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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Alan Samuel Jeffrey
  • Born 18 October 1963 Londonderry
  • Educated Faughan Valley Secondary School
  • Occupation Civil Servant Then employee of Northern Ireland Electricity
  • Debut 2 June 1984 v MCC at Ormeau
  • Cap Number 551
  • Style Left hand batsman, left arm fast medium.
  • Teams Eglinton, Brigade, Bready

Alan Jeffrey, a member of a well established cricket family in the North West, was a good left arm "quick" whose method enabled him to bring variety to the attacks of the teams he played for. However, though he first came to prominence in representative cricket with an undefeated 66 for North West against NCU in the U15 interprovincial Tournament of 1978, it would be best to agree with Cricket Archive's bald prose in describing him as a "lower order batsman"

Nevertheless he had, by the time of that memorable innings, already shown skill and courage with the bat, when, as an 11 year old, he was pressed into service for Eglinton v Brigade as a last minute substitute on a rather wet and dangerous wicket in 1975. He had to face the bowling of Eglinton paceman Dougie Huey, no easy matter for an 11 year old.

Alan was to play with Eglinton until 1983 when Roy Torrens persuaded him to up sticks for Brigade. It was with this club that he played in two successive NWCU Cup Finals, having to be satisfied with the runners' up spot on both occasions. In 1984 a closely fought Final saw Brigade go down to Sion Mills by 25 runs. Alan played his part in the Sion first innings bowling dangerman Norman Harper . In Billy Platt's words he, " shattered Norman Harper's stumps with a blistering delivery." The following year saw Brigade lose by an innings to Donemana. However Alan with 2-45 in the opposition's innings of 221 was always a threat compelling the batsmen to treat his bowling with respect. He later moved to Bready but silverware continued to elude him.

His senior interprovincial debut came in 1980 when as a 16 year old he earned praise from the ICU Yearbook, "The most promising newcomer of 1980 was A Jeffrey of North West. Tall and very youthful he bowls fast left arm." His first match was against South Leinster at Park Avenue, By a coincidence, his new all partner that day was Dougie Huey. Alan had much to do with the ultimate five wicket victory Returning the creditworthy figures of 19-3-43-3, his wickets included two top order batsmen in Stephen Molins - not as good a batsman as his nephew Jason was to prove but still a very useful performer and "Ginger" O'Brien one of the most successful of all batsmen at this level.

Amongst other significant hauls was a 3-28 against South Leinster at Kimmage in 1984. Opening the attack with "Big Roy" he removed both openers, Jack Shortt (13) and Mark Cohen (3) courtesy of catches behind by Sean Bradley and later in the innings clean bowled Jon Garth. However the hosts posted a useful score thanks to Alan Lewis and Ginger O'Brien and eventually won by 11 runs. His best figures in the competition came against Ulster Town at Limavady in 1987 when his 17-5-32-4 was largely instrumental in restricting Town to 180-9. Unfortunately his good work came to nothing as North West collapsed for 88.

He first represented Ireland at age group level. Playing in the U19 Tournament in Denmark under the captaincy of Jimmy Kirkwood, whose brilliance at hockey deprived Ireland of a potentially superb cricketer for all but the briefest of international careers. Alan impressed in a new ball partnership with Peter O'Reilly and, in a much praised fielding side, was highly acclaimed for a brilliant catch against Bermuda.

Left, with fellow North West international Allan Rutherford in 1989
His debut for the full Irish side, which launched a somewhat spasmodic career, came against MCC at Ormeau in 1984, again sharing the new ball with Roy Torrens. Ireland's 9 wicket victory owed much to a 99 from Stephen Warke and a 10 wicket in the match haul for Dermot Monteith but Alan had a most satisfactory debut. Hardly used in the visitors second innings when Monty and Mike Halliday spun them to defeat, he had first innings figures of 19.5-4-49-3 with the satisfaction of removing both the Lord's Head Coach, the former England left armer Don Wilson and his principal assistant, opening bat Colin Seargent. Alan's next match was a rather different experience. Facing the West Indies at Rathmines he had figures of 14-1-76-0, not much better or worse than those of his team-mates as the visitors charged to 584-6 with Larry Gomes and Gus Logie both passing three figures.

Against Wales in the first Irish match at Malahide, he did little with the ball in an emphatic 10 wicket victory, bowling honours belonging to O'Reilly in the first innings and Monteith in the second, but made an important contribution with the bat. After Wales had been bowled out for 170, Ireland were 239-7 when Alan joined his captain. They put on 79 for the 7th wicket in 58 minutes, Alan's share being 28 made off 43 balls and including six 4s. By the time he was out the dye was firmly cast in Ireland's favour. Two other performances stand out in his 11 match career, both in 1989 when he was recalled to the side after missing out in 1988. In a Nat West first round game at Derby, Ireland gave the County a bad fright before succumbing to the pace of Ole Mortensen. The hosts were at one stage 92-7 to which Alan had contributed by having opening bat Peter Bowler caught at the wicket for 8. Alan finished with a creditable 2-44 but had another - forlorn hope - contribution as a batsman. Added by a dropped catch the hosts had totalled 145, but facing an attack of Mortensen and Michael Holding with a young Devon Malcolm as back up, Ireland were never in the hunt. "Whispering Death" took only one wicket, bowling Cohen for 7, but Ole carried all before him. Alan came in at 54-9, and proceeded to take part in a last wicket stand of 28 with fellow paceman Alan Wilson. They saw off Mortensen (12-6-14-6) and forced Kim Barnett to call up off spinner Raj Sharma. This proved Alan's undoing as he was bowled almost at once for 18.

Just over a week later Ireland hosted Scotland at Castle Avenue in what proved to be the only first class match of Alan's career. His career best second figures of 7-0-22-3, dismissing Nos 2, 3 and 4 in the order, prepared the ground for some quality off spin from Garfield Harrison which gave Ireland a chance of victory. Ultimately they were lucky to hold out against the slow left arm of "Cape Coloured " South African Omar Henry, who three years later became the first non white player of modern times to represent his country in an official Test Match.

Alan Samuel Jeffrey did not play for Ireland again after the 1989 season. Though his international career record was, perhaps, somewhat disappointing, he was very fine bowler, whom no batsman relished facing.