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1975 International Youth Tournament
The Netherlands
The Ireland party at Dublin Airport prior to the tournamentThe Ireland party at Dublin Airport prior to the tournament

Headlines such as ‘Ireland flop in The Netherlands’ were to be all too familiar as Ireland went down in their first four matches against The Netherlands, Canada, England South and England North.

A slow start then by Ireland on the matting pitches but the game against England North gave cause for optimism as they fell short by only six runs in their pursuit of England’s 132.

It looked for quite a while as though the Irish would claim notable scalp until Bangor’s Howard Bingham was ninth out for an excellent 52 and fourteen runs were still required.

A task too great for the final pair who managed only half those required and when the final wicket fell off the first ball of the final over Ireland were losers by 6 runs.

Ireland had to wait until their final game to register a win and it was by the closest of margins, a single wicket.

Denmark had totalled 103, Norman McAuley taking 4-34, Peter Currie 2-14 and Dean Simpson claiming both the Neilson’s wickets to end their 49 run partnership and finish with 2-13.

The Irish reply was in tatters thanks to Ole (Stan) Mortensen later of Derbyshire, who took 6-42.

Ireland had in fact reached 67/5 but Bingham was at the hospital being an x-ray having been struck on the foot while batting.

Three dismissals and a succession of maidens later Bingham returned with a runner and shared a ninth wicket stand of 32 with a belligerent McAuley.

McAuley was run out off the third delivery of the final over leaving Ireland requiring 4 runs off 3 balls with their last man Brian Johnston to face. He managed the single that got Bingham back on strike and a pull to the midwicket boundary clinched the one-wicket win with one delivery to spare.

That win late in the day was enough to spare Irish blushes and for them to claim a share of bottom place in the table with Denmark.

England North had beaten England South to become firm favourites to claim the title but they suffered a shock defeat by The Netherlands in their final game and so the two England sides had to share top spot each with 4 wins from their 5 games.

Dean Simpson dug deep in the memory banks and recalls “The Netherlands 1975. A lifetime ago!

We were based in The Hague and stayed in a youth hostel beside the beach (no expense spared in those days! Our “kit” was a cap...that was it.)

Within minutes of our arrival, the late Richard Burton had sourced a number of beach bars and parties. This will come as no surprise to those who knew Richard. That was the entertainment sorted for the week.

On the cricket front, we lost to The Netherlands, Canada, England North and England Sth. We beat Denmark - just!

Apart from the beach parties my abiding memory is bowling to a slightly built lad with blonde hair who hit me so far out of the ground with what seemed like a forward defensive shot, that we never got the ball back. Jeez David Gower was good … and was unsurprisingly named the batsman of the tournament.

Actually we returned home from The Netherlands on the Sunday, and Gower was playing for Leicestershire in the John Player League on TV. Nick Cook also played. He was a sociable guy who forged a successful career for England and then as an umpire.

I still meet some of that squad. Kenny Campbell and I remain good friends. I met Gerry Delaney at a Knights game this year. I was in Barbados with Ian Torrens, Roy’s brother, now based in the U.S. in January for the WI v Ireland series and of course I see Howard Bingham during his visits to Lisburn to umpire. I think I last saw Alan Ford on University Challenge and of course I followed the fortunes of our tour manager Michael, during the Moriarty Tribunal.Sadly, some of the guys are no longer with us. Good times.

Howard BinghamHoward Bingham

Howard Bingham modestly does not mention his last gasp heroics against the Danes as he recalls:

We had an ok side but finished up with just one win which came against Denmark in our last match. David Gower was on the South of England side. He was a class act even then. I recall that he played in a Sunday League match for Leicestershire the day after the tournament ended.

No free kit in those days. We were just given a white cap with the green shamrock. I'm sure I still have mine. All the teams stayed in dorms in what I think was a youth hostel.

While the cricket was average at best, a good time was had by all. Sadly two of the squad are no longer with us. I believe that Richard Burton and Norman Harpur have both died. I have a vague recollection that the matches were played on matting pitches, rather than grass, but I might have made that up!”

Ian Torrens now lives in Texas and despite claiming that his memory is not what it was shared his recollections too.

I know it’s hard to believe I was 19 in 1975, as I look so young now! 3 North West players were selected, Dean Simpson, Norman Harpur and me.

We won our first match v The Netherlands (the only thing I remember was I top scored with 32, as I always remind Simpson). We lost to England North and England South the side that included David Gower and we didn’t get 100! They got it with only 2 down and Gower was not out with most of them, I remember that bit. But we did sneak a win in our last game v Denmark.”

A somewhat inauspicious start then to Ireland’s involvement with Under 19 international cricket but as the years progressed the International Youth Tournament would see increasing numbers of players who would later grace the International stage, from little acorns …

Ireland squad
  • Gerry Delany (captain)
  • Kenny Campbell
  • Howard Bingham
  • Brian Ferris
  • Brian Johnston
  • Richard Burton
  • Norman Harpur
  • Peter Currie
  • Dean Simpson
  • Neil Smith
  • Norman McAuley
  • John Murphy
  • Ian Torrens
  • Alan Ford
  • Michael Moriarty (manager)
  • Chis Harte (coach)