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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Frank Miroslav Filgas
  • Born 3 November 1926 Carlow
  • Died 23 February 2006 Blackrock Hospice, Blackrock, Co Dublin
  • Educated King's Hospital School, Dublin; Dublin University
  • Occupation
  • Debut 24 July 1948 v Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow
  • Cap Number 441
  • Style Right-hand batsman; wicket keeper
  • Teams Clontarf, Dublin University, Leinster, San Paulo and South Brazil, Brazil

Frank Filgas, a second generation Czech, was, after Louis Bookman, the second player of Eastern European origin to play for Ireland. His schooling left him well grounded in the game, as he came under the eagle eye of Noel Mahony, most dedicated of coaches, at King's Hospital. Frank was a highly accomplished wicket keeper, but, in Irish cricket at least, was never classed as much of a batsman. He was four years in the Dublin University XI from 1945, and never managed a competitive half century, though his glovework won the highest praise. It was partly due to his excellent support for his bowlers that the College Park side carried off the League title in 1947 and 1948.

He also appeared, unsurprisingly considering his school connection, for Clontarf and also for Leinster, though he had difficulty establishing himself in either side. At Rathmines, Charles Cuffe was still in residence behind the stumps, and, while some considered his keeping to be becoming increasingly ponderous, he was to remain the first choice until 1954. At Castle Avenue, the temptation was increasingly strong to pack the batting by allowing Louis Jacobson, a competent keeper, and, of course a fine batsman, take the gloves.

It was, thus, his University performances which gained Frank his sole Irish cap against Scotland at Glasgow's Hamilton Crescent ground in June 1948. Ireland won by 118 runs, spun to victory by the three prong spin attack of John Hill. "Sonny" Hool and, above all Jimmy Boucher. Frank held one catch - off Boucher which, he was able, perhaps, to look back on with pride in the future. His sole victim for Ireland, was Ronald Chisholm, destined to become one of Scotland's most consistent batsmen, then playing the first of his 80 matches in a 24 year career. However Frank failed twice with the bat, and allowed a total of 25 byes in the match, no fewer than 17 in the second innings. Both he and the Scots found then great JCB almost unplayable, as the Phoenix man returned figures of 24-11-34-6.

Frank left University without having completed his degree and spent some years in Brazil, where he was prominent in cricket circles. Only a handful of scores of the matches he played in have been seen, and it has proved impossible to verify the claim that he captained the national side, but from the records available, which cover some matches in 1953 and 1954, he appears to have been highly successful.

In late October 1953, he played for San Paulo and South Brazil against the Argentine touring side, The visitors had the stronger cricket tradition, and some very good players. The match was drawn with Frank, batting as high as 6, making a second innings 35 to save the mach. He also made 3 catches and 1 stumping in Argentina's only innings, but - did his side's attack include any medium paced off spinners? - allowed 15 byes! He then played in two back to back two day matches for Brazil against Argentina. His keeping appears to have been outstanding in both matches, and, in the second he made a useful 33 that staved off a possible collapse and ensured a draw. He also came into contact with members of two prominent Argentine cricket families. In the first match, he was dismissed by Cyril Ayling one of a family which, spanning three generations, produced seven Argentine players. In the second game, he stumped the visitors captain George Ferguson for 101. Representatives of George's family, to which Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York is related, still play for Argentina today, and like the Aylings, are to be found in teams dating back to the 1920s.

The following year, on the famous Hurlingham and Belgrano grounds at Buenos Aires, Argentina won two substantial innings victories. Frank, however was not disgraced. In the first match, at Hurlingham, he held 3 catches, ending Ayling's brilliant 126, then made 22, which just failed to avert the follow on. In the second match he made a first innings 28, second top score for the outplayed visitors. If any further details of Frank's career in Brazil emerge, they will be incorporated into this article. However his figures for the few matches described are worth recording:

5 matches, 9 innings, not out 0, highest score 35, runs 162, average 18.00, catches 9, stumpings 5. These figures suggest that it was indeed a pity that he was not seen more in Irish cricket.