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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
John Gordon Boothby (Later Sir JG Boothby)
  • Born 22 June 1824 Southwell, Nottighamshire
  • Died 27 April 1876 Little Heath, Charlton, Kent
  • Educated Charterhouse
  • Occupation Army Officer (Retired as Major-General 1875)
  • Debut 28 June 1858 v Birkenhead Park at Phoenix CC, Phoenix Park.
  • Cap Number 33
  • Style Right-hand batsman.
  • Teams MCC

John Boothby, son of an Anglican clergyman, was a distinguished soldier whose cricket career, in matches of which scores have been seen, did not rival his military one. However, his selection for MCC matches in 1858 and 1859 suggests that he may have had a repuation which he was unable to justify in higher level matches. The most important events in his military life occurred before his brief brush with representative cricket. Commissioned as an Ensign in 1844, he was, by the time the Crimean War broke out ten years later, a Major. As such, he saw service in all the main battles of that conflict, being at Alma, Inkerman and Sebastapool. He had the Crimean Medal with three clasps and was also awarded the French Legion d'Honeur and the Turkish Order of Medjidh.

Back in England in 1858, he played for the MCC v Cambridge University at Fenners in mid May. The two day game was left drawn with Boothby, batting at 6, being bowled by John Makinson, a round arm medium pacer, who also played for Lancashire in pre Championship days. Immediately after the conclusion of this match, Boothby was in the MCC team that played Ireland at Lord's. This, Ireland's first appearance at the famous ground, was a very one sided affair. The wicket was very poor, the bowling of Charles Lawrence, who took all 10 in the first innings, and James McCormick, who had Boothby in the second, almost unplayable. Clean bowled in each innings, the Major's scores were 12 and 2.

However, the following month he was in the Irish XI which played visiting Birkenhead Park in Lawrence's benefit match in Phoenix Park. Whether Boothby was now stationed in Ireland, or was invited to come over to play, is unclear. At the time of writing (April 2008), no other record of his having played in Irish Cricket has been found. He batted at 9, which hardly suggests that he was an invited "star", making 0 and 17. In each innings he was bowled by someone who survives on the scorecard, simply as Barker. Boothby's second innings was one of only three double figure scores, Peter Doyle getting 35 and John Coddington 14. The visitors won by 31 runs.

His final match of which a record is known was the following year, a first class fixture between MCC and Kent at the Mote Gound in Maidstone. Batting low in the order, in a match won by Kent, the Major fell in the first innings for 5, giving a return catch to slow left arm round armer Hollands. In the second Hollands caught him for a duck off George Wigzell. George later emigrated to the USA and died in Texas in 1875. The great all rounder Alfred Mynn, the Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff, combined, of his day, was in the Kent side. Now overweight, and ill, he batted at 9 and did little. He died three years later.

John Gordon Boothby's military career continued, though in rather quieter mode than in the mid 1850s. He became a Colonel in 1874, and retired as a Major-General, with a knighthood, two years later. He was married with three children when he died in 1876. At his death his total assets were less than 100.