Coming in the two days immediately after the victory over Combined Services this was a very disappointing defeat. It was engineered by Gale of MCC in both his batting and his captaincy. Ireland played the same team as in the previous match while MCC had five players new to the match against Ireland in a not very distinguished team. The newcomers were BCG Wilenkin; JW Norman; JD Appleyard; MB Heath and N Durden-Smith. The latter did the BBC television commentary on the West Indies match at Strabane. RA Gale, the former Middlesex opening batsman, scored a century in each innings. This was a feat never accomplished before against Ireland. He scored a century in Castle Avenue in 1968 so now had scored three successive centuries against Ireland. Only J Kerr of Scotland, with four centuries, had scored more hundreds against Ireland. Rev J Aitchison, also of Scotland, also scored three centuries against Ireland.
In bright and sunny weather MCC won the toss and batted. Gale and Wilenkin opened on a wicket very near the Tavern boundary. O'Riordan and Goodwin opened the bowling. Gale started very briskly but Wilenkin was out of touch. At 12 Millar, at first slip, dropped Wilenkin off O'Riordan. At 17 Goodwin bowled Wilenkin and Day came in. Cochrane came on for O'Riordan at 38 and Duffy for Goodwin at 62. 20 overs were bowled in an hour and 42 runs were scored. Gale and Day added 80 in 80 minutes then Day was caught at the wicket off Duffy. 97-2-22. MacLaurin was next. 100 came up in 122 minutes. O'Riordan came back before lunch and had Gale dropped by Colhoun off an inside age at 105. Lunch was taken after 135 minutes at 1:15 PM. The score was 108-2 with Gale a brilliant 81. O'Riordan and Duffy resumed to the bowling after lunch. In half an hour Gale went to his century out of only 136 in 162 minutes.
Suddenly wickets began to fall. O'Riordan took four in 6.3 overs for only four runs, with six maidens. At 136 MacLaurin was LBW; at 147 Gale was bowled, head-up, and swinging. He made 111 runs out of 147 with fine swinging straight batted strokes. He hit 11 fours and batted for 180 minutes. At 156 the former Irish player MH Stevenson was caught at the wicket off O'Riordan and O'Riordan caught Duff at slip in Goodwin's next over. As 160 Durden-Smith was caught by Colhoun in a diving one-handed catch down the leg side. As 169 Appleyard was caught at mid-off and MCC declared at 169-8 scored in 218 minutes. O'Riordan's 4-27 in 26 overs was wonderful bowling on a good wicket and a very short boundary.
In 14 overs before tea Ireland scored 17-1. Heath and Wing began the bowling. When Pigot was one he was dropped off successive balls from Wing - by Heath at second slip and Duff at first slip. At six Heath bowled Pigot. Rees and Waters were together at T. Duff and Appleyard, the spinners, caused the collapse after tea. At 22 Waters, very unfit with a sore neck, was caught at slip off Appleyard. At 26 Reith was caught at deep square leg by Stevenson off Duff at the second attempt on the 50 yard boundary. At 32 Anderson hit a high full toss from Appleyard straight to Wing at backward square leg. Dineen and O'Riordan now had a stand of 36. Gale brought himself on to bowl leg spinners at 66 and, at 68, he bowled Dineen who was trying to sweep. Duffy came in at 5:47 PM and remained with O'Riordan until bad light stopped play at 6:22 PM. In these 35 minutes 38 runs were scored, mostly against Duff and Appleyard. Off 52 overs Ireland had scored 106-5, O'Riordan 42, Duffy 11.
Next morning Gale obviously decided that the best policy was to "bowl" Ireland quickly up to the MCC total and hope for a declaration and a division of the remaining batting time. So Durden-Smith was allowed to bowl five overs at the start but only 13 runs came from them. At the other end Appleyard, with a close field, was more expensive and 19 came off his first three overs. O'Riordan was in great form and reached 51 in 75 minutes. In 35 minutes Ireland had scored 63 runs and were level with MCC. At this stage O'Riordan was 90. Duff was now bowling and Heath was now brought back to bowl fast. O'Riordan was now reduced to singles. Four carried him to 98 at which point he was dropped at the wicket by Norman off Heath. Finally, at 11:55 AM, O'Riordan reached his first century for Ireland with a single to short third man off Duff. He batted in all for 126 minutes and hit 15 fours. His second 50 took 51 minutes. He is the third Irish batsman to score a century at Lords. EDR Shearer and L Warke were the others.
When he was 99 O'Riordan became the fourth Irish player to score 1000 runs and take 100 wickets. The others are RH Lambert, E Ingram and JC Boucher. At noon Ireland had declared with the score at 201-5. The 201 were scored in 204 minutes and the O'Riordan-Duffy stand of 133 for the sixth wicket came in 95 minutes. Duffy, too, must be commended for his fine support of O'Riordan in an innings of 39 not out. The sixth wicket stand was the best since 1923.
MCC went in again 32 runs behind and there were 310 minutes left. Gale brought Day in with him. Together they added 40 in 46 minutes. When Gale was 18 he lobbed O'Riordan to mid-on where Dineen was slow to run in. O'Riordan bowled one more over and then came off and did not resume until the score was 144. The score at lunch was 48-1 off 20 overs in 65 minutes. MacLaurin had come in at number three and Cochrane shared the bowling with Goodwin after lunch. Gale reached 52 out of 72 in 85 minutes with a straight drive off Goodwin. At 86 MacLaurin was caught at backward square leg off Cochrane for 17. With Durden-Smith in next Gale really began to let himself go. Duffy came on for Goodwin.
At 98, when Gale was 68, Goodwin missed a rising catch at mid-on off Duffy. As 108 Duffy again was a sufferer when Colhoun failed to stump Gale who was then 76. Gale hit Cochrane for two sixes and Anderson conceded 23 runs in five overs. At 3:12 PM Gale reached his second century of the match out of 144 in 139 minutes, the second 50 coming in 54 minutes. In his next over Duffy dismissed Gale and Durden-Smith with successive deliveries. Gale was caught at long-on by Goodwin and Durden-Smith was caught and bowled by one that popped.
O'Riordan came back for three overs. At this point MCC were 112 on with 160 minutes left. Duffy continued and had Wilenkin caught at slip as 162. At this point it was sure there would only be a tea break so there were 150 minutes left and MCC were 130 ahead. Dineen was given five overs to concede runs and hurry a declaration. They cost 25 runs to Stevenson and Duff. Both of these played well and added 41 in 19 minutes. The declaration came at 3:55 PM at 203-5 scored off 63 overs in 185 minutes. Duffy's 3-39 in 16 overs was good bowling.
Ireland's task was 172 in 133 minutes or, strictly speaking, 73 minutes plus a minimum of 20 overs in the last hour. The rate was therefore over four per over. Wing and Heath were the bowlers. Wing bowled Reith in his third over with the total on nine. Waters came in at number three and soon hooked Heath for six. Appleyard came on and Day replaced Wing. Pigot was doing little but Waters hit Day for four fours in his second and last over - the 15th of the innings. This took the score to 49 and gave Ireland a hope. Unfortunately Appleyard bowled Waters for 41 with the total on 64 in the 18th over. Anderson was caught at slip at 72 in the 20th over. Pigot was now only 13 and one wondered what instructions had been given at the start.
With the score at 86-3 the last hour began with Ireland needing 86 more in the minimum 20 overs. Pigot was 13 and Dineen 14. Gale bowled the first over of the last hour and Pigot was caught by Duff at slip. His 13 in 73 minutes was not an innings that might have won the match. In Gale's next over O'Riordan was also caught at slip by Duff for 0. 90-5 and all hope gone, it seemed. Duffy was out in the sixth over caught at the wicket off Appleyard. 97-6. Dineen, playing well, and Millar were the last pair of batsmen. They played well and Gale took himself off and gave Duff the 11th over of the last hour. This was the final move. In the 13th over Duff bowled Millar for 8. Now seven overs remained to take three wickets. All rested on Dineen because both spinners were now bowling well on a worn wicket. All was well until Duff dropped one short at the start of the 17th over. Dineen played a cramped pull shot and was caught at mid-wicket. He scored 39 and it was a pity he ruined a good innings by getting out at the time and in the manner he did. It now became apparent that MCC would fit in 21 or even 22 overs in this hour. In the 19th over Duff bowled Cochrane with a good one. Goodwin, meanwhile, was shaping well but in the 21st over he snicked Duff to the wicket-keeper and MCC had won with eight balls to spare. Duff had taken 4-15 in 5.4 overs of good class legspin.
Gale did a beautiful job of captaincy in the match. His declaration was good and the "carrot" was dangled. Ireland did not know whether to accept or reject. Their indecision was their undoing and they were spun out in poor light. This Irish defeat brought MCC level with Ireland at 15 wins each in the series. It should not have happened. Gale must be praised for his record-breaking batting and shrewd captaincy. Duff bowled well but it was a poor MCC team to lose to.
O'Riordan's season double of 263 runs and 24 wickets in seven matches has only two previous rivals. In 1888 JW Hynes scored 217 runs and took 32 wickets in six matches on the tour to USA and Canada. In 1937 in six matches E Ingram scored 228 runs and took 18 wickets. O'Riordan had never before either scored 200 runs or taken 20 wickets in a season for Ireland. His runs now number 1003 and his wickets 131. His next target is Ingram's 151 wickets. Then there is only RH Lambert, 179, before JC Boucher's seemingly impossible target of 307.