This was the first Representative game ever played at College Park. Trinity loaned the ground to John Lawrence who sponsored the match. It was a great social and financial success. Tom Davis, the professional of Phoenix CC came down to prepare the wicket and the ground was surrounded by marquees. Apart from heavy showers on the 1st afternoon the weather was perfect. This was the third game against the All England XI, the last being in 1861. None of the All England XI of 1861 played in the 1868 game, although their captain George Parr, "the Lion of the North", was to have done so. At the last minute an attack of gout forced him to stand down and instead he umpired. Of the XXII four played in both 1861 and 1868 - W Hone Snr., GF Barry, JP Mahaffy and JR Roberts. No less than 12 of the XXII were making their debut but even so this was reckoned a very fine and very representative team. It was selected for John Lawrence by the secretaries of the principal Dublin Clubs. Unfortunately WS Hunt, who had bowled so well at Lords, was unable to play.
For the All England XI there appeared T Hayward and R Carpenter, a most famous opening partnership; G ("tear'em") Tarrant who, after Jackson, was the best fast bowler of his day; RC Tinley, the famous slow lob bowler; JC Shaw, a very fast left handed bowler who for years was WG Grace's whipping boy; Alfred Shaw, a slow medium bowler, who, in the 1880's was to tour Australia many times with Arthur Shrewsbury; and G Pinder, the quiet and neat Yorkshire wicket keeper.
Ireland won the toss and batted on a wicket which Hayward said was excellent and true although heavy rain had fallen on the previous day. At 11.45 TB Reeves and S Smythe opened and JC Shaw bowled a maiden to Reeves. Smythe gave Carpenter a catch at point off Tarrant's first ball. HD Purdon was out to a fine running catch by Acton at long on and PF Casey was bowled. Tarrant had taken all the wickets and numbers 2, 3, and 4 had all got 0. Reeves got 3 before Shaw bowled him. By pretty play TJS Casey and GF Barry took the score to 28 when Barry (12) was caught at slip of Shaw. With Hudson in Casey hit Tarrant for two 3's in an over and after bowling 13 overs Tinley came on for the fast bowler. At 40 four wickets fell while no runs were added. Casey was amongst those and he had made an excellent 24 before being bowled by Tinley's slow ball. There was no further double figure stand after this and Tinley emerged with figures of 9 for 21 in 22 overs. C.E.Stelfox had a short, merry and much applauded innings of 8 while RA Miller compiled 14 before being splendidly caught by Acton. The fielding of the XI was top class but the bowling was not that difficult and the XXII should do much better in the second innings.
At 2 25 pm John Smith and W Oscroft opened for the All England XI to S Bradley and JP Mahaffy. Scoring was slow to lunch at 3pm when the total was 13. The game resumed at 4pm and at 30 Smythe relieved Mahaffy who had bowled 15 overs at small cost. At 38 Ashton came on for Bradley and at 41 Smythe bowled Oscroft for a very slow 14. With A Shaw in Smith quickened the pace by driving a 4 and a 3 off Ashton who had bowled several successive maidens. At 54 for 1 heavy rain stopped play which was not resumed until 5 45 pm. Tom Casey relieved Ashton but only 3 overs were bowled before there was another shower. Play was again resumed and with the score at 66 Smith was caught by Ashton off Smythe at short leg. He had made a good 45 with 1 4 and 7 3's. Hayward (3) played out time with Shaw (12) at 77 for 2.
Disastrous fielding on the second day allowed the All England XI to reach 184 and lead by 100 runs. The fielding was disgracefully bad and numerous catches were dropped. Shaw and Hayward faced Smythe and Ashton. Hayward scored a single off Smythe's first ball and Mahaffy, at slip, caught Shaw off the second. 78-3-12. Carpenter came in at the unusual position, for him, of no. 5. At once Reeves missed him at point. Half an hour produced only 3 runs and 12 maidens were bowled. Ashton bowled 8 in succession. At 86 Hayward was caught at point by O'Mara off Smythe. He had scored 9 runs in 45 minutes and in that time Carpenter had not scored at all! Tarrant came in and hit several 3's and saw Carpenter missed by Miller and soon afterwards missed for a 3rd time. Scoring slowed down again and Stelfox missed Tarrant who shortly afterwards also survived a skier to Bradley. At 122 after 36 had been added Carpenter was caught at the wicket off Ashton.
His 13 had occupied 105 minutes. G Oscroft came in and at 125 Barry relieved Smythe for the first bowling change of the day. One run later Stelfox, at mid off, caught Tarrant (25) off Ashton. Acton scored 11 quickly and was caught at long leg by Hone off Ashton. 139-7-11. Pinder only made 1 before becoming Ashton's 4th successive victim - caught by Reeves at point. 140-8-1. Tinley came in and T Casey came on for Barry. At 150 Smythe came back instead of Casey but it was Ashton who took the 9th wicket when he bowled Oscroft (5) at 150. Despite the fact that JC Shaw is reckoned one of the worst ever batsmen known in top class cricket the last wicket added 27 of which Shaw made 12 not out. Lunch was taken during this last wicket stand and shortly after the interval Tinley was caught at slip off Mahaffy for 27. The bowling had been very good, Ashton and Smythe in particular "earning commendation for untiring exertions". The dropped catches made a big difference to the All England XI total and to the bowling figures. Smythe took the first 4 wickets and ended with 4 for 72. Ashton, who had bowled unchanged today, took the last 6 wickets and in all bowled 66 overs in taking 6 for 51. This was a splendid debut for Smythe.
At 5pm the XXII went in again and this time GF Barry and W Morgan opened. Tinley and J.C.Shaw bowled and the latter soon had Morgan LBW. 4-1-1. Reeves was no. 3. At 14 Barry, who had played well for 10, got a splendid off drive off Tinley only to see Tarrant run and make a fine one handed catch. O'Mara was No. 4 and he played the most brilliant innings of the match for Ireland. He made 24 and then made over confident by applause he attempted to hit a ball from Shaw which he should have just stopped and was bowled. The score was 41 and previously Shaw had accounted for Reeves (6) and Hone (0). Tarrant now came on to relieve Shaw and he dismissed Browne, Miller and Ashton. Tom Casey again batted very well and at close of play he was 19 not out and had Smythe in with him. The score was 77 for 9. Just after play ended heavy rain fell.
The 3rd day was again a fine one and another large crowd gathered. The Irish batsmen did much better and the last 12 wickets added a further 84 runs chiefly due to the Casey brothers and Stelfox. At 11.45 am Tom Casey and Smythe faced Tarrant and JC Shaw. Smythe was soon bowled by Shaw but Tom Casey was joined by his brother PF Casey and both played well. Tom added a further 10 to his overnight score of 19 and his 29 was the top score of the match for Ireland. He had also top scored in the first innings with 24. Tarrant eventually bowled him. P.F.Casey made 21 and was in excellent form except for a chance to Hayward when 14. He was beautifully caught at point by Carpenter off Tinley. Stelfox and Hudson made a stand and then Hudson (who only made 2) was given out lbw by George Parr. This was greeted with a "scarcely suppressed groan". Stelfox played really brilliantly for his 22 and was supported by careful play by Mahaffy. The XXII was all out for 161. Four bowlers shared the wickets and throughout the match Alfred Shaw did not bowl at all.
At 3 00 pm Smith and Oscroft faced Ashton and Smythe with 62 needed to win. Oscroft was dropped by Stelfox off Ashton's first ball. At 13 Smith was caught by Ashton off Smythe having made all the runs to date. With A Shaw in Oscroft opened up and runs came steadily. At 31 Parker Dunscombe, who for 20 years was Hon. Sec. of Cork County, was tried but his slows met with no success. At 51 Hone came on but to no avail and at 4 00pm the game was over - All England XI winning by 9 wickets, with Oscroft 37 not out. Teamwork was a big factor in their win. The All England XI played like a highly trained team while the XXII had never all played together before. Of course the dreadful Irish fielding prevented what might have been a draw.