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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Stephen Ogilby
  • Born 15 April 1976 Strabane, Co Tyrone
  • Educated Strabane Grammar School
  • Occupation Company Director
  • Debut 14 May 1995 v Somerset at Eglinton
  • Cap Number 596
  • Style Right hand bat; wicket keeper.
  • Teams Strabane; Bready; Ireland U21; Chester Broughton Hall; Nantwich; Lancashire 2nd XI; Cheshire MCC

Steve Ogilby was, in his days in Irish cricket, a top flight wicket keeper. He very much remains one after his long sojourn in the Cheshire County Cricket League. Welcoming him back in the 2010 season, after he had spent a year elsewhere, the website of his club Chester Boughton Hall said that only when he had been away for a season, was it possible to realise how good he was. In Irish cricket, was sometimes seen as a somewhat limited batsman, whose position in the order, if not his anticipated score, was invaribly in double figures. This has changed in Cheshire, where he is seen as one of his club's most reliable batsmen.

First coming to notice when he kept wicket smartly and made a useful 30 for Ulster Under 15s against their Welsh counterparts in 1990, he was a member of the Ireland U19 squad in the 10th Youth International Tournament in Denmark in 1993. Ireland finished 5th out of the 7 sides that participated. Steve was tried as an opener in some of the matches and made 50 against Canada, when Ireland racked up 272-5 in their 50 overs, but he was at 10 in the most dramatic finish of the tournament. He and No 11 Sean Donnelly came together at 93-9 with 30 still wanted and four overs remaining. Steve hit two sixes over square leg and, eventually, 7 were needed off the last over. Unfortunately he was run out off the last ball,, leaving the Dutch victorious by 1 run. He was able, however, to leave Denmark with the personal satisfaction of having named wicket keeper of the tournament.

He also kept impressively for Ireland U21 against the Irish Universities for three summers from 1992, but attracted both praise and criticsm, for his keeping during the U21 tour of South West England in 1994, with the Irish Cricket Annual commenting, "Ogilby proved to be an excellent tourist and team man, enthusiastic in the field and kept the fielders on their toes but his own game suffers through inconsistency and he needs to make a determined effort to work at this aspect of his game." It is fair to say that he did, his glovework coming in for very little criticsm over the next 17 years! He was one month past his 19th birthday, when he came into the Irish side for a Benson and Hedges match against Somerset at Eglinton in May 1995, replacing Brian Miller who had broken a finger. Steve possibly owed his selection to Mike Hendrick's youth policy but he retained his place for the rest of the season and did not let Ireland down.

He allowed no byes on debut as Somerset stormed to 316-5 with an opener whom the press described as " a promising young left hander" making 122. Such an innings from Marcus Trescothick has become commonplace! Steve, himself, made 0 at no 10 as Ireland collapsed for 81 to the medium pace of Graham Rose and the off spin of Harvey Trump. His first victims came in the MCC match at Lords, an excellent game which Ireland should probably have won. He caught both the openers, John Skinner (Wiltshire and Kent 2nd XI) and Adam Tarrant (Surrey 2nd XI) off the pace of Ryan Eagleson. The catch which dismissed Skinner was a particularly good one, low and to his right as the batsman edged an outswinger. Tarrant was also well caught, edging an intended off drive.

At the end of the season, in which the most illustrious scalp he claimed was that of Shiv Chanderpaul far down the track to Garfield Harrison after reaching a storming hundred, Steve disappeared from the Irish side for 9 years. He had already begun his long association with Chester Broughton Hall (CBH) - whom he captained for three seasons from 2006 - which has been unbroken apart from the 2009 season spent with neighbours Nantwich. It was during a temporary return to NW cricket that he won his place back, having appeared for North West in the Regional Challenge. He kept wicket as well as ever, impressing with 4 dismissals in the Intercontinental Cup Match against the Netherlands at Deventer but Jonathan Bushe replaced him for the last two matches.

During his time with CBH the club moved from the Liverpool and District Combination League to the Chester County Cricket League and is now firmly established in that competition's Premiership. As already stated Steve's glovework has always been much appreciated there while the development in his batting has enabled him to become regarded as a genuine all rounder.

A few highlights must suffice to show his worth. In 2008 he hit two centuries in a week and, the following season, having moved to Northwich, he batted regularly at No 4 and had several fast scoring partnerships with the New Zealand Test batsman Lou Vincent, who was capable of quite devastating stroke play. On returning to CBH for the 2010 season he settled into a regular opening partnership with Cheshire batsman Warren Goodwin. They put on over 100 for the first wicket on three occasions with 181 v Bramhall the best. Goodwin, in fact, scored four centuries in succession. Steve did not match these heights but his season's tally of 669 runs - highest score 88 - represented a personal best for the club and his form was described as " a revelation."

Despite his absence from the Irish side he has not missed out on representative honours. As early as 1996 he played for Lancashire 2nd XI against Durham in the Second XI One Day Trophy and caught David Lighertwood who was later to become a leading light among players' agents. From 2002 to 2006 Steve kept wicket for Cheshire in the Minor Counties' Championship and was awarded his cap in 2005. His batting brought him second place in the 2002 averages with a highest score of 82. Two useful all round performances may be mentioned. In 2002 against Herefordshire at that county's attractive Kingsland ground he made 44 in 115 minutes with 4 fours adding 103 for the 3rd wicket with Barnaby Cuthill, thus ensuring a respectable total, then made 6 dismissals in what became a drawn match. Against Wales Minor Counties at CBH in 2005 his 20 was second top score to Neil Cantello's 110* in a total of 227, he then had 5 dismissals in the Wales first innings.

In a Cheltenham and Gloucester match against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl in 2004, he caught Australia's Michael Clarke off medium pacer Jason Whittaker for 2, thus saving his side from even more carnage as the hosts posted 278-8 in their 50 overs. Clarke must rank with Chanderpaul among his more distinguished victims.

He has also represented MCC on several occasions. Readers will be aware that he joined Mark Patterson in playing against Ireland A in College Park in 2010 but may not know that he was on the Canadian tour in 2005, having 5 dismissals in the match against Canada.