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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Alexander Victor Smith
  • Born 11 May 1945 Shanganagh, Co Dublin
  • Educated St Brendan'a CBS, Bray, Co Wicklow
  • Occupation Accountant
  • Debut 24 July 1977 v Wales at St Helen's, Swansea
  • Cap Number 531
  • Style Left hand bat; right arm medium pace
  • Teams Pembroke

Sandy Smith, one of cricket playing twins, was a fine all round sportsman. As a cricketer, he was a sound batsman, who usually, though not always, opened the innings. Capable, like most left handers of elegant stroke play, he also bowled medium pace. Sometimes described as a " very occasional" bowler, he was capable of taking valuable wickets. He was also a very good footballer. Besides playing semi-professionally for Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers, he won an Amateur International Cap for the Republic of Ireland. His twin, Pat was a good medium pacer who opened the attack for Pembroke for many seasons and was capped by South Leinster for whom he took 6-27 against North Leinster in 1969. Pat had 305 wickets in senior cricket for Pembroke at 17.00 with 25 five wicket hauls.

Sandy scored over 4000 runs for Pembroke including 3 centuries. As mentioned above his bowling was very much a second string but he often took around 15 wickets a season, including the occasional "5 for." He was an automatic choice for South Leinster in the Guinness Cup for 12 years from 1968, scoring 801 runs at 25.03. His highest score of 101* came towards the end of his interprovincial career against Munster at Kimmage in 1979. Winning the toss the hosts began with a first wicket stand of 92 between Sandy and Jack Short, before the Munster exile fell for 54. Sandy stayed to post 108 for the second wicket with Stephen Molins (52) and, having anchored the innings to good effect was still there when the declaration came at 234-2. Munster's reply was disappointing leaving South Leinster victorious by 148 runs.

His best seasons in the competition, however, were those of 1977 and 1978, hitting three 50s in the former and two and a near miss 47 in the latter. In May 1977 at Kimmage South Leinster fielded out while Ulster Country totalled 236 with Chris Harte making a classic 102. Sandy led the reply with a confident 56 before Harte caught him off Dermot Monteith. It was just as well for the hosts that Sandy, top scorer, was in form as the middle order failed and it took a late stand between Des Byrne and Stan McCready to save the day. In June South Leinster travelled to Strabane to face the North West, who hit up a formidable enough 248-4. Sandy and Eddie Lewis replied with a century first wicket stand, Eddie making 71 and Sandy 61.

However the rest of the batting - apart from the inevitable "Ginger"O'Brien (30) failed and the visitors were fortunate to draw the match on 217-7. Sandy equalled the 61 in the match against North Leinster at Malahide later in the summer as he led a 228 run chase. Victory was achieved by 6 wickets with "Ginger" making 75, adding 92 for the third wicket with Sandy and the captain, Ian Lewis, seeing his side home. As mentioned above he hit two further 50s the following season, one against North West saw him again in a productive stand with O'Brien assuring victory while the other brought a draw against North Leinster.

Unfortunately, he only showed rare glimpses of such form in his seven matches for Ireland. He aggregated 151 runs at 21.57 with his highest score - and only half century - 61* against Denmark at Rathmines in 1978. Winning the toss, Ireland batted first after a rain delay. Despite a cultured 51 from Mike Reith they were in trouble at 96-5 when Monteith joined Sandy who had come in at 6. Having been left out of the three previous matches, Sandy had been recalled following the dropping of Harte and Tommy Harpur and the unavailability of Ivan Anderson. Together with his captain, he put on 106 for the 6th wicket in 77 minutes. Monty made 50 and Sandy finished undefeated having faced 97 balls in 112 minutes and hit one 6 and six 4s.

He had reached double figures in his first three international matches the previous season, his best effort probably being in the first innings of the famous win over Sussex at Pagham. He made only 19 but helped Short put on 40 for the first wicket. This proved a vital part of Ireland's reply, enabling them to restrict the county to a lead of only two runs. Sandy had also caught the dangerous Gehan Mendis, who was to score 20337 first class runs for Sussex and Lancashire, and had thus made a not inconsiderable contribution to Ireland's first ever win over a first class county - if the victory over WG Grace's London County side in 1902 is discounted.

Though he did not play for Ireland again after 1979, Alexander Victor Smith, who topscored for The Rest v Ireland in an early season practice match in 1980, continued to give great service to Pembroke until well into the next decade. He will be long remembered at Sydney Parade.