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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Charles Mervin Hill
  • Born 16 July 1903 Dublin
  • Died 7 July 1982 Dublin
  • Educated St Andrew's College, Dublin
  • Occupation
  • Debut 9 July 1927 v Scotland at College Park
  • Cap Number 354
  • Style Right hand bat, slow right arm.
  • Teams Leinster

Charles Hill was born into a Quaker family in south Dublin, the third son and fourth of five children of Frederick and Norah Hill. Developing his skills for the game as a St Andrew's College schoolboy, Charles made his debut for Leinster as a 16 year old in 1919 and was soon established as an upper order batsman and occasional slow bowler. An opener in his early days, he later batted lower down. In all he played senior cricket for 18 years but was not a regular member of the side towards the end of his career. In competitive matches, he made 154 appearances, scoring in all 2803 runs at 19.19 with a highest score of 82.

His best season came in 1927 when besides scoring 401 runs at 36, he also took 24 wickets at 11.37. This was certainly his annus mirabilis with the ball. His total bag in 18 years of senior cricket was only 43!

His one Irish appearance came against Scotland at College Park in 1927, in a match remembered for on and off the field drama, though the latter was tragic and had nothing to do with cricket. On the Sunday morning, the rest day of the match which had begun on the Saturday, Kevin O'Higgins the Irish Free State Justice Minister was assassinated on his way to Mass. As a mark of respect, the match did not recommence until mid afternoon on the Monday.

On the field of play Ireland had established a commanding position on the first day with only the great Scots batsman John Kerr able to fathom the swing bowling of Charles' fellow debutant Tom Dixon who was ably supported by the slow left armer James Macdonald. All out for 129, the Scots saw Ireland total 245 in reply. In a strong batting line up, Charles did not get in until the fall of the 7th wicket. Looking at the side, it is difficult to see that he could have come in higher, nevertheless, it rendered his debut somewhat pointless as he had clearly been picked for his batting. As it was he was soon out, caught by Kerr off leg spinner Alex Forrester the visitors' most successful bowler, for 5. Charles was not the only one to suffer from being placed low in the order. Dixon, who had been called up as a late replacement, found himself at 11. He was a far better batsman than that. With Kerr again to the fore, the Scots were able to set a challenging target. Led by Charles' Leinster team-mate Jacko Heaslip who was in commanding form, Ireland eventually finished three runs short with four wickets in hand. Charles Mervin Hill was never selected for Ireland again. His career record for Leinster is such that this decision cannot really be questioned, but it is to be regretted that his low position in the batting order never gave him the chance to prove this verdict wrong.