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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Jonathan Alexander Bushe
  • Born 12 December 1978, Craigavon
  • Educated Lurgan College, University of Ulster
  • Occupation Owner of Ardwick Agencies
  • Debut 30 June 1998 v Scotland at Glenpark, Greenock
  • Cap Number 617
  • Style Left-hand bat, wicket keeper
  • Teams Waringstown

Jonathan Bushe, a fine wicket keeper and very useful batsman in his own right, has a cricketing pedigree of which many may only dream. Son of Eddie, a skilled gloveman who should, surely, have played many more times for Ireland, and brother of leading cricket writer Alastair, he is also, through his mother Joan, nephew of the Harrison brothers. Such a background might be daunting to a lesser player but Jonathan, with 29 Irish caps to his credit and many outstanding performances at The Lawn and beyond, has surely lived up to his heritage.

He was still only 19 when he made his Irish debut in 1998; his international career is outlined below. The following winter, however, he was in the Irish side for the U19 World Cup in South Africa in 1998/99. Keeping wicket at his usual high level, he also shone as an opening batsman. For example in Ireland's only win of the tournament, a six wicket victory over Papua New Guinea, he topscored with 48 as Ireland chased down a total of 118. He had held two catches in the PNG innings. He also topscored (21) against Pakistan in a match in which Ireland were heavily defeated. It might well have been even worse had he not held three catches and made a stumping in the Pakistan innings. One of the few matches in which he failed with the bat was in the opening game with Denmark when he was out for 4, batting at No 2. At least he made three more runs than the No 3 a certain Ed Joyce! In this match incidentally Ireland went down by only 2 runs, having sent down 21 wides.

His Irish career continued in 1999 when he also kept wicket for the Irish Universities side in the annual tournament with the English, Welsh and Scottish Universities in the Bristol area. He was one of the successes in an Irish side which won none and lost two of its matches. Against England at Clifton College he made an undefeated 48 at No 6, hitting five 4s and facing 67 balls in a 73 minute stay. However this was not enough to prevent a defeat by 106 runs. Against Wales, when Ireland again lost heavily he allowed only a solitary bye in the Welsh innings besides holding three catches. He followed this by again allowing only one bye in a narrow win over Scotland. In the tournament of 2001, he again shone against the Welsh, making 58 at No 5 as Ireland posted 246 before dismissing the hosts for 209. He had faced 67 balls and, batting for 92 minutes, hit six 4s and one 6.

Jonathan will always be remembered for his many outstanding - and still continuing - performances for Waringstown. During the first decade of this century, he established himself as, beyond all doubt, one of the leading wicket keepers in the NCU area, often vying with North Down's Peter Shields, for the top wicket keeping spot, as well as turning in a number of outstanding batting performances in the middle order and proving himself a skilful and astute captain. A few highlights of his career for the Villagers must suffice to show this. Thus in the Cup against CSNI at Stormont in 2007, he played a captain's innings of 73*, seeing his side to 252-7, setting up an eventual win by 82 runs. Two years later against CIYMS at Belmont he was again in fine batting form with an undefeated 86 at 5, helping Kyle McCallan (100) take their side to a seven wickets victory at 247-3. He also had several useful performances in the Irish Senior Cup. Thus against Donemana in the 2005 competition he made 58 at No 5, putting on 111 for the 4th wicket with Andy Cousins. He then held two catches as the Villagers stormed to a win by 91 runs.

He made his debut for Ireland in the Triple Crown against Scotland at Greenock in 1998 keeping tidily in a match which Ireland lost by 9 runs. He also secured his first victim for Ireland, stumping Craig Wright off Matt Dwyer. He never quite secured a permanent place with the gloves for Ireland, with Andy Patterson Allan Rutherford and - when available - Niall O'Brien all in contention. It might appear that his batting did not live up to expectations as he managed only 45 run at 4.40. However he had only 13 innings in his 29 matches and, when he did get to the crease was at 9 or 10 so he was never really given full rein to his abilities. As a keeper he held 24 catches and made 8 stumpings. In his 29 matches he held 24 catches, made 8 stumpings and allowed 53 byes. These statistics leave him currently (at the start of the 2012 season) 9th in the all-time table of Ireland's wicket keepers. He stands up well in comparison to keepers such as AP Kelly who appeared in approximately the same number of matches. He announced his retirement from international cricket in 2004 ahead of the ICC Trophy matches which were to be held in Ireland in the following summer as World Cup qualifiers. With Niall O'Brien contracted to Kent, the loss of Jonathan might have been costly though, as it transpired, Jeremy Bray did all that could have been asked of him behind the stumps. In fact Jonathan had taken the right course, increasing business and family responsibilities making it impossible for him to attend all the pre-season training required of the squad.

As we have seen, Jonathan Alexander Bushe remains one of the best wicket keepers on our game today. Followers at The Lawn will not be alone among those who hope that he still has many seasons left to show them his fine glovework and vigorous batting.