W Ian Shields

Ian Shields was born into a cricketing family with his father Billy having played in the 1930s and brought out of retirement in the 1960s to lead a newly formed 3rd XI. His uncle Jackie was a prominent player from the mid 1920s through the 2nd Golden Era (1924-1936). His brother Don was the opposition in yard cricket and played in all North Down teams until he retired in his 70s.

Ian played few games for the Boys’ XI and comparatively few for the junior teams before his first match for the 1st XI in 1963, Qualifying League cricket against teams like Portadown, Milford and Dungannon.

After another NCU League reshuffle North Down found themselves in Senior League 2 and away trips to Ward Park, Eaton Park, The Mall and The Factory Ground to name but a few.  The wickets were nothing like the present day and could be quite challenging when facing international bowlers like John Elder of Bangor. This was Ian’s regular cricket and add the responsibility of captaincy and interprovincial cricket and it was a busy period.

With Lawrence Hunter, Denis Artt and Geoffrey Dempster Guinness Cup cricket took him to grounds like the Mardyke, The Holm and Rathmines and he was in the winning teams for Ulster Country and Ulster Town.

Trips down south were nothing new as he played for Ulster Schools at Clontarf and for North Down in many pre season friendly games  and Irish Cup games. Highlight was in 1989 when he was a member of the Irish Cup winning side in Rathmines in Dublin. The game was memorable for the atrociously ill prepared wicket, the volatile Donemana supporters and the nail biting finishing partnership between Billy Doherty and Michael Quinn.

The arrival of Indian, Raman Lamba rejuvenated an aging opening batsman and together , for a couple of seasons there were regarded as one of the top openers in the country.

He played in many memorable Senior Challenge Cup games and recalls the last ball Robin Haire six in a semi final to deflate North of Ireland and lead to an even more memorable Final against Woodvale at Downpatrick in 1991. Ten years earlier he was holidaying in France when we defeated Ballymena in the final.

Ian played for the President’s XI on occasions, at Armagh and Downpatrick with Mudassar and Desmond Haynes in the opposition, for the Laurelvale Centenary in 1975 and against the Belfast Cricket League (now defunct)

The Willie Andrews Wednesday XI was a forerunner of these entertaining fixtures, when as a schoolboy he was chauffeur driven from Regent House school to The Green for the Wednesday fixture in a side made up of teachers ,students, educational psychologists and clergymen. Not unlike the Dundonald League side when as a young teenager he played with enthusiastic farmers who cut a wicket in a field and proceeded.

When the senior cricket ended Ian played down the teams and really enjoyed opening the batting with son Peter for the 1st XI on one occasion and with grandson James on another.