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Match Report
Derek Scott

Duffy and Martin were dropped after many years. L Warke, who had retired and was now a Selector, was persuaded by his fellow selectors to play. However he eventually decided not to play and Martin came back to the team to replace him. New cap Joey O'Meara was to become more successful as a Hockey International.

Another new venue was tried for this match, the Brigade CC ground at Beechgrove in Derry. A match had never been played at Derry, the nearest being against MCC at Strabane in 1934. The Beechgrove ground is small and pretty and there were two days of glorious sunshine for the match. A good crowd attended on the first day but there were few present to see Ireland win the match on the second day. Bad weather prevented some wicket preparation and on the second afternoon the wicket began to take turn and lift. Huey exploited it with a brilliant spell of bowling. Ireland had last beaten Scotland in 1957 and now the series was equal at 13 wins each. Scotland only had one newcomer to the Irish match - a batsman RG Hill.

Ireland got a first innings lead of 56 chiefly due to a great piece of bowling by O'Riordan, who ripped through the Scottish batsman. Pre-lunch play was very slow, only 49 runs coming in 90 minutes. The wicket was slow but the run rate should have been quicker. Bergin was only 25 at lunch. All went well until 40 minutes after lunch and then, in half an hour, 75-1 became 85-7. Hogan, a quickish bowler, took 4-3 in 25 balls in one spell but, in general, it should be said that this was bad Irish batting rather than inspired bowling. Bergin made 40 in just over two hours after surviving two hard chances to slip. Martin made 23 but he too was dropped when four and both Bergin and he were out at 75. O'Riordan, Pratt, Lewis and O'Meara were all out quickly - a great diving leg side catch by wicket-keeper Brown dismissing Pratt. Hunter and Ferguson added 25, Ferguson making 19 including a straight hit for six. Except for two overs by Allan, the Scottish seam bowlers shared the attack, Hogan taking 6-36 in 27 overs.

The Scottish innings began at 4:30 PM and was all over by 6 PM. It began and ended with two very good run outs by Hunter and in between the drying wicket and the fiery O'Riordan were too much for Scotland. O'Riordan bowled very fast and with great hostility. He moved the ball sharply into the batsman and, in truth, put the fear of the Lord into the Scottish players. In 13.2 overs O'Riordan took 4-24. One felt indeed that Scotland could have been bowled out for less than 69 if only Hunter had been brought on for Ferguson midway through the innings. The latter's last six overs conceded 32 runs. At one time Scotland were 19-5 (including a doubtful LBW decision against Chisholm) but they made a partial recovery through some rustic strokes by Allan, Ford and Barr to total 69. Two run outs and a facial injury to Brown which compelled him to retire hurt did not help Scotland. The total of 69 was the lowest score against Ireland since Scotland were bowled out for 58 in Perth in 1950.

In the remaining 45 minutes Ford kept wicket for Scotland and Ireland made 17-1, McCloy being bowled by Barr in the last over of the day.

With a whole day and 45 minutes to spare Ireland won the match by 70 runs. The heros of the second day were Pratt, Ferguson and Huey. It was the 83 runs which Pratt and Ferguson added for the eighth wicket which gave Ireland a winning chance and it was Huey's 6-13 which clinched the victory after tea. The day's play vacillated no less than five times. First there was Ireland's dreadful collapse in the first hour in the morning when the overnight score of 17-1 became 50-7. Then came the Pratt-Ferguson stand, bridging the lunch interval, and adding 83 in an hour. In the third phase Scotland started poorly and were 55-4 before Aitchison and Hill gave heart to the Scottish supporters by adding 59 for the fifth wicket. For a short while it looked as if they would win the match for Scotland. Then came the fifth and last phase when Huey returned to the attack and took five of the last six Scottish wickets - these six wickets falling for 17 runs in all.

In the morning Martin was caught at short leg at 27 and O'Riordan likewise at 28. At 43 Lewis waved the bat and was caught at the wicket (Brown was back in action). Three runs later Bergin's 90 minute innings of 13 came to an end, also caught at short leg. Wilson took his third and fourth wickets at 50 when, with successive balls, he bowled O'Meara (with a clever slower ball which moved from leg to off) and had Hunter caught at the wicket from a dreadful stroke. In a spell of 24 balls Wilson had taken 4-5. Then came Pratt and Ferguson who added 44 in 30 minutes before lunch. Pratt hit Barr for a great straight six in the last over before lunch and was dropped in the same over by Aitchison who missed an easy catch at long-off. This possibly cost Scotland the match. A further 39 were added after lunch and Pratt hit Barr for another 6 to complete his first 50 for Ireland in 80 minutes. He was out two balls later when a ball from Barr popped and gave gully an easy catch. Ferguson's 37 was his best innings for Ireland and great credit is due to him for the way in which he supported Pratt and this pair also ran very well between the wickets.

At 3:45 PM Scotland set out to make 202 to win, a score which has only twice been achieved to win in the fourth innings in the previous 44 matches of the Ireland v Scotland series. The attempt was doomed to failure. O'Riordan and Ferguson with a wicket each made the first break and Huey followed with a wicket before tea when the score was 47-3. For 35 minutes after tea O'Riordan and Hunter shared the bowling and Hunter had Dudman caught at short leg at 56. Aitchison and Hill began to score quickly for the fifth wicket and, in an hour after tea, 52 runs were scored. At 88 Huey came on and saw Hill missed at the wicket by Colhoun. The stand continued and began to look ominous. 59 were added and only 88 more were required when Hill dabbed at Huey and Colhoun caught this one. 114-5-26. After this the innings collapsed and Scotland were all out for 131. Aitchison, with 35, was top scorer and he completed 1000 runs for Scotland against Ireland, the second Scottish player to do so, John Kerr was the first. Aitchison left at 117 to a catch behind the wicket but this, unfortunately, was a bad decision. Huey in his final spell bowled 12 overs, eight maidens for 11 runs in five wickets. In all he had 6-13 in 16 overs - his best ever figures for Ireland. At the end Huey was spinning the ball a great deal and making it lift and there were only six scoring strokes in 108 balls. Huey was well supported by O'Meara who had a tidy spell of six overs for 14 runs. O'Meara took the last wicket, made three good catches and fielded very well, to compensate him for making two noughts in his first match for Ireland.

Beechgrove, Londonderry