I was fortunate to obtain access to the Cork Bohemians Cricket Club scorebook for the 1914 season which gives a picture of cricket in Cork 100 years ago in the summer which saw the outbreak of the First World War.  The summary for the season indicates that Bohemians played eighteen fixtures of which they won nine, drew six and lost only three matches.  Strangely, the scorebook does not record the details for the matches played between 9 May and 6 June – presumably recorded in another scorebook – and the details for the matches that are recorded are incomplete in some cases, particularly in relation to bowling analyses.  In some cases, only one innings is recorded and there is no way of knowing whether the other innings are missing or whether rain intervened and the match was not finished.  Getting good or any scorers was obviously no easier 100 years ago. 

The summary information notes that five of the matches were league matches of which Bohemians won one, drew two and lost two.  The season came to an abrupt end in early August on the outbreak of the War and no cricket was played thereafter.  I have checked the information on the Munster Senior League Trophy and no winner is inscribed for 1914 or any of the War years. 

I have been able to check the Bohemian Club minute book for that period and it confirms that Bohemians withdrew from all cricket during the War period – the only cricket that continued in Cork during the War were friendly cricket matches organised by Cork County at the Mardyke. 

The minute book also indicates that Bohemians played from a ground in University College Cork in 1914 rather than in the Mardyke.  Matches were played against Cork County, UCC, Cork Church of Ireland, Midleton and Midleton College, all of which were, or are, active in Cork and Munster cricket in modern times.  However, the wider spread of the game in 1914 is reflected in the fact that fixtures were played against Bantry, Crosshaven, Clonakilty and Youghal as well as fixtures against the Garrison team based at Spike Island.  It is a reasonable guess that many of the grounds outside of the Mardyke were rough and ready affairs as illustrated by low scoring matches where the bowlers clearly held the advantage. 

In 1914, Bohemians were captained by AN Welsby and WA Warren was the vice-captain.  JN O’Sullivan was noted as being the captain of the Wednesday side.  The following summarises the performances of the leading players in the Bohemian side:

Leading Batsman (Qualification 100 runs)

 

Innings

No

Runs

Av.

High

50s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WA Warren

11

2

384

42.66

90

2

W O’Sullivan

18

3

253

16.86

41

0

RH Sikes

10

0

159

15.90

43

0

A Welsby

12

1

121

11.80

35

0

 

 

 

 

Bowlers (Qualification 10 wickets)

 

Runs

Wickets

Av.

A Young

302

43

7.02

WA Warren

266

35

7.60

J O’Sullilvan

173

22

7.86

P Collins

119

13

9.15

 

J O’Sullivan recorded figures of 6 wickets for 3 runs against Midleton College and A Young took 7 wickets for 59 against the Spike Island Garrison team.  The highest score recorded against Bohemians was 68 by an F Bennett playing for Clonakilty.  H Summers of the Spike Island Garrison recorded the best bowling figures against Bohemians taking 6 wickets for 13.

The scorebook gives us a glimpse of cricket in Munster in a very different age and social context which I hope is of interest to modern day followers of the game in Ireland.  

 

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