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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Robert Michael Ridley
  • Born 8 January 1947
  • Educated Clifton College, Oxford University
  • Occupation Schoolmaster later Headmaster
  • Debut 23 August 1968 v Combined Services at Shane Park, Belfast
  • Cap Number 511
  • Style Right-hand bat
  • Teams Gloucestershire II, Oxford University, OU Authentics

Mike Ridley was a well organised and correct batsman, who normally opened the innings. He was three years in the Clifton XI, scoring 660 runs at 22.00, with a highest score of 59. He played three times for the University in his first year there but did not get a blue. He rectified this over the next three, becoming a fixture at the top of the order. All told in first class matches for Oxford he totalled 994 runs at 24.20. His highest score was 79 against Leicestershire in the Parks in 1968, falling to a return catch by Jackie Birkenshaw.

He played twice for Ireland in that year achieving useful scores in difficult batting conditions. At Shane Park, where the new wicket was far from settled, Malahide fast medium bowler Dougie Goodwin routed the Combined Services, so that Ireland's 161 was enough to win by an innings. In this context Ridley's 26 at number 3 was a most telling contribution. He then played against MCC at Clontarf. Opening the batting, he made as stylish 43, which much impressed commentator, and fellow Oxonian, Alan Gibson. Ridley and DR Pigot put on 64 for the first wicket, then Ireland collapsed. Rain ruined the match so that his second innings failure hardly mattered.

He did not play for Ireland again. If this seems an inconsistent or unfair selection policy, it did pave the way for a home grown opener to step in: MS Reith. Before, during, and after his first class career, Ridley appeared for Gloucestershire II. Without ever suggesting that he would break through into the County side, he made a number of useful scores, of which the best was 82* at Bristol in 1968, when he and Mike Bissex put on 179 for the first wicket against Kent. A schoolmaster by profession, he became Headmaster of two public schools: first Denstone College in Staffordshire, then RBAI, Belfast.