Arthur Walton Walker

Born10 September 1891 Belfast
Died13 January 1969 Bangor, Co Down
EducatedRoyal Belfast Academical Institution; Queen's University; Dublin University
Debut10 July 1913 v Scotland at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh
Cap Number293
StyleRight-hand bat; right arm fast medium
TeamsCliftonville, Queen's University, Dublin University
HistoryArthur Walton Walker was a good fast medium bowler who, however, was little seen in Irish cricket after his solitary appearance for the Irish side. That itself was a somewhat bizarre experience for him as, coming into the side as a late replacement, he did not get a bowl, even when - in the closing stages Ireland were pressing for a win and were unable to take the final Scottish wickets.

The son of a Professor of Music at Queen's University, he was educated at RBAI, always, of course a high class cricket school. He was followed into the XI there by his younger brother Lawrence, a similar though rather more successful bowler who gained three Irish caps after the War. After playing for both Cliftonville and Queen's at senior level, though - perhaps fortunately not being in the former's defeated NCU Cup Final team of 1911, Arthur entered Dublin University in January 1913 and was a member of the XI the following summer. Though lacking some of the players- for example the formidable RA Lloyd - who had made the University's 1912 side one of the best in its history, the XI, captained by Pat Quinlan later to play for Western Australia, was a strong one also including batsmen of the quality of HM Read and AC Bateman as well as the captain. As well as Arthur, the bowling attack included FR Shaw an all rounder to become well known in Indian and Services cricket in the 1920s and Basil Ward, a very good fast left armer, still one of the University's - and Ireland's - best ever opening bowlers.

It was on the strength of his achievements that summer that Arthur found himself called up at the last minute for the Scots match in Edinburgh. There were three other substitutes, one of whom was also primarily a bowler. This suggests some last minute selection problems, as three of the players who had called off were batsmen and the other Bill Harrington an off spinner. It is true that the XI included two top class pacemen in Ward and the old Oxford Blue Gus Kelly, but it still seem strange that Pat Hone, captaining Ireland while on extended leave from his work in Canada, did not allow Arthur a single over in the match, which finished in a draw very much in Ireland's favour. Chasing 369 in four hours on the final afternoon, the Scots finished well short with eight wickets down. At this distance it is, of course, impossible to know Hone's reasons, but one feels that Arthur was surely worth a couple of overs. In addition, Kelly, who was still a genuinely fast bowler was brought on third change. Hone himself was to admit, "I delayed the declaration too long" (Cricket in Ireland) but made no comment as to his decision making in the field.

Arthur Walton Walker played no more major cricket in Ireland after that season. Perhaps if it had not been for the outbreak of war just over a year later, he would have played for Ireland again and done so under a more sympathetic captain.

Edward Liddle, October 2010

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