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1977 International Youth Tournament
Charterhouse School, Surrey, England

The second International Youth Tournament was held in 1977 at Charterhouse School in Surrey with six sides taking part, the two England sides, North and South, Denmark, Canada, Netherlands and Ireland.

The ‘regulations’ for the Tournament in these early years seem to have been somewhat ‘flexible’ with the Irish squad including three ‘overage’ players, Richard Burton, Trevor Hamilton and Brian Doherty, and strangely for a ‘limited overs’ competition there was no overs restriction on bowlers.

If the side of ’75 was devoid of future Ireland Internationals the same could not be said of the class of ’77.

In his Irish Times preview of the tournament Sean Pender tipped Stephen Warke and Garfield Harrison to earn full caps - he wasn’t wrong either as Stephen finished his career with 114 and Garfield 118!

In all six players would go on to the Senior National side and three would captain it.

It was disappointing then that Ireland would finish fifth of the six sides competing, registering their only win against the Netherlands.

Ireland had started the tournament well in their opening fixture against England South, with fifty from Neil Taylor leading the chase of England’s 221/8. But in the end Ireland would come up just 4 runs short of victory in what was a last ball thriller. No one would come as close to beating the eventual winners.

Defeat against Denmark was down to Olé Mortensen, not as might be expected with the ball but with a half-century that set a target beyond Ireland’s reach.

Against England North a fifty from Stephen Warke was not backed up and the Ireland total of 149 proved no obstacle for the English with Trevor Hamilton claiming three of the five wickets to fall.

After defeats in their first three matches Ireland’s only win came in their fourth game with John McDevitt’s 5-61 and Jim Patterson’s 4-31 restricting the Dutch to 135. That proved to be almost enough as Ireland nervously managed a three wicket win.

In their final match versus Canada fifties from Stephen Warke and Brian Doherty pushed the Irish total above two hundred for the first time since that first encounter with England South but it was not enough to deny the Canadians what would in future years be a rare win against the Irish.

Paul Jackson was rated the best keeper in the Tournament and earned plaudits for his ‘consistently excellent wicket-keeping and batting’.

He recalls how his chance of claiming glory versus the eventual winners England South came to nothing. Paul faced Graham Dilley needing a boundary off the final delivery of the game to claim the win but as he remembers:

“Dilly bowled the perfect yorker to me off the last ball and we scrambled a single.”

Graham Dilley also left a lasting impression on Garfield Harrison who at 16 was the youngest member of the squad.

“My main memory was batting against Graham Dilley when we played England South and 2nd ball he hit me on the Crown Jewels! I never saw it coming!! I had one of those wee pink plastic boxes on with no padding around the circumference, it shattered into small pieces and for the next couple of days I was picking away wee bits of pink plastic from my groin.

I have happier memories of being introduced to best 'English Bitter' for the first time by Richard Burton, after my first and only pint everything became a daze.

I remember that on one of the rest days we went to Lord’s to watch Ireland versus MCC, Clive Rice was playing for MCC in that match and he was rapid.”

No mention from Garfield that his brother Jim was playing his final game for Ireland in that fixture and and Ivan Anderson scored an unbeaten century in his 50th appearance. It was an exciting finish as Ireland required a boundary off the final delivery, a ‘swing and a miss’ off Rice ensuring a drawn game.

Something else stuck in his mind however:

“The one name that comes to mind as the tour manager is Michael Moriarty who was from the legal world, he had the task of giving out Irish linen tea towels at every post match presentation much to everyone's, including his own amusement.”

Stephen Warke also shared his memories of the tournament:

“The two officials who accompanied us were Michael Moriarty, manager and a more reserved and quiet chap from the North West, Brian Campbell. Charterhouse is near Godalming in Surrey and July 1977 the South of England was scorching – not a cloud in the sky the whole week. The pitches were as hard as we had ever experienced, very bouncy and fast.

Charterhouse itself was very impressive. A huge complex with three very well kept cricket pitches spread throughout the site broken up by classical school buildings and the boarders ‘Houses’. Just how you imagine an English public school to look – the best of facilities and hospitality. We were even served beer with our cricket lunches!

The six teams taking part were England South, England North, Holland, Denmark, Canada and ourselves. Given the weather we encountered, a squad of thirteen was at least one too few, and we were all absolutely shattered by the sixth day, with only the one rest day during the week. You can imagine what shape Jacko was in by the end, being the only keeper!

We were light in opening bowlers – John McDevitt and Jim Patterson being over bowled in the heat. With no restrictions each was bowling at least 12-15 overs per innings. Garfield (bowling seam at that time) and Brian Gilmore were medium pace back up but relatively ineffective given the conditions. Davy Johnston and Colin Magowan both bowled left arm spin and performed well.I don’t think anyone had faced as slow a bowler as Colin Magowan before – which got him wickets. My right arm in-swingers weren’t required!!

Our batting was reasonably strong – myself and Neil Taylor opened with Brain Gilmore coming in at number three, Richard Burton (who didn’t score a run incidentally) was at four, Brian Doherty at five with a strong middle to late order – Garfield, Jim Patterson, Jacko etc.

First up was England South – a true baptism of fire. They batted first and posted a reasonable total 221/8. Then our turn – Neil Taylor and I facing Graham Dilley at one end and Derek Pringle at the other!

Dilly was frighteningly quick – the quickest I had faced to that point, plus he also bowled short at a time when there were of course no helmets! I remember speaking to my Dad on the phone that night saying that I thought I’d end up in hospital and that this guy will play for England! Glad to say I was only half-right.

During the innings Neil called for an additional long-sleeve jumper which seemed bizarre given that the temperature was in the high eighties! But he was getting pummelled so much – the sweater just to deaden the pain from getting hit so often.

Each of us was just delighted to get to the other end to face Pringle! We survived and saw off Dilley and Pringle – I got a hard won 31 and Neill got exactly 50. We ran them very close – losing by 3 runs with Jacko and Jim Patterson just not able to get us home. England South went on to be unbeaten and win the tournament but we gave them their closest contest.

I think next was Holland whom we beat – which was our only win in the week – and mainly thanks to a five wicket haul by John McDevitt and with Garfield batting at the end to see us home. From memory I think the Irish senior side came to watch us that day having just beaten Sussex in a three day match!

I think our third match was England North but can’t remember any details (editor’s note: S Warke 53) – just that we were well beaten. We were disappointed as they weren’t as good a side as England South.

We then had a welcome rest day and went up to London for a visit to Lord’s to watch the senior side play MCC on their biannual tour match. My main memory from that day was of Richard Burton getting very drunk and making a fool of himself by shouting at Dermott Monteith – who of course was his team mate at Lisburn! With few spectators he was heard all over the ground – all the Irish being totally embarrassed. As Irish captain at HQ you can imagine Monty’s reaction!

I think that might have been the end of his cricket for the week and he was tasked with carrying the drinks – something which he felt was very much beneath him, especially being one of the three selected overage players. He hadn’t contributed to that point anyhow and was probably likely to be dropped.

Although well rested going into the match against Denmark I was especially nervous. A lot of talk had circulated regarding their star player – 18 year old Olé Mortensen who had already represented the Danish senior side and who was reputedly as quick as Graham Dilley. He was indeed quick but unlike Dilley he kept the ball up in my half of the wicket! They were too strong for us in the end – from memory Mortensen got a 50 with the bat.

The next time I faced Olé was for Ireland when we played Derbyshire twelve years later where he opened the bowling with Michael Holding. I didn’t fare well that day edging a Mortenson out swinger to Michael Holding for very few! I never got to face Devon Malcolm who came on first change!

In that Denmark game Colin Magowan’s super-slow bowling claimed 4 wickets, all stumpings by Jacko – which helped him to be voted the best wicketkeeper in the tournament. The judge for that award was England North coach Keith Andrew, an ex-England Test keeper, so he should know a good one when he sees one.

The last game was against Canada and we were certainly favourites being a much better side. However the week had taken its toll – especially as the pubs in Godalming were very appealing and us Irish boys knew how to enjoy ourselves! We certainly let ourselves down in that last match, Brian Doherty and I both got fifties but just over 200 was not enough for our flagging bowlers to defend, and against the odds Canada recorded their first victory.

We finished a disappointing fifth in the tournament but had a hugely enjoyable week both on and off the field.It was also nice subsequently to follow the fortunes of some future Test and County stars that we had played against in the tournament and even to crossed swords with again in future years.

Ireland squad
  • Brian Gilmore, captain (Malahide)
  • Paul Jackson (NICC)
  • Stephen Warke (Woodvale)
  • Garfield Harrison (Waringstown)
  • Jim Patterson (Downpatrick)
  • Neil Taylor (Dublin University/Phoenix)
  • John McDevitt (Old Belvedere)
  • Colin Magowan (Downpatrick)
  • David Johnston (NICC)
  • Colin Daly (Clontarf)
  • Richard Burton (Lisburn)
  • Trevor Hamilton (Sion Mills)
  • Brian Doherty (Bready)