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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
John Robert Notley
  • Born 25 June 1926 Drumsna, Co Roscommon
  • Died 21 December 1994 Kilkenny
  • Educated Masonic School, Dublin
  • Occupation Insurance Official
  • Debut 30 August 1958 v Worcestershire at College Park
  • Cap Number 486
  • Style Right hand batsman.
  • Teams Leinster

Jack Notley, dark haired and strongly built, was a good batsman who often opened the innings. Learning the game at Masonic School, that well known nursery for Irish cricketers at Clonskea regrettably no longer in existence, he made his debut for Leinster CC in 1948 and was to be an essential part of the Observatory Lane batting line up for 13 years. He scored 2075 runs at 22.80, with a highest score of 137* against Phoenix at Rathmines in 1959.

His best season was 1956, when he won the Marchant Cup with an average of 87, the highest since George McVeagh's 102 in 1927, though not approaching the Leinster record of 217 set by the inevitable Bob Lambert in 1921, the year in which the Cup was first presented. Jack was not always available in his trophy winning season, his aggregate being 351.

Leinster won the LCU Senior Cup three times during Jack's playing days. He played an important part on the third occasion v Phoenix at Rathmines in 1958. Batting first, in the days before there were any over limitations, Leinster ran up a formidable 334. Jack topscored with 67, closely followed by John Gill, a good opening bat best known for scoring a century and a duck on his only Irish appearance, 56. Medium pacer AJ Ryan then bowled Phoenix out for 138, despite some resilient batting from Gerard Quinn.

Jack's one Irish cap came that same season. He was, perhaps, unfortunate, that it was against the full Worcestershire county side, played under hot sunshine on a drying College Park wicket. The County had just the bowlers to exploit it: off spinner Martin Horton capped for England the following summer, and slow left armer Bob Berry, who - then playing for Lancashire - had won a Test for England against West Indies at Old Trafford in 1950 and had toured Australia under Freddie Brown's captaincy the following winter.

Jack was, in reality, fourth choice to open the innings with Stan Bergin. Tom McCloy and former Cambridge Blue Robin O'Brien, whose father - a British Army General - was another to have learned his cricket at Masonic, had been unavailable for selection, while Kevin Quinn had cried off after the team had been announced. Thus Jack found himself opening against the attack of Jack Flavell, a bowler of distinctly sharp pace, and Len Coldwell an ultra reliable medium fast operator. Both would play for England within four years, Len touring Australia in 1962 - 63. They made the Irish openers struggle, but spin was soon introduced. In the days before leg side fielding restrictions, off spinners frequently bowled to four short legs in such conditions.

Horton was no exception, this writer, a fourteen year old glued to every ball, can still see Jack, with the leg trap in his hip pocket, or so it seemed, tied to rigid defence as the Ireland score crawled to 18 in 40 minutes, before he was caught by DW "Dick" Richardson at short square leg for 4. Ireland collapsed for 102 with only Paddy Neville, Larry Warke and Jack's fellow debutant a schoolboy named O'Riordan, making the bowlers work. Horton had 7-40 and Berry 3-26. The county had some initial problems also but passed 200 before declaring. Jack fell cheaply in the second innings, managing only a single. He was caught again by Richardson, this time at leg slip off a Flavell inswinger. Otherwise Horton 5-24 and Berry 4-36, again mopped up the innings, though they were delayed by some robust and resolute stroke play by Warke and Ray Hunter.

The following week Ireland played MCC at College Park. Quinn was again unavailable as was Bergin. The selectors, however, did not give Jack another chance. McCloy and O'Brien returned, though - in common with all the Irish batsmen save O'Riordan - they made little impact on a rain affected match that finished in a pulsating draw. Jack continued to score freely for Leinster for another three seasons, but his international days were over.

He was, perhaps, better known as a rugby footballer, playing with great distinction for Wanderers at centre or full back, helping them to the Leinster Senior Cup in the 1953-54 season. His Irish caps had come two years previously. His debut was against France at Stades Colombes, always a difficult match, though "Les Bleus" were not the force they were to become. Jack was at full back, standing in for the Dublin University man JGMW Murphy who had worn the No 15 jersey against the South Africans earlier in the season. Murphy, later a British Army and Royal Chaplain, was himself a useful cricketer, captaining Lurgan in the NCU Cup Final of 1954, in which, it must be admitted, they were heavily defeated by Woodvale. In Paris Ireland won 11 -8 - these remember were the days of the 3 point try- with Jack kicking a conversion.

The next match was v Scotland at Lansdowne Road - the English match having been postponed because of the death of King George VI - Murphy returned at full back, but Jack partnered Noel Henderson in the centre. Ireland won 12-8, three unconverted tries and a penalty, the tries coming from Henderson, who also landed the penalty, Jack Kyle and Mick Lane, the Munster wing. Jack had thus been on the winning side for his first two caps. Alas, these not being the days of Declan Kidney and consistent selection, he was discarded. Without him, Ireland lost at Cardiff and - in ankle deep snow - in the rearranged meeting at Twickenham. He was never selected again.