|Born:||17 March 1891 in Perth, Western Australia||Died:||15 August 1935 in Perth, Western Australia||Educated:||Clongowes Wood College, Dublin University.|
|Debut:||25 July 1912 v South Africa at Woodbrook||Cap Number:||282||Style:||Right-hand bat; right arm medium pace.|
|Teams:||Dublin University, Phoenix, Woodbrook, East Perth, West Perth, Western Australia.|
Pat Quinlan was the younger of two brothers who, Australian born, featured strongly in Irish cricket in the years leading up to the First World War. He came to Ireland at the age of 15, at the same time as his elder brother, Bernard, entered Dublin University as a medical student. Pat was bound for Clongowes to complete his secondary education. From the heat of Perth, tempered by the Swan River and the 'Fremantle Doctor', to the rather monastic seclusion of the former medieval fortress in the wilds of Kildare, must have been somewhat of a culture shock for the young Patrick, and, though this writer, as a visiting scorer, recalls a day in an oven like score box atop the turreted pavilion at Clongowes, which might have rivalled the WACA for heat, the weather must have been like nothing Pat had previously had to bear. Be that as it may, he entered the University in 1910, and despite the strength of the batting at the time, was immediately into the side, in his first season of 1911.
Early accounts speak of him as having been rather a limited player, "Colourless," wrote Pat Hone, while others have described him as dour. Yet he was soon scoring heavily for the University, and was later, as much as any other Westralian batsman of his time, to hold his own in the first class game, 'down under'. Two explanations may be offered which are not mutually exclusive. It is possible that he was unjustly compared with his swashbuckling team-mates, Dickie Lloyd and Harry Read who destroyed many Irish club attacks with reckless abandon. It is likely any upper order batsman, who simply played "normally" seemed crablike in comparison. Alternately, having been reared on the fast wickets of Perth, he had, even on that famous batsman's paradise near Clane, to adjust his technique to cope with softer pitches. By the time he was fully acclimatised, against top bowling, he was a formidable player indeed.
In his first season, 1911, Pat established himself in the XI, though the batting headlines were taken by Lloyd and Read who both passed 1000 runs. All three, in common with their team-mates failed v the full Hampshire side in College Park, though Pat and Lloyd both reaching 15 in the second knock did better than some. Pat also showed he to be a very useful medium pacer, having a fine all round match against the visiting Cork County side in College Park. Opening the batting he made 14 and 49, sharing a century opening stand with Lloyd (123) in the second innings. In the County's first innings he returned his career best bowling figures 15.3 - 3 - 20 - 7. The last four batsmen all failed to score and his wickets included Wilfred Bourchier and Sir Timothy O'Brien.
Though he gained a place in the Irish side as an opener in 1912, besides playing in that role for Woodbrook against the South Africans, his best season, by far was 1913. That year he was captain and, with Lloyd having left University, the regular opening partner for Read. Previously he had sometimes been at 3, when the two hitters had opened together. He thrived on the dual responsibility scoring 1052 runs at 65.75. Lloyd and Read had both had higher aggregates in 1911, but had lower averages from more innings. He hit 5 hundreds with a highest score of 169* v the formidable Woodbrook attack.
1914 saw another good all round performance v Cork County, this time at The Mardyke. Besides top scoring in the University first innings with 61, he took a further "7 for", his wickets this time costing 70. After war service he returned to Dublin for a final season in 1919. Under the autocratic captaincy of AP Kelly, like Pat a returnee, the XI had a good season. However, possibly finding the long hiatus rather difficult to overcome, Pat's performances were no more than useful.
In 1912, he had made his debut in first class cricket. This was the year of the ill fated Triangular Tournament in England, with both Australia and South Africa playing England and each other. The South Africans were outclassed, and the Australians, weakened by a row between players and Board of Control, were no match for England. However the former were too good for the opposition provided at Woodbrook in the last week of July. They began against a strong Woodbrook side, and, despite some good bowling by Bob Lambert reached 326, with long serving opening bat and future captain, Louis Tancred, scoring 131. Pat then opened the hosts batting with Albert Baker, professional at Woodbrook, a good opening bat, whom Surrey had once, very briefly, thought a better option than his contemporary Jack Hobbs. Together they put on 186, before Baker was run out for 90. Pat soon followed, bowled by leg spinner GC White and a collapse ensued. Rain prevented a probable South African victory.
The match between Ireland and the tourists financially backed by SH Cochrane followed. Cochrane also chose the team and had originally picked himself to lead the side. He was persuaded to stand down, but the presence of three Woodbrook professionals and the Northamptonshire born paceman JHA Ryan, meant that few queries were raised about the hosts fielding an Australian opening batsman. Alas he failed, as did Ireland, with the South Africans winning by an innings and 169 runs. Pat and Baker managed just 17 runs between them, with the former making 2 and 0, falling in each innings to the occasional bowling of great opening bat Herbie Taylor, who took 4-36 in the first innings. These were his career best first class figures; he took only 22 wickets in his career. Pat's dismissal marked the start of some rather bizarre ways he found of terminating his innings, of which being out to an irregular bowler was, perhaps the least strange.
The Scots match at Rathmines followed towards the end of August. Opening the batting with George Meldon, Pat fell for 16 and 25 in a thriller in which the visitors clinched a 3 run victory. In his first knock he was brilliantly caught at slip, perhaps unluckily, while in the second, to quote from Derek Scott's report, "Quinlan unfortunately walked on his wicket." His dismissal was possibly the crucial one. He was going well and Ireland had reached 40-2, in search of a modest target. The following season, at Raeburn Place, he played two contrasting innings in a match Ireland certainly should have won. Hone, seen a rather a strange choice as captain by some, possibly batted on too long and the hosts just held out. Pat made an obdurate 54 in the first innings, sharing in two half century partnerships; 60 the first wicket with Arthur Blair-White and 58 the fourth with AC Bateman who made 36. He was missed once, at slip, when he had reached 50. However in the second innings he made a brilliant 74, suffering nothing in comparison with Bob Lambert as they added 149 for the third wicket in even time. He was then bowled by John Kerr, arguably Scotland's greatest cricketer, who was later to score a century against the famous Australian side of 1921. Kerr was highly rated as a batsman by the Australian captain, Warwick Armstrong and by Jack Hobbs, but as a bowler was a renowned purveyor of donkey drops! Later still Kerr became the only purely Scottish cricketer to appear in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2000).
In July 1914 the two Pats, Quinlan and Hone opened the batting against the Scots at Rathmines. Alas their partnership was to be short-lived, Having scored 5, Quinlan collided with the wicket keeper and took no further part in the match. He was never to play for Ireland again. Twelve days later Archduke Franz Ferdinand fell victim to an assassin's bullet at Sarajevo and nobody's life was quite the same. Though, as we have seen, Pat returned to Dublin when the guns in Europe fell silent, he was back in Australia by the time international matches were resumed.
During the 1920s, Pat appeared in grade cricket in his native Perth. He was also a regular member, usually opening the batting, of the state side. Western Australia were then the poor relations of Australian first class cricket. They did not play in the Sheffield Shield, being denied entry until 1947. Nor were their matches v the Eastern States played on a regular basis, though in the days before trans continental air travel, this is not surprising. Further, partly because they were denied practice against the best, their players were, mostly barely of first class standard. The days of Lillee, Marsh and Alderman were still to come, as were those when cricketers of the quality of Adam Gilchrist would move to Perth to increase their chances of playing Test cricket.
In 8 matches between 1924 and 1928, Pat scored 270 runs for Western Australia at 20.75, meaning that his first class career figures were 530 runs at 26.50. His Westralian figures may not appear very impressive: they were however on a par with others achieved by the State's best batsmen. He also found himself ranged against some of the most formidable bowling he had faced. In his debut match v South Australia, the first of a 3 match tour he made 21 before being defeated by Clarrie Grimmet, one of Australia's greatest leg spinners and the inventor of the flipper, besides being the first man to take 200 Test wickets. The Westerners were crushed by an innings with their hosts scoring 612, Pat taking 1-107 in 20 overs. The bowling hero was Mervyn Inverarity, father of Test batsman John, with figures of 29 - 0 179 - 6! Pat second top scored with 28 in the second innings. He moved on to make 37 v Victoria, before collecting another odd dismissal caught by 'Dainty' Iremonger, generally reckoned the worst catcher to have played for Australia, partly because he had lost his left forefinger, off the bowling of Don Blackie, later to become his country's oldest Test debutant. Against New South Wales, Pat fell again to a class leg spinner, Arthur Mailey, before taking 2-90, including Australian captain Herbie Collins, as the Sydneysiders ran up 639, (Inverarity 3-203).
At the end of the following season, he, alone stood firm as his team went down by an innings to South Australia at the WACA. In the second innings collapse of 131 all out, he carried his bat for 40, possibly his best, though not his highest, innings in first class cricket. A year later v Victoria, he made a second innings 50 reaching 500 first class runs in the process, Rain was cruel to the WACA men on this occasion. It made one of its rare Perth appearances to deny them the chance of an even rarer victory. His final first class match was at the beginning of the following season against MCC at Perth. This was Percy Chapman's famous England side, which, despite the batting of a young Australian debutant, called Bradman, was to win the Ashes 4 - 1. In his only innings of a drawn match, Pat was caught by Chapman off the left arm spin of JC 'Farmer' White. Perhaps, when he reviewed his career, it was some consolation that, though he had not marked the occasion with a big score, his final innings had been against one of the best sides to visit Australia, and, that it had been ended by two England captains.
Patrick Francis Quinlan was still a comparatively young man when he died. Any information as to the cause of his death would be welcome as would details of his occupation. As it is, he deserves to be remembered as part of a chain of Australian cricketers, stretching from the Fitzgerald brothers and John Dunn in the 1880s to Trent Johnson , Jeremy Bray and Dave Langford-Smith in our own time, who have brought much to the Irish game.
Edward Liddle, January 2008