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Edward Liddle's Biographies of Irish Cricketers
Samuel Andrew Britton
  • Born 10 February 1988
  • Educated Strabane High School
  • Occupation Pland Operator
  • Debut 12 July 2009 v Kenya at Castle Avenue
  • Cap Number 673
  • Style Right hand batsman; right arm fast medium pace bowler
  • Teams Donemana, Fox Lodge, Limavady, Brigade

Andy Britton, a good fast medium bowler, well worth of his place in most sides, and, at club level at least, a distinctly useful batsman, is - as is the case with many other North West cricketers - a man of several clubs, with a strong family background in the game.

He first came to the notice of wider cricket public in 2001 when he impressed at U13 representative level both for the North West and for the National side. The U13 interpros were held in Cork and, after the North West had had an easy win over the hosts, they had a tough match against the NCU which they lost by 45 runs. However Andy turned in an impressive all round performance taking 2-27 in the NCU innings of 187-6, the other main wicket taker being Chris Dougherty with 3-32. Andy then made 30 and Dougherty 42, but with Greg Thompson taking 3-33, the task was too much. Andy gained selection for the U13 European Championships at Deventer Deventer in the Netherlands, which Ireland won, in fact they made a clean sweep of all three tournaments. Andy's best performance came in the 89 runs victory over Scotland, when he had 2-13 in 5.1 overs as the Scots crashed out for 89.

Ireland, led by Greg Thompson, were unbeaten in the 2003 U15 Championship in which Andy distinguished himself with bat and ball. Against The Netherlands at Forthill, Dundee, he opened the batting with Dougherty, and made the top score of 48 as Ireland reached 183-4 from 40 overs. He then took 1-17 as the Dutch were dismissed for 118. His best bowling of 3-24 came in the 13 runs win over Scotland at Arbroath while he took a further 2-5 in the huge win recorded over Denmark.

He was a member of the U19 side in the 2006 and 2007 tournaments - again under Thompson's captaincy - making useful contributions with the ball in both seasons. For example against Denmark in 2007, he set Ireland on the victory path with a wicket in the first over as the Danes began a forlorn chase of a 302 runs target, following a brilliant hundred from Dougherty. They were all out for 127.

Andy was selected as a member of Ireland's squad for the U19 World Cup in Malaysia early in 2008. This did not meet with universal approval as there some, and not just in Fingal, who felt that Eddie Richardson would have been the better choice. However in a competition in which Ireland disappointed on the field and also had problems off it, Andy amply justified the selectors' faith in him. As Barry Chambers noted in the Irish Cricket Annual he "emerged as Ireland's leading strike bowler in the tournament." Barry continued to report that Andy, " bowled quick, back of a length, straight and troubled most of the batsmen he faced."

In the 13th place play off Quarter Final against Bermuda, who were swept aside having beaten Ireland in the earlier rounds, he had figures of 8.1-1-21-2, but in the Final against Zimbabwe, he "shone with the ball." His figures of 6-0-14-4 are indicative of the havoc he wrought as he helped Ireland to a well earned victory.

He was, of course, by this time, a leading member of the Donemana attack, his successes led to his being head hunted by Fox Lodge for the 2009 season. He had three successful seasons, his best being 2011 when, captaining the side, he was the leading bowler in the NWCU Section A, taking 37 wickets in all matches at 15.69 including twice, in successive matches in August, taking 5-21, first against Bond's Glen and then Coleraine.

The 2012 season saw him moved to Limavady where he took 41 wickets in all matches, 33 coming in the League. These included a best bowling of 5-44 against Glendermott when he also made 25 in a fine all round performance as Limavady won by 118 runs. The demise of Limavady as a senior side saw him, along with several team-mates, move to Brigade where he took 44 in all matches in 2014, including an analysis of 10-1-40-6 in a 4 wickets win over Coleraine, who were bowled out for 167. He has, to the end of the 2016 season, continued in this vein, with, for example 42 wickets in all matches in 2015 and 38 in 2016, including figures of 4-4 in a Faughan Valley Cup match against New Buildings. We must not leave this brief review of his career with his various clubs, without some reference to his batting, which is normally as aggressive and forthright as his bowling. For Limavady in 2012 he scored 369 runs at 24.60 with 2 fifties, within two days of each other. On 24 May against Brigade, he came in at 36-3, after Decker had gone cheaply, and was till there at the end having made 53* and, in conjunction with Chris Moore, set up a victory target. Two days later in the NW Cup against Fox Lodge he turned in a fine all round performance to defeat his former team-mates and carry off the Man of the Match award. Batting at 8 he made an undefeated 64 taking the score to 310-7, before his hostile 3-36 helped restrict the opposition to 285-8.

What might well be regarded as his most famous innings, however, came in a losing cause, against Donemana in the 2013 Cup Final. Brigade, who included five former Donemana men in their side, began with a score of 228-5 from their 50 overs, which owed much to a an unbroken stand of 115 for the 6th wicket between Andy (36*) and Greg McKeegan (83*). They were then able to gain a lead of 74, but collapsed to 51-8 before Andy, who was showing little signs of panic, was joined by the injured Mark Simpson in a stand of 50, of which Simpson made 1. Andy was eventually out for a fine 62 from 88 balls with 5 fours. Donemana went on to win by 6 wickets.

He made his debuts for both Ireland and Ireland A in 2009, beginning for the A side against Yorkshire 2nd XI at Weetwood College, Leeds in June. He took 3 wickets in a remarkable match which saw Ireland almost force a win after being forced to follow on. He was also a member of the A team In the European Championships in The Netherlands in August taking 6 wickets at a low cost as Ireland won the tournament with some ease. His final A Match came against Gloucestershire 2nd XI at Bath in 2012. This was another match of an Irish second innings recovery. He took 1-61 in the county's first innings of 494-5, they recovered from 84-5. At the end of June he was in the A XI that played Durham 2nd XI at Darlington in a match that rain at lunch on the final day possibly helped Ireland avoid defeat. After Ireland had begun with 335-9, a good score as the hosts attack included paceman Mark Wood and former Test left armer Ian Blackwell, Durham destroyed the Irish attack with England's latest (2017) South African recruit Keaton Jennings scoring 201. None of Ireland's four medium to fast medium bowlers took a wicket, Andy's spells costing him 65 runs. Durham declared on 531-6, Ireland being 64-2 when rain intervened.

His debut for the full Irish side came in an ODI against Kenya on 12 July, the final one of a 3 match series. He had figures of 0-37 as Ireland, with some help from Professors Duckworth and Lewis, won by 4 runs. He had to wait three years for his next cap before being recalled to face the South African Academy in a 4 day first class match at Oak Hill on their rain ruined tour of 2012. He had figures of 0-50 from 12 overs before the visitors declared on 315-8, rain having prevented any play on the first two days. Ireland were dismissed for 202 on the final day, Andy being a caught off Wayne Parnell for a duck, but batted out time without losing a wicket in the follow on.

Samuel Andrew Britton has not played for Ireland since that match. The competition for pace bowling places in the national side is now strong and it may be that he will not do so again, though it would be a most unwise commentator who would say never. However there can be little doubt that that this skilful, competitive and highly valued cricketer will continue to be a force in North West cricket for some years to come.