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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Marthinus Jacobus Fourie
  • Born 23 July 1979 Cape Town, South Africa
  • Occupation Professional Cricketer and Coach
  • Debut 27 May 2007 v Canada at Grace Road, Leicester
  • Cap Number 659
  • Style Right hand batsman; right arm medium pace
  • Teams Clontarf, Phoenix, Merrion, Railway Union, CIYMS, North County

Thinus Fourie is a very good all round cricketer who was a dominant force with both bat and ball in Leinster senior cricket for several seasons in the first decade of the 21st Century. In all Leinster senior cricket he scored 4743 runs at 43.91 and took 220 wickets at 19.03.Unfortunately, he never quite recaptured this form during his 20 appearances for Ireland, though he turned in some useful performances. However both at interprovincial level and for Ireland A, he showed that he had the ability to succeed at representative level.

Playing four seasons for Clontarf between 2000 and 2003, he scored 2864 runs at 42.11, with 6 hundreds and 20 fifties besides taking 119 wickets at 22.39. His highest score 129* against The Hills came in a WMK League match in his first season, when, all told, he notched 848 runs at 60.64 and took 27 wickets at 19.89. However his best season was his final one at Castle Avenue, when he finished third in the Leinster averages with 1126 runs at 56.30, besides topping the bowling with 35 wickets at 22.40. His highest score, 113 against Leinster CC, came near the end of the season in the WMK League when he put on 181 for the first wicket with Alex Cusack, leading to 112 runs victory. In all he hit 3 hundreds and 8 fifties that summer, the latter including a remarkable run early in the season. A score of 87* in an 8 wickets win over Pembroke in the LHW League was followed by scores of 72*, 55 and 50 before, having not batted in an Irish Senior Cup win over Downpatrick, in which he took 4-23, he was out for 0 in the first round of the Leinster Senior Cup against Merrion.

He hit a further two hundreds during a two year spell with Phoenix, his top score being an undefeated 114 against North County in an unsuccessful run chase, following a 112 for the Fingal side from fellow South African Reinhardt Strydom.

Two seasons with Merrion and one with Railway Union enhanced his reputation, his second at Anglesea Road (2007) seeing him capped by Ireland.

His best all round performance for the former club came in a WMK League match against Pembroke in his first Anglesea Road season. A score of 71* helped Merrion to an 8 wickets victory with 148-2, Thinus having already ensured that their task would be a light one with figures of 3-8. Ironically, his highest score of the season, 81* against future club, Railway Union was made in a losing cause.

His appearances for the Park Avenue side in 2008 were limited but included career best bowling figures of 6-19 against Munster Reds, his figures including the hat trick. He was also to play, briefly, for North County at the end of the following season, after a spell with CIYMS in Belfast, but achieved little.

In the Irish Senior Cup during this period, his best bowling performance was, as we have already seen 4-23 for Clontarf against Downpatrick in a first round match in 2003, though he also took 3-7 in 8.1 overs to help Phoenix to a 3 wickets away win over Strabane in 2005. The following year saw his best batting performance at this level when he made a brilliant 91 for Merrion against Leinster at Anglesea Road as the hosts posted 326-7. He put on 132 for the second wicket with Dom Joyce, who made the century that both batsmen deserved. Thinus then removed the Leinster No 1 to set his side on the road to an overwhelming victory. Unfortunately, none of the feats mentioned above led to an ultimate Cup triumph.

In his five matches for CIYMS in the NCU senior cricket, he showed how valuable a player he would have been had he remained at Belmont. His best bowling came against North Down at The Green in his first match when he returned figures of 10 - 2 - 39 - 5 including the wickets of both openers and the prolific Taimur Khan. However this was not enough to prevent a comfortable win for the hosts. A top score of 60 in the Challenge Cup against Lurgan, sharing in 50 partnerships with Barry Cooper for the second wicket and Derek Heasley for the third, paved the way to victory.

However his highest score came in a losing cause at Shaw's Bridge in late June as he played an almost lone hand against Instonians in pursuit of a total of 201. Batting at 3, he came in at 6-1 and was last out at 173, having shown all the power of his stroke play in an innings of 91. Unfortunately his sojourn with the Belmont side ended abruptly, apparently because he disagreed with Heasley, the captain, over his place in the batting order. He returned to Dublin but, as mentioned above, his few appearances for North County were, by his own high standards, somewhat unproductive.

Having made 49 for the LCU President's XI - a side composed of overseas players then active in Dublin - against an Ireland XI in 2001, Thinus again showed his class with the bat in the interprovincial Regional Challenge series in 2004, making runs in each of his three matches for North Leinster. Then against the Southern Ireland XI (South Leinster and Munster) at The Vineyard he took 3-80 and made 59* adding 118 for the 6th with John Mooney (56*) to achieve a 5 wickets victory. He also batted well at Malahide against the NCU XI before being run out for 30, having added 51 for the 3rd wicket with Ant Botha. NL posted 263-6, going to win by 40 runs. In the third match he batted at 3 again, making 40, adding 83 for the second with Jeremy Bray, to help his side to a total of 302-8, a substantial win resulting.

As we have already mentioned he never quite reproduced his club form for Ireland, his best performance being with the ball in the Intercontinental Cup Final against Canada at Grace Road, Leicester in May 2007. In conditions which were very friendly to seam bowling Canada were bustled out on the first morning for 91. The main destroyer was captain Trent Johnston who had 4-12, but Thinus weighed in with 3-31 to ensure that there was no escape for the Canadians. With Jeremy Bray in top form Ireland had little problem in posting an innings winning score. Thinus failed with the bat, but in so doing became a part of cricket history. He was the third victim of a hat trick by Canadian medium pacer Umar Bhattii, all the wickets having been LBW. This was only the 11th time this had happened in first class cricket. However Thinus' dismissal also gave Bhatti his fourth leg before in 5 balls which had never happened before in a first class match.

Thinus also made 14 appearances for Irish teams in non-cap matches, his best score being an undefeated 88* for Ireland A against Denmark A in the European A European Championships in the Netherlands in 2008. Ireland made 293-3 from their 50 overs Thinus, who batted for 127 minutes and faced 101 balls, six of which were hit for 4, added an unbroken 212 for the 4th wicket with John Mooney.

Marthinus Jacobus Fourie may not have achieved all that he was capable of in his matches for Ireland. However no one who played with or against him, or simply watched from the ringside in all forms of the game throughout Ireland, could possibly doubt his high quality as a fiercely competitive all round cricketer.