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Brian Maye on one of Ireland’s greatest cricketers

Scott Huey, born 100 years ago, was once described as ‘a living legend’

Scott Huey, who was born 100 years ago on December 21st, is regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest cricketers. Shortly after his death, The Ulster Cricketer described him as “a remarkable cricketer who was a living legend in northwest sport” (March 12th, 2012). He was a consummate sportsman who represented his country at cricket and badminton and represented Ulster at hockey.

Samuel Scott Johnston Huey was born in the townland of Ture, on the shores of Lough Foyle, between Muff and Quigley’s Point in Co Donegal. We know little about his background except that he attended the Masonic Boys’ School in Dublin, where he excelled at cricket, hockey and badminton, and he is possibly the school’s most famous sporting alumnus. On returning to the northwest, he initially joined City of Derry Cricket Club before moving to Eglinton Cricket Club, in Magheramason, Co Derry. According to The Ulster Cricketer, “during the 1950s, the club enjoyed its greatest era, much of their success on the back of their talisman Huey”.

He twice took all 10 of the opposition wickets in an innings against Eglinton’s old rivals, Donemana Cricket Club from near Strabane, Co Tyrone. “In April 1949, he took a stunning 10 for 10 as Donemana were sent to the pavilion 20-all-out. In 1961 Donemana were again dismantled by the deadly Huey, who took 10 for 28. Three times, Huey claimed nine wickets – nine for nine against City of Derry, nine for 67 against Donemana, and nine for 36 against Limavady,” according to Chris McNulty (Donegal Daily, April 10th, 2020). He won five Northern Cricket Union Senior Cups with Eglinton.

A slow left-arm spin bowler, his bowling seems to have been his particular strength. Historian of Irish cricket Edward Liddle wrote of him: “He was a master of spin and flight, besides possessing a well-disguised and highly effective faster ball.” He was a right-handed batsman, concerning which the Ulster Cricketer said: “He was a useful batsman but his batting owed more to his ability to focus on and adapt to prevailing conditions rather than an inherent ability that rivalled his bowling prowess.”


He played 36 times for the Ireland cricket team in 1951-1966, including 20 first-class matches (these were matches of three or more days’ scheduled duration between two teams of 11 players each), and captained his country five times. His debut, against Scotland at College Park in June 1951, might seem to have come somewhat late in his career but he was competing with many other fine slow bowlers who were around at the time. However, “he seized the opportunity with relish, and over 15 years he left an indelible imprint on Irish cricket,” according to the Ulster Cricketer.

Among his notable performances for Ireland were taking four wickets for 83 in 31 overs against India in 1952, five for 46 against the West Indies in 1957, and five for 68 against the touring New Zealanders in 1965. But his greatest performance was when playing for Ireland against Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC, the club under whose banner England played non-international test matches at that time) in College Park in 1954. Here he made his highest score and took his best bowling figures, scoring 23-not-out in Ireland’s first innings and taking 8 wickets for 48 in MCC’s second innings; overall, he took 14 wickets for 97 runs. Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, known as “the bible of cricket”, that year placed him top of the 130 bowlers listed, with a 6.92 average.

That achievement led to his being much more of a regular on Irish sides and over the subsequent 12 years, he played internationals against, among others, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, the West Indies, as well as various English county sides and the MCC. “He holds the unique record of being the last bowler to dismiss the legendary Sir Len Hutton in his farewell match for the MCC against Ireland in 1960,” according to The Ulster Cricketer.

He was captain of the victorious Northwest team at the inaugural Interprovincial Championship in 1966 and retired from the representative game in the late 1960s. Afterwards, he was a selector for Northwest and for Ireland and president of Northwest for a time. There seems little doubt that he’d have been elected as president of the Irish Cricket Union had he chosen to contest the position.

He died on March 8th, 2012, in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim. “Scott’s feats were amazing by any standard, but it was his modest personality that endeared him to so many people long after he had finished playing ... He was a lovely person in every sense and his loss will be felt much farther than in Northwest sport,” the Ulster Cricketer remarked in its obituary of him.