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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Francis Stanley Arnot Hewitt
  • Born 13 March 1936, Malone, Belfast
  • Died 14 August 2001 Belfast
  • Educated Royal Belfast Academical Institution
  • Occupation Car Sales Proprietor
  • Debut 2 September 1955 v MCC at Lord's
  • Cap Number 470
  • Style Right-hand bat, right arm fast medium.
  • Teams NICC

Stanley Hewitt, or "Big Stan" as a generation of Ulster Cricket and Rugby followers knew him, was a wholehearted cricketer. A heavily built, burly figure, who resembled a No 8 forward rather than the capable performer outside the scrum that he was, he had a thunderous approach to the wicket, alerting the umpire and non striker of his approach with heavy tread. As a batsman, he was decidedly useful in the lower order, often as an uncomplicated hitter.

He played for NICC for more than a decade and a half, helping them to three Cup Final triumphs, and four League titles, one shared and one the double of 1960. In the 1956 Cup Final against Lurgan, he top scored with a typically robust 34 in North's first innings of 134 then when Lurgan, in their second knock, were chasing only 131 to win, his 4-34 ensured a memorable finish and victory. In 1969, though the spin of Given Lyness and "Sonny" Hool accounted for the majority of the Queen's wickets, his first innings 4-32 helped gain a crucial lead of 50, in a match won by 64 runs.

He played only three matches for Ireland, the last two being eleven years after the first, an unusual but not unique experience for Irish players of his era, He suffered partly from the fact that the prevailing slow, low wickets offered little help to a bowler of his kind. Ireland was well served by spinners at the time and the selectors often preferred to go into a match with one genuine opening bowler and use the medium pace of Larry Warke to take the shine off the ball. In his debut match at Lord's in 1955, played in early September, he had two wickets in the first innings of a match in which the visitors were heavily defeated. One, J Akers who never played first class cricket, was stumped by Railway Union 'keeper Frank Miller, who stood up to all bowlers whatever their pace.

Stan did not reappear until the Middlesex match of 1966 at Ormeau. The full county side was far too much for Ireland in a match best remembered as giving first caps to a remarkable quartet of Roy Torrens, David Pigot, "Ginger" O'Brien and Ivan Anderson. Stan, opening the bowling with Alec O'Riordan had 2-69, including the Middlesex wicket keeper John Murray who, later that summer, scored an epic hundred against the West Indies at The Oval, to help Brian Close lead England to a memorable, if belated win, over Garry Sobers powerful side. Retained for the Scots match at Edinburgh's Raeburn Place, which was badly affected by rain, Stan went wicketless, but top scored with 36 in Ireland's first innings 152-7 declared. Sent in at 7 to force the pace, he had the lion's share of a 6th wicket 48 with Gerry Duffy. He also reached double figures in the second innings, but to no avail as the hosts got home by 6 wickets. Though he remained a formidable opponent in NCU cricket, he did not play for Ireland again. The new ball was now mostly shared by O'Riordan and Dougie Goodwin, and, with Torrens in the wings, Stan's recall to Irish colours and a change of selection policy, had come too late in his career.

Despite his considerable achievements on the cricket field, Stanley Hewitt was probably better known as a rugby footballer, hailing as he did from one of Ireland's most famous rugby dynasties. His father and two uncles all played for Ireland, as did his brother John and cousins David Hewitt and Gerald Gilpin. Yet another cousin, David's brother Austin, played at outside half for the Irish Universities and might well have gone further. John, also a very useful batsman at club level for Instonians, was an outstanding outside half and later full back, but overlapped in these roles with Jack Kyle and Cork County opening bat Tom Kiernan! David, potentially a great player, made a Lions' tour, but was always injury prone. Stanley was not in their class but he was a good utility back turning out at centre, wing or full back as the occasion demanded. He was also a fair goal kicker, though not of O'Gara like accuracy. Together with John, however, he was a key member of the successful Instonians XVs of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Stanley Hewitt's early death was widely mourned in Irish sporting circles where many, even those who knew him only slightly, will long remember his colourful, cheerful personality and good nature. His obituary is in Wisden 2002.