John ‘E.B.’ Dwyer has a couple of things that make him unique among the hundreds of cricketers who have represented Sussex over the last 175 years.
Not only was he surely the only cricketer descended from an Irish chieftain to play for the county, but with seven initials, John Elicihs Benedict Bernard Placid Quirk Carrington Dwyer can claim to have the longest name in Sussex’s history.
He was, in fact, Australian and played his early cricket in Sydney. At the suggestion of MCC grandee Pelham Warner he came to England in 1904 and was spotted by Sussex captain CB Fry in the nets at Lord’s. He persuaded Dwyer to play for him and after making his debut in 1906 he had three seasons with the county.
He was a scorer’s nightmare but not a bad bowler, capable of destroying the opposition on his day. In his debut season he took nine for 35 against Derbyshire and nine for 44 against Middlesex and is one of only 14 Sussex bowlers to have taken nine wickets in an innings and one of only three to have done so twice.
A year later he took six wickets against South Africa and, according to Wisden, “he had a great deal to do with the Colonials being dismissed for 49, their smallest total during their tour.”
As for the Irish ancestry, his great-grandfather Michael Dwyer was the Wicklow chieftain and one of the leaders of the Irish insurrection in 1798. Avoiding capture for five years in the Wicklow mountains, he was eventually exiled to Australia in 1804. Perhaps it was during those long days in hiding that he thought it might be fun if one day a descendant of his had seven initials.