CricketEurope Irish Cricket History logo
Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Walter Thomas Booton
  • Born 17 January 1941 Kidderminster, Worcestershire
  • Educated King Charles VI Grammar School, Kidderminster
  • Occupation Textile Industry
  • Debut 20 June 1970 at North Inch, Perth
  • Cap Number 517
  • Style Right-hand bat, right arm fast medium.
  • Teams Kidderminster, Cork Wanderers, Cork County, Bewdley.

Wally Booton was a strongly built all round cricketer. As a batsman, generally at the top of the order, he had a well organised defence and, when set, a wide array of strokes. As a bowler, he was fast medium, dangerous in helpful conditions, moving the ball through the air and off the wicket.

He learned his cricket at school and with the Kidderminster and Bewdley Clubs, coming from a family which had strong sporting links with the area both with local cricket clubs and with Kidderminster Harriers FC, a perennial mover between League and Non League status.

Business took Wally to Cork in the late 1960s, where he played for Wanderers and Cork County, the latter not then fielding a side for League and Cup matches. He teamed up with Yorkshireman Dennis Leng in a formidable new ball partnership for both clubs and for Munster in the Guinness Cup. The two men with top English League experience, Dennis form Bradford and Wally from Birmingham, were more than enough for many Munster batsmen, and also, allied to the batting of Pat Dineen and Leo Durity, allowed the province some opposition in a number of Guinness Cup matches.

Thus against the powerful Ulster Country batting line up in 1968 he had 3-47, the wickets being those of Con McCall, Mike Reith and Dermot Monteith, a haul for any bowler to be proud of. However the Munster batting failed, Wally whose place in the order varied between 1 and 11, but was at 4 on this occasion, being bowled by "the World's third greatest slow left armer" for 4.. The following season at The Mardyke he again had an all international bag against North West. The wicket of Scott Huey might not be one to be over excited about but he also had Tommy Harpur and Billy Millar. Unfortunately the hosts batting again failed though Wally, opening this time, saw off the new ball and made a well judged 23 before falling to a return catch by Huey. In the next match, also at The Mardyke, Wally's all round skills were again in evidence as North Leinster defeated their hosts by 34 runs. The visitors rattled up 201-5 declared with Wally's 2-46 being the wickets of all rounder Ray Daly and wicket keeper/batsman Paddy Tynan, later to be a leading Munster player himself. Wally then made 54, adding 72 for the 4th wicket with Durity before being caught off Mike Halliday.

Other notable Guinness Cup feats included a 4-64 against Ulster Country at Ballymena in 1970 when his wickets were again all internationals, Reith, Bobby Matier, Jim Harrison and Alfie Linehan succumbing to him. His last bowling performance worthy of record in the competition came in his final season 1971. At The Mardyke against North West he removed the only five visiting batsmen to be dismissed as North West won by 5 wickets. Continuing his penchant for removing Irish players, his wickets included John Cochrane and Ray Moan. He also appeared against Pakistan International Airlines at The Mardyke in August 1969. . The PIA team, making a 4 match tour of Ireland, was made up mostly of those who had either appeared for their country or were expected to do so shortly. The veteran master batsman Hanif Mohammed led the team, which included future stars such as Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Bari and Asif Masood. Munster did well to emerge with a draw in which Wally's bowling played no small part. In the visitors first innings he bowled opener Mohammed Ilyas, who had 10 Test appearances for Pakistan under his belt, for 5, thus helping Munster to a first innings lead. A batting collapse left the visitors chasing 112 for victory. Wally removed both openers, Ilyas and his partner Rehman Ali, one of the few in the party who never made the Test side, for 5 and 4 respectively, and the tourists finished just short.

Wally's one match for Ireland came against Scotland at Perth in June 1970. I watched the first two days of the match and well remember the blazing heat and perfect wicket, conditions most unsuitable for a bowler of Wally's type. Ireland began with 288-3 declared which Scotland replied to in kind by declaring just short at 284-5. Wally took two good wickets, those of long serving opener Ron Chisholm caught behind by Ossie Colhoun for 105 and Dougie Barr, in the last match of a 16 year career for Scotland, bowled when Irish captain Dougie Goodwin gave Wally the second new ball with Alec O'Riordan in preference to himself. Earlier, Wally had been used at third change. His fellow debutants off spinners Halliday and Moan being given preference. Unfortunately, Wally had missed a chance of running out Chisholm when the opener was on 37 and stranded half way up the wicket. Wally dropped a perfect return from Halliday, and the veteran, who had made his Scottish debut in 1948, scrambled home. Run outs continued to haunt Wally. Ireland collapsed in their second innings on the second evening. Despite a good 31 from O'Riordan they were 63-6 when Wally joined Dineen. They took the score to 86, before Dineen called Wally for what proved to be an impossible run. He had made 12. Fortunately for Ireland a thunderstorm on the third day prevented a deserved home victory.

Walter Thomas Booton did not play for Ireland again. At the end of the following season, he returned to England, being seen again playing for Bewdley.