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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
John Henry Chapman
  • Born 1837 Dublin
  • Died 15 October 1911 Dublin
  • Educated School unknown, Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
  • Occupation Doctor
  • Debut 3 September 1860 v All England XI at Upper Rathmines Ground
  • Cap Number 45
  • Style Right-hand bat; fast right arm underarm.
  • Teams Leinster

John Chapman was a useful batsman and a good underarm pace bowler, who was a mainstay of Leinster CC, both on and off the field, for many years. He was a highly respected doctor, maintaining his practice until his death. His first major match of which a score has been seen was in May 1860 for XVIII of All Ireland against Charles Lawrence's United Ireland XI, which Lawrence had founded in imitation of the English "Travelling XIs," though he did not meet with the same financial success as they did. In this match, played at Phoenix CC in which John failed to take a wicket, he topscored in the "Ireland" first innings with 10, and was second top score with 9 in the second. The bowling of Lawrence was much too good for John and his team-mates.

His Irish debut came in early September of the same year against the mighty All England XI. His figures for this match and the corresponding one the following year will not be found on his Stats Page as one of the teams -Ireland - had more than 11 players. The scores and a report can be found by following the links in the Statszone. On this first occasion- the match was played at what was then Leinster's ground in Upper Rathmines.-the visitors, under the gaze of the Lord Lieutenant - won by 7 wickets with John contributing a single in each innings with the bat. He did however have three good wickets, George Parr, the captain and probably the best cricketer in the World at the time, Tom Hayward, a very good batsman and uncle of the legendary Surrey and England batsman of the same name, and Frederick Marshall, an Army officer, who had played for Ireland, and was, as a General almost twenty years later, to have a hazardous but successful experience in the Zulu War. John also had the consolation that he had been dismissed c Willsher b Tinley in the first innings thus falling to a combination of two of the best bowlers of the day. Tinley needed no help in the second. At the end of the month John was one of the Irish side narrowly beaten by the touring I Zingari XI on the Vice Regal Ground, in a low scoring match, the poor batting was possibly partly caused by over lavish Vice Regal hospitality.

John did little with the bat, in company with most of his team-mates he found the bowling of Henry Awkright too much in the first innings and was, at 11, 0* in the second, but had three wickets in the match, including HW "Lightning" Fellows a bowler of terrifying pace and a big hitting batsman, who, allegedly, once drove a ball 132 yards for I Zingari v Gentlemen of Worcester in 1848. Big hitting ran in the family. His brother Walter once hit a ball 175 yards while practising at the Christ Church College, Oxford Ground. Perhaps they had outside help. Both men were Anglican clergymen!

The All England XI were back in Dublin the following May, playing Ireland's XXII at Coburg Gardens, the square of which is now mostly submerged by the National Concert Hall. John slightly improved with the bat. In the first innings, he was bowled by John "Foghorn" Jackson for 2, he reached the same score in his second knock, but was then run out. Jackson was a bowler of exceptional pace, famed for maiming batsmen, His loud voice gained him his nickname. Unfortunately his expertise at bowling was exceeded only by his great thirst and he was to die in a Liverpool workhouse. In this match he provided Chapman with one of his two wickets. At the beginning of October, Ireland played the Military of Ireland at Coburg. Charles Lawrence, in his last match for Ireland, and that champion of underarm bowling, Arthur Samuels, ran through a very weak batting line up twice to win by an innings with John hardly getting on. He did open the batting but was bowled by the quaintly titled Schoolmaster Foster for a duck. He did not get another chance.

His final match for Ireland was a rain curtailed draw with I Zingari in 1863; it was by far his best. He made 12 in his only innings, having already taken 5 I Zingari wickets, unfortunately full analysis is not available. He shared the attack with Fast roundarmer and future Middlesex professional Michael Flanagan, who took 4.

John did not play for Ireland again, though his brother HT Chapman did so for the XXII v The United England XI in 1865. John devoted, as has been said above, much time to Leinster CC, having a great deal to do with its development as a major cricketing force. At the annual dinner in 1901, speaking as President of the club, he recalled that, "he had once bowled out the King of England when playing for the Gentlemen of Ireland against I Zingari at the Vice Regal ground." He said, "His Majesty was unfortunate that he played the first ball he received from me onto his wicket." Unfortunately the match that year was played at Coburg and neither John Chapman nor HRH The Prince of Wales took part in it. "Bertie" was known to pick up a cricket bat from time to time and was also a fairly frequent visitor to Ireland. Perhaps the encounter occurred in a "pick up" game on the Vice Regal lawn.

John Henry Chapman had a long and valuable association with Irish Cricket and with one of Ireland's greatest clubs. He may be forgiven a lapse of memory or an exaggeration of a long past moment.