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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Gerard Louis Brophy
  • Born 26 November 1975 Welkom, Orange Free State, South Africa
  • Educated Christian Brothers' College, Boksburg. Witwatersand Technical College
  • Occupation Professional Cricketer and Cricket Coach.
  • Debut 2 May 2000 v Shropshire at Castle Avenue
  • Cap Number 627
  • Style Right hand bat; wicket keeper.
  • Teams Transvaal/Gauteng Free State; South African Academy; Nottinghamshire 2nd XI; Northamptonshire; Yorkshire; Merrion; Ireland U 21; Cliftonville

Gerry Brophy has been described as "A swift and nimble fingered gloveman and middle order mainstay "Yorkshire CCC). While he does have penchant for playing long innings, his employers furthers describe him thus, "As a batsman he can be particularly destructive, displaying powerful clean hitting which was epitomised in his 14 ball fifty against Derbyshire in the 2006 T 20 Cup."

Born in South Africa of Northern Irish parents - which has enabled him to be a UK Passport holder and thus avoid having to appear as a Kolpak or overseas player - light haired and now standing 5 feet 11, he was an outstanding schoolboy sportsman, being distinguished not only at cricket but also rugby and hockey. He represented Transvaal in the latter sport, which has now been abandoned in favour of golf. Captain of the South African U 17 side in England in 1993, he accepted a professional engagement with Merrion in 1995, before making a first class debut in South Africa. While his batting and wicket keeping made a valuable contribution to the Anglesea Road side's season - a score of 38 against Clontarf in the Cup Final helped, together with 51 from Ed Joyce, averted a total rout after Tarf had, courtesy of Ant Botha - whom Gerry eventually stumped - and Deryck Vincent compiled a huge first innings score, the highlight of his season was undoubtedly the Irish Universities v Ireland U 21 match in College Park at the end of June. In reply to the Universities' 157 the U 21s ran up a total of 229-3. Coming in at 4, Gerry was in total control. Sharing a century plus third wicket stand with Declan Moore, he made exactly 100* off 152 balls in167 minutes, hitting 13 fours. Thereafter the Universities controlled the game and were unlucky not to force a win.

His debut in South African first class cricket came, for Transvaal B in the 1996- 97season. Before he finally left the country to try his luck in the county game, he had scored 1030 runs at 29.42 with a highest score of 185. This, which remains - just - his highest first class score came against the ZCU President's XI at Harare during the SA Academy tour there in 1998/99. Opening the batting, he outscored and out shone his team-mates against an attack including Heath Streak and Henry Olonga. His runs came off 279 balls in 388 minutes and included 21 fours and 1 six. He put on 205 for the third wicket with Morne van Wyk (71). Eventually, thanks to a brilliant hundred from Andy Flower, the visitors needed 307 to win. They chased the target successfully, with Gerry (61) again topscoring. Throughout his time in SA cricket, his wicket keeping became more prominent and he often had four or five victims in an innings. His combined total of dismissals for his last two seasons was 57 caught and 5 stumped.

Before his embarkation on an English county career he returned again to Irish cricket, spending the 2000 and 2001 seasons with Cliftonville and being Ireland's overseas player in the former year. His performance for the national side was disappointing but he was not alone in this. Ireland began by losing by 5 wickets to Shropshire, hardly a powerhouse in English cricket in the preliminary round of the Nat West Trophy. Winning the toss at Castle Avenue the hosts were dismissed for a paltry 147, with Gerry, one of only three double figure makers, being caught at the wicket for 15 off Asif Din, the former Warwickshire batsman. Asif was a fine and stylish batsman but his leg breaks should never really have troubled top batsmen. However Gerry's partnership of 36 for the 4th wicket with Angus Dunlop was by far highest of the innings. Shropshire won by 5 wickets. Gerry also appeared in the one dayers against at Eglinton, though the foul weather robbed both matches of any real meaning. The first match was washed out, then in the second MCC, 171 all out, won on faster scoring rate with Ireland being 73-4. Alas one of the four was Gerry, who, having gone in first, was lbw without scoring to Trinidad and Northumberland paceman Kelvin Williams. The third game was rained off with the visitors on 96-5, Gerry having one victim, opener Jon Gray caught off Gordon Cooke for 2, Cooke having brought one back to find an inside edge.

Gerry was rather more successful with Cliftonville. His batting and that of his compatriot Gerald Dros helped them to second place in the League in 2000. Gerry's top score was 82 made at the end of the season as his team confidently chased down a Woodvale score of 203 to win by 7 wickets. In mid May, he had seen them to victory also, making 65 out of a total of 145. This set up a 10 run victory. He also had a season's tally of 16 dismissals.

The following season Cliftonville slumped to 4th in the table perhaps missing Dros, but Gerry blossomed with the bat, leaving most of the keeping duties to Andy Patterson. He scored 564 runs at 35.25 with a highest score of 124* in a fine six wicket win over Lisburn (218-9) at Greenisland. He also topscored both times in a double over Instonians. He played no first class cricket in 2001 but appeared regularly for Nottinghamshire 2nd XI for whom he had played briefly in 1996. He was, both that season, and from time to time during the rest of the decade for his other two counties to prove very successful at this level, scoring five hundreds in all with a highest of 174 for Yorkshire against Worcestershire in 2007. A powerful display it took his team to an imposing 538-9 after "The Pears" had managed 207. He batted 181 minutes, faced 146 balls, hitting 20 fours and 8 sixes. He had thus set up the eventual 10 wicket victory. Possibly his most significant knock, however, was a 112 for Nottinghamshire against Northants in 2001 to gain a 5 wicket victory. It won him a contract with the team whose bowling he had savaged. none had suffered more at his hands than a 19 year old slow left armer. The scorecard shows M Panesar 32-7-118-1.

In first class cricket in England, for Northants from 2002 - 05 and for Yorkshire thereafter, Gerry has scored 4088 runs at 32.70 with 5 hundreds. His highest score 181, just failing to surpass his earlier innings in Zimbabwe, came against Sussex at Hove in 2004. This was a match of high scores in which the visitors having made a big total, "lacked the firepower to press home their advantage" (Wisden). Their 574 was built around a savage 171 from David Sales and Gerry's innings which, according to Wisden, "relied more on placement." Placement or not he hit 23 fours and, facing 242 balls, batted for 323 minutes. The match was drawn as Chris Adams also found the wicket to his liking! The previous season Gerry had been one of a Northants team which took on Gloucestershire with 5 players from Australia, South Africa or the West Indies. Only one member of the team was born in Northamptonshire. T

his did not deter Gerry who made 152* at No 7 on the King's School Ground behind Gloucester Cathedral. He joined his captain, Mike Hussey, in a partnership of 250 before "Mr Cricket" was out for 244. Gerry was still in at the declaration (622-6). He faced 198 balls, hitting 25 fours and 1 six.

The bulk of his 1992 List A runs have also been made in England, his highest score 93 coming for Yorkshire last 2010 - season . His figures in both forms of the game might well be more impressive had either or both of his counties been able to decide exactly what his best role was. Should they play him as a batsman or as a wicket keeper/batsman This question sometimes led to his being left out when he should probably have played. Yorkshire, for example, last season using him just in List A and T20 matches, with the young Jackie Bairstow wearing the gauntlets in 4 day matches. By the end of the season the policy had changed and Gerry was justifying himself both with the bat and behind the stumps. Yorkshire have taken the unusual step of granting him a benefit in the coming (2011) season, though he has not been with them for the usual 10 years. This was the Club explained, "to recognise an excellent career and to reward a hugely popular and very loyal cricketer."

He began the 2011 season with a magnificent 177* against Worcestershire which rescued his side from a dangerous position and set them on the path to an eventual 9 wicket victory. Excelling in the back footed cover drive, but also on driving and pulling with great power, he batted for 349 minutes faced 273 balls and hit one 6 and twenty four 4s. It was a superb and utterly dominant innings which this writer, though bemoaning the destruction of his adopted county's attack, feels privileged to have seen.

Gerry had a successful beneft season financially, but in both 2011 and the following summer, he was unable to command a regular place in the County side, managing only a further 10 matches and one half century, 53 against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl in 2011, when he was caught and bowled by South Africa's Pakistan born leg spinner Imran Taqir for a somewhat laboured 53. He also hit two fifteis in 2nd XI matches and in this competition, dismissed six Lancashire batsmen in an innings in 2011, catching 5 and stumping 1.

However he reserved his last hurrah for his appearance against an Irish side. Playing for Yorkshire 2nd XI against Ireland A at Harrogate in July 2011, he made 118 off 162 balls in 175 minutes, one of three centurues in a Yorkshire innings which passed the 500 mark. Gerry hit 20 fours and added 203 for the second wicket with Alex Lees(138) but was eventually lbw to left arm paceman Philip Eaglestone. Yorkshire released him at the end of the 2012 season which would seem to mark his retirement from the first class game. In all first class matches, Gerard Louis Brophy scored 5520 runs at 32.09 with 8 hundreds and 27 fifties. He held 301 catches and made 25 stumpings.