- Born 18 July 1929 Dublin
- Died 8 June 1996 Dublin
- Educated Blackrock College; Dublin University
- Occupation Solicitor
- Debut 20 July 1966 v Middlesex at Ormeau
- Cap Number 506
- Style Right hand bat, right arm off breaks
- Teams Dublin University; Phoenix
David Pigot, normally referred to in cricket records as DR Pigot junior, to distinguish him from his father, had one of the most remarkable careers in recent Irish cricket history. A sound opening batsman, and a capable change bowler when called upon, he played senior cricket in Dublin for an astonishing 45 years, totalling 14423 runs in Leinster competitions, a figure only exceeded by "Ginger" O'Brien's 21765. David, of average build and fair haired, scored the last of his seven centuries eleven days before his 56th birthday.
In 1966, aged 36 - when some might have been thinking of retreating to the less demanding climes of 2nd XI cricket - he made his debut for Ireland and opened the batting for the next 10 years. In addition, the universal respect in which he was held throughout Irish cricket, both for his achievements and for his charming character and good nature, resulted in him holding positions such as President of the Mid Ulster Group of Clubs, fully sharing the aims of the founder Wesley Ferris. He also found time to play hockey at senior level, excelling for the well known Three Rock Rovers club in Dublin.
David was born into a well known cricketing family, whose members are mostly covered in his father's biography on this site. The family was also one of famous lawyers, David's grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather all being judges, the last two being also named David Richard. Great great grandfather was Chief Baron of the Exchequer for Ireland, an account of whose career may be read in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB), being very highly regarded as a jurist.
David made his Phoenix debut in 1946, and, after four years in the Dublin University side - where he had some coaching from Learie Constantine - while continuing to play for Phoenix in the holidays, he became a permanent fixture from 1952. He hit two fifties for the University, a further seventy seven were to come from his bat for Phoenix. He also took well over 100 wickets at this level. Though he won the Marchant Cup for Leinster's best batsman in 1966 with 640 runs at an average of 63 and captained the club as early as 1957, by no means for the only time, some of his best performances came towards the end of his career, in Leinster Cup Finals. In 1972 these were changed from play to a finish matches, which could be rather grim affairs, to limited overs contests. These probably did not really suit his style of play, but he made three notable contributions to Phoenix victories. In 1973 at Rathmines, Pembroke made 164-9 from 60 overs on a slow wicket with Mike Halliday taking 4-20. Phoenix got home by 7 wickets David topscoring with 43.
In 1976 at Castle Avenue, Leinster posted a formidable 227-7 with man of the match Jack Short getting a brilliant 142. In one of the best of all finals, the northsiders got home by two wickets, with David again topscoring with 65, ably assisted by wicket keeper Gerry Murphy's 60. Then against Merrion on his home ground in 1978 David was man of the match himself. Phoenix made 233-5 thanks to David who, according to the ICU Yearbook, "compiled a magnificent 107." Merrion were bowled out for 133.
He was also seen in Leprechauns matches, often against schools and for Invitation XIs of various descriptions. One of his best performances in senior matches of this nature was for the Leprechauns, reinforced by Trevor Bailey and former Test off spinner David Allen, against Essex in College Park in 1971. With scores of 34 and 42, David showed that the county bowling held no terror for him, though he succumbed to the occasional medium pace of opening bat Gordon Barker in the second innings. He was much in demand for these games and usually obliged. This led to his playing under a variety of assumed names to conceal the fact, that he, a busy and successful solicitor, should have been following his clients' interests rather than, for example, representing the Leprechauns at Blackhall Place, Kenilworth Square or the nursery slopes of Kilmaschouge Mountain. This writer well recalls school matches in which David, having enthralled us with his batting and delighted us with his company on Wednesday afternoon, would appear in the following day's Irish Times as D Murphy INK Blot or some other such unlikely identity. The writer has often wondered if the clients were really deceived!
1966 saw not only David's Irish debut, but also the inauguration of the Guinness Cup. He had played in the old style Interprovincials and in one South v North Trial (as far back as 1956) but he now had the chance to showcase his talents on a regular basis at a high level. He took it well. After scoring 64*, the first of four fifties, for North Leinster in his first match, he went on to play a further fifty matches, scoring 1177 runs at 26.51. He hit three hundreds, a record at the time of his retirement from the competition in 1979. The highest was 107 v Ulster Town at Castle Avenue when he and Ray Daly put on 213 for the first wicket. Ray reached his hundred the ball after David was out and the declaration followed immediately. Rain came with the visitors on 94-6.
The following year against Ulster Country at Old Belvedere's Cabra Ground, he and Robin Waters put on 203 for the first wicket before the Clontarf man was out for 104. The declaration came on 215-1 with David on 103*. David's first hundred in the competition, however, had come in 1972 against Munster at Castle Avenue. He made an undefeated 105 to enable his team to declare on 212/2, after he and Alec O'Riordan (90) had shared in a big second wicket stand. The hosts won by 134 runs. Another notable score was his 70 against North West at The Village in 1967. The Malahide wicket was far from easy and, winning the toss, North Leinster were bowled out for 168. David's 70 was the key to getting a reasonable score on the board, next highest was GP O'Brien's 35. The value of David's knock was seen as the visitors fell for 141 in a nail biting finish.
David could not be denied his Irish debut in 1966. It was a tough one, against the full Middlesex side at Ormeau, with Ivan Anderson, "Ginger" O'Brien, and Roy Torrens also making their first appearances. In all, for Ireland, he scored 1513 runs at 19.39 with eight fifties. However for many who saw it - regrettably the writer cannot really claim to have been there! - his best innings was at Sion Mills on that never to be forgotten day in 1969. The wicket may not have had the demons the Windies batsmen found in it, but it was not easy and David's 38 ensured Ireland took a good lead. He then held two catches to put the tourists in danger of another collapse. The following summer saw him twice reach what was to prove his highest score for Ireland, 88.
The first came on a very hot June Saturday at North Inch Perth. The Scottish attack wilted, so did the spectators, such as we were, as David, first with Mike Reith (133 for the first wicket) then with Jim Harrison (88 for the second) took the Irish score to a declaration at 288-3. Unfortunately the Scots, particularly veteran opener Ronnie Chisholm, who reached the three figures that David and Mike had been narrowly denied, found the conditions equally to their taste,. A dramatic Irish collapse late on the second day, led to the need of a thunderstorm to ensure a draw on the third afternoon. The writer having witnessed the first two days, was 100 miles away, back at the chalk face, when the rains came! David's other 88, later in the season came against the Combined Services at Beechgrove. The Services, a side bristling with future generals, were bowled out for 105 and 96, with Gerry Duffy and Dougie Goodwin sharing the spoils. Ireland's 252-5 declared was largely due to David's 88, easily top score of the match. He had another fine innings on a difficult wicket against the Netherlands at Castle Avenue in August 1971. The wicket took spin from the start and David's 66 was the only fifty of the match. He put on 67 for the first wicket with Reith and the same for the second with O'Brien, thereafter there was only one significant stand a 51 partnership in the Dutch first innings. Monteith (12-145) was well nigh unplayable and Jan Smitts, the visitors off spinner was a handful in Ireland's second innings. David's skilful batting revealed him as a player of true class.
He hit a match saving second innings 58 in Denmark a few weeks later and in 1974 another match winning half century against the Netherlands. This time Ireland needed 225 to win. Putting on 121 for the second with Jack Short, David reached 58, leading to a good win. He also had two fifties against MCC. The one which gave the most pleasure and which he was to regard as a highlight of his career was 53 at Lord's in 1973. This was to prove his farewell to Lord's and it set up an emphatic Irish victory.
Though his Irish career ended in 1976, his senior cricket, as we have seen, emphatically did not. In the late 1970s however some confusion set in for statisticians as his son, also David Richard, also of DUCC and Phoenix, also a batsman appeared on the scene. David now played as DR Pigot senior and his son as DR junior. For David, however, the main result was the pleasure of playing with and against David !
The ODNB in its study of his great great grandfathers pervading influence on the legal system comments that even today, " A case is all that stronger for having Pigot on ones side." That could well be adapted to cover his cricket career, in which for Phoenix, in competitive matches, North Leinster and Ireland he aggregated 17113 runs. If his other matches are added in, including those pre 1966 Interprovincials for which no scores have been seen, he must have taken his total well past 20000. We may finish by adapting a comment made by Gerard Siggins to conclude an interview with David in the Irish Cricket Magazine's Annual 1986: "He was one of the finest gentlemen in Irish cricket and he is greatly missed on its greenfields"
His obituary is in Wisden 1997.