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Match Report
Derek Scott

K Quinn and SF Bergin were not available for this match. The selectors picked 12 and on the morning of the match W Scott was left out. PA Neville cried off from the panel selected and was replaced by JP Burke. R O'Brien replaced Notley and T McCloy, who had been unavailable since the first game against the New Zealanders, replaced Bergin. The inclusion of KW Hope meant that the balance of the attack had again shifted to spin.

Unfortunately rain cut the playing time in half in this Centenary Game. Play could not begin until 3:40 PM on the first day and there was no play at all on the second day. Two declarations by GH Chesterton, the MCC captain, made for an interesting game on the third day. A new unprepared wicket had to be used and the match ended with Ireland 15 runs short of victory with the last pair at the wicket. This was the 45th match between the teams, the first (won by Ireland) having been played as Lords in 1858. To celebrate the occasion MCC sent over MC Cowdrey of Kent, who, after PBH May, was the best batsman in England. Two weeks after this game he left on the 1958-59 tour of Australia. Also in the MCC party were RWV Robins, now 52 years of age, the former England Test Captain; RE Bird, the former Worcestershire captain and OS Wheatley, the young Cambridge University fast bowler who had just taken more wickets in a University term than had ever been taken before. Chesterton, Blake, Jowett, Bird and Bloy had all played here for MCC before.

On the evening of the first day there was a reception given by Messrs Arthur Guinness and Son in the Rupert Guinness Hall and this was followed by a Banquet in the Gresham Hotel. 160 people attended that. On the Sunday, the British Ambassador, Sir Alexander Clutterbuck, gave a cocktail party. An 80 page Souvenir Brochure edited by Conor O'Brien was on sale throughout the game for one shilling.

Warke at last lost a toss and, on a wet wicket, Murray and Stoddart opened to O'Riordan and Burke. The start was slow with both bowlers bowling very tightly. After 20 minutes Murray, seven, was beautifully caught by Huey at slip off Burke, who also had Stoddard caught at short mid-wickets in his next over. 20-2-11. The left-handed Blake and Cowdrey were now together. Burke's first seven overs yielded only 13 runs and he took two wickets. His eighth over, which included two no-balls, cost 19 runs, 15 to Cowdrey by way of a straight six, a four, two twos and a single. Cowdrey was very severe on anything short and Fee suffered a little in this respect. Huey, however, was very accurate when he replaced O'Riordan. The third wicket added 71 in 66 minutes. Then Blake, who had scored nicely all around the wicket, drove hard to deep mid-on only to see O'Riordan make a great one-handed catch off Huey. Two overs later Huey had Cowdrey caught at the wicket for 42. The remaining 35 minutes were very slow, only 13 runs being scored. Hope, who replaced Fee, conceded only one run in seven overs. O'Riordan returned for Huey who had bowled 16 overs and taken 2-20. Just before the end O'Riordan bowled Bird who had had a charmed life at the crease.

After the blank second day Chesterton declared on the third morning. A new wicket had to be cut and between 11:15 AM and 2:55 PM Ireland were all out for 102. Of those Alec O'Riordan made 58 not out in what can only be described as a superb innings, and the word suburb is not being loosely used. He went to the wicket with the score at 15-4 and scored 58 runs out of 87 in 115 minutes. His best strokes were the late cut and the on drive, the latter was beautifully played. O'Riordan scored no boundary but hit five threes. Nobody stayed with him until Fee came in when the score was 45-8. Together they put on 42 for the ninth wicket and Huey stayed in until the score was within three of the MCC's total. Chesterton, Jowett and Norton shared the wickets. This was Norton's first first-class match and he took 4-44 in 27 overs with his slow left-arm bowling.

MCC went in again and in just over 100 minutes made 93-8. The spinners bowled almost from the start and quick scoring was not easy. Blake made 25 very well but Cowdrey hit a six and a two and was then caught. At one time MCC were 61-6 but Bird and Bloy prevented the danger with a stand of 26.

Ireland's task was now to score 97 in 80 minutes. McCloy was run out at six and Hunter was LBW at 15. O'Brien, on whom much depended, was stumped in Norton's first over on 25 which had been scored in 25 minutes. At 35 O'Riordan failed to get to the pitch of Norton and was caught at slip. Then Warke and Finlay put on 25 in 17 minutes and Ireland were ahead of the clock. Warke, however, who had made 32 (including a six) in 37 minutes was out. He was caught at the wicket by Blake, when the score was 60. There were now 25 minutes to go and 37 runs to make. At 72 Finlay was also caught at the wicket and the time was now 6:19 PM. 11 minutes to go, 25 runs to score. Both Huey and Burke were out at 79 and Hope at 80 so that Fee and Fossett (at number 11) had to play out nine balls to save the match. This they succeeded in doing. Fee made 15 not out and his batting had improved. Norton, in 11 overs, took 5-26 and overall in the match took 9-70. Chesterton, as usual, took wickets cheaply with his medium pace swingers, 6-36 in the match. Blake made 26 and 25 for MCC and caught three and stumped four. The abiding memory of this game, however, must be O'Riordan's wonderful innings.

This was Robin O'Brien's last match. He died in August 1959, aged 26

College Park, Dublin