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Match Report
Derek Scott

SSJ Huey was not available for selection. Once again West Ham United FC refused to release Cantwell and Pollock also cried off. K Quinn and WI Lewis came on in their places.

For the third time in succession MCC won this match at Lords. After a lamentable all-round display on the first day Ireland made a splendid recovery and forced MCC into claiming the extra half-hour. The Irish second innings score of 264 was a fine performance against two experienced spinners (Wells and Clarke), particularly as Ireland are now passing through a period in which there is a paucity of off spin bowling, thus depriving their batsmen of much-needed practice against this type of attack. Warke, the Irish captain, made 101 in the second innings. This is the second century for Ireland at Lords (Shearer in 1951 was the first) and also Warke's second century for Ireland. He is the fifth player to score two or more centuries for Ireland and the first captain to score a century since RH Lambert in 1911. Ireland's 264 was their highest score against MCC since Rathmines in 1936 and MCC's 279-5 was the highest since 1935 at Lords.

Huey, Cantwell and Pollock were not available, Pollock missing his first match at Lords since 1939. Hollick was dropped and O'Brien and Kenny came back into the team. Four pure bowlers were played for the first time this season but after bowling only four overs Bodell strained his knee and was unable to bowl again. MCC fielded a very strong team including two test players in JG Dewes (the English left-handed batsman) and CB Clarke (the West Indies leg-spinner). Also included were VG Ransom, captain of Surrey second XI, GC Downton, the Club Cricket Conference wicket-keeper batsman (and father of the subsequent England wicket keeper PR Downton); BD Wells, the Gloucs off-spinner; and AC Walton, the Oxford University and Middlesex player who, in 1956, won the award for the fastest century of the season.

The wicket was soft and damaged when Ireland began. It had been watered two days before the game. For the third time in five innings to date there was a good start. Bergin was bowled around his legs for one but then Quinn and O'Brien took the score to 50 in 70 minutes. O'Brien had been batting very well but was now most unfortunately run out by inches when Quinn called him for a sharp single to cover's left hand. This heralded a complete collapse and Ireland were all out 20 minutes after lunch for only 92. Wells and Clarke had come on after longish opening spells by Morgan and Ransom. Clarke made his leg breaks lift and actually got his three wickets in an eight-ball spell. Wells bowled around the wicket and did not turn the ball greatly. He had Warke caught on the mid-wicket boundary and Quinn LBW padding up. Finlay was bowled between bat and pad and then Clarke took his three wickets. Wells finished off the innings and emerged with 5-11 in 17.5 overs. He had a 3-1 spell in five overs. It was the old story of lack of technique against good spin bowling.

MCC in 210 minutes replied with 279-5. Kenny, with his second ball, had Knightly-Smith LBW then MP Murray and Walton put on 62 in 50 minutes. Bodell broke down in his fourth over which cost 15 runs. Kenny was also expensive and it was Fee who broke the partnership by having Walton stumped for 40 in his fourth over. It was an innings of fine strokes and lasting only 50 minutes. Dewes came in at 3:30 PM and was out on the stroke of 6:30 PM, having made 143 in 160 minutes. He started quietly and gradually increased his tempo. He played a number of classical shots on both sides of the wicket and gave only one chance, when the total was 117. He went from 68 to 98 by means of six fours and one six and only Fee could put any break on his scoring. With Murray he added 82 for the third wicket, Murray making 47 in just two hours. Marshall was hit in the face and had to retire for one then Downton helped to take the score to 266 before the fourth wicket fell. Downton's 41 occupied 70 minutes of good stroke play. Finally Fee bowled Dewes and play ended for the day. Fee was by far the best bowler, taking 3-57 in 24.2 overs. This century by Dewes was the first by an MCC batsmen at Lords since 1936 when both CP Hamilton and AC Wilkinson scored centuries in the same innings. In all Dewes hit 22 fours and a single six.

MCC declared at the overnight score and, reinforced by a splendid dinner given by MCC, Ireland made a very good recovery on the second day. In just under five hours they scored 264 leaving MCC to score 78 in 90 minutes. Three wickets fell for 30 but Knightly-Smith and Downton hit the remaining runs with 15 minutes to spare. Kenny and Warke both bowled well at the end and had two catches being held the finish would have been more exciting. The light was very bad at the end but the rain held off. Earlier there had been two brief showers.

Runs and occupancy of the crease were of equal importance to Ireland who needed 187 to avoid an innings defeat. The wicket was not helping the bowlers greatly (contrary to expectation) and in two and half hours before lunch 160 were scored for six wickets. Quinn left at 12, playing on to Morgan. Bergin defended while O'Brien once again produced an innings full of strokes despite being missed twice early on. Bergin was bowled by Wells at 61 having scored seven in 70 minutes. Warke, after a nervous start, settled down and hit with great power. The pair raised the hundred but at 101 O'Brien failed to get quite to the pitch of a ball from Clarke and was caught at deep mid-off. His 62 were scored in 80 minutes with six fours. Finlay was run out of 150. In the next 12 minutes 35 runs were scored but Lewis was hitting rather blindly and was caught on the long-on boundary when the score was 150 for 17. Fawcett was LBW at 160 and as rain was falling lunch was taken a few minutes early. After lunch Warke received great support from the tail. His 50 included 10 fours and now Wilson stayed were 28 were added for the seventh wicket in an hour. Fee remained for 23 minutes and a further 28 runs were score. Kenny came in at number 10 at 3:40 PM and played really well. Their partnership reached the tea interval and 250 was put up. Warke hit Wells for a 4 to reach 101, scored in three hours and 20 minutes with 16 fours. There were 15 fours in his first 72 runs. He was not afraid to hit the slow bowlers back over their heads and his off drives were models of their type. Clarke, in particular, was buffeted and conceded 98 runs in 26.4 overs. Without adding to his 101 Warke was yorked by Wells. There was great pity as another 20 minutes and the match would have been saved. Bodell was caught and bowled by Clarke at 264 leaving Kenny 18 not out, a splendid innings in the circumstances.

The following day the President of the Irish Cricket Union's XI played a one-day match with Hamstead CC. CGM Kenny is the 1957 Hamstead captain. JA Kiernan played for the President's XI in place of Bodell. The Presidents team made 235-8 declared in 3 hours. Bergin and Quinn put on 169 for the first wicket, both making 81. With five minutes to spare Hamstead were all out for 151 after being 113-1. CE Winn, the English rugby International made 67. Fee conceded 51 runs in his first seven overs but in all took 8-73 in 18 overs.