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Match Report
Derek Scott

As compared with the team selected FSA Hewitt cried off and was replaced by KW Hope. A. Finlay was the first choice as substitute but he was unable to take Hewitt's place. Hope had last played as an off spinner in 1961 and had now returned as a batsman, having completely lost his bowling action.

Ireland lost this, their third match of 1966. Three defeats were last suffered in the 1951 season and it was 11 years since both Scotland and MCC beat Ireland in the same season. Furthermore, no individual half-century was scored by an Irish batsman during the season (1955 was also the last occasion this occurred). Seven of the MCC team had played in Ireland before including BL Reed who opened for Hampshire against Ireland in 1965. Eager and Piachaud had played against Ireland at Lords. Newcomers were CD Howland, 30, a Cambridge Blue 1958-1960 (captain in 1960), a wicket-keeper. JF Pretlove is a 33-year-old diminutive left-hander who had a most distinguished career for Cambridge, 1954-56. In the Varsity matches his scores were 73-7-114-40-16-34*. Ireland brought in D Leng, a former Yorkshire-born Bradford league professional now living in Cork, as a stock bowler instead of Goodwin.

MCC won the toss and batted on a slow damp wicket. The toss probably decided the match even though the Irish batting was spineless in the fourth innings. The whole match was played at a very low scoring rate but this innings was the quickest of the four when the wicket was at its best. In 79.3 overs MCC scored 210 being all out soon after 5 pm. O'Riordan, bowling uphill, soon bowled Bushby and a couple of overs later Torrens bowled Gale with one which kept low. Pretlove joined Reed and was keen to drive. He was lucky to sky O'Riordan in safety back over the bowler's head. Leng then had Pretlove in trouble constantly hitting his pads. At lunch the score was 74-2, Reed 38, Pretlove 28. Pretlove opened out more and played some good drives although again he was lucky to get one from O'Riordan just over Anderson's head at cover when he was 41. At 92 Reed skied Torrens to Huey at mid-off, McCall very nearly getting in the way. 92-3-43. Pretlove went to 51 out of of 104 in 112 minutes. He hit both Torrens and Huey for two fours in one over. At 135 Leng had Eager caught at the wicket for 8. Four runs later O'Riordan knocked back Pretlove's off stump as he played forward. His 81 came out of 117 in 160 minutes. Since lunch he had scored 53 in 75 minutes. It was a good innings on a slow wicket. At 141 Howland was run out by Anderson's throw to Colhoun (he looked in!) 141-6-1. A few moments later Duff looked well out from another Anderson throw to the bowler O'Riordan - but he was given not out! Duff and Bedford added 41. At tea the score was 181-6, Bedford having given a chance at the wicket. Anderson's offspinners were tried after tea and Bedford dragged his second ball on to the stumps. Next over Anderson caught and bowled Piachaud. Duff and Bailey added 19. Huey had come on at the other end and Bailey skied one to mid-off. In the next over, Anderson's fifth, he bowled Chesterton for 0. This left Duff 30 not out. Anderson's 3-12 in 4.3 overs was a rather unexpected bonus for Ireland.

Ireland had 70 minutes batting on Saturday evening. In that time only 31 runs were scored in 29 overs, a very fast over rate. Off Bailey's first over five runs were scored. In his second over he bowled Pigot with a good ball. 5-1-4. McCall and O'Brien batted out the remaining hour and added 26. Chesterton bowled five maidens then made way for Piachaud. Pretlove and Duff were also tried but no wickets fell. An appeal against the light at 5:45 pm was rejected. McCall, when 14, was dropped at short mid-on off Pretlove. The score at close of play was 31-1, McCall 21, O'Brien six.

Monday was dull. There had been rain on Sunday which had leaked under the covers. Piachaud and Bailey bowled. McCall hit Bailey's first ball, which was very short, full pitch on to Gale's head at forward short leg. Gale took no further part in the match. E Mullan (Phoenix), the Irish 12th man, took his place. After half an hour McCall, 33, was caught at backward square leg pushing at Piachaud. Anderson hit three fours and overtook O'Brien (who had been eight scored in 90 minutes when McCall was out). Duff came on for Bailey and saw O'Brien dropped by Pretlove at slip. 44 came in the first hour. At 97 O'Brien, 25, appeared to be both caught and stumped off Duff, but was given not out! Just after 1 pm O'Brien mistimed a pull off Duff and was caught by the substitute at short mid-wicket. 107-3-29. His 29 occupied 156 rather boring minutes. At 115 O'Riordan drove too soon at Duff and was caught at extra cover. At lunch the score was 132-4, Anderson 38, Pratt 5. 45 overs had been bowled in two hours this morning, making 74 in all to date.

After lunch the wicket began to dry. It became spiteful and inconsistent. Ireland went from 137-4 to 149 all out. Pratt groped at Duff and was bowled round his legs (137-5). Hope was LBW to Bailey, a doubtful decision on a stretched forward shot (138-6); Colhoun was stumped off Duff (145-7); without addition Bailey bowled Anderson who, in despair, had pulled across a short ball. His 44 had come in 113 minutes. Bailey finished the innings with successive balls. Leng played on and Huey was bowled off stump. Since lunch Bailey bowled 26 balls and took 4-8. In all he had 5-33 in 19.2 overs. Duff's leg spinners brought him 4-27 in 21 overs.

The wicket was now at its worst and O'Riordan revelled in it. In 34 overs MCC were all out (batting one short) for 67. It could have been less! Only Holland and Piachaud, both playing back, made any show. Torrens bowled only two overs and then Huey replaced him with Anderson, a shrewd, unexpected and successful move. Bushby hit his wicket playing to leg off Anderson's second ball. 17-1-5. At 20 Reed got an O'Riordan kicker and was caught at gully. In O'Riordan's next over he got two wickets with successive balls, the score still being 20. Eagar was LBW for 0 and Duff turned a lifter to short leg when McCall caught a two-handed diving catch. Pretlove and Howland added 17. Then Pretlove drove fiercely at O'Riordan and the bowler caught brilliantly far to his right. One run later Bedford swept at Anderson and Leng, at square leg, plucked the ball down right-handed. At 50 Howland played back, when he should have been forward, and was bowled by O'Riordan. His 21 was invaluable. Huey came on for Anderson. Piachaud was lucky twice but at 56 Bailey spooned O'Riordan to short leg. Chesterton came in as last man. Anderson, of all people, dropped Piachaud on a fast direct chance to cover off O'Riordan. The last pair lasted 35 minutes and scored 11 runs. Huey bowled six overs for two runs. Then Anderson came back and bowled Chesterton with the last ball of the over. Chesterton had made "a pair" the first against Ireland since MP Murray's for MCC in 1959. MCC players felt that the stand was not worth 11 runs in 35 minutes. The wicket was now improving a little and MCC would have been better off in the field for some of this time. O'Riordan had taken six wickets (for 35 runs) in innings for the first time. He now had 93 wickets in 30 matches.

Tea was now taken and Ireland set out to get 129 to win. In 88 minutes to close of play Ireland reached 39-3. At 5 Pigot was caught off Bailey at backward short leg for 0. Chesterton bowled his seven overs for no runs. After 50 minutes Bailey bowled McCall for six. The ball kept low but McCall played a bad shot. Anderson decided to hit and got off the mark with 4-2-3 off Piachaud. Piachaud was replaced by Duff. Bailey got the third wicket at 6:20 pm when he had Anderson LBW for 12. Anderson was well down the wicket. Colhoun came in as nightwatchman. At the close it was 39-3, O'Brien 13 (in 70 minutes) and Colhoun 0.

The third day was dry and windy. The top had gone from the wicket but that was still some moisture. 90 were needed to win. Bailey (uphill) and Chesterton opened. Then Duff came on for Bailey and bowled Colhoun. 44-4-0. Bailey came on at Chesterton's end and O'Brien was dropped off him by Piachaud at backward square leg. 50 came up just after midday. 20 minutes later O'Brien was caught at the wicket off Bailey. His 22 had taken two hours and he had missed a lot of poor stuff from Duff as well as short singles. In 25 minutes O'Riordan and Pratt added 22 but Pratt looked insecure and was bowled by Bailey for eight. O'Riordan was then dropped at slip by Bushby off Duff. 10 were added but then O'Riordan failed to spot Duff's googly and was LBW. What followed was extraordinary. Leng scored one and then the last three wickets fell to Bailey with the score at 92. Hope, the last of the batsmen, made no effort to protect his partners or to score runs. It was an inglorious end. The match ended at 120. Bailey bowled very well at a pace just above medium. His 32.1 overs cost only 24 runs and he took eight wickets (13 for 57 in the match). 8-24 was the best analysis against Ireland since AMB Rowan took 9-39 for the South Africans at College Park in 1947. 13 wickets in a match had not been taken since 1932 when HM Garland-Wells took 8-38 and 8-86 for MCC at College Park. The thought still remains that if strokes had been attempted off the bad balls, particularly from Duff, the match might in fact have been won. O'Riordan was the only one who seemed to have this in mind.

GH Chesterton, now 44, bowled 20 overs in the match for 12 runs. It was his 10th match against Ireland and his ninth successive visit to Ireland since 1950. The match had a sad aftermath. Ian Bedford died 10 days later while batting for his club Finchley against Buckhurst Hill in Essex. He was 36 and a most popular player. The Middlesex boy wonder of 1947, captain in 1961-62, Bedford played six matches for MCC against Ireland from 1955 to 1966.

This proved to be the last match for SSJ Huey, aged 42. He had played 36 matches between 1951 and 1966. In these matches he took 112 wickets with his slow left arm bowling at an average of 20.66. However he won only three of his 36 matches. He was captain five times and was the first slow left arm bowler for Ireland to reach 100 wickets. His 14-97 against MCC at College Park in 1954 was the first 14 wicket haul for Ireland in an 11-a-side match.

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