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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Stanley Martin Watson
  • Born Second quarter 1901 Belfast
  • Died Circa 1978 Belfast
  • Educated Royal Belfast Academical Institution
  • Occupation Solicitor
  • Debut 24 July 1930 v Sir Julien Cahn's XI at Ormeau.
  • Cap Number 377
  • Style Right hand bat
  • Teams Ulster CC, Instonians

Stanley Watson was sound upper order batsman, who often opened the innings. Though batting well out of position on his only appearance for Ireland, he, arguably, did well enough to show that, given the opportunity, he would have shown himself something more than "a one cap wonder."

He was born in Ravenhill Park, Belfast the second son, and third of four children, of wholesale drapery buyer Samuel Watson and his wife Anne. Stanley developed his cricket skills at RBAI, where he was an exact contemporary of double international Finlay Jackson, which may explain his decision to join the Ulster Club, with which the Jacksons had a long and successful association. The Ulster side of the time was a powerful one including not only Finlay and his elder brother, elegant left hander Harold, but the Morgan brothers and footballer/cricketer Billy McCleery. Stanley's batting was well to the fore amid such talent and he played a leading role in getting the club to the NCU Challenge Cup Final in both 1930 and 1931. Unfortunately, though Ulster won well in the former year, Stanley failed on both occasions.

The opponents, each time, were North Down, which meant, of course the MacDonald brothers. They proved more than enough for Stanley.

In 1930 he opened the batting with Finlay after Ulster had won the toss but was caught off George MacDonald for 8. George was a very useful cricketer, though not in the class of his two brothers. It was the best cricketer of the trio James, stylish batsman and classic slow left armer, who was to dismiss Stanley in his next three Cup Final innings, never allowing him into double figures. Ulster owed their 1930 victory to fine batting by McCleery in the first innings and Finlay Jackson in the second. They were overwhelmed in the following year. Needing almost 300 to win, they barely got halfway, with Harold Jackson playing a lone hand for 70.

In 1932 the historic Ulster CC folded, the Jacksons joined NICC, as, eventually, did the Morgan brothers. Stanley transferred his allegiance to the newly formed Instonians, not then the force they later became. This choice of club may well help to explain why his representative career foundered.

His one Irish cap came against Sir Julien Cahn's XI at Ormeau in July 1930. Cahn, a cricket loving millionaire furniture magnate, always had a very strong side at his command and had already defeated Ireland comfortably In College Park. For the Ormeau match nine changes were made to the Irish side which resulted in AP Kelly, the captain, being the only Dublin player in the side, though the opening batsman Bill Loughery had a foot in both NCU and LCU camps, being at Dublin University. The team included six new caps, one of whom was Stanley and five of whom were to play again. Ireland, with Stanley at No 8, eccentricity in batting orders being one of the hallmarks of Kelly's captaincy, were bowled out for 98, largely by the former England leg spinner Tom Richmond who took 6-41. Stanley, however, fell to the medium pace of George Heane for 4. Heane was an all rounder who later captained Nottinghamshire for three seasons. Cahn's XI gained a first innings lead of 171, Richmond then reduced Ireland to 70-7 before Tommy Martin and Stanley came together in a robust 8th wicket stand of 39, Martin eventually falling for 21. It appears that the visitors bowling became rather loose at this juncture with Cahn himself bowling 12 overs of his slow donkey drops. These went for 69 runs as Stanley and David Kyle (33) added 59 for the 9th wicket. Eventually Stanley was lbw to Cahn for 55. Ireland just managed enough runs to make the visitors bat again.

Stanley Martin Watson was not to play for Ireland again. His second innings at Ormeau suggests that he might have been given another chance.