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Match Report
Derek Scott

This 253rd match played by Ireland was surely the most extraordinary of all. In 25.5 overs in the West Indies were bowled out for 25! West Indies were on a short tour to England. The team was in the process of change and they did not do well, losing the Test series 2-0 with one drawn match. The great Gary Sobers, their captain, had a bad tour. He and the wicket-keeper Hendricks did not come to Ireland (both injured). This match was played at the picturesque Sion Mills ground, 12 miles South of Derry. The match followed immediately on the Lord's Test which was a high-scoring and thrilling draw. There was a good crowd in this little ground and they saw history made. The wicket was not bad. Due to rain it was damp and had a good deal of grass. The ball came through at varying heights but it was slow. The West Indies had come from fast conditions and played some fast wicket shots which got them out. Camacho, Butcher, Lloyd, Shepherd, Findlay and Shillingford had all been in the Test the previous day. Foster, Carew and Walcott (the manager) had all played Test cricket also. The other two were Blair, a fast bowler and Roberts, a slow left arm bowler.

Michael Reith, a young left-handed batsman, replaced Monteith (injured) in the Irish team - the only change from the Scottish match. Camacho and Carew opened. Camacho took a single in O'Riordan's first over. Attempting to hook Goodwin's first ball Camacho was caught at mid-wicket. In O'Riordan's second over Carew also attempted a hook. The ball got up too high and he lobbed a catch to square leg. At three Foster was foolishly run out. Butcher hit a ball to Hughes' left at mid-off and called a run. Hughes fielded the ball and his throw to the wicket-keeper easily beat Foster who was not hurrying. Butcher and Lloyd hit three singles. In O'Riordan's sixth over one ball reared and struck Butcher on the arm. He slashed at the next and Duffy took a good low catch at gully. The portly 43-year-old Walcott who was out of practice now appeared. He stayed on the back foot, as was proper on this wicket. In Goodwins seventh over Lloyd misdrove a ball to mid-off where Waters took an easy catch. 6-5! In Goodwins next over this became 8-6 when Shepherd played a bad cut shot at a short ball and Duffy took another good catch at gully. Walcott and Findlay were together for six overs. The score was 12 and Walcott had made all the six runs scored since he came in. In Goodwins 11th over Findlay stepped out to drive and spooned the ball to mid-off where Waters almost dropped the easy catch. A bye was scored after that. Then O'Riordan took two wickets with his last two balls of his 12th over. Walcott swung at O'Riordan and Anderson caught a skier at cover. Next ball Roberts swung to leg and skied to the wicket-keeper. Goodwin then bowled a maiden to Blair. O'Riordan, in his last over, conceded 12 runs to Shillingford and Blair, both swinging gaily. With the fifth ball of the next over Goodwin bowled Blair and West Indies were all out 25.

O'Riordan had figures of 13-8-18-4 (12 of his last over) and Goodwin 12.5-8-6-5. Goodwin's pace and whip suited the wicket admirably and his 5-6 is statistically the best ever Irish bowling analysis of bowlers taking five or more wickets in innings. He had bowled unchanged with O'Riordan. This last happened against Scotland at Derry in 1963 when O'Riordan and Ferguson did so. The score of 25 was the lowest ever against Ireland. The previous was 29 made by New York in New York in 1909. The previous lowest in Ireland was 32 by Scotland at College Park in 1910. The latter innings was also the last case of Ireland bowling out a side with no batsman reaching double figures until this current case (Shillingford's nine not out was the top score). The innings lasted 86 minutes.

With 25 minutes to go to lunch Pigot and Waters opened. Shillingford and Blair pitched much too short. Pigot was severe on Shillingford and 19 were scored in six overs. In Blair's fourth over Waters slashed on the back foot and was caught by Findlay at the wicket. Lunch was taken at this point, with the score 19-1-2 and Pigot 17 not out. In the 11th over Pigot and Reith passed the West Indies total but there was ample opportunity of a result over two innings therefore play continued. If a result over two innings did not prove possible, then Ireland would be declared winner by 9 wickets on first innings.

Reith was hobbling from a recent ankle injury. He was LBW to Shepherd who had come on after Shillingford bowled two overs. 30-2-10. Two overs later Harrison was also LBW to Shepherd for 0. Blair, after eight overs, gave way to Roberts. At 51 Anderson was caught at slip off Roberts for seven. Four runs later Dineen played on off foot and elbow. 55-5-0. Shepherd came off after 13 overs in which he took 3-20 and Shillingford returned. At 69 Pigot popped a ball off him to forward short leg. Pigot's 37 was a good innings lasting just two hours. O'Riordan and Duffy then had the best stand of the innings. They put on 34 in 27 minutes off Shillingford, Roberts and Carew (off spin). O'Riordan hit Carew for a four and a six off successive balls. In his next over Carew caught and bowled him for 35, scored in 51 minutes. Hughes came in after tea and scored 13 in eight minutes. He hit Carew for six and was caught at deep square leg next ball by Holder substituting for Blair who had strained himself. At this point Ireland declared with Duffy 15 not out.

With 95 minutes left West Indies went in again exactly 100 behind. Camacho took a single from O'Riordan. Then Goodwin took two wickets in his first over. Again Camacho mis-hooked and Dineen caught him two handed and high to his left at square leg. Four balls later Pigot dived in at short leg to catch Foster. 1-2! Here ended Ireland's success for a while. Goodwin retired with a leg strain after bowling two overs. Waters took over the captaincy and Hughes came on to bowl. Duffy soon replaced O'Riordan. Hughes bowled seven overs for 10 runs and then Anderson replaced him.

Butcher now cut loose and scored a number of fours and a six off Anderson. Butcher and Carew put on 72 in 73 minutes. Butcher went to his 50 with a snick over gully. First ball of Duffy's next over Waters at deep mid-on judged a high catch nicely and Butcher was out for 50 scored in 73 minutes. In Duffy's next over Carew hit further and longer to deep mid-on where Pigot caught him. No catch was dropped by Ireland during the day and they held some good ones. Walcott and Lloyd played out the remaining two overs. Lloyd miscued one stroke and Walcott called to him, "be careful, don't embarrass us any more". On that note an extraordinary match ended. Mister Herdman's mill was closed for the day at Sion Mills. The owner supplied lunch and tea free to teams and officials. Next day the London Times had a front-page column on the match, the Mirror, a colour front-page picture of Goodwin and O'Riordan and Roy Ulyett a cartoon in the Express. BBC Northern Ireland televised the play "live" and their tape was in much demand for National news and sports programmes.


Sion Mills