A morning assembly was recently dedicated to Mr Tony Philips, who after a remarkable 34 years in charge of Form 1 cricket at Inst, decided that 2014 would be his last. Guests to mark this occasion included Mr Andrew Adair, a member of the Board of Governors and one of his sons, Rory. Mr Adair played on Tony’s very first team in 1981 and his son, Rory, played last term on Tony’s last Year 8 team, ending the season by successfully winning the Centenary Cup. Also on stage was Neil Russell and Mr. O’Neill. Neil is the current Captain of Instonians 1st XI, and as a former pupil was coached by Tony when he was Captain of the Year 8 team in 1992. Mr O’Neill, Master in Charge of Cricket, was in Mr Philips’s team in 1991, which saw a successful season, winning 8 games out of 10, but losing a crucial semi-final Centenary Cup match against Lurgan Junior High School!
Tony took over the role as Master in Charge of Year 8 Cricket in 1981, having started at Inst as a teacher of Mathematics in 1969. In the 26 years of the Centenary Cup competition, the A team reached 17 semi-finals, 11 finals and won the cup a record 8 times.
Tony started the now annual P7 Summer School in 1988. The summer school, which takes place for 2 weeks in July and 1 Week in August, has been a remarkable success, not only as it searches out talent but introduces many new entrants to both cricket and to the school. From these summer schools Tony always produced a U12 A, B and C team, which he coached during the October, Christmas and Easter holidays, twice per week at Osborne during the summer term, as well as for Saturday morning matches. It is no surprise then that he has won the Under 12 Cup (The Centenary Cup) more than any other school in Northern Ireland! Certainly the coaching, passion and enjoyment he has provided for hundreds of boys over these 34 years has laid the foundation for the high rates of success and participation the school has enjoyed in cricket over this time period.
Mr Philip’s always believed in the potential of boys to play Cricket. He also drew on the skills and expertise of those around him, men like Carson Rose, Bob Blair, Graham Higgin (who also played Irish Under 21 Hockey). One of his final comments was he always wanted his love for Cricket to permeate as far as possible and to build towards winning the Schools’ Cup. He has definitely achieved his goal!
It has been a privilege for the school to have benefitted from Tony’s commitment, knowledge and love of Cricket and we thank him for the enjoyment he has given to boys past and present at Inst.
Mr O'Neill, Mr Peak, Mr Philips, The Principal, Mr Neil Russell, Rory Adair and Mr Andrew Adair