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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
David Brian Blayney Ensor
  • Born 25 April 1948 Dublin
  • Educated Gonzaga College, Dublin; University College, Dublin
  • Occupation Solicitor
  • Debut 19 July 1969 v Wilfred Isaac's XI at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 514
  • Style Right hand batsman
  • Teams Phoenix

David Ensor, whose younger brother Tony won 22 rugby caps for Ireland at full back in the post Tom Kiernan era, was a tall upstanding upper order batsman, who might very well have been given more than the one chance he received for Ireland. Honing his skills for the game at Gonzaga College, where he was, arguably the outstanding cricketer to be produced until the recent advent of George Dockrell, he made his senior debut for Phoenix aged just 17, and - in a long career, was to score 5167 runs at 22.11 in Leinster Senior Cricket with a highest score of 93. Though he failed to reach the magical three figures, he passed the half century mark on 21 occasions.

He played for Irish Schools against their Welsh counterparts in 1965 and 1966. Achieving little in his first year, he fell for 8 and 0 at Cardiff Arms Park to Norman Jones a pace bowler from Welshpool Grammar School. The match ended in a tense draw with Wales who had dominated the first innings, on 130-9 needing 190.

At Ormeau the following year, Ireland were reduced to 10 men from the start when their captain and opening bat Mike Reith had his hand broken by a beamer from Ian Wagstaffe a quick bowler from Llanelli. However David, batting at 5 having gone in first wicket down the previous season, stood firm. Making 27 he was second top score to Richard Finlay of Methodist College who finished on 42. Wales, led for the second of three times by John Bevan - later to be much better known playing with an oval ball - were on top for much of the match. In the end however, they abandoned a pursuit of 107 runs, losing three quick wickets to Ian Johnston.

David was probably at his best in the late 1960s. Scoring consistently for Phoenix, he won a place in the North Leinster side and gained his Irish cap. A friend of Mike Halliday Dublin University off spinner and future Irish captain, he was asked to guest for Dublin University on their annual English tour of 1968 under the captaincy of Gerry Murphy. He scored 322 runs at 80.50 with three fifties. His only failure came in the penultimate match of the tour against Indian Gymkhana when he was out for 0. Otherwise his lowest score was 34* against Finchley. Another half century - or more - beckoned when the rains arrived. Amongst the opposition faced was Public School Wanderers who included a former Dublin University player in Peter Leaver, a barrister who is now a QC and who was from 1997 to 1999 Chief Executive of English Footballs Premier League. PSW were captained by Hubert Doggart a former Sussex captain and twice capped England batsman. He was to become a public school headmaster and President of the MCC. David made 59 against them, his highest score, 71, coming against a strengthened Hurspiepoint College side, for whom the former Sussex batsman David Semmence, then the school coach, hit a classy 132*.

David's debut in the Guinness Cup came in 1967 against North West at Phoenix where he found himself at 8 in a strong North Leinster batting line up. He contributed an undefeated 27 to what proved to be a winning score. The first of his three half centuries in the tournament came against Munster at Phoenix in July 1969 against an attack that included the formidable English League pacemen Dennis Leng from the Bradford competition and Wally Booton from that of Birmingham. They were supported by veteran slow left armer Barclay Wilson. David, however, was in fine form. Coming in at 3,his best position, he made 63 in 97 minutes with six 4s. He and his captain, Robin Waters, the former Oxford and Sussex wicket keeper then with Clontarf, put on 120 for the second. David was eventually out to Trevor Enderson, Waters finished on 78*. A declaration on 204-5 led to a 93 run victory. The following year at the Mardyke David and Waters had another big stand as NL totalled 201-5 off 55.5 overs. David, batting for 2 hours and hitting five 4s made an undefeated 69, his top score for North Leinster. Waters had 54 on this occasion, with their stand worth 94. Later in the summer, back on his home ground David again topscored, this time against a strong Ulster Town attack with Tim English and Ian Johnston to use the new ball and spin coming from Sonny Hool and Ken Kirkpatrick. Batting at 4, David made an 87 minute 58 with eight 4s. He and Murphy put on 69 for the 4th wicket. Victory came by 72 runs.

He was to show his defensive powers against Ulster Country in a match at Phoenix in 1978 by which time he was batting down the order. Facing a visitors' score of 195-6 the hosts were in trouble at 81-5 with Dermot Monteith and Ivan Anderson extracting turn from a spin friendly wicket. David, in partnership with Malahide's Gerry O'Brien, stood firm. They put on 48 for the 6th wicket and made the match safe. David was out just before the end caught behind by Eddie Bushe off Monteith for 26 but by then the danger passed. "The World's Third Best Slow Left Armer" had 6-62 and Anderson 2-39 as NL finished on 158-6.

David's one match for Ireland came in the summer of 1969 against Wilfred Isaac's XI at Rathmines. Isaacs was a South African businessman and a useful cricketer, who had previously taken a side to England in 1966. His plan was to give aspiring Test players a taste of English conditions but times had changed since his previous visit. Anti Apartheid protests dogged the tour In England and there were also several interruptions in the match at Rathmines. David and Jim Harrison came into the side as late replacements for Monteith and Waters which reduced Ireland to four bowlers. Batting at 3, David fell for 9 in the first innings stumped off the bowling of Ian Tayfield who, like his cousin Hugh, was an off spinner. Ireland made 240 to which the visitors replied with 242-8 declared. Batting again, Ireland declared on 241-7, David's share having been 3 bowled by the hostile fast medium Vincent van der Bijl. The son of a war hero Test cricketer, Vincent was, arguably, the best bowler never to play in a Test, this being because of South Africa's, long exclusion from international cricket which came shortly after this tour. He was to prove formidable bowler for Middlesex, ironically sharing the new ball with Wayne Daniel. Isaac's XI finished on 160-6. Two points might be made about his match. It was certainly the last occasion on which it would have been possible for Ireland to have played sides from West Indies, Pakistan and Apartheid South Africa in the same - or any - season. Secondly, this match together with those against Essex and Oxford University - where the pitch was dug up by protestors - were as Wisden put it " presented to the public" as first class. Seven weeks later the MCC, still the ruling body in English cricket, deprived them of that status. This was on the grounds that the visitors were a "privately raised side." Some though that MCC had no right to rule over the status of matches played outside the United Kingdom but no protests were ever considered by the Irish Cricket Union.

One casualty of MCC's ruling was David Brian Blayney Ensor, a first class cricketer for seven short weeks! He was never to play for Ireland again.