Cyril Buttenshaw

Born9 February 1891 Streatham, Surrey
DiedMay 1976, Dublin
EducatedOundle School; Cambridge University (Clare College)
Debut3 June 1921 v The Military of Ireland at College Park
Cap Number304
StyleRight hand bat; right arm fast medium
TeamsOundle Rovers; Phoenix
HistoryCyril Buttenshaw, the only son and eldest of three children of Edgar Buttenshaw a Hertfordshire solicitor, was a good upper order batsman who developed his cricket skills at Oundle School where he had a distinguished academic and sporting career. Two years in the 1st XI, averaging 16.50 in the second, he was also a member of the 1st XV and rowed for his House. He also found time to pick up a glittering array of prizes, mostly for Science and Mathematics, besides in his final year, being "Captain of the School" (Head Prefect). He must have enjoyed his time at Oundle, his two sons and two grandsons followed him there. He won an Exhibition to Clare College, Cambridge, where besides obtaining his degree, he rowed and played cricket for the College. He was also seen in the ranks of the School's Old Boys' side, Oundle Rovers. They played good class cricket often two day matches of the country house variety in those more leisured times. He served as Second Lieutenant during the War before settling in Ireland.

His arrival coincided with the introduction of the Leinster Senior League in Dublin cricket. Cyril was a regular and consistent performer in the Phoenix upper order for a number of years. He played 104 League matches for the Club scoring 2248 runs at an average of 22.48. His highest score was 128.

His abilities with both bat and ball were well shown in three matches against Dublin University in June 1925 and 1926 all played over two days. In the former year he was a member of a strong side raided by the former Irish medium pacer Wentworth Allen, whose bowling for both the University and Phoenix was so telling in Dublin in the 1920s and 30s. Allen's XI were left on the second afternoon chasing 214 for victory, by no means easy against a strong attack. Cyril, however, rose to the occasion and made an elegant 80 at no 3, having a match winning 4th wicket partnership with JG Aston (98). A year later saw him give a fine all round performance to bring Phoenix a two wicket victory in College Park. He took two wickets in the University's first innings of 169, then, after his side had conceeded a 12 run lead to the hosts, he had 5-44 including both openers John Lawrence, whose grandfather had been the owner and publisher of the now extremely rare and even more expensive "Handbook of Cricket in Ireland". Lawrence, the University cricketer, once posessed a full set of the Handbook, almost unknown, but leant a copy to a friend and never got it back. Forsyth, a Dublin medical student, who like Sonny Hool went into general practice in Belfast, was a difficult to dislodge left hander. Cyril's bowling left Phoenix chasing 214. History repeated itself as Cyril, at 4 this time, had another big stand, this time with AP Kelly. Both men were out before the end, Cyril making 74, but victory was obtained as already mentioned. The two sides met again in a drawn encounter later in the month. Rain intervened after Phoenix had established a first innings lead of 47, largely thanks to an elegant 78 from Cyril.

His one appearance for the national side, as one of four debutants - three of whom never played again - came in June 1921 against the Military of Ireland. In retrospect it was hardly a wise decision to stage such a match at so vulnerable a venue as College Park at such a time. The Military, whose long involvement with Irish cricket ended with this match, were a somewhat weak side though they included two well known players in their captain Lieutenant -Colonel AH Spooner - brother of the famous batsman Reggie Spooner - and SG Walker well known in Army cricket circles. The visitors were bowled out for 106 with Wentworth Allen taking a "5 for". Cyril was down to bat at 7 or 8, but never got to the wicket. With Bob Lambert and JWFA Crawford in fine form Ireland stormed past 250 with only 4 wickets down. At this point shots were fired through the Nassau Street railings which ran along one side of the ground. No player was hurt but a young woman spectator was badly wounded and died later in the day. The match, already suspended for the day, was abandoned on the news being heard. Perhaps Cyril Buttenshaw might have received another chance for Ireland; his record for Phoenix stands up well beside those who did.

I am greatly indebted to Stephen Forge, Archivist of Oundle School, for his assistance.

Edward Liddle, February 2010

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