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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
David Graham
  • Born 13 March 1922 Belfast
  • Educated
  • Occupation
  • Debut 16 June 1948 v Yorkshire at Ormeau
  • Cap Number 440
  • Style Right-hand bat, right arm fast medium
  • Teams NICC, Belfast YMCA

David Graham was a good fast medium bowler who was an essential member of the NICC attack as the War years ended and in their immediate aftermath. He also played for YMCA but did not hit the headlines with that club. He was a lower order batsman, whose highest score of which a record has been seen was 29* in the wet and bedraggled summer of 1946.

First appearing regularly in North's colours in 1944, he made an impact the following season taking 38 wickets at 13.34 and achieving what were to prove his career best figures for the Ormeau side having a return of 11-3-22-6 against Queen's University who, that year included a promising all-rounder named Jack Kyle, soon to distinguish himself in another sport involving a larger and different shaped ball! David was also in good form in the first round of the NCU Challenge Cup taking 4-37 against Woodvale which was, however, not enough to save his team from defeat. In 1946 North reached the Final of the Cup, having to thank David for figures of 4-38 against North Down in a low scoring semi-final, which saw North victorious by 28 runs. He also bowled well in the Final, having match figures of 5-56, including the scalps of "Snooker" Blaney, Jack Bowden and George Crothers in his haul. However he was unable to prevent a 66 runs victory for the Wallace Park side. North Down appear to have been his favourite opponents that summer. Meeting them in the League he had his season's best analysis of 13-2-24-6.

Illness prevented him from making more than a token appearance in 1947 but in 1948 he took 34 wickets at 8.47 and was deservedly capped by Ireland. His debut came against Yorkshire on his home turf in mid-June. It began the day after the conclusion of the First Test at Trent Bridge in which England - as became commonplace that year - were heavily defeated by Australia. Nevertheless the England captain, Norman Yardley, was on hand to lead the county out, Len Hutton, however, stayed at home in Pudsey. Perhaps Yardley, who had fond memories of the Ulster summer he had spent with the Green Howards in 1941, felt obliged to play. The team also included Alex Coxon, a fast medium bowler who would play in the Second test at Lord's the following week and dismiss Australian opener Sid Barnes for 0, Sid, however, made a second innings hundred.

David was one of four debutants; he and Joe Caprani had come in as late replacements for Bobby Barnes and Sonny Hool. Had the originally selected team taken the field, Ireland would have played four spinners - or five if John Flood who was not asked to bowl in the match - is so counted plus Eddie Ingram who mixed leg breaks with medium pace. David's inclusion certainly increased Captain George Crothers' options. Rain cut into the first day in which Ireland were dismissed for 153, the pace of Coxon and his new ball partner Ron Aspinall, who later became an umpire on the county circuit, being too much for them. On the following day rain allowed only150 minutes play during which Yorkshire scored 147-3, the stylish right hander Harry Halliday, making the most of Hutton's absence, scoring an undefeated 77. David had an opening burst of 7-3-7-0, which suggests accuracy, and then Ingram, Jimmy Boucher and John Hill bowled for the rest of the afternoon.

David retained his place in the side for the three day match against Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, which Ireland won by 118 runs. Again he was somewhat sparingly used, the three spinners Hill, Hool and Boucher doing most of the bowling. Sending down eight accurate overs in each innings, David was rewarded with the wicket of the hosts' opener Harold Sheppard in the second innings. Harold, whose career was bisected by War, was a good batsman who scored over 700 runs for Scotland and, some seven years after this match, made 75 for Hong Kong against Malaysia.

David Graham may have felt, with some justification, that he had been given somewhat limited opportunities to show his full ability on his two appearances for Ireland. It will be evident from the details at the head of this profile that we have been unable to track down several key parts of his life outside cricket. We would very, much like to hear from anyone who can help us obtain them.