CricketEurope Irish Cricket History logo
Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Leland Crothswaite
  • Born 1833 Salesborough Co Wexford
  • Died 1875 Co Carlow
  • Educated St Columba's College, Private Tutor, Dublin University
  • Occupation
  • Debut 28 September 1859 v I Zingari at Phoenix Park
  • Cap Number 39
  • Style Hand unknown
  • Teams Dublin University, Phoenix

Leland Crothswaite - the surname is sometimes shown without the 'e' at the end - was a member of a well-known Dublin family, one of his forbears being Governor of the Bank of Ireland. They were also related to that distinguished cricket family, the Hones. Leland was one of the early pupils of St Columba's College, joining the school in the fourth year of its existence. At that time it was situated at Stackallan in Co Meath but, though the first recorded XI is dated 1861, it is probable that cricket was firmly established. T

he College's founder, Reverend William Sewell was a firm believer in muscular Christianity, noting in his diary at the time of the foundation, "The park is very beautifully surrounded by trees and when we have levelled some ground for cricket, it will be admirable." Sewell moved on to found Radley in Oxfordshire and Glenalmond near Perth. It is possible that The College's early academic standards were not high, though Sewell believed that the laws of Physics should be taught in Latin! Leland, at least, had to spend some time with a private tutor, before satisfying the then not very exacting entrance requirements of Dublin University.

He was five years in the XI from 1853, receiving his colours each season, though the fixture list was far from full, a total of 16 matches being played. His team-mates included others who were to become Irish internationals such as RH Scott, Arthur Samuels and future bitter academic rivals JP Mahaffy and A Traill.

No scores have been seen of matches in which Leland distinguished himself, but he featured in several important games, making three appearances for XXII of Dublin v Charles Lawrence's United Ireland XI between 1857 and 1860. These matches invariably resulted in huge victories for Lawrence's side, with Leland flitting up and down the batting order to no great effect. His highest score in six innings - in which he did little to stave off three innings defeats - was 5, caught and bowled Lawrence in the second innings of the 1860 match. He also appeared to little effect for Phoenix v I Zingari in 1861. This was a low scoring match won comfortably by the Zingaros. Leland batted at 9 and, having been "castled" by the dangerous paceman "Lightning" Fellows for 1 in the first innings was undefeated on 0 in the second.

He played four matches for Ireland, two of which as "odds" matches do not show up on his stats page, without showing why he had been selected. He made his debut v I Zingari in late September 1859. Played on the Phoenix ground, this was the first of 27 meetings between the sides. The IZ bowling was too much for Ireland who went down by an innings and 33 runs, Leland at least having the consolation of being undefeated. Batting at 11, he kept his wicket in tact on both occasions with 0 and 1 to his name.

In 1860 and 1861 he played for XXII of Ireland v The All England XI. The visitors were much too strong with their famous bowlers Edgar Willsher, RC Tinley and John "Foghorn" Jackson, a purveyor of tremendous pace, wreaking havoc in the ranks of their hosts. Leland's best score was 2 in the 1860 match. His most notable contribution also came in this match, when he caught HH Stephenson off Lawrence for 18. Stephenson, just getting into his stride was a dangerous hitter, as well as a fine round armer and good wicket keeper. The following year, he captained the first England side to tour Australia, including, of course, Charles Lawrence in his team.

Leland's last match for Ireland came in 1861 at Coburg Gardens, Dublin, now the site the National Concert Hall, against The Military of Ireland. Played as late as the first week in October, it is best remembered as Lawrence's last match for Ireland; though at the time he had every intention of returning. The soldiers were no match for Lawrence's bowling, thus Leland, at 11 had only one innings. He was, however, able to take advantage of the weakness of the attack, signing off with his highest score for Ireland, an undefeated 9.

It will be obvious from the above that many details of Leland Crothswaite's career both on and off the cricket field remain to be discovered. Any further information would be most gratefully received.