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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Ivor Ernest Parke Cope
  • Born circa 1913 Dublin
  • Died 7 May 1963
  • Educated Sandford Park School; Dublin University
  • Occupation Doctor
  • Debut 28 July 1934 v MCC at Sion Mills
  • Cap Number 390
  • Style Right hand bat;right arm fast medium
  • Teams Dublin University; Phoenix

Ivor Cope, a tall, broad shouldered man, was a hostile fast medium bowler, capable of something approaching genuine pace. However, he was not always accurate, tending to deliver "four balls" at crucial moments being described in the Dublin University CC "History" as being one against whom, "good batsmen could generally find enough bad balls to score off fairly steadily." Nevertheless, this very inaccuracy could cause problems. Once, in a match in College Park, an unintentional beamer knocked a batsman out briefly. When the unfortunate, perhaps revived by medical student Ivor's attentions, came round, it was to find that he had been adjudged LBW, having ducked into the ball.

Ivor's cricket skills were honed at Sandford Park, under the eager tutelage of the Headmaster, Douglas "The Bull" Cordner former Canada and Ireland wicket keeper. It must have been a delight to Cordner to have such a pupil. His efforts were not, if another of his former pupils WT Cox alias the novelist William Trevor is to be believed, always widely appreciated. Ivor might well be regarded as one of Sandford's most distinguished cricketers, particularly as those such as Ham Lambert and Donald Pratt were, like Trevor, only briefly seen on the playing fields of Ranelagh, before moving elsewhere.

In competitive cricket between 1932 and 1938 he took 153 wickets at 13.01 with a best performance of 8-37 against Merrion at Anglesea Road in 1935, a season in which he also took 8-40 against Leinster in College Park and passes the 50 wicket mark in all League and Cup matches.Two years previously he had taken 7-14 against Phoenix, destroying the Northsiders with 3-1 in his first over. He was also a force to be reckoned with in "Friendly" cricket. In 1933 he took 9-12 against Queen's Unversity in College Park and three years later, again found northern batsmen no match for his pace with 9-33 against NICC, again in College Park.

Unfortunately, while he is recorded as having played eight matches in his final year, his bowling average for that season is not available. In League and Cup matches 1932 - 38 he took 153 wickets at 13.01, with a best of 8-46 v Leinster in College Park in 1935, in which season he again took over 50 wickets. In all in these competitive games, he had thirteen five wicket hauls, including three in each of three consecutive seasons from 1934. As a batsman, he was an effective hitter, but not a prolific one. He had one competitive half century to his name, 52 in his final season, 1938.

He played only once for Ireland v MCC, as one of six debutants, at Sion Mills in 1934. This match is remembered for Sammy Edgar's debut hundred and as being the first Irish match staged in the North West. It was a two day affair and, tell it not in Bridgetown and Port of Spain, the wicket was too good for a result. Ivor did not get a bat as James Macdonald declared twice and he seems to have been rather under used in MCC's first innings of 257. The bulk of the bowling was done by the three spinners Macdonald, Robert Moore and Andy McFarlane. However fellow pacemen Tom Ward and Tommy Martin both bowled twice as many overs as Ivor, who sent down only 8.3 overs claiming the wicket of the visitors No 11, the Hispanic sounding W Zambra for 29. It would seem that Ivor had, after an initial, unsuccessful spell, been brought back as a last resort. Zambra, whom photographs reveal as a tall and strongly built, had been laying about him, dominating a 10th wicket stand. Perhaps Macdonald thought that sheer pace would tell, where subtler methods had failed. Clearly it did.

When MCC batted again after Ireland's second declaration, they played out time, losing three wickets to Tommy Martin, before rain came. Ivor bowled five wicketless overs. He was not selected for the College Park match which followed. It seems strange, at a distance, that, if it was the selectors' intention to give him a trial of one match, he was not selected for the game on his home ground where he had done - and was to continue to do - so well. As we have seen he continued to play with success for the University until 1938. He also played a few matches for Phoenix, but these were not games of a competitive nature.