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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Robert L Hobart
  • Born 1832 Ireland
  • Died 12 September 1908, Littlehampton, Sussex
  • Educated
  • Occupation Civil Engineer later Journalist and Editor
  • Debut 14 August 1861 v Colonel Buchanan's XIV of Scotland at Drumpelier
  • Cap Number 58
  • Style Right-hand bat
  • Teams Phoenix, Kingstown, United Ireland XI

Robert Hobart was, in ordinary club games, a useful batsman, though his form tended to suffer from being moved up and down the order. However in more important club matches, and on his three appearances for Ireland - only one of which, as the other two were not 11 a side, will be found in his statistics on this site - he was an almost complete failure, reaching double figures only once in eight games.

Thus his debut in big cricket was marked by scores of 0 and 2 for XXII of Dublin against Charles Lawrence's United Ireland in early October 1857. He had some consolation in losing his wicket to bowlers of the calibre of Lawrence and Peter Doyle and in the fact that the XXII who included GF Barry and Arthur Samuels, won a memorable victory. Robert also made three appearances for Phoenix against visiting I Zingari sides. His highest score in six visits to the crease was a paltry 9, though he had to face some very good bowling in the form of skilful all rounder Joseph McCormick, Henry Awkright and the once fearsome paceman HW Fellows, still a formidable opponent. On the one occasion on which he did not lose his wicket to one of this all conquering trio - the last on which he faced them - he was run out for 0!

His Irish debut came when Lawrence, for the second time, took the United XI to Scotland, in the summer of 1861, to take on a side raised by Colonel Buchanan, a great benefactor of Scottish cricket. Though the visitors had to be reinforced by three home grown players, this game is regarded as an official Irish match. Lawrence and his attending cohorts were far too good for the Scottish batsmen, but the Irish were little better, finishing their second innings on 25/5 chasing a somewhat 63! When Ireland had begun their first innings, facing a Scottish total of 76, Robert opened the batting. Showing what some might term a commendably aggressive approach, he was stumped for 0! He had not batted in the second when stumps were pulled up.

On 7 October that year, the latest date on which Ireland have ever played a home match, Robert was in the side against the Military of Ireland at the now lost ground of Coburg Gardens. The National Concert Hall covers the square where he made his highest score for Ireland. The Military were easily defeated by an innings. with Lawrence, in his final match before departing for what was to prove a career of historic importance in Australia, bowling at his best. Batting at No 10, Robert made 14, perhaps, considering his other performances, more of a commentary on the standard of the soldiers' bowling than anything else.

His last match for Ireland came in 1865, a drawn encounter with the United South of England XI, of interest mainly because it was the first Irish match to be played at Observatory Lane, Rathmines. Alas, in his only innings Robert failed to contribute to the score, but achieved some undesired fame by being the third victim of a hat trick, clean bowled by the great roundarmer Edgar Willsher.

Away from cricket, Robert was qualified as a civil engineer, though he had always been involved in journalism. By 1871, married to Elizabeth, who was some years younger than he was he was resident in London. Ten years later English Census shows him as a Newspaper Editor with a growing family. There were, eventually eight children, the majority of whom were still in the family home- by then in Sussex - at the time of Robert Hobart's death aged 76.