricketer, the next brother, Joe played for Phoenix and Pembroke, while Tom, the youngest, not the most enthusiastic of cricketers, also played for Phoenix.

In the second generation, Walter's son, Teddy, was better known as a Rugby footballer, but was in the Phoenix side in 1960. Best known, of course was David's son, also DR whose biography will be found elsewhere on this site. His brother Edgar was well known as a tireless left armer bowling for hours for Railway Union in tandem with Niall McConnell, a very similar bowler. In 1965 against Phoenix, Edgar took five wickets in five balls bring the innings to an end. Jim's son JM, known as Bill, also turned out for Phoenix in the late 1950s and early 60s. A wicket keeper, he captained the club in 1960. In the late 1970s and 1980s the standard was born by yet another DR Pigot, David junior's son. Mention must also be made of David senior's wife, the formidable Mrs Pigot, for many years the Phoenix scorer. She was his fiercest critic, but woe betide anyone else, who, even agreeing with her, dared to voice anything bar praise for his play. She had the same relationship with her sons. She would no doubt have been described by a transatlantic writer as a cricket - but not, fortunately, a hockey, "mom."

David entered Dublin University in 1917, gained his 2nd XI Colours in 1919, and was a regular member of the 1st XI from 1921. In League cricket, he hit one hundred - 140 - and seven fifties. The century and four of the fifties came in 1921, when he was second in the batting averages in all matches with 502 runs at 27.88. Though he was later to open regularly for Phoenix, he was generally at 4 or 5 for the University. He also showed to good advantage in some of the matches played against first class opposition. Thus a 26 against Derbyshire at Burton - on - Trent in July 1921, a match which the visitors lost after doing well in the first innings to reach 278, was followed in the same week by making the first innings top score of 42 against the full Essex side at Brentwood. His innings was ended when he was caught by Percy Perrin off the fast medium of John Dixon.

This was a rather unfortunate way to be out as, while Perrin was not quite a fielder with a Panesar reputation, he was a poor catcher, and, for this reason, though he amassed almost 30000 first class runs with 66 hundreds, he was never chosen for England. Though he failed against the 1923 West Indies on their visit to College Park, David, having left University, was brought in to strengthen the side in 1926, when Northamptonshire came to College Park, for what was to be the last such visit by a county XI. The hosts were outplayed but David justified his selection, by making 22 in the second knock, one of three to pass 20 and reach double figures, as the visitors bowlers brushed their opposition aside for a paltry 83.

Following the family tradition, he was already a Phoenix player, having turned out for the club in University holidays. Having graduated, he became a permanent member of the side, opening the batting, and, with his fast medium deliveries, often opening the bowling as well. He was to play until 1945, being captain for five seasons: 1936 - 38 and 1944-45. It should be remembered that Phoenix did not appoint a regular captain until 1932, previously working on a match basis. Thus David's leadership was, in all probability a great deal longer. He was also Treasurer of the club from 1940 - 48 and President from 1955-58.

It is, however, true that his overall career figures for them in League and Cup cricket do not really reflect his ability. He failed to score another century at this level. To add to the one scored for Dublin University, his highest being a frustrating 99. In all he made 5541 runs at 20.67. He did, however take 310 wickets at 18.96.

He had the knack of producing useful performances at vital moments. A good example of this can be seen in a two innings League match against his former team-mates in 1926, This was a low scoring encounter which finished in a two wicket victory for Phoenix. He began, at first change, by taking 3-16, dismissing leading batsman Colville Deverell, and key all rounder Tom Dixon, both prized scalps, before removing the top scorer Samuel Beckett for 39. The University were restricted to 169, but still managed a first innings lead of 12. This would have been a great deal more without David's 54. His contribution to the eventual victory was, therefore, considerable.

His leadership saw Phoenix take the Leinster Senior Cup in 1937, 1938 and 1945. On the first occasion, when Dublin University were defeated by 68 run at Sydney Parade, he hit a useful 50, second top score to GJ Quinn's 67, as Phoenix posted a formidable 228. He also did well in the Final against the same opposition, at Rathmines, in 1942. He topscored with 74, this time aided by Pat Quinn's 71, to get his side's total to 241. However the students had reached a massive 286 so emerged victorious by 45 runs. His figures for Ireland, from 30 matches, might also be seen as rather disappointing. He totalled 597 runs at 16.14, with just one fifty. His bowling was hardly used, netting him only five wickets.

He began well enough, against Scotland at Hamilton Crescent in 1922, He had come into the side as one of six replacements, in his case for Sep Lambert, who had played his last match for Ireland. Batting at 5, he was out for 13 in the first innings but did much better in the second. Ireland needing 188 for victory were 57-3, and in some danger of defeat when he joined his captain, Bob Lambert. Together they added 90, of which David's share was "a brisk 51" (Derek Scott). They saved the match and almost won it. In the end Ireland finished three runs short with four wickets standing. Possibly they should have scored faster, but, the blame, if any, lay with the vastly experienced Lambert.

By no means a regular in the side, he was again a replacement, when he achieved his best all round performance, against MCC at The Mardyke in 1930. This was the first Irish match played in Cork which explains the seemingly strange choice of Sir George Colthurst, far from a permanent fixture in the side, as captain. David came in as a last minute replacement for Tom Dixon. He lacked Dixon's ability with the ball but nevertheless rose to the occasion, taking 4-42, cleaning up the tail in support of Eddie Ingram's 4-55. MCC reached a total of 239.

Then, as Ireland were hustled out for 118, with the South African paceman Denis Morkel, taking 6-70, David, going in first, alone stood firm. Seventh out, he, according to Derek Scott's report, "played with great confidence." He made 45 the next highest being 16. Unfortunately he was then one of the two wickets Ireland, following on lost to Surrey 2nd XI amateur Kenneth Homan, without a run on the board, before rain swept across the ground and there was no further play.

He had a good performance with the bat in the Scots match of 1932. Played at Glenpark, Greenock, this was regarded as one of the best between the two countries. Graced by good weather and large crowds, the match ended in a 58 run win for the visitors. Thus David's two innings, opening, of 32 and 40, were vital contributions. In the second he put on 55 for the 4th wicket with his Phoenix team-mate George McVeagh, who hit a classy century.

If the weather was perfect at Greenock, it could not have been words in Dublin four years later when the Indians, on their second Test tour of England, came to College Park, for a three day first class match. This was the first encounter between the two sides. India had visited Ireland in 1911, but had played Ulster at Ormeau, before going south to play Woodbrook. The 1936 match was frequently interrupted by rain, the weather was dreadfully cold and the wicket and outfield sodden. Up to a point Ireland did very well, heading the tourists by 11 runs on the first innings, before collapsing against the leg spin of CK Nayudu in the second. Opening, David had been bowled for 1 in the first innings by Cambridge blue, Jehangir Khan. In the second innings of the match David was one of the few Irish successes making 32, joint top score with Frank Reddy, at 5, who was, however undefeated. Disappointingly the Nayudu induced collapse sent Ireland from 56-1 to 119 all out. Then the brilliant Indian opener Vijay Merchant, who in the unusual role of bowler had disposed of David, tore the Irish attack apart to see his side home by ten wickets.

In the last summer before the war, David was seen to good effect against the Scots, after making only a single in the first innings. In the second as Ireland went down to heavy defeat, his 40 was top score while his second wicket stand of 73 with James Macdonald was the only bright batting spot of the match for their team.

As we have seen, David's club career continued until 1945. Thereafter, he had the pleasure of watching his sons play. Unfortunately he did not live to see his eldest, David, play for Ireland.

An obituary of David Richard Pigot appeared in Wisden 1966