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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
William Alexander McKee
  • Born 4th quarter 1919, Coleraine
  • Died September 1986 Belfast
  • Educated Lisburn Technical College
  • Occupation Wages Clerk
  • Debut 13 July 1946 v Scotland at Ormeau
  • Cap Number 425
  • Style Right hand bat; right arm medium pace
  • Teams Woodvale

William McKee was a good medium pacer and a useful lower order batsman, who was, perhaps unlucky to have played only once for Ireland. His chance came in the first post war summer, the rain soaked one of 1946. He did little in the match and was never given the opportunity to show his skills again.

He opened the bowling for Woodvale for several seasons, often in tandem with the metronomic Harry Armstrong, but played in only one of the NCU Cup Finals which the club reached during his time. This was the match against CPA at Ormeau in 1948, which the Ballygomartin Roaders won by 3 wickets, despite some excellent pace bowling by Tom Newburn. William played a vital part in his team's success, but ironically, with the bat rather than the ball.

Winning the toss CPA batted first, reaching 146. William played his part in restricting them to this score by removing CPA opener and Irish International Fred McMurray for 13, to finish with 1-36.

However Woodvale found the CPA seamers Newburn and Harry Shaw in top form in helpful conditions and struggled to reach a semi respectable 127. Coming in at the fall of the 6th wicket, William topscored with a fighting 41, without which Woodvale would have conceded a far bigger lead. Batting again CPA struggled to reach 110, Woodvale eventually - as already stated - winning by 3 wickets.

William also appeared for Ulster against Derbyshire at Ormeau in 1948. The hosts were heavily outclassed by the county pace attack of Bill Copson, Les Jackson and Cliff Gladwin well supported by Bert Rhodes, father of controversial paceman Harold, who bowled medium pace and leg spin with equal facility. William fell to Gladwin for 1 in the first innings and to Rhodes, having doubled his score, in the second. Ulster did rather better with the ball, restricting the visitors to 212. William had one wicket, that of opener Alan Townsend for 5.

William's one match for Ireland came against Scotland at Greenock in 1946. He came in as a late replacement for Eddie Ingram, which at least gave the Irish attack some semblance of speed as the only other bowler of any pace was Frank Quinn, a fine batsman, who was a useful medium pacer. William opened the attack with off spinner, and fellow debutant, John Hill, while the side also included Jimmy Boucher, another off spinner of course, and two slow left armers, Jack Bowden and Bobby Barnes. William's figures were 13 - 1 - 45 - 0. Boucher with 7 wickets, bowled Scotland out for 259, which Ireland surpassed by 67 runs, thanks largely to a brilliant 140 from Quinn. However William made a useful contribution also. Coming in at 11, he helped Hill (15*) add29 for the last wicket, his share being a hard hitting 16. In the hosts second innings he took 0-12 as Boucher, Hill and Barnes shared the wickets. Ireland won by 8 wickets, Stuart Pollock making a stylish 64*.

This was, as we have seen, William's only match for Ireland. On the grounds that nobody should be dropped after a single match, he must be accounted unlucky, but he probably fell victim to the selection policy of the time which, rather like that of India in the heyday of Bedi, Venkat et al, was to rely heavily on spin, often using part time medium pacers to take the shine off the ball. Given a greater opportunity, William Alexander McKee's figures might well have been better.