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Match Report
Derek Scott

For this match L Warke; T McCloy and SSJ Huey were not available. GA Duffy cried off the selected team and was replaced by A Finlay.

Ireland came out of this match with a good reputation. Put in on a green wicket they batted all day, 6 hours, for 259 and, but for a dropped catch offered by Watson, might well have gained a first innings lead. The collapse on the third day leading to eventual defeat was unfortunate. Leicestershire finished second best to Notts in the 1959 County Championship. For this match Hallam, their best batsman after Watson, was rested. Watson, the former Yorkshire and England left-handed batsman, returned to the side after injury. His century and Bergin's long occupation of the crease, were the highlights of the game. For Ireland Warke missed his first match since 1953 having played 23 in succession and Bergin captained the team. McCloy, Huey and Duffy were also not available. Fee was recalled as was MH Stevenson, the former Cambridge Blue, who in 1951 and 1952 played two innings for Ireland and scored two "ducks". K Quinn and PA is Neville were the other replacements. This was the first match played away against a County team since 1947.

Watson won the toss and put Ireland in. Spencer made the ball fly a little and Van Geloven bowled six maidens to Bergin who remained at one end for 98 minutes. After seven runs were scored in 45 minutes Quinn was snapped up at backward short leg off Spencer for six. Martin came in and played very well. He founded the off-spinner Savage to his liking and lapped him frequently. He reached 50 after lunch in 136 minutes and, in all, scored 61 out of 91 added for the second wicket before Savage had him LBW. Bergin suffered much barracking but hung on grimly until caught at slip by Burch off Kirby (another off-spinner and Cambridge Blue). His 31 out of 104 lasted 3 hours. Neville joined Stevenson and together they made the crowd happier. 50 were added in 29 minutes including three fours by Stevenson off successive balls from Savage. The new ball was then taken and only four runs came in 10 overs. At 163 Neville was caught at the wicket off Van Geloven for 20. O'Riordan survived the tea interval but was out for four with the total at 168. Stevenson got stuck on 37 for 35 minutes and was not happy against the new ball. However, he got going again and completed his 50 in 110 minutes. Hunter was out at 201 after scoring 6 out of 33 and Stevenson's innings ended at 222 when Savage bowled him while he was attempting to drive. His 80 took 156 minutes with nine fours. Finlay made a quick 20 but Savage took all the last five wickets and finished with 6-84 in 30.4 overs. The fast bowler Spencer was very difficult to score off with his high bounce and took 2-25 in 28 overs.

Leicester batted until 5:35 PM on the second day when they declared 46 runs ahead. In the remaining 75 minutes Ireland lost Quinn and Martin for 34 runs. The day's story centres around a dropped catch. It was an easy catch offered by Watson off O'Riordan to Stevenson at third slip. After much juggling it was dropped. Watson was 14 and he went on to make 106. Later Revill, when two, offered Fee a fast shoulder high catch at slip in the second of Quinn's two overs which was also dropped. The Irish bowling, lacking Huey, needed first class fielding and catching but the latter was sadly lacking.

Watson, his one error apart, batted elegantly and well within himself for his sixth century of the season. With Kirby he put on 63, with Van Geloven 53, and with Gardiner 65. His 50 came in 112 minutes, his century in 175 minutes. He drove, caught and hooked strongly and hit 16 fours, being particularly severe on O'Riordan who bowled too many loose balls. When he had made 106 he gave his wicket away, being caught at cover off Hope. Gardiner now took over the attacking role and reached 50 in 70 minutes. With Revill 106 were added for the fourth wicket in only 77 minutes. At this stage the field placings might have been a bit more defensive. Gardiner reached 91 in 170 minutes and with his maiden first-class century in sight he skied Fee to Hunter at extra cover. He hit 15 fours. Revill completed his 50 in 91 minutes, sent up 300 and, at 305, presented his wicket to Fee - spooning the ball gently to Hope at mid-off. Revill hit 10 fours and, on his dismissal, Watson declared. Fee, used as a stock bowler, had taken 3-78 in 31.2 overs and was never really collared. Hopes first 10 overs only yielded 15 runs and he, perhaps, should have bowled a bit more instead of O'Riordan.

In the 75 remaining minutes Bergin began another marathon. He scored one run only and that was taken off a dropped catch by Gardiner at slip. He was then missed by Van Geloven at slip in the next over. Spencer had Quinn caught at slip at six and Martin, after scoring a bright 21 in 36 minutes, was caught by Revill in Savage's leg trap. The score at close of play was 34-2, with Bergin and Neville a single each. Between 1:25 PM and 3 PM drizzle interrupted play on three occasions, 25 minutes in all being lost. Stevenson rested a sore leg in the latter part of the innings and Derek Scott, the Assistant Honorary Secretary of the Irish Cricket Union, acted as substitute.

For the first hour on the third morning there was no indication of the collapse that followed. Bergin continued to act as sheet anchor while Neville got his leg side shots going against the spinners. In 65 minutes 51 were added to the overnight score. Then Neville failed to hit firmly enough and was caught at mid-wicket off Kirby. He had made 34 out of 53 with five fours. This was the beginning of the end and 85-2 became 108 all out in a further 65 minutes. Stevenson was bowled for 0 by the third ball he received from Savage (his innings for Ireland now read 0-0-80-0); Alec O'Riordan had to retire when struck on the elbow by Spencer; Hunter was caught at leg slip off his first ball; Finlay, made a single, and was bowled by Van Geloven. The score was now 96-6. Hope hit two fours and then gave Revill his fifth catch of the match in the leg trap. Kirby bowled Fee with his next ball. Number 11, Colhoun, snicked a four but Bergin lashed out at Smith's first ball of the next over and was beautifully caught at short midwicket near the ground by Spencer. Bergin batted three hours 27 minutes for his 23 and for his 54 runs in the match batted for six hours 42 minutes. Despite the collapse from 85-2 to 108 all out Watson used all his five bowlers in this period, the most successful being the Cambridge Blue Kirby who took 4-33.

Leicester knocked off the runs for the loss of their opening pair, Kirby and Cromack, both of whom got 21. Fee opened the bowling in O'Riordan's absence and got both wickets off mis-hits.

Frank Fee (1956-62) played his 13th and last match. Historians will wonder why! He was 25 years of age and had taken 50 wickets at an average of 12.56, and 10 or more wickets in a match three times.