Bernard Gerald Quinlan

BornAugust 1885 Perth, Western Australia
Died11 September 1951, Repatriation Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria
EducatedUnknown School in Perth Dublin University
Debut20 July 1911 Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow
Cap Number280
StyleRight-hand bat;right arm leg breaks and googlies.
TeamsDurham University, Phoenix.
HistoryBernard Quinlan, a tall, thin man who as an undergraduate looked older than his years, was a good leg break bowler, and a key member of a powerful Dublin University side of 1911 - 1912, as the storm clouds gathered over Europe. He entered University, a medical student from Perth, Western Australia, in 1906, and was quickly into the XI. He had been accompanied from home by his younger brother Patrick, later to become by far the better known cricketer of the two, fifteen years old and bound to complete his secondary education, academic and cricketing, at Clongowes Wood College in the depths of Co Kildare. The responsibilities on Bernard must have been considerable. This writer has often wondered when, if ever the two returned home, before they finally left University. The brothers were two of the eight children of Thomas Quinlan and Theresa Connor. Thomas, born in Co Tipperary but taken to Australia aged two, was a prominent Perth businessman and politician being Speaker of the Western Australia House of Representatives for several years. Theresa was the daughter of Daniel Connor, a transported sheep stealer from Co Kerry, who later became one of the richest men in Perth. His children ( who adopted the O' for obvious reasons} also included his son Michael, who attended Clongowes and Dublin University in the 1880s.

Bernard, as a bowler was, like another Antipodean 'leggie' of more recent vintage, always one to experiment. The age of the flipper, zooter and slider, was still to come, but he was, according to team-mate Pat Hone, "forever experimenting with some fresh brainwave." Hone, often his wicket keeper, thought that this made him, "never quite come up to expectations," but conceded that he was, "a bowler of much talent." Probably, he lacked the accuracy of the flaxen haired text messager, so that his quest for variation proved counter productive. He did, however, turn in a number of useful performances. Thus in 1909, against the visiting Cork County side in College Park, he played a leading part in the hosts' comfortable innings victory. In the first innings he took 4/37 in 14 overs while in the second, opening the attack, he took a further 3 for 25, including Willie Harman, the best bat in the County side, for a first ball duck. In that innings Bernard and slow left armer Willie Napper shared the wickets, taking advantage of helpful conditions as a dry wicket crumbled. His best bowling figures came against Co Wicklow in College Park in 1912, when he took 10-23 in a 12-a-side match.

He also performed bravely against first class county opposition. In 1911 Hampshire brought a strong side to College Park. They duly won by an innings and 192 runs after scoring 440. Bernard's figures were a monument to perseverance: 29 - 0 - 176 - 4. Among his wickets were the great Philip Mead, described by John Arlott as, "the man who never encouraged bowlers", scorer of 55061 first class runs, including 153 centuries and the hard hitting George Brown, who batted, bowled and kept wicket for England. Bernard also succeeded in being undefeated with the bat in both innings, reaching double figures in the first. The previous summer a strong Nottinghamshire side had visited College Park. Bernard took one wicket and, with the bat fell in both innings to the fast medium leg spinner Tom Wass who took 15 wickets in the match for 45. Wass probably enjoyed destroying ' fancy caps.' He was no lover of amateur cricketers. "Fine ball, Wass," said CB Fry, brilliant batsman and supreme egotist, as he walked past Tom having been deceived by a googly. "Mr Wass to the likes of thee," said Tom, an unheard of way for a pro to address his alleged social superior in those far off days.

Bernard's one match for Ireland was against Scotland at Hamilton Crescent in 1911. He was probably unlucky not to have been given further opportunities as Ireland's attack was, by this time somewhat two dimensional the pace of Gus Kelly being supported by the off spin of Bill Harrington and Bob Lambert. Bernard came into the match as one of three last minute substitutes. He appears to have been chosen to replace Bob Fowler, yet another off spinner, who, a year after his '' Boys' Own Paper" heroics for Eton v Harrow at Lord's, was denied permission by RMA Sandhurst to play in the match. Instead he hit a hundred for them against arch rivals RMC Woolwich. Ireland should probably have won at Hamilton Crescent. They certainly held the upper hand. Scotland were dismissed for 294, Bernard only getting on for 3 overs in which he took one wicket, that of WF Turnbull, the bulk of the bowling being done by the three regulars. Ireland possibly batted on too long with Bernard's fellow debutant Harry Mulholland and Bob Lambert both making hundreds. Rain and, according to Mulholland at least, some less than impartial Scottish umpiring, then denied Ireland victory. This time Bernard had a slightly longer bowl, and took 2/36.

During the Great War Bernard was an Honorary Captain in the Australian Army Medical Corps. He was attached to an Active Service Unit, but his exact participation in events is unclear. Subsequently he became a Captain in the Australian Army Reserve. After the War he practised medicine in Perth for some years before moving to the Melbourne suburb of Malvern. He died in the Repatriation Hospital at another suburb, Heidelberg, and the place where Tom Wills, founder of Australian Rules Football and a one time member of Charles Lawrence's All ireland XI had taken his own life 71 years earlier.

Edward Liddle, January 2008, updated August 2014, October 2018

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