...Ham Lambert, 1910-2006...
Noel Hamilton "Ham" Lambert, who died aged 96 on Tuesday, October 10, was Ireland's oldest surviving rugby international.
He was a sportsman of rounded talents being capped for Ireland at both rugby and cricket, was a badminton player at representative level and senior cup golfer as well as an international rugby referee.
Ham was born in Dublin on June 5, 1910 and educated at Sandford Park and subsequently in Rossall in England, where his sporting ability was evident and nurtured. Such was his talent as an outstanding three quarter that, while only 18 years of age, he won a place on the great Lansdowne team in 1928 in a back line that included five internationals in Ernie Crawford, Jack Arigho, Morgan Crowe, Ned Lightfoot and Eugene Davy.
That team won the Leinster Senior Cup five times in a row between 1927 and 1931 and the Bateman Cup (All Ireland Championship) three times in a row between 1928-29 and 1930-31. Ham was on the team that won in 1929 and 1931.
Ham made his provincial debut for Leinster against Connacht in 1930, and in 1934 he was capped twice by Ireland against Scotland and Wales. An injury brought a premature end to his rugby career but did not hinder his sporting ability in other directions.
Like his father R.N. Lambert, he was capped for Ireland at cricket, and played on 22 occasions. He was also an Irish trialist at badminton but his involvement in rugby continued and he was an outstanding referee.
He refereed 11 internationals between 1947 and 1952. His help and encouragement to young referees was legendary and in keeping with his outstanding character. He had a lifelong involvement in the Leinster Branch Association of Referees. He was President of the Association in 1950-51 and President of Lansdowne in 1961-62.
He was pre-deceased by his wife Jean and is survived by his children Bruce, Jeanette and Mark. Ham's funeral will be held privately. A Memorial Sevice will take place on Saturday, October 14 in Christ Church, Church Road in Bray at 11.30am. Family flowers are requested, with donations in memory of Ham to the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The IRFU wish to pass on their condolences to his family.