Famous Irish cricketers - Angus Dunlop
Angus Robert Dunlop
Born: 17 March 1967 Dublin
Educated: Sandford Park School, Dublin
Occupation: Company Director (Lucan Fabrics Ltd)
Debut: 16 June 1990 v MCC at Coleraine
Cap Number: 577
Style: Right hand bat; right arm off spin.
Teams: YMCA, Ireland U 23, MCC
Angus Dunlop - known as Gus in many cricketing circles - hails from a distinguished cricketing family. His father Alex (TA) was a YMCA stalwart for many years both on and off the field, Leinster Cricket Union administrator, and President of the Irish Cricket Union in 1977. Gus' elder brother, John, also played for YMCA while sister Amanda turned out with considerable success for Merrion. However there is no doubt that had Gus ever encountered sledgers of the Australian variety, he would have been able to silence them in the manner in which Surrey and England paceman Jimmy Ormond did Mark Waugh at The Oval in 2001, "At least I know that I'm the best cricketer in my family".
Though a good enough off spinner to have taken - at the of writing - 411 wickets in Leinster senior cricket - Gus was - and is - of course principally a batsman. Originally an opener, he was probably more at home in his later position at 4 or 5. A fine description of him in him prime runs as follows:
"A powerfully built man, Dunlop used a mixture of sweet timing and brute force, often appearing simply to lean on the ball as it whistled to the boundary. Particularly strong off his pads, he played the pick up over square leg to great effect throughout his career." (Siggins and Fitzgerald Ireland's 100 Cricket Greats.).
Gus was an outstanding schoolboy cricketer who first came to general notice in the U 15 Interprovincials. In 1981 the Leinster v North West match at Cabra on the last day of the competition was, effectively , the Final. The visitors were bowled out 131, thanks to 4-13 from Paul O'Riordan and the cheap dismissal of a batsman whom the press called "a young boy, Desmond Curry". Dekker, for it was he, had been one of the successes of the tournament. However Leinster were also in trouble at 30-3 when Gus joined O'Riordan. They added 103 before Gus was out for 33, Paul (58*) stayed to pilot his side home. The following season Leinster won again with Gus playing a key role in the victory over Munster. Leinster ran up 178-8 off their allocated overs, Gus hit a century before lunch and finished on 118. Leinster captain John Hoey then bowled Munster out. Gus was man of the match and Hoey later player of the tournament.
In 1985, by which time he already had two seasons' experience of senior cricket including a Senior Cup Winners' Medal with YMCA, Gus led Sandford Park School to the Final of the Leinster Schools' Cup where they had not appeared since 1930. They were opposed to St Andrew's College, making a first appearance since 1959. Winning the toss, He chose to bat and took complete control of the bowling until he was dismissed for 50 making the score at 87-1.
Sandford then collapsed and were dismissed for 116. St Andrew's hopes of victory were short lived. Sandford paceman Jody Walsh had 5-42 before Gus with 5-15 wrapped things up. As Irish Cricket Magazine reported "There was not much doubt about man of the match."
Gus played three seasons of U 19 Interprovincial cricket for South Leinster. His first 50 came in the last match of his first year 1983, when he hit exactly a half century against Ulster Country in a high scoring draw. UC lost 9 wickets but with Charlie McCrum getting 91 were able to save the match. The following summer South Leinster came bottom of the table with only one win, to which Gus contributed greatly.
In the local derby at Anglesea Road, North Leinster led off with 223, Paul O'Riordan striking a commanding 124. The hosts, however, won by 4 wickets, Gus with a classical 78 leading the way. He finished 5th in the overall averages that season with 154 runs at 39.50, notching a second fifty in a rain affected draw with Ulster Country. Facing a useful 223 (Adrian Spence 105) SL were 83-2 when the rain came. Gus , undefeated on 50, was in control and a good finish loomed.
He was again in form against UC the following season, when his team finished second in the table. At Saintfield they bowled their hosts out for 115, which they passed for the loss of three wickets, Gus again undefeated had powered his way to a brilliant 72.
His long career with YMCA began in 1982, when he was when he was just 15. Over the intervening 27 years he has scored 12328 runs in LCU senior cricket at an average of 30.59, including 18 hundreds - highest score 169 - and 75 fifties. He has also taken 411 wickets. His batting undoubtedly benefited from being a member of that wonderful YM batting line up in which he was joined by Alan Lewis, Jonathan Garth and Mark Nulty as well as other very good players such as Eamon Masterton and Ian Burns.
It was rare indeed that all such a galaxy of talent failed. The Claremont Road side's exceptional record in the Cup in the late 80s and early 90s owed much to the quartet, making their failures in the Irish Senior Cup all the more difficult to understand. In both 1992 and the following season, Gus passed the 1000 run mark, 1048 at 74.85 in the former year being his career best return. The Marchant Cup was his on each occasion.
A few highlights from his YM career must suffice. In 1991 YM having defeated Pembroke in the semi final, with Gus taking 5-22 as Pembroke went down by 145 runs but then lost a high scoring final to Clontarf. 'Tarf ran up 338 with Deryck Vincent hitting an elegant and domineering 166. However as long as Gus kept going the Claremont Roaders were in with a chance. He made 101 but eventually saw his side lose by 44 runs.
In the Final of the 50 over Wiggins Teape League at Malahide in 1993 , Carlisle struggled against accurate bowling to total 183-7, having been put in by Lewis. Gus removed the potentially dangerous Rodney Molins. Then with Lewis also in prime form, Gus went to 86* reaching his 1000 runs for the season, and ensuring more silverware in the Claremont Road trophy cabinet.
Peter O'Reilly reported that the innings was chanceless and that, "In general he scored his runs along the ground, only fully opening his shoulders he had reached his target of 80, when he lofted Rodney Molins over midwicket for six." That season he not only took the Marchant Cup as already mentioned, but - closely pursued by Lewis - also carried off the Samuels Cup for the leading all rounder.
The following year YM regained the Senior Cup by one wicket in a low scoring thriller with Malahide, but - though Gus made little impact with bat or ball in the Final - apart from hitting a six in the first over of the YM innings, it had been a different matter in the semi final v CYM. Batting first YMCA had piled up 288-5 with Gus making a typically robust 126* and Lewis 79. Then he took 4-36 and, despite a brave 63 from John Hoey, YMCA were through to the Final by 75 runs. No prizes for naming the man of the match.
Gus was a considerable force in Senior Interprovincials also. Against North West at Ballymena in 1990 for example , he bowled accurately, taking the valuable wicket of Ray Moan at a cost of 28 runs in 13 overs. Thanks to a stalwart 61 from Junior McBrine the hosts totalled 285-7. Gus, going in first, led the chase. He dominated a first wicket stand of 130 with Brian O'Rourke (28) and, when he was finally dismissed had scored a commanding 130. At 197-3 NW had a chance but YM were still at the crease in the form of Alan Lewis whose 59* guided the visitors home.
We may also note a match in the rain affected tournament of 1995. Facing Munster at Sydney Parade, SL needed a win to be certain of the title. Gus had made only 11 runs in his other two innings in the competition that season, but now, going in first, he took charge. Again dominating a first wicket stand with O'Rourke, he faced 142 balls in scoring 107, of which 92 came in boundaries. The next top score was Lewis with 29. SL made 256 and, bowling their visitors out for 221, won by 35 runs and took the title.
Gus' Irish career falls, after a promising start into two distinct phases. He began with a first innings 69 against MCC at Coleraine in 1990 in a match Ireland won by 6 runs. He opened the batting, put on 128 for the second wicket with Stephen Warke and was eventually dismissed by the former Middlesex seamer Bill Merry. Gus followed this with an undefeated 42 against Wales the same season as well as a half century against Scotland, and then on the Zimbabwe tour of early 1991 twice reached 46. Thereafter came a run of low scores.
Though he was, at the beginning of the 1996 season, closing in on 1000 runs, he was averaging around 18 and had been dropped six times. "How many more chances, "asked The Ulster Cricketer, " is Angus Dunlop going to get?" However the selectors knew better and, possibly relying on the old adage that while form is temporary, class is permanent, kept picking him.
He won his 40th cap in an early season Benson and Hedges match against Sussex at Hove in 1996. Coming in at 57-4 he added 84 for the 5th wicket with Justin Benson. He reached his 50 in 47 balls, hitting one 6 and five 4s. He was eventually out shortly afterwards sweeping at leg spinner Ian Salisbury, who had suffered at his hands, having been hit for a magnificent straight six.
However Gus - two ducks and a single - and Ireland both experienced a lean time until the Welsh match at Rathmines in early June. Batting first Ireland made 285 with Gus at 4 making 99 before being stumped coming down the track to medium pacer Barry Davies. The fourth batsman, following Jack Short, Ivan Anderson and Stephen Warke, to be dismissed for 99 for Ireland, he had batted 257 minutes, faced 187 balls and hit one 6 and ten 4s. Having come in at 37-3 he had saved both the Irish innings and his career.
In the second innings , Ireland needed to force the pace and Gus responded. Batting 129 minutes and facing 98 balls, he played a blistering innings, hitting five 6s and eight 4s. Unfortunately he again missed three figures, when having "exuded the confidence of an established international" he was bowled by a googly from Kristian Bell for 94. The first Irish batsman to fall for two 90s in a match, it must have been small consolation to him that he was emulating such greats of Ashes matches past as elegant left handers, Clem Hill and Frank Woolley. The match ended in a draw, with Ireland not leaving themselves enough time to bowl Wales out a second time.
Two weeks later came the MCC match Malahide, a game lost by Ireland by 3 wickets thanks to a superb second innings hundred by former Sussex and England batsman Paul Parker . His was not the only outstanding display. Despite a first innings ton from Kyle McCallan, Ireland began their second innings trailing by 63 runs. They were quickly 14-2 before Gus joined Andy Patterson to play a superb innings. They added a then record 206 for the 3rd with Gus making 148 in an innings which for power and confidence, ranked with that of John Prior against Warwickshire in 1982.
Alarmingly for batsman and spectators, he was dropped on 95. He reached three figures off 84 balls and in all hit twenty five 4s and three 6s, being particularly strong off the back foot. When he was caught behind from an attempted drive, he had made the highest score by an Irish batsman in Ireland for 99 years, closing in on Dan Comyn's 157 v I Zingari at Phoenix in 1897. Dan's innings was one of thunderous stroke play but the bowling he faced was derided by the Freeman's Journal as being that of "holiday makers." There is no doubt which was the better innings.
In 1998 Gus he was elevated to the captaincy, a role in which some thought him rather intimidating to younger players and somewhat reluctant to take advice, but he showed great confidence and a fine cricket brain and led Ireland on 40 occasions. He celebrated his appointment with a superb innings against South Africa at Castle Avenue with Alan Donald and Shaun Pollock steaming in under Hansie Cronje's as yet untainted captaincy. This was the second of two one day matches, the first, at Strangford Road, having been abandoned with the visitors in control.
Now they ran up 289-5 and then took half Ireland's wickets for 44. However Angus, joined by Derek Heasley, now took control. Though he lost the Lisburn man at 101, and eventually had to rely upon the stalwart Matt Dwyer to see him to three figures, he was in complete control of a Test Match attack, apart from one possible stumping chance. Reaching his hundred in 102 balls during the last over, he had reduced the great Donald to medium pace, hit two 6as and three 4s from the off spin of Pat Symcox and struck a huge blow off Daryl Cullinan's medium pace which sent the ball on to the pavilion roof.
The following season saw three fifties against the South African Academy and a majestic 112 against Scotland at Ormeau thus becoming the first and last Irish batsman to reach three figures on the NICC ground. Three wickets fell while he was on 95, but again No 11 - this time Adrian McCoubrey - stood firm while he reached his hundred. In all he batted 260 minutes, faced 176 balls, hitting six 6s and eight 4s. He was dismissed reverse sweeping, a shot fit to make Peter May turn in his grave! Ireland, not without alarms, went on to win by 4 wickets.
2000 turned out to be his last season as he retired from representative cricket to concentrate on the cares of the family business. He had, however, a regal farewell. Having passed the captaincy to McCallan, he was at No 4 for the last match of the season against Scotland at Ayr. Putting on 104 for the 4th wicket with debutant Mark Gillespie, he batted for 282 minutes, hitting twenty 4s and one 6 from 230 balls. His 150 was made out of 230 added while he was at the wicket. It was " a chanceless innings of great power" and the highest for Ireland against Scotland since future Stormont Speaker Harry Mullholland's 149 in 1911.
Gus' best bowling for Ireland had came in his debut season of 1990 against Wales at Kimmage, when he took 5-26 against Wales besides making a second innings 42* in a good all round display. The following season he took 7 wickets in the match against the same opponents at the border town of Usk. It may be that his bowling will be best remembered for the savaging it received from Alan Border in 1993 when one over went for 6 6 6 6 6 2, but like Malcolm Nash he was a much better bowler than that.
Angus Robert Dunlop was at the peak of his powers as a batsman when he retired having scored 3164 runs at 29.30 and taken 36 wickets at 35.22. He will long be remembered for the power and elegance of his stroke play.
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