Louis Albert Meldon

Born10 October 1886 Dublin
Died21 February 1956 Ranelagh Co Dublin
EducatedStonyhurst College
Debut24 July 1909 v Scotland at North Inch, Perth
Cap Number260
StyleRight-hand bat, slow right arm
TeamsLeinster, Pembroke
HistoryLouis Meldon was the second son of Aloysius Meldon, a Dublin solicitor, the younger brother of Irish Internationals James and Austin. Aloysius was a keen cricketer who was in the Stonyhurst XI and also played for Phoenix, though without conspicuous success. He had the Meldon characteristic of boundless self confidence and was said to have been the first person to cross the Alps on a bicycle. Louis, whose brother George and four cousins all played for Ireland, was a fine all round sportsman, being an excellent tennis player and also well known at hockey.

He was the outstanding all rounder at Stonyhurst, scoring 506 runs at 42.33 in his penultimate season, besides taking 30 wickets at 14.93. He hardly played in his final year, making two ducks in his only innings. His club cricket in Dublin was mostly for Leinster. He was a short stocky man, quick on his feet, who shared his cousin Jack's liking for lofted straight drives. His outstanding innings was played in 1911, ironically against his other club, Pembroke. Leinster made 467-3 declared on their way to defeating Pembroke by an innings and 248 runs. Louis, hitting freely all round the wicket, made 204*, including six 6s and twenty four 4s. He put on 352 for the third wicket with - of course - Bob Lambert (168).

His first match for Ireland was v I Zingari in 1906.This does not appear as his debut match above, or in his statistics on this site, as it was 12-a-side. It was the final fixture in this series which had begun in 1859. Not for the first time the Vice Regal ground was specially opened after a long hiatus. The wicket was rough and under prepared. Hence Louis scores of 17 and 43 were most valuable in helping Ireland gain a big victory. In 1909, he was selected to play against Scotland at Perth. Ireland went down by an innings, but Louis, perhaps overplaced at 3, did not have too bad a match with scores of 31, for which he batted with uncharacteristic defence and care, and 2. He also took one wicket as Scotland piled up a huge score. Later that year he was selected for the Irish tour of the USA. Unfortunately, in company with several other players, he was unable to make the trip. In his case this was because of illness. His forthright methods were much missed on a disappointing expedition.

He owed his selection for the 1910 match v Scotland in College Park to withdrawals. Both Oscar Andrews, the nominated captain and PWG Stuart, his replacement were unable to play, whereupon the captaincy passed to Louis' cousin Jack and he came into the side. This match was dominated by the off spin of Bob Lambert and the leg breaks of John Bruce-Lockhart. Fortunately for Ireland, Bob's off spin won the day. However, he would have never been in a position to bowl Scotland out for a paltry second innings 32, had it not been for the batting of Louis, who made 26, first innings top score, and 47, during which he hit two 6s, one off Bruce-Lockhart, and, the other successful batsman, Tom Ross. Ross hit a marvellous second innings 89, destroying the other Scots bowlers and reducing the leg spinner's effectiveness. Their 7th wicket stand of 53 was the best of the match.

Louis did not get a bat in the 1911 match, a high scoring draw with Harry Mulholland and Lambert both scoring hundreds. The following year saw what proved to be his final match. It was a closely fought encounter at Observatory Lane, best known for the remarkable sole appearance of Irish leg spinner Robert Gregory. Ireland needed only 135 to win, but fell 3 runs short. Louis, with 34 was second innings top score but could not stay long enough to secure victory.

That ended his Irish representative carer. As we have seen he was also a fine tennis player, which was where he devoted his energies after war service with the RASC. He was really a doubles player, winning the Irish doubles championship every year from 1923 to 1926, having a different partner each time. He was, however, singles champion of Ireland in 1924. A member of two Irish Davis Cup Teams, he played in two Wimbledons in 1923 and 1925. He was once selected to play hockey for Ireland but had to decline.

Edward Liddle, October 2007

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