This was the first game to be played on the new Leinster CC Ground at Rathmines. This was also the first match played by the United South of England XI - a professional XI whose members had previously played with the All England XI. Lockyer, W Mortlock and John Lillywhite had played here for the United All England XI in 1856; E Willsher, the Secretary of the new XI had played for the All England XI in Ireland in 1860 and 1861; Julius Caesar had played in 1860 and Thomas Hearne in 1861. The United South of England XI contained the famous opening pair T Humphreys and H Jupp, the hitter G Griffith; the Lillywhite cousins and Lockyer, the most famous wicketkeeper of his day whose career was now ending - indeed his successor E Pooley umpired in this match. Tom Davis, the Phoenix Professional, prepared the wicket and the match was sponsored by John Lawrence. The game was played during the Dublin Exhibition but, most unfortunately, it was ruined by rain. Play was greatly restricted on the first two days and the Prince of Wales was prevented from attending by the weather.
There was criticism of the XXII that Ireland put into the field. John Lawrence was helped by a selection committee but it was felt a game of this nature should not be left to private enterprise. A nationwide committee should be got up to sponsor games of this nature and money could be made to foster the game and bring on Irish professional players. Of the 22 who played, no less than 17 were making their debut and for 12 it was their only match for Ireland. The most notable debutant was TJS Casey. The only survivors of the 1861 match against the All England XI were GF Barry, W Hone and A Samuels. Never before had such interest been taken in a cricket match in Ireland and large crowds turned up despite the inclement weather.
The ground was muddy and sticky on the first day. The ball hung and bit in a manner the United XI was not accustomed to - English grounds being mostly hard and lively. The English team had arrived that morning and were at practice early on. However, they were suffering from seasickness and were bundled out for 59. The XXII were very unpunctual and a start was not made until 1.15 (it had been scheduled for 11.00!). Even at this late hour several of the XXII had not arrived and black coated substitutes fielded.
One of these deluded Willsher and nearly ran him out. Humphreys and Jupp opened to WAshton and P Smith. With his 4th ball Ashton bowled Jupp for 0 and the left handed Griffith came in. Smith's 4th ball took Humphreys middle stump and the United were 1 for 2. Griffith and Mortlock played prettily but at 10, Ashton, in his 6th over, bowled Mortlock with a fast one for 3. Ashton now had 2-4 in 23 balls. Caesar was next. At 12 two further wickets fell. Smith bowled Griffith for 7 with a well pitched up ball and Samuels, at short third man, took a left handed catch at full stretch to dismiss Caesar for 0 off Ashton. The 6th and 7th wickets both fell to Smith on 15. Lockyer skied one to leg to Hone and J Lillywhite Junior changed his mind about hitting a short ball and spooned it to W Bolton.
T Sewell now joined T Hearne, and the former's big hitting was anxiously awaited. It was soon exhibited. Twice he hit the ball out of the ground but at 25 Hearne was bowled by Ashton for 6. 25 for 8 was a grave situation but with J Lillywhite in matters improved. Sewell continued to hit to leg but a straight drive over the tents showed he could hit elsewhere as well. Barry relieved Smith and had Sewell caught by Hone at Square Leg. 57-9-25. The stand with Lillywhite had added 32 and Sewell hit four 4's. At 59 Ashton bowled Willsher for 1 to end the innings, leaving Lillywhite 10 not out. The bowling had been excellent, Ashton taking 5 for 21 in an unchanged spell of 24 overs. Lunch was then taken.
A Samuels and JF Smythe opened for Ireland to Willsher and Lillywhite Jnr. Both bowlers were left handed, the former fast. Samuels (0) was beautifully caught at point by Caesar off Willsher. Walton, at 3, was steady while Smythe was bold, playing Lillywhite well off his legs. At 7 Lillywhite bowled Smythe who had scored all 7. The ball was a shooter. F Fane was next but at 9 he went about an inch out of his crease and Lockyer stumped him. The threatened rain now fell and no further play was possible. Walton was 2 not out and Ashton 0.
The 2nd days play did not start until 1.15 due to heavy rain yet a reasonable crowd tuned up. Lillywhite had Ashton caught at the wicket for 0 in his first over while Walton was luckily caught by Griffith at slip off Willsher, the ball rebounding off the fielders chest. HT Chapman and R Hudson now added 30, the best stand of the innings. Hudson was lucky as he gave two sharp chances while Willsher hit his wicket without disturbing the bails. He made 23 out of 30 including two driven 4's off Willsher. Lillywhite bowled him at 41. Wallace, a skilful player, was next and made all 10 added very well before being caught at mid on. The score was now 51-7. Hone was bowled by Lillywhite for 0 at 51 also. Chapman (7) got a trimmer from Lillywhite and was bowled at 54. His defence had been excellent and he had stayed a long while. No less than 6 wickets fell on 55. Brady came in and Cordner was bowled. Smith was next and he saw Brady bowled off his pads. Persse was no. 13 and Lillywhite soon bowled Smith. Bolton was next. Willsher was now on his mettle after Lillywhite had taken 7 wickets in a row and he bowled Bolton - the ball rising and hitting Lockyer on the nose. Casey and Hobart were both bowled by Willsher -1st ball in each case giving Willsher a hat trick (1st, 2nd and 3rd balls of an over). 15 now out for 55.
Gilligan got a single but was bowled at 57. Traill joined Persse and before Willsher bowled Traill at 61 the lead had been obtained. GF Barry came next, very late for him, and added 15 with Persse. Persse hit a fine drive for 4 but was run out next ball neglecting to return quickly enough when Barry refused a run. Persse's 17 was the best innings for the XXII his leg play being particularly good. Meldon defended well for a while until Griffith, with slow teasing underhands relieved Willsher and in 7.2 Overs he took 3 for 2, bowling Meldon, Capt Smartt and T Hudson. Barry was not out for an excellent 8. It was remarked that T Hudson's antics were laughable" - a good no. 22 it seems! Barry's back play was much admired by the United XI. Willsher took 8 for 34 in 51 Overs and Lillywhite Jnr. 9 for 50 in 58 overs.
Before rain stopped play for the day Jupp (5) and Humphrey (9) scored 14 for 0. Humphreys cut a beautiful 3 and made an on drive for 4 but rain fell all the time and at 6 pm stumps were drawn.
It was decided to start play at 10.30 on the last day. The weather was poor but at the appointed time only 6 of the XXII were present. The United XI practised and the crowd was kept waiting until 12.30 before the game began. This was disgraceful unpunctuality. Jupp and Humphreys both played well to Ashton and Smith's bowling. The bowling became a little loose and after Smith conceded 17 runs off two successive overs Capt., Smartt (fast underarm) replaced him. Barry relieved Ashton and after 5 overs Smith came on for Barry.
The run rate was reduced and at length, after two hours play, Humphreys tried "a draw" to a well pitched up ball from Samuels and played on. 75-1-34. As Griffith came in Jupp sent to the scorer's tent to see how his score stood. Of the very next ball he was nicely caught at mid on by Barry off Smartt. Both Humphreys and Jupp had shown sound define and judgment. T Hearne was promoted to number 4 and with Griffith 20 were added. The Griffith was magnificently caught by Hone at long-off. The fielder, after a long run, tipped the ball up as it reached the ground and then secured it. 93-5-5. Mortlock made 145 out of 30 added with Hearne before Smartt bowled him. Sewell came next and at once a space was cleared in the crowd at deep square leg for the fielders. Smith came on for Samuels and had Hearne caught by Bolton at long on. Bolton's fielding was very good. Lillywhite Jnr. was next. At 139 Sewell skied Smith between Cordner and Hone. The taller Cordner secured the catch and Hone embraced Cordner's hands to be sure.
Caesar was next. He gave some chances, including an easy one to Ashton at mid on. 24 had been added when Smith bowled Lillywhite Jnr. for 18. 163-7-18. The other Lillywhite hit a fine drive for 4 off his first ball and was bowled off his pads by the next. Lockyer and Willsher were both bowled by Smith at 171 to end the innings. Caesar was left 13 not out. Smith had taken the last 6 wickets that had fallen while 36 runs were added. The last wicket fell at 5.00 but the United XI had to leave in order to be in Putney for a match on the next morning. Smith took 6 for 53 in 37.2 overs and Smartt gave him excellent support, bowling 42 overs for only 38 runs and 2 wickets. It must never be overlooked that in a match of this nature there are 22 fielders at the bowler's command and it is therefore very difficult for the batsmen to score quickly.