CricketEurope Irish Cricket History logo
Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Charles Richard Cuffe
  • Born 5 August 1914, Dublin
  • Died 10 November 1972, Dublin
  • Educated Stonyhurst College Dublin University
  • Occupation Solicitor
  • Debut 1 August 1936 MCC at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 403
  • Style Left-hand bat, wicket keeper
  • Teams Dublin University

Charlie Cuffe was a reliable wicket keeper who belied his critics, and there were some, by being one of the best glovemen in Leinster Cricket for over 20 years. A prominent sportsman at Stonyhurst College, alma mater of several Irish cricketers including GJ Meldon, and, a near contemporary of Cuffe, combative off spinner John Hill, Charlie entered University in 1932, gaining a regular place in the XI, in his second season 1934. He was captain in 1937, before playing his final season in 1938. A some what negligible batsman he did manage one 50, in 1935. A tall and heavily built man he was particularly good standing up. Standing back his lack of mobility some times told and he was said to regard diving for the ball as "undignified." Be that as it may, he was first capped for Ireland in 1936, displacing GM Crothers, whom most judges regard as one of the best to keep for Ireland.

Charlie had already played for Leinster CC during School and University holidays and he became the regular stumper in 1936, when the short University season ended, and was not seriously challenged for the role until he retired. He was the leading wicket keeper in LCU competitive cricket on five occasions, the last as late as 1955 when he made 19 dismissals. All told he played 194 competitive matches for Leinster, catching 130 and stumping 103 of his 223 dismissals. He was captain in 1944, when his club shared the League title.

He made 14 appearances for Ireland 1936-1938, catching 9 batsmen and stumping 14. His best match for his country was probably the Australian game in College Park in 1938. First of all he, together with paceman Charlie Billingsley rescued the Irish innings from almost total oblivion with a last wicket stand of 30, his score being 16* He then aided fellow Leinsterman Eddie Ingram to bring about a mini collapse as the visitors threatened to run away with the game. He stumped the great Stan McCabe, captain in Bradman's injured absence, and two further batsmen to help Ingram to 7-83. Charlie had 5 victims in all, having previously held catches off Ingram and James Macdonald. The fairy tale then ended: promoted to 8 in the second innings, he was out for 0, caught by opening bat WA Brown (at the time of writing, August 2007, the last survivor of the match), off the great Bill O'Reilly.

Charlie kept wicket in Ireland's last pre war game v Sir Julian Cahn's XI at that magnate's Loughborough estate. He allowed only 4 byes in a total of 418, not a bad note on which to finish. Crothers regained his place after the War, and, with Frank Miller challenging in Dublin, Charlie was not considered again. It was, perhaps not inappropriate, that a man born one day after the First World War broke out, should end his career in major cricket. a fortnight before the second conflict erupted.