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The Andrews Family
By Clarence Hiles
All grew up at the family seat at Ardara on the outskirts of Comber, the stately home where many a cricket committee meeting and celebration dinner was held in the years that followed. This was something of an irony as Mother was strictly temperate and while her sons enjoyed a healthy sporting and outdoor life, her adherence to strict discipline and to study was never questioned. After private schooling the boys were educated at Royal Belfast Academical Institution (Inst) and took a prominent role in the school cricket teams.
Big gangly Willie made the least celebrated entry onto the school team being out first ball in his first three matches, a record that must have bemused a host of bowlers in later years who found his bat as broad as an oak tree and his patience never ending in the days of timeless cricket.
John Miller Andrews
John Miller Andrews played mostly for the Second Eleven and was a member of the losing North Down team that contested the inaugural 1891 Junior Cup Final. But his greatest claim to fame was in the political arena where he was Minister of Labour in the first Northern Ireland Cabinet 1922-1937 and then Prime Minister during the tough war years 1940-1943.
Thomas Andrews Jnr
Thomas Andrews (Jun) made his first appearances for North Down as an enthusiastic young fourteen year old during the 1887 season. He was a fine all round athlete who excelled at cricket and hockey and in the family tradition took a prominent role in the administration of both club and Union. He worked too hard and too long and therefore never established himself in the strong North Down senior team of the 1880's. The Seconds were much more relaxing and he became a prominent member, making the occasional appearance for the seniors when asked. He loved his hockey in the winter and with several other cricketers was a founder member of the North Down Hockey Club in 1896. His nickname "Admiral" highlighted his passion for sailing and boats, an association that was to embrace and eventually claim his life when the ill-fated Titanic tragically sank in the icy Atlantic in April 1912.
Young Tommy went straight into an apprenticeship at Harland and Wolff shipyard after he left "Inst" in 1889. He moved to live in Belfast during the week but despite the long working hours he loved nothing better than his weekend soirees home to Ardana and playing at the Green. But despite his natural sporting prowess, work always took precedence and his progress through the various design sections at the shipyard meant less and less time for cricket. As he moved steadily through the ranks in the company he found it increasingly more difficult to attend committee meetings of both club and Union but amazingly, he still took an active role right up to 1908 when he was a Vice President of the NCU and chaired a number of meetings. Due to pressure of business he declined the NCU Presidency on several occasions. His boundless energy and his insatiable appetite for work elevated him to Head of Design in 1905 and eventually to Managing Director in 1907, much to the delight of his adoring Uncle. At the time Harland and Wolff was at the peak of its prosperity, the most prolific shipbuilders in the world, and sending ships all over the globe to a bevy of satisfied customers.
In a distinguished legal career his brother James was knighted in 1918. Lord Justice 1921-1937 and Lord Chief Justice 1937-1950. He was awarded a Baronet in 1942. He was also a fine cricketer and played for North Down in ten cup finals winning on four occasions and had a top score of 97 when losing to Ulster in the 1909 final. He was NCU President in 1927/8 and ICU President in 1929, and along with brother Willie he took a major role in rewriting the NCU's rules in the 1920s.