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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Ernest Herbert Bodell
  • Born 17 August 1928, Dublin
  • Died 16 October 2003, Dublin
  • Educated The High School, Dublin
  • Debut 4 September 1954, MCC at College Park
  • Cap Number 468
  • Style Right-hand bat, right-arm fast medium
  • Teams Clontarf

Ernie Bodell, tall, bespectacled and in his later years heavily moustached, was the sort of player every club wants to have in its side. A tireless seamer, "Uphill and into the wind forever," as the Clontarf Centenary History described him, he took 786 wickets, in a 32-season career, at 14.88. He had 48 "5 fors," of which the best was 9-36 v Pembroke in 1950. This was a remarkable spell for two reasons other than the outstanding figures. Firstly, Ernie did it all himself. Eight were clean bowled, the ninth falling to a return catch. Secondly, Pembroke deprived him of all 10 and further glory, by declaring, for a low total, and going on to win!

He was also an enthusiastic, but rather unsuccessful, batsman managing a career aggregate of 1720 runs at 9.88. His greatest regret in cricket was never to have made a 50. His highest score was 49. Safe rather than brilliant in the field, he held 51 catches He also won the Oulton Cup three times. This is a much-prized Clontarf internal award for all round ability on and off the field. Ernie captained the club in 1956 and 1957.He was deservedly the Clontarf President in 1976, the Centenary Year, when his foreword to the commemorative brochure showed how much cricket in general, and Clontarf cricket in particular had meant to him.

When no longer a 1st XI member, he did much work bringing on younger players. A spirit of good-natured competitiveness was the hallmark of his cricket. For one of his ability and drive, his Irish record is disappointing: 11 wickets at 44.45 was no true reflection of his quality. It might be said that he lacked the pace to trouble better batsmen, and that at this level he did not really do enough with the ball through the air or off the pitch.

That is a view that would not gain much support among those who played with or against Ernie, or who saw him bowl. It would probably also not be advanced by the Scottish middle order of 1957. This match, at College Park and won by Ireland by 38 runs, is best remembered for Frank Fee's 9-wicket haul in the first innings. However it was Ernie, capitalising on Fee's brilliant spell, who set up the victory. As the Scots chased 130 to win on a wearing wicket, he removed talisman opener RHE Chisholm, then swept away the middle order to allow Fee and left armer Barclay Wilson to wrap up the tail. Ireland won by 38 runs, leaving Ernie with figures of 14-6-27-4. This writer treasures the memory of a minor, private tour that Ernie, typically agreed to participate in at the last minute. His personality, knowledge and, of course, ability. made four sun soaked September days a memory that almost four decades have not erased.