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Fri 9th Nov 2018

By Michael Sharp

Individual Playing Awards in Leinster

Arthur Vincent: Hall of Fame recipient 2017

At the start of the season, in the first article in this series, I wrote about the history of the various league trophies. During the season there have been articles on the various cup trophies. To finish the series this one will look at the history of the various individual awards that will be presented at the upcoming Cricket Leinster dinner.

Womens Section

Division 1 Batting - Crawford Cup

Clarissa Crawford (subsequently Pilkington), presenter of this cup and other trophies, was an outstanding cricketer for Dublin University in the first dawn of women’s cricket and continued a strong participation as player and administrator when it was revived. She was subsequently honoured as the first women to be admitted to the LCU Hall of Fame. The cup was first presented in 1955, Adrienne Carroll of the Clontarf club being the first winner. To date twenty-seven players have won it, several more than once. Miriam Grealey (YMCA) leads the way with five wins.

Division 1 Bowling – Harrison Cup

This trophy also dates from the 1950s and Clarissa Crawford was in fact the first winner. Also notable was the achievement of Marie Coffey of Clontarf who won the trophy in 1955 and following the revival of women’s cricket took it again in 1976 and ’77. Pride of place must however go to Susan Bray of Clontarf who won this cup no fewer than ten times between 1985 and 1998.

Division 1 Wicketkeeping – Dawson Cup

Sandra Dawson , presenter of this trophy in 1980, kept wicket for YMCA and Ireland on many occasions in the 1990s and in fact won it herself on two occasions. In the last ten years the trophy has been dominated by Valmai Gee of Leinster and Mary Waldron of Malahide but both are still some way behind the record of Helen Hearnden (McDonnell) who was the winner in seven of the first nine years of its existence.

Division 2 Batting - presented by the Leinster Women’s Cricket Union.

Division 2 Bowling - presented by the Leinster Women’s Cricket Union.

Division 2 Wicketkeeping - Hearnden Cup

Helen Hearnden (nee McDonnell), who presented this trophy, was an outstanding wicketkeeper for the Leinster and subsequently Pembroke clubs and the Irish international team. 

Division 3 Batting - Sharp Cup

Although Women’s Cricket in Leinster had started in the 1930s, it died out in the early 1960s. A few committed women got it restarted in the mid-1970s. By the early ‘80s the competitions of the then Leinster Women’s Cricket Union were sufficiently well established that there were enough teams to form a league third division. It was necessary therefore that there be individual awards at this level. A batting cup was presented by Mary Sharp, one of the women who had been most involved in the revival and who has of course since occupied with distinction several positions in her own club and at provincial level.

Division 3 Bowling - Schmidt Cup

This trophy was presented by Barbara Schmidt of the Phoenix club who was also very much instrumental in the revival of Women’s Cricket. She served the game not only in that role but went on to be the first female President of a “senior” club in Leinster.

Division 3 Wicketkeeping - presented by the then Leinster Women’s Cricket Union.

The following trophies cover all women’s leagues and Cups.

Women All-Rounder – Howard Cup

The trophy was presented by and commemorates Isolde Howard, a distinguished player and organiser in the early days of women’s cricket right back to the 1930s and who remained active when it was restarted in the 1970s. Isolde played for Dartry C.C., one of the clubs that unfortunately did not survive to the second coming but became a distinguished member of Leinster C.C.

Since its first year of 1979 it has been won by twenty-nine different players showing that several have won it more than once. Pride of place of these must go to Miriam Grealey who won it seven times.

Most Improved Young Player (Women) - Clarissa Pilkington/D.Farrell Trophy

In 1993 the then Leinster Women’s Cricket Union decided that there should be an annual award (decided on by the LWCU Committee) for the young player they adjudged had shown most improvement over the year. Clarissa (Crawford) Pilkington provided the trophy which may possibly have originated years before for some other purpose. Many of the winners over the past twenty-five years have gone on to very much fulfil their early promise.

Fair Play Award (Women) – Clarissa Pilkington Trophy

On Clarissa’s death in 2010, the Women’s Committee decided that there should be a Fair Play award in her memory . Nominations would be considered by the Committee and winning it would relate specifically to demonstrating the true spirit of the game and fair play rather than on field performances which win other trophies. The trophy used is actually one that Clarissa herself had presented for a Universities competition that had at one stage existed but is no more. 

Open Competitions

Prior to the abolition of the terms “Senior” and “Junior” cricket in 2010 and the consequential reorganisation of league competitions, there were two sets of trophies at Senior and Senior 2 level respectively. For 2010 and 2011 the former senior trophies covered Divisions 1 and 2 and the former senior 2 trophies covered Division 3 and 4. It was then decided that

a)the former senior trophies should relate only to Division 1

b)a new set of trophies would be obtained for Division 2

c) the former senior 2 trophies should relate only to Division 3

“Overseas” players eligibility for individual trophies.

In the late 1970s some “Senior” clubs starting hiring non-Irish cricketers to come to the country and play for them for a season. These became termed “professionals” although this was not particularly accurate since very few of them were actually professional cricketers in the proper sense of the term. Not surprisingly, these players began to be leaders in the averages and win individual awards. There was much disquiet in some quarters about this. The final straw was in 1995 when South African Wim Jansen of Pembroke won the much prized Marchant Cup (Division 1 Batting). It was decided that for the 1996 season and thereafter such “imported” players should not be eligible for these awards. The decision caused some difficulty. There were a steadily increasing number of players arriving into the country and it became difficult to establish who was a “professional” (subsequently termed an “overseas player”] as distinct from an ordinary club member. When the regulations governing these awards were reviewed in 2011, it was decided that Division 1 and 2 awards should be open only to players qualifying to play for Ireland under ICC rules.

Division 1 Batting – Marchant Cup

This is the oldest individual trophy. It was presented to the Leinster Cricket Union at their Annual General Meeting held in the Engineer’s Hall, Dawson Street in January 1922 on behalf of the Marchant family. It commemorates former Clontarf member, Charles Stewart Marchant, who as a second lieutenant in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers had been killed in first world war action in June 1917 aged 21. The presentation to the union was made by John Aston of Clontarf who had proposed Stewart Marchant as a member of the Clontarf club. That had been in 1914 and in that season, which sadly would be his only one, he played 14 matches for the first eleven scoring 237 runs.

It was agreed that the trophy would be for the player with the highest batting average in the LCU Senior League. The first winner was Bob Lambert of Leinster C.C. for his amazing 1921 season when, aged 46, he had an incredible average of 217 - he started the season with eight “not outs” and made 664 runs before he was out.

Sixty-one players have won the trophy. Jeremy Bray’s six in a row from 1998 to 2003 has never been matched although Gerry Duffy and Alf Masood each had five wins. Bob Lambert’s winning average is unlikely ever to be equalled but Alf Masood in 1987, Jeremy Bray in 2000 and Andre Botha in 2006 all averaged over 100. Ham Lambert emulated the feat of his father Bob in 1941 and won again in the following year. The next and so far only other father and son to take the trophy were Ian Lewis in 1971 and Alan in 1984,‘90 and ’94.

Division 1 Bowling – O’Grady Cup

The earliest Leinster handbook appeared in 1941 and lists Mr. J.E.O’Grady of Pembroke as the then President. His name is also remembered as the presenter of this trophy. Although he made only a limited number of appearances for the first eleven, he was a very useful bowler on other Pembroke teams through the 1920s and ‘30s. He was one of the few bowlers anywhere to achieve an all ten wickets performance in a match in 1932.

Most leading bowlers in Leinster have got their names on the trophy though the sixty-one years of its existence. The redoubtable Jimmy Boucher of Phoenix was the first winner and went on to do so on six occasions. A notable achievement but is was somewhat dwarfed by the record of Alec O’Riordan of Old Belvedere who took the trophy on eleven occasions including eight in nine years from 1959 to 1968. Also worthy of mention in the more recent times of limitations on overs are Matt Dwyer (The Hills) – five times in the 1990s and Eddie Richardson (North County) – three times so far in the current decade.

As with other bowling trophies, single figure averages were the norm for winners up to the 1970s but quite rare since then.

Division 1 Wicketkeeping

Joe Hopkins (sen.) was a long standing Pembroke member who made thirteen appearances for the first eleven in the 1920s/’30s. His son, also Joe, played in over one hundred such games. Having played his early games while still a schoolboy, Joe (jun) found that his opportunities as a wicketkeepe rin Pembroke were limited due to the talents of Harry Hill. To get more opportunities, he joined Merrion for some years and won an Irish cap against Richie Benaud’s 1961 Australians, when Ossie Colhoun was rested. He returned to Pembroke a few years later playing mainly as a batsman until the 1980s. On Joe senior’s death in 1973, his family presented this trophy in his memory.

The first winner in 1974 was Gerry Murphy of Phoenix. He was succeeded by Harry Hill of Pembroke in 1975 and ’76, his last full season on Pembroke first eleven. It was notable that had there been a trophy in earlier years, Harry would have won it on ten occasions in all. Another in a similar position is Fergus Carroll of Clontarf whose name appears once on the trophy but who was leading wicketkeeper on three occasions in the years before it was presented. There are of course others who had retired long before the trophy appeared but achieved the leading wicketkeeper status on several occasions. In terms of winning the trophy the record of Daragh Armstrong of Rush/North County who won the trophy on ten occasions between 1995 and 2010. This included seven times in the nine years from 1995 to 2003 and fifty-four dismissals in 2000, the highest ever achieved since the LCU foundation.

Division 1 All Rounder - Samuels Cup

Willie Samuels was a key player with Carlisle C.C. in the 1930s/40s. This was a period before the club achieved “senior status”. He would have played mainly at what is now Division 3 level.

However they did compete in some of the early years of the Senior Cup and in six appearances at “senior” level, he took 23 wickets. He is commemorated in two Leinster trophies, the other one is now awarded for the Division 8 league. The all-rounder trophy was presented in 1963. For many years the winner was decided on a vote of the LCU Executive Committee based on the end of season batting and bowling averages. In 1996, in addition to making “professional/overseas” players ineligible, it was also agreed to adopt a system whereby players got points for runs, wickets, catches and stumpings. This meant that it became possible for a wicketkeeper to win the award.

Since its inception in 1963, the trophy has been won by thirty three different players. Several have won it more than once but none have come close to the record of Alec O’Riordan of Old Belvedere who won it on no fewer than nine occasions including four times in succession in 1964 - ’67. His record is unlikely to be equalled particularly when you add in that he was also the leading all-rounder and would have won the trophy in the two years before it was presented. In that context though, it should be mentioned that Gerry Duffy of Leinster, who won the trophy three times in its early years would have won it a further five times if years earlier that 1963 were taken into account. Also worthy of note in those years are Eddie Ingram of Leinster – leading all-rounder on six occasions, including five years in a row, in the 1930s and Mickey Williams of Pembroke leader on five occasions in the 1940s/’50s.

Division 1 Fielder Solomons Cup

Presented by Carlisle C.C. and the Solomons family in 1999 the trophy commemorates Alf Solomons whose long life spanned almost the entire twentieth century. Alf was a leading figure in Leinster cricket for many years. He played for the club well into his seventies as a “square arm” bowler. Off the field he is recorded as having attended more than sixty LCU AGMs and always had something to say. Although his long service might have led one to expect conservative “traditional” views that was not the case. He advocated limited overs cricket long before it was adopted and was strong in arguing the case for foreign “professional/overseas” players to be allowed play in Leinster clubs. Of course for many years he also pleaded the case for Carlisle to be admitted to “senior” cricket and was eventually rewarded in 1970. In a way it was perhaps fitting that his death in 1998 came just weeks before his beloved club played its final match.

Division 2 Batting- Richard Bruton Cup

Richard Bruton was a member of the Phoenix club for over forty years, having joined as a schoolboy. His father had also played for the club. Richard served as President of the club in 2009. To mark his death in 2011, the club presented this trophy in his memory. In that year it was used for the then newly formed Division 14 league. With the decision in 2012 to have individual awards for Division 2, it was decided that it would be the batting trophy for that division.

Richard is also remembered in another way. In the year of his death he collected, framed and hung the gallery of historic photos in the Phoenix pavilion.

Division 2 Bowling - Dick Clarke Cup

Dick Clarke, who died in September 2011, had been a popular player for Merrion C.C. for many years and had also served the club in various off the field positions. A more than useful bowler, he moved up through the club sides and was playing at senior level into his forties. When his senior career ended, he was one of the limited number of players who continued to play on the lower teams for some years. In 2012 in response to a call from the LCU for individual awards for the Division 2 league, Merrion presented this trophy in his memory.

Division 2 Wicketkeeping - Ralph Satchwell Trophy

Ralph Satchwell, died in February 2012 and his family and North Kildare CC presented this trophy in his honour. In addition to his skills as a wicketkeeper and a more than useful batsman, he was an outstanding hockey goalkeeper with the Railway Union club and won several Irish caps. His sons, Roger and Guy, continue the family contribution at club and provincial level.

Division 2 All-Rounder – Robert Ellis Cup

Robert (Hoppy) Ellis was a longstanding player with Clontarf C.C. and also served the club in various off field capacities including President. He died at a tragically young age in 2012 and his family and the club named this trophy in his honour.

Division 2 Fielder - Arthur Vincent Cup

When Division 2 awards were introduced in 2012, Arthur Vincent presented this trophy to the Union. Arthur is of course a past president of YMCA and of both the Leinster and Irish Cricket Unions. During his business career he was also for many years a generous sponsor of the sport through his employer Wiggins Teape. Interestingly as he is known to mention himself with amusement on occasions, although he is longstanding representative of the YMCA club, he never actually played with them, his playing days having been spent with 3rdOBU and Malahide.

Division 3 Batting - Bookman Cup

On the death of her husband Louis in 1943, Rosa Bookman and Carlisle C.C. presented the Leinster Cricket Trophy with this trophy in his memory. Louis had played “senior cricket” for Railway Union and Leinster and fourteen times for Ireland. He was among the distinguished few who have represented this country at two sports, having earlier won four caps at soccer while playing for Bradford City and Luton Town. Ireland was in fact his adopted country. He had been born Louis Buchalter in what is now Lithuania but like many others , his family had fled from pogroms in the early years of the twentieth century. 

The trophy was awarded for the best batting average in the then recently formed Senior 2 League and was reallocated to Division 3 when the leagues were restructured in 2010. It has been won by fifty four players, several more than once. Michael Murphy of Man-o-War/North County won it on six occasions. Not outs have helped some winners to have averages in the seventies, the leader being David Lucas of Leinster with an average of 78.8 in 2002.

Division 3 Bowling - Oulton Cup

J. G.Oulton was a distinguished member of Clontarf C.C. He was President of the Leinster Cricket Union from 1946 to 1951. In 1946 he presented this cup to be awarded for the best bowling average in the then Senior 2 League. On the reorganisation of the league structures it was allocated to Division 3. J.G.Oulton lived in Clontarf Castle from 1933 until his death in 1952. He is commemorated in Clontarf C.C. by a collection of cups which are awarded each year to the member of each of the Club's elevens who has done most for the game on and off the field.

Fifty -nine different players have won the trophy in the seventy years of its existence. For almost all of the first half of that, there were no restrictions on the number of overs a bowler could bowl in a match and it was quite normal for bowlers to take over forty wickets in a season. More recently not too many get over twenty. Interestingly though the averages of the leading bowlers have declined markedly. Up to the 1980s the leading bowlers always ended the season with a single figure average. It is twenty-five years since that was achieved. Is this to do with decline in bowling standards, improvement in batting technique, regulations favouring batsmen, better wickets ? Probably a combination of all of these.

Division 3 All-rounder - Webster Cup

Willie Webster was an excellent all-round cricketer at Senior 2 level for his club Civil Service. He was a member of the Civil Service teams who did the Senior 2 League and Cup double in 1964 and also won the Senior 2 Cup in 1969. He was also a hard working administrator for his club and at LCU Junior Branch level. At the time is his sudden death in 1995, he was chairman of the Junior Branch Committee. To commemorate him this cup was presented by his family later that year.

Willie was also for many years the main organiser of the Dublin Business Houses cricket competition He was a member of the ESB teams which won this trophy for the first time in 1973 and again in1983 and 1984. Again in his memory, the Civil Service club have maintained the organisation of this competition and the hosting of the final.

In the twenty three years of the Webster Cup only two players have won it more than once, the leader being Mark Collier of Clontarf who won it for times in succession 2013-6.

Division 3 Wicketkeeper - Carmel Cullen Cup

Carmel will be known to many as keen supporter of cricket in Leinster and a popular and convivial follower of Leinster and Ireland teams at home and abroad. Noticing at a dinner some years ago that there was a gap in the list of trophies being presented, she immediately volunteered to correct this and shortly thereafter did so.

Division 3 Fielder

There is no trophy here but the leading catcher in the field receives a medal. 

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