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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Arthur Douglas Cordner
  • Born 3 August 1887
  • Died 3 July 1946 at Elpis Nursing Home, Lower Mount Street, Dublin
  • Educated St Andrew's College, Dublin
  • Occupation Headmaster of Sandford Park School
  • Debut 10 July 1926 v Scotland at Glenpark, Greenock
  • Cap Number 344
  • Style Right-hand bat, wicket keeper
  • Teams Leinster, Pembroke

Duggie Cordner, tall and strongly built, was a good wicket keeper, some of whose best years were lost to Irish cricket as he temporarily moved to Canada. It has not proved possible to discover his birthplace or education details, but he appeared for Leinster in the early years of the century before emigrating.

He played for Ontario against Frank Browning's side in 1909 in a non-cap Irish match. Pat Hone, who played in the game wrote in Cricket in Ireland that, "A familiar figure appeared behind the stumps, this was Douglas Cordner formerly of the Leinster CC; we learnt later that he was considered the cleverest wicket keeper in Canada." Cordner's New World fame cannot have lasted for long. He played for Canada v United States in 1909, but the historian of those matches, expatriate Yorkshireman John Marder noted, "I have not been able to trace the club connection of D Cordner who appeared in the match." (The International Series: The Story of The United States versus Canada Cricket). Cordner batted at 9 scoring 0 and 20, besides catching the American opener WS Evans in the first innings.

After the War, he was back in Dublin, beginning in 1922, a long association with the Pembroke Club, only terminated by his death. He was the leading wicket keeper in Dublin on 8 occasions, seeing off a challenge from the regular Irish stumper AP Kelly in successive seasons from 1922 to 1925 and again in 1927. He last topped the list in 1934,in his 47th year. The following summer, he led Pembroke to a 3-wicket victory over Phoenix in the Senior Cup Final. In all competitive cricket for the Sydney Paraders he played 149 matches holding 81 catches and making 55 stumpings He retired after the 1937 season and became Club President.

His height and weight sometimes made him a rather immobile gloveman, but he was often able to counter this with his long reach which meant that he could take balls on the leg side with hardly any movement. However his habit of shambling down the wicket when batting sometimes left him stranded. Against Cambridge University Crusaders in 1929, he was facing the fairly harmless leg spin of the fine Indian batsman but England cricketer KS Duleepsinhji, nephew of the famous Ranji. Seeing the vast figure of Duggie a third of the way down the track, Duleep sent a full toss over his head and had him stumped, much to the amusement of Duggie's team-mates.

He made three appearances for Ireland, scoring 9 runs at an average of 3.00 from number 11. He also held only one catch and conceded rather too many byes. Thus, in his debut match v Scotland he allowed 36, while the hosts amassed 464 on their way to an innings victory. His other matches were both v MCC. In the second, a first class fixture at College Park in 1932, he allowed 11 byes in MCC first innings 79, the batting sides top score. He was by this time 45 years old and it seems strange that he was preferred to GM Crothers who had already made his Irish debut. It is unclear what his qualifications to be Headmaster of Sandford Park School in Ranelagh, Dublin were. However he saw it as an opportunity to inculcate cricket into his pupils, even the unwilling. One of them, for a brief period during a varied education, was a young boy called William Cox, years later to win fame as novelist and short story writer William Trevor. His hilarious account of being a streetwise cricket hater at Cordner's Sandford may be fond in Allen Synges' Strangers Gallery and should not be missed. Cordner was alas taken for a ride. Perhaps, though, he had the last laugh. Trevor confesses that he, much later, took to spending his summers watching county cricket at Taunton!