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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
James Rupert Gill
  • Born 24 September 1911 Dublin
  • Died 18 October 2000 Blackrock, Dublin.
  • Educated Masonic School, Dublin
  • Occupation Auctioneer
  • Debut 21 August 1948 v MCC at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 445
  • Style Right-hand bat.
  • Teams Civil Service, Leinster.

Jimmy Gill was a very good opening batsman, who had a unique career for Ireland, making a century and a duck on his only appearance v MCC in 1948. Dark haired and of average height, Jimmy learned the game at Masonic School at Clonskea, always a good production line for cricketers. Between 1929 and 1934, he played for Civil Service, opening the innings with considerable success. However during the latter summer, there appears to have considerable discontent among several of the better Service players, and, at the season's end, six of them left the club, including not only Jimmy, but future Phoenix and Ireland wicket keeper Jimmy Brophy, opening bat Noel Mahony and off spinner John Hill.

Joining Leinster, he was to play for the Observatory Lane side until 1958, scoring 5559 runs at 23.06. Perhaps surprisingly, he hit only one century 105* v Dublin University in College Park in 1938. That summer he narrowly missed being awarded the Marchant Cup, something he made up for the following year, when, though not always available and totalling only 280 runs, he averaged just over 40. Leinster won eight League Titles (one shared) and six Senior Cup Finals, during his career. Though his batting was undoubtedly important in gaining these trophies, he only made one major contribution in a Cup Final. This was near the end of his career against Phoenix at Rathmines in 1958. With no over or time limit to concern them, the hosts led off with a formidable 334. Jack Notley topscored with 69, Jimmy, the only other to pass the half century mark, making 56. Phoenix collapsed to the medium pace of AJ Ryan, only Gerry Quinn with 36, showing any form.

Oddly, 1948, the year of his Irish appearance, saw him begin the season in Leinster Seconds. However, having worked his way back into the senior side, he hit four fifties in six innings, and came into the Irish team for the last match of the season against MCC on his home ground. There were two other debutants, both from the North West, batsman Wallace Allen and wicket keeper Victor Craig. Like Jimmy they were not asked to play again, "Waldo" Allen, in particular, being unlucky.

The match in question was rain affected, with much time being lost on the first and third days. Play did not begin until 4.50 on the first evening. Almost straight away, Jimmy gave a chance to Middlesex medium pacer Harry Enthoven at short leg. Enthoven grassed it, and Jimmy still on 0 lived to fight again, though soon losing skipper Noel Mahony. Jimmy and Stuart Pollock were subject to some hostile bowling from former England paceman "Hopper" Read, who had seen Jimmy put down at short leg! T

en years earlier, Read, who lived to within 23 days of his 90th birthday, had been a bowler of exceptional speed, he was still distinctly sharp. Batting on into the second day Jimmy put on 78 with Pollock and then 64 for the third with Simon Curley. In all he batted 210 minutes for his 108 hitting 12 fours, the fourth man to score a debut century for Ireland. He was eventually caught by Essex amateur AB Quick off the pacey leg spin of JM Brocklebank, a former POW who was later to be Chairman of Cunard. Wisden described Jimmy's innings as "splendid."The rest of the match belonged to former England captain RES Wyatt (133) and JC Boucher (7/91). Rain on the third day brought the Irish second innings, and the match, to a premature conclusion, but not before Jimmy had completed his unique double by being bowled by Read for 0.

Had this not been the last match of the season, he would surely have played for Ireland again. As it was, when the next side was picked the following season, he was no longer in form. However his one match was a first class one and in 2001 Wisden, in a brief obituary notice recalled the game, and remarked, "No one is known to have a similar record."

John Rupert Gill, who was to retire as a Director of Adams Auctioneers with whom he spent his working life, was President of the Irish Cricket Union in 1961.