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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Thomas Newburn
  • Born 10 August 1918 Belfast
  • Died 26 July 2003 Belfast
  • Educated
  • Occupation
  • Debut 23 July 1949 v Scotland at Ormeau
  • Cap Number 449
  • Style Right hand bat, right arm fast medium
  • Teams Central Presbyterian Association; Woodvale

Tom Newburn was one of the unluckiest of Ireland's "one cap wonders." Though he did all that was asked of him, in unhelpful conditions on his sole appearance, he was summarily discarded for the next match, without - as it appears from a distance of over 60 years - a valid reason.

A good opening bowler, of great accuracy, for CPA and then - after that club's demise - for Woodvale, he played in two NCU Challenge Cup Finals, one for each club, but, though he proved one of the outstanding players in the first, was not on the winning side on either occasion.

Thus, at Ormeau, against Woodvale in 1948, CPA were bowled out for 146 with Tom, at 9, being second top scorer with 28. The Ballygomartin Road side had a strong side including four Irish bowlers in Harry Armstrong, George Wilson, William McKee and Billy McCleery but it was the uncapped Willie Wiggins who did the damage with 7-34. However Woodvale also struggled, conceding a 20 run lead. Tom showing his accuracy and wicket taking skill finishing with 24 - 12 - 43 - 4. He included both Wilson, bowled, and McCleery caught by Fred McMurray, in his haul. However, batting again CPA found conditions still very difficult, falling for 110. This time the odd spin of Wilson and the metronomic medium pace of Armstrong doing the damage. Woodvale faced an uphill task. but managed to squeeze home by 3 wickets, despite another fine performance by Tom who - again disposing of dangerman McCleery - took 5-50.

Nine years later saw Tom in the Woodvale side against Lisburn, again at Ormeau. Winning the toss Lisburn totalled an impressive 338 all out with the young Ray Hunter hitting a superb 133. Tom had stuck to his task well, proving Woodvale's most impressive bowler with figures of 41-13-69-2. Woodvale then collapsed twice to the left arm spin of Jack Bowden.

Bowden had also been a key figure in Tom's sole Irish appearance at Ormeau against Scotland in 1949. On a wicket which took spin from the start, Ireland had struggled against the leg spin of Scotland's captain William Laidlaw, who also had an impressive Minor County career for Durham, not then, of course a first class side. The fact that they reached 134 was in no small way due to a 22 run last wicket stand between Tom, who was eventually bowled by off spinner George Youngson for 8, and Jimmy Boucher who finished on 22*. Then Boucher and Bowden "proved too much for Scotland" (Wisden) gaining Ireland a lead of 54. In conditions totally unhelpful to a bowler of his type, Tom had sent down 9 overs for 8 runs.

Batting again Ireland struggled once more but were able to set the visitors 208 to win. This time, Tom took the lead returning the figures of 19 - 6 - 23 - 3, disposing of No 4 batsman JRN Taylor, who later played for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy, as well as tail enders Laidlaw and wicket keeper McLaren. He thus played a major part in a 73 runs victory but was not in the side for the MCC match at Lord's three weeks later.

In that game Ireland's attack was opened by Eddie Ingram, a very effective purveyor of mixed medium pace and leg spin and Frank Quinn, never more than a part time medium pacer, though a first rate batsman. Strangely the side included, as substitute, all rounder Derry Gill who, though he usually opened the bowling for Ireland, did not deliver a single ball in the match.