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Match Report
Derek Scott

This match against MCC was interesting, and plenty of runs were scored - 768 in all at a rate of just over 60 an hour. Ireland were set 182 to win in 145 minutes. Despite a good start the attempt petered out and, indeed, Ireland were holding on for a draw at the end. WR Hunter was not available for Ireland and A McQuilken, last capped in 1963, was brought in for him. N Ferguson was dropped and his place awarded to a new cap, DE Goodwin, of Malahide CC. MH Stevenson, the Cambridge Blue, was also left out despite an innings of 55 not out against MCC in September 1964. It was probably thought that Stevenson might have done more to try to win this previous MCC match and he is also prone to pull muscles at vital moments. A young batsmen JD Monteith, a new cap, took his place. SF Bergin received his 50th cap after 16 years on the team.

MCC had a strong batting team. PI Bedford, the captain, WR Endean and MA Eager had played in the match previously and Eager had played for Ireland against West Indies in 1957. Leicestershire had no match and three of their players were included. They were Hallam, their captain, Cotton and Jayasinghe. Hallam and Jayasinghe had played for the county against Ireland several times. L Livingston, an Australian, now 45 had had a distinguished career for Northampton; AJ Coxon, a bowler and Oxford Blue, had played a season in Dublin for St James' Gate and Saeed Ahmed was the 27-year-old Pakistan Test player and Vice Captain. Only Hanif Mohammed ranks above Saeed in Pakistan. To date Saeed had played in 32 tests since 1958, scoring 2562 runs at an average of 43.42. He has scored five Test centuries, the last being one of 172 against New Zealand in April of this year.

The first day was cold and overcast and Pratt was glad to lose the toss. The wicket was a little soft and was pitched within 50 yards of the Tavern boundary. Riley and Endean began and O'Riordan and Goodwin opened the bowling. Scoring was slow with Riley doing most of it. After an hour Goodwin bowled Endean and his first international wicket was that of a Test player. 39-1-8. At 50 Goodwin had Riley caught at leg slip for 31. Livingston and Jayasinghe then attacked Goodwin and 17 were taken in one over. McQuilken and Huey came on and after the third wicket had added 49 in 28 minutes Huey had Jayasinghe caught at the wicket. This was Huey's 100th wicket for Ireland. He is the fifth bowler to achieve this for Ireland and the first left-hander. This was his 31st match. At 1 PM rain stopped play. The two hours play had realised 121 runs and Livingston was now 49 not out after less than an hour's batting. Livingston and Saeed continued strongly after lunch, the former completing his 50 in an hour. 51 were added in half an hour after lunch. Livingston was driving and pulling well and hit O'Riordan for two sixes. At 172 O'Riordan bowled him for 74 made in 85 minutes. Saeed had also been playing strokes and was then caught at slip by McCloy off Goodwin for 45 made in 63 minutes. 186-5. Hallam and Eager were now together. They added 36 in half an hour and MCC declared at 3:25 PM at 222-5. Eager, when only three, was dropped on an easy catch to O'Riordan at mid-on off Goodwin. Goodwin had taken 3-64 in 18 overs and but for the miss this would have been four. He had bowled well but the "line" of his bowling is too varied making field placing difficult.

Bergin and McCloy began for Ireland to Cotton and Melville. Both scored slowly and in the 50 minutes to tea only 25 were scored. 10 minutes after tea, after an hour's batting, Melville bowled McCloy. 26-1-9. At 30 MCC missed two chances. Bergin, at the wicket, by Livingston and McCall at silly mid-off by Coxon. The spinners were now on and Saeed, bowling off spin, had McCall LBW at 50. Monteith came in and was lucky to find Jayasinghe, who rarely bowled, had come on. Monteith hit him for a six and, in general, scored very quickly. 100 came up in 120 minutes and Monteith had scored 39 of the first 52 added with Bergin. Monteith, with splendid offside strokes, went to his 50 in only 46 minutes and became the first Irish player to win his first cap at Lords and score 50 in his first innings. At 132 Monteith thought Bedford's leg break was a googly, let it go, and was bowled for 54. He had been in for 53 minutes and had added 82 with Bergin. Just afterwards Bergin reached his 50 out of 136 in 137 minutes. This was fitting in his 50th match and it was his 17th score of 50 or more for Ireland. By close of play Ireland were 153-3 (Bergin 63, Duffy 2) scored in 155 minutes and were only 69 behind MCC.

The second day was in greater contrast to the first. It was very warm and sunny and the wicket had got quicker. For a result in a two-day match where the batting is better than the bowling some "agreement" is required between the captains. This was done. Ireland agreed to declare when level on first innings if MCC would issue a reasonable challenge to them in the second innings. In an hour Ireland got the 69 runs to draw level off the spin bowlers. Five wickets were lost. Duffy, Pratt, Bergin, McQuilken and Colhoun were out in that order. Bergin took his score to 78 in 185 minutes before being LBW to Bedford. The best batting of the morning came from O'Riordan who made 29 not out in 38 minutes including a sweep for six off Coxon which put the ball into St Johns Wood road! Bedford took 4-73 in 22 overs. Over the whole innings the scoring rate was a run a minute.

MCC made a disastrous start in the second innings. O'Riordan had a fine spell. At 6 he had Riley, 0, caught by McQuilken at backward square leg and at 10 Jayasinghe, 2, was caught at the wicket slashing at a wide ball. At 12 Endean was also caught by McQuilken at short square leg off Goodwin. Saeed then hit four successive fours off Goodwin but at 41 Eager mis-hooked O'Riordan and was caught at mid-wicket. Hallam came in and Saeed continued to hit boundaries. He reached 50 just before lunch with 10 fours after batting for just an hour. The lunch score was 81-4 after 75 minutes, with Saeed 53 and Hallam 10. After lunch the much underrated Duffy came on and had Saeed caught at the wicket for 54 made in 67 minutes. The score was now 83-5 and Ireland were doing very well. However, Hallam batted steadily and Livingston scored very quickly. 100 came up in 94 minutes and O'Riordan had to be rested after 17 overs, in which he had taken 3-50. Livingston gave a hard chance to O'Riordan running from mid-on to mid-off at 120 and an easy one to McCloy at slip at 146 - both were off Huey. Hallam was dropped at mid-wicket by McQuilken and an hour since lunch had realised 71 runs. After the stand had added 72 in 55 minutes Huey had Livingston stumped to give Colhoun his 50th dismissal (40 caught and 10 stumped) in his 22nd match. Hallam reached 50 in 100 minutes and was then bowled swinging at Huey. A few more blows and a difficult catch dropped to McCall at long on by Coxon and the innings was declared at 181 at 3:33 PM. MCC had batted for 158 minutes leaving Ireland 145 minutes to score 182. O'Riordan had bowled well but the Irish fielding had looked a little elderly and too many catches were dropped.

There was 50 minutes play before tea. In this time the MCC fast bowlers only bowled 12 overs but despite this Ireland scored 49 runs for the loss of two wickets. Melville bowled Bergin with his second ball for 0. 2-1-0. McCall scored briskly but lost McCloy, bowled by Melville with a break back, at 23. Monteith gave a chance to slip but kept the scoring rate up. 49-2 at tea (McCall 28 Monteith 13). 133 were now required in 95 minutes. The spinners came on but the field was an attacking one. Eight minutes after tea Monteith was caught at extra cover off Saeed. 54-3-16. 128 were now needed in 87 minutes. Now Duffy came in.

Good player that he is, Duffy was not the man for this situation. He cannot "slog". It would seem that O'Riordan, after his form in the morning, should have gone in. Duffy got some loose bowling but could not hit it and spent 42 minutes making 23. McCall was doing his best but Ireland's chance was gone. McCall reached 50 in 78 minutes when the score was 89-3. Duffy, when 17, and the total 95, was dropped by Endean (who kept wicket in this innings) off Saeed. 100 went up at 5:35 PM. At 5:47 PM Duffy was caught at long on off Coxon for 23 and, a few minutes later, McCall fell to a catch at mid-wicket off Melville. O'Riordan was LBW for 2 and, with 33 minutes left, six wickets were down for 120. Cotton bowled McQuilken at 128. However Pratt and Colhoun played out the last 20 minutes.