William Patrick Hone

Born28 August 1886, Monkstown Co Dublin
Died28 February 1976, Dublin
EducatedWellington College Berkshire, Dublin University
OccupationRailway Engineer
Debut17 September 1909 v Philadelphia at Haverford
Cap Number275
StyleWicket keeper
TeamsDublin University, Phoenix, Co Wicklow, Woodbrook
HistoryPat Hone was a member of one of Ireland's most illustrious cricket families. Best known were his father William and uncle Leland, England's most unlikely wicket keeper, but four more played for Ireland, and a fifth, the ill-fated Nat junior, kept wicket for Cambridge in 1881. Pat, himself, was in the Wellington XI, learning much from FH Bateman - Champain, a former Oxford captain. Pat, tall and thin, a good batsman on fast wickets against pace bowling, but by his own admission a poor player of leg spin, was four years in the Dublin University XI from 1907, being captain in his last year. He never made the runs he was capable of, but found a near 50 against Warwickshire in 1907 at Rugby, against the considerable pace of Frank Field; an innings he enjoyed "as much as any I can remember." He scored one century (105) against Pembroke in 1908; he also scored 122* for the Seconds against Dublin Asylum in 1906. He kept wicket for two years,though he saw himself as stop gap. He toured America with FH Browning's Irish side in 1909. Like almost all his team mates he found the bowling of Bart King and "Ranji " Hordern too much for him, managing 22 in four innings. He played three more matches before war set in. Again he failed, except in the Scottish match of 1913, when he was captain. His second innings of 92 allowed his team to set a stiff target but he probably delayed his declaration too long to force victory. He also kept wicket in this match. He wrote of that season, " In that year I scored seven centuries and my total of runs was 2400, which may, or may not be a record. Who cares?" As this is the Statszone we do and it wasn't!

The war was a part of his life he wished to forget when it ended, but in September 1918, he was awarded the Military Cross "for conspicious gallantry and devotion to duty." His artillery battery went on fire under heavy shelling, however, in all kinds of danger, he extinguished the flames, only one gun being put out of action.

After the war, he spent much time as a Railway Engineer in India, playing cricket with, amongst others fellow Dublin University men Jack Gwynn and AE Wilkinson. He was back in Ireland for the 1928 season, but his selection for Ireland v MCC at the age of 44 was heavily criticised and ended in failure with scores of 3 and 6. Though clearly past his best he captained Phoenix in 1930, and played well into the new decade, but, in competitive matches averaged only 18.10 from 51 innings.

He was Secretary of the Club from 1937 to 1946 and then became its first President. He was still playing "friendlies" into the 1950s. Despite his many years as a player he is most remembered for his book Cricket in Ireland published in 1955. It was the first full length attempt as a history of the Irish game and was well received. However it has limitations. It is well written, and good on Hone's family, contemporaries, and personal memories. However it is almost entirely about cricket in the Dublin area, and is often inaccurate, relying too much on the memories of those whose recollections were failing. Happily three recent books have more than rectified his book's defects, and it can now be enjoyed as a book of nostalgic memories. His, somewhat inaccurate obituary, is in Wisden 1977.

Edward Liddle, April 2007

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