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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Frederick Albert Blaney
  • Born 17 March 1918 Lisburn, Co Antrim
  • Died 2 February 1988, Groomsport, Co Down
  • Educated Royal Belfast Academical Institution
  • Debut 24 June 1939 v Scotland at College Park
  • Cap Number 19
  • Style Right-hand bat, Right Arm Fast Medium, Reserve Wicket Keeper,
  • Teams Lisburn

Fred "Snooker" Blaney was a stalwart member of the Lisburn batting line up for many years, he was invariably at number 3, very strong on the off side, but always regarded as a man to rely on in a crisis. The Lisburn Club's website describes his play, "His temperament was excellent and you did not get Fred's wicket easily." He began his career for the Club while still a young boy at "Inst", that great academic and sporting nursery, as a member of the Schoolboys' XI organised and coached by the Club's long serving professional, Joe Awty. Others to cut their cricketing teeth in this side were the skilful off spinner Tommy Martin, whose early death was such a loss to cricket, not just in Lisburn, and Maurice Robinson, arguably the best Irish born cricketer never to represent Ireland. Instead he played first class cricket in India and also for Glamorgan and Warwickshire.

"Snooker" was more than a reliable bat at "first drop." He was also a bowler who was capable of generating surprising pace and a most capable reserve wicket keeper, basing his style on his immaculate teammate, George Crothers.In 1936, the Lisburn Centenary year, he played in four different cup competitions. He turned out for the Senior, Junior and Minor XI's, as well as playing for the Ramblers team in a special Centenary Competition. His one appearance for Ireland came in June 1939, when he was dismissed for 1 and 13, by the Scottish pacemen JR Farquhar and RE Hodge. He was not alone in failing as Ireland went down at College Park by 162 runs. He was thus unlucky to be left out for the remaining matches of the year.

During the War, he reached the rank of Lieutenant in the Army, but, needless to say, found time to play plenty of cricket. In the summer of 1940 he was part of a strong Blackpool batting line up in the Ribblesdale League, as he was joined by Stuart Pollock and James MacDonald. Back at Lisburn as peace was restored, he helped them to win the NCU Challenge Cup v NICC in 1946 with the competition restored to its traditional two innings format. Blaney was Lisburn's top scorer with a first innings 55, to take them to what proved to be a match-winning total of 207. He was the only batsman to master the clever off spin of John Hill.

After his retirement in the mid 1950s, he continued to have close contact with the Club, being a familiar figure at Wallace Park until the last summer of his life. Though he lost his best years to the War, he was still a very good player in the late 1940s. Perhaps he might have been tried for Ireland again.