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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Robert Boyd Matier
  • Born 21 October 1935 Belfast
  • Educated Royal Belfast Academical Institution; Queen's University, Belfast
  • Occupation Teacher
  • Debut 12 June 1963 v West Indies at Ormeau
  • Cap Number 497
  • Style Left hand bat; right arm medium pace
  • Teams Queen's University, Woodvale, Instonians, Lurgan.

Bobby Matier was a sound upper order batsman and useful medium pacer. His first regular senior cricket was at Queen's, where, in 1955, he gained one of the coveted Blues, by no means awarded to every member of the side. Among those sharing the honour on this occasion were Frank Fee and Jimmy McKelvey. Bobby's brother Lawrence was similarly honoured in a later season.

Bobby had the ill luck to be thrown in at the deep end in his Irish career, finding himself ranged against the 1963 West Indians and then a full strength county attack. He was, perhaps, discarded too early, but continued to be a force in League and Cup cricket for some years after his brief spell in the national side. His Cup career included two successful finals. In 1964, playing for Instonians, he topscored with 73 in a first innings of 187 against Sion Mills, countering veteran left armer John Flood who troubled all the other batsmen. Flood was to take 11-91 in the match, but thanks to a second innings 44 by Dixon Rose and a hat trick by Brian Anderson in Sion's second innings, Instonians, who had conceded a 14 run deficit on the first innings were victorious by 18. Clearly Bobby's innings had been crucial to his side's success, though a magnificent 108 by Tommy Harpur in Sion's first innings of 201 took the batting honours. Eight years later Bobby was able to captain Lurgan to a convincing win over Muckamore with two fine innings by Ray Hunter laying the foundations for success.

Bobby had a notable innings for the North against the South at Castle Avenue in 1963, making the top score of the match which was mostly dominated by the bowlers. Opening with Tom McCloy after the North had won the toss, Bobby made 65 helping Tom in an opening stand of 122, the highest by either side in the series. Thereafter bowlers held sway until the match winning second innings 4th wicket stand between Ginger O'Brien and Donald Pratt, brought victory to the hosts. McCloy was the first to go, leg before to Alec O'Riordan and was immediately followed by Herbie Martin run out from the first ball he faced. With one more run on the board, Bobby, having batted 155 minutes and hit 5 fours was stumped by former London Universirty wicket keeper Ken Adams off Joey O'Meara. This was to prove the only wicket taken by the South that did not fall to pace.

Bobby's Irish career comprised three matches in 1963, in only two of which was he able to bat. His debut match, against the Windies at Ormeau, was washed out after the tourists had smashed their way to 209-4 at lunch. In his second game he batted twice in the one day allowed for the match. The College Park had been unreliable throughout the season, the situation being made worse by heavy rain in the days before the match which hampered preparation. Ireland were shot out for 62, the pace of Charlie Griffith and Lester King having reduced them to 8-5, before Conrad Hunte, leading the side in the absence of Frank Worrell, turned to spin. Batting was very dangerous, with spectators - most certainly this one - awe struck by Griffith's naked hostility - and Bobby, coming in at 3, had done well to survive. He then helped Ian Lewis, top scorer with 41 all made off Alf Valentine, add 20 for the 6th wicket, before being caught by Seymour Nurse from the off spin of Tony White for 9. This was to prove the second highest score. The visitors also found batting difficult and were dismissed for 126. King and Griffith operated at half pace in the second innings but were again formidable. However Bobby fell to the occasional leg spin of opening bat Joey Carew for 5.

His final match for Ireland was against Leicestershire at Sydney Parade later in the summer. In both innings - it was a rain affected two day match - he found himself having to try to force the pace against county bowlers, something which only the unorthodox Donald Pratt, in the second innings, really managed to do. Bobby made 9 in Ireland's first innings of 105-5 declared before being caught at the wicket by Ray Julien, later to become an umpire much loved by bowlers if not batsmen. In the second innings, as Ireland faltered against a keen attack as they tried to press on for a declaration, Bobby made 20 before being caught at slip by prolific opener Maurice Hallam. The bowler in both cases was the off spinner John Savage. Ireland eventually declared after Pratt's heroics, but the visitors won by 5 wickets.

Bobby did not play for Ireland again. Perhaps he was made the scapegoat for what was seen as slow scoring by the top order batsmen. If so this was scarcely consistent: more experienced players made less of an impact but were to retain the selectors' confidence. He was an automatic choice for Ulster Country when the Guinness Cup began in 1966, by now playing with Lurgan. He had several useful innings over the next five seasons, but none were really outstanding. He suffered partly from a varied position in the batting order. His best place was clearly at 3, he was batting there when he made his highest score, yet he occupied several positions in the lower middle order also and, when he was captain in 1970 - 1971, sometimes batted as low as 9.

His highest score of 48 ct Finlay b Huey, came in the first of all these matches. Batting first drop against North West at Beechgrove, he made a top score 48, with Hugh Linehan, surprisingly low in the order contributing a typical 28 as the next highest score. North West managed to hold out for a draw but was not so fortunate two years later, when they were bowled out for 87. However they struck back taking three quick wickets, before Bobby, at 5, joined his captain Ivan Anderson. They saw their side home with Bobby finishing on 26 and Ivan on 39. His second highest score, however, came, as captain, against Munster in 1970 at Ballymena. The hosts batted first and posted 202-7. The Harrison's brothers, Jim and Roy, led the onslaught, but Bobby provided strong support with a cultured 36. Munster were then bowled out cheaply and a 139 runs victory was recorded.

Robert Boyd Matier faded from the representative scene after 1971.