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Match Report
Derek Scott

Many years later (1960) it transpired that R Roe was in fact Hon. FGB Ponsonby who previously played in 1855. In fact therefore this rather than the 1855 match was his finale.

A much stronger Gentlemen of England side than the previous year beat Ireland by 39 runs. The Fiennes, Nicholson and Eaton had played for the Gentlemen of England the previous year. Three of the famous Walkers of Southgate played this year. They were J (born 1826) AH (born 1833) and VE (born 1837). VE, then only 19, was the most famous. He was the 5th of 7 brothers and was a splendid all-round player. After WG Grace he was probably the best all round player of the 1860's. He helped to found Middlesex CCC and was President of MCC in 1891. He died in 1906. From the foundations of the Middlesex Club in the early 1860's until RD Walker died in the early 1920's a Walker was always either Captain or President of Middlesex. J Walker had played for Cambridge in 1847-48-49, being captain in 1848. R Hankey was the finest amateur batsman of the late 1850's although in this match he distinguished himself more as a bowler. Born in 1832 he had played for Oxford in 1853-54-55, being captain in 1855. Hon EC Leigh was a great friend of Irish cricket, being responsible for the visits of I Zingari to Ireland from 1859 onwards for a decade. Leigh played for Oxford in 1852-53-54. He became President of M.C.C. in 1887 and died in 1915 aged 83. TN Wills got a Cambridge Blue in 1856.

There was some criticism of the Ireland XI which was more or less the same as the previous year. It was said that Ireland were over confident and careless in getting the XI together. Better players it seems could have been found. On paper however the team looked fairly strong. The most noteworthy addition was Charles Lawrence, the Phoenix professional. Born in Middlesex in 1828 he went to Perth as a professional in 1946 and to Phoenix in 1851. In this year, 1856, he founded the United All Ireland XI which played a few games every year around the country to encourage cricket. Between 1856 and 1861 Lawrence played 12 times for Ireland scoring 254 runs average 12.7 and took 98 wickets in the 23 innings in which he bowled. As no record of runs conceded by bowlers are available for all those matches his exact average is not available but it must have been very low. In 1861 he went to Australia on the first Australian tour with HH Stephenson's team. He remained there until his death in 1917 aged 89. He played for New South Wales and coached in Sydney and Melbourne. In 1868 he played for and managed the Aborigines team in England. His influence on Irish cricket in the 1850's was tremendous.

The weather for the match was far from good. It was windy on the first day and drizzly on the second. However play was in many respects interesting and excellent. The Phoenix wicket was dead but at that time played rather peculiarly and confused first class batsmen who were unused to it. The general play of the Irish team was quite good except the batting in the first innings and the fielding in the England second innings. Much good bowling was exhibited on both sides. Hankey and W Fiennes for England and McCormick, Quinn and Lawrence for Ireland displayed their various styles to good advantage while CB Fiennes in Ireland's second innings showed that the old underhand style when well applied is still formidable.

In view of last year's defeat England played a little timidly and were bowled out for 97 by Quinn and Lawrence. Johnston was again brilliant as wicket-keeper and stumped two and caught one. WS Fiennes made 24, C Gordon 20 and AH Walker 19. Walker had injured an arm at Brighton but in spite of this played well. Ireland were bundled out for 45, only King (12) and Johnston (9) making a stand. WS Fiennes and Hankey took wickets very rapidly and both McCormick and Lawrence made 0. Doyle was run out which was very common for him!

Gordon's 41 saved the England second innings. It was a good innings but he was let off twice "by the best fielder in the country" (not named) and there were other misses also - in fact the fielding was bad. Lawrence took 7 wickets, all clean bowled, and Ireland needed 148 to win - a severe task. The wet ground however made bowling difficult and Lawrence and Johnston took every chance offered. At one stage the score was 86-3 but CB Fiennes saved the match for England. His straightness and good pitch put an end to rapid run getting and eventually he got out both Lawrence (50) and Johnston (31). Lawrence's 50 was the first ever scored for Ireland. McCormick, most unfortunately, got a 0 in both innings.

Following this match the England XI, now named MCC, defeated the Vice Regal XVI by 6 wickets. Lawrence had another fine innings of 46 and VE Walker took 9 wickets in the second innings.

Phoenix Park, Dublin