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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Arthur Edgar Bex
  • Born
  • Died 20 January 1954 Hampton, Dundrum, Co Dublin
  • Educated
  • Occupation Director AH Bex Ltd (Shopfitters)
  • Debut 13 August 1937 v Sir Julien Cahn's XI at Loughborough Road, Nottingham
  • Cap Number 411
  • Style Right-hand bat
  • Teams Leinster, Merrion

Edgar Bex was a useful middle order batsman who played, mostly at Second XI level, for Leinster and Merrion for much of the inter war period. His greatest achievement was to lead Leinster Seconds to the Intermediate Cup in 1929, though a glance at the team photograph reveals a side of grizzled veterans, including the ageless Bill Harrington, seated to his captain's left. Even as he approached 60 years of age, there is no doubt that Bill's square armed off spin would have been too much for many opponents. He made 52 senior appearances for Merrion scoring 544 runs at 12.65 and taking 3 wickets at 25.14. Edgar's one match for Ireland came solely because he was ICU Honorary Secretary at the time.

The 1937 English tour found Ireland down to 10 men when it came to the second of two matches against Sir Julien Cahn's XI, the host having, as usual a star studded side, apart, it must be said from himself! The tourists found themselves with two players, paceman Charlie Billingsley and batsman George Morgan on the injured list and were further depleted when Donald Shearer, a key part of the upper middle order was called home for business reasons. Thus Edgar came into the side, batting at 11. Ireland was routed by the South African fast bowler Bob Crisp. Later a war hero and serial self publicist, Crisp was a very dangerous performer with the ball and sent Ireland packing for 94, with figures of 6-21. Edgar, however, escaped his clutches. He made 1 before being stumped by CR Maxwell, probably the best amateur wicket keeper in England at the time, of the not in considerable pace of Reggie Butterworth. Unless Reggie, who was to be killed in action during the retreat to Dunkirk, was kindly tossing up a few for the "rabbit", which Cahn would have most certainly frowned upon, this was a fine piece of glovework. Edgar had no chance to add more runs to his international career record as rain washed out the second day.

He had become secretary of the Irish Cricket Union in 1932 in succession to George Bonass and was to hold the post until he retired in 1947. Irish cricket did not develop much during his time, though at least, in somewhat difficult times, the national side remained a unified one. Some critics have suggested that this was in spite of rather than because of Edgar and that his attitude to the Northern Unions was hardly diplomatic. At this distance it is impossible to know the full details and rights and wrongs of such incidents but it seems most likely that there was a lack of understanding, and possibly tact, on both sides, rather than any deliberate attempt at mischief making. Before he became Secretary, Edgar had been one of the signatories of the historic document of 1923 which finally established the ICU, though, interestingly, he did so on behalf of Cork County - there being no Munster Union at the time - with which club I have not found that he had any other connection.

Away from cricket, he succeeded his father AH Bex - a Merrion player - as Managing Director of AH Bex Ltd, a shop fitters company. Then in King Street on the north side of the Liffey, the firm still survives today, having relocated to Rathmines some years ago. Edgar and his wife Emily were married in 1921 and had one daughter Audrey Roberta. Arthur Edgar Bex was not a great cricketer but deserves to be remembered for keeping the ICU organisation in being during the hiatus of the Second World War.

Emily died in 1976. The notice in The Irish Times shows her to have been survived not only by her daughter and son in law, John Walker a solicitor, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We would very much like to hear from any of Edgar's descendants who might be able to fill in the gaps in his biographical details.

NB I am much indebted to Gerard Siggins for his help in unearthing previously unpublished items of Bex's biographical details.