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Match Report
Derek Scott

This was a wonderful match wherein 1067 runs were scored. It had a thrilling finish. MCC were set 205 to win in 45 minutes + 20 overs. They won in the 18th over of the final 20, scoring 207 off 30.3 overs despite a wet outfield and poor light. The pity was that only a few people came to see the match. Ireland played the same team as had played against Combined Services, Dermott Monteith still being unavailable. This meant going into a three-day match with two pace bowlers plus Duffy and Halliday. This was a pretty thin attack and so it proved. Ireland had not gone into a three-day match with such an attack since the match against Combined Services in 1962 in Belfast.

MCC had six players new to this fixture. NJ Cosh was a Cambridge Blue in 1966-67-68; DL Hays was a Cambridge Blue in 1966 and 1968; AH Barker was an Oxford Blue in 1964-65-67. RW Hooker was the recently retired Middlesex all-rounder.CMH Greetham was ex-Somerset and G.Dawson ex-Northants. AR Duff made his sixth successive visit to Ireland. This was the eighth match played at Clontarf since the first in 1964. The wicket was the best produced at this venue. It was slow and docile and remained so right throughout the match.

Ireland won the toss. Pigot and Reith faced Wing and Hooker. The start was brisk, 32 coming in half an hour, of which Reith scored 22. Pigot got a blow on the head from Wing and there was a delay of some seven minutes. Ridley came on for Wing. After 50 minutes Hooker replaced Wing and took three wickets in a 12 overs spell. His medium pace and movement suited the humid conditions. With the score on 51 Pigot edged a ball into his wicket and, two runs later, Harrison misjudged the line and was bowled around his legs. Anderson, restored to the number four position, was caught at the wicket dabbing at leg-spinner Duff with the score on 70. At 73 Hooker had O'Riordan LBW. It was the second appeal in succession and O'Riordan was half-forward. 73-4 was poor. Duffy came in out of order at number six as there were only 10 minutes to lunch. The score at lunch was 84-4 off 39 overs. Reith was 47 and Duffy 8.

Barker, another slow left armer and Wing bowled after lunch. Reith went to a splendid 50 scored out of 87. At 100 disaster befell Ireland. Gale came on to bowl for Wing. Duffy hit him for two. Then he hit a ball to cover. Reith rushed up the wicket when it was not his call and was duly run out at the bowler's end. His 58 was a very good innings and it was unfortunate that should be ended in this manner. Duffy did not allow the incident to unnerve him and cut Gale for two more fours in the same over. Duff replaced Barker. At 116 Dineen rushed down the wicket at a high tossed ball. His head was up, he missed and was bowled. 116-6 was a crisis point on this good wicket. Lewis did not fail. He and Duffy added 65 in 70 minutes. The bowling was switched a lot during this partnership. Gale came on again with the score at 139. He bowled a full toss at Lewis who hit it straight up to Wing at deep square leg, but the fielder dropped it. Gale bowled five overs for 18 runs and surely Hooker should have been restored earlier. Hooker did come back with the total on 148 and bowled four overs for only four runs. Eventually, it was the seventh bowler tried, Clark (medium left arm) who took the wicket. In the first of his two overs he bowled a short ball to Lewis. Lewis went to pull and it caught the edge of the bat and lobbed to short mid-wicket were Wing took an awkward catch one-handed over his head. Lewis's 35 was invaluable. Duffy went to 50 out of 183 scored in two hours.

Duff came back for Clark and at once had Goodwin caught at the wicket. At 194 Wing came on to bowl the last over before tea. Halliday was caught third ball at short leg off one that lifted slightly. Tea was now delayed for half an hour as Duffy and Colhoun added 33 runs. Wing and Hooker bowled and the new ball was taken with the score on 206 after 90 overs. Duffy was severe on Wing and hit him for 18 in four overs. However, both batsmen were dropped behind the wicket by Hays in the same over, Colhoun when eight and Duffy, when 75. The tea score was 227-9, with Duffy 78 and Colhoun 11. Duff got the vital wicket in the third over after tea when Duffy was uncharacteristically stumped. His excellent innings saving 79 came in 171 minutes and it was his highest score for Ireland. The innings lasting 281 minutes for 228 runs off 97.3 overs, an excellent over rate. Duff emerged with 4-49 from 22.3 overs.

MCC were left with 65 minutes batting. Gale and Cosh opened and the score was 49-1 at close of play. At 18 Cosh dragged a ball from O'Riordan on to his wicket. Gale played safe against Duffy and Halliday in the last 20 minutes and was 16 not out at the close. Clark, showing more aggression, was 22 not out. In all 267 runs were scored in the day off 120.3 overs.

Sunday was a little cloudy with a slight breeze but with sun at times. There had been some rain in the night. Anderson gave Gale a four as a result of misfielding and in half an hour 23 were scored off Goodwin and O'Riordan. Reith was given his first bowl for Ireland after 45 minutes. He bowled six overs at medium pace with some cut off the wicket. He bowled too many bad balls but had Gale dropped at the wicket off a bottom edge at 106 when Gale was 49. Gale had meanwhile straight driven and slashed fours off successive balls from O'Riordan to send 101 up and 52 were scored in the first hour today. The ball after he was dropped Gale went to 53, scored in 127 minutes, with a lofted drive off Reith. Halliday replaced O'Riordan. Clark then reached his 50, off 115 minutes, and the hundred partnership came at the same time. The pace quickened with Halladay being punished. 151 came after 83 minutes this morning. Goodwin and Duffy then came on. This was Duffy's first bowl today with the score on 153. Duffy duly took a wicket in his third over. Gale mis-drove and Anderson dived forward at cover to take a good catch. The second wicket had added 145 in 148 minutes. Gale, 62, made his fourth successive score of 50 or more against Ireland.

Greetham got going at once and 23 were added in 15 minutes before lunch. Halliday came on at 1:25 PM and Greetham drove him for four and then hit a six high over extra-cover, a remarkable shot. The lunch score was 186-2, Clark 81 and Greetham 16. In two hours 137 were added this morning.

O'Riordan and Halliday bowled after lunch and Greetham continued his attack on Halliday. He hit him for another six over long on and for quite a few fours. With the score at 234 Greetham was 51, scored out of 73 in 45 minutes. The 50 partnership had come in 28 minutes. At 243 Greetham drove O'Riordan upplishly to mid-off where Goodwin took the catch. He scored 58 in 55 minutes off 54 balls. His driving was very powerful. In seven overs since lunch Halliday had conceded 38 runs. Dawson came in and Colhoun missed a stumping chance off Clark when he was 96, the bowler being the unfortunate Halliday. In the same over Clark hit two fours, the first giving him his century out of 243-3. It came in 204 minutes off 228 balls, and was a fine innings.

Duffy replaced O'Riordan at 252 and one felt he should have been on sooner. With the first ball of his second over he had Dawson caught at extra cover. 263-4-2. Hooker came next. 20 were added in 10 minutes, mostly by Clark. Then O'Riordan at mid-on caught Clark off Halliday. He scored 128 in 230 minutes off 252 balls with 18 fours. Hooker and Hays were now together. Inexplicably Duffy was removed (he had bowled three overs) and Anderson was given two overs which cost 25 runs. Goodwin and O'Riordan bowled the last three overs of the innings but the onslaught continued. In all 45 runs were added in 21 minutes. Hooker finished with 29 and Hayes 22 (off only 15 balls). Off the last ball of the innings Dineen dropped Hayes off Goodwin at slip, an easy chance. The declaration came at 3:38 PM which meant a 10 minute break and then 50 minutes batting before tea. The MCC lead was 100 and Ireland had bowled 91.2 overs. The runs were scored in 273 minutes. Duffy only bowled 13 overs to take 2-40 while Halliday's 22 overs cost 98.

Ireland again made a good start and in 45 minutes until tea scored 39 without loss. At 24 Pigot had a let off when dropped at slip by Duff off Clark, a difficult chance. Both batsmen were 19 at tea. 53 came up in 53 minutes but, at 60, Hooker had Pigot LBW for 23. Reith and Harrison played well and MCC did not bring on a spinner until the total reached 80. Scoring was brisk and Reith swept Duff for 4 to reach 52 out of 101 after 112 minutes. Gale came on for Duff. Of his second ball Reith played a rushing head-up shot (like Dineen in the first innings) and was stumped. 101-2-52. Gale bowled two overs and then changed ends. Duff came back and at 6:23 PM had Harrison caught at slip driving at a wide leg break. This was not a good shot with only a few minutes to go. At close of play Ireland were 115-3. Duffy had come in at 6:11 PM at number four and was 12 not out. Nightwatchman Colhoun was one not out. So Ireland led by five runs. 394 runs were scored in the day of six hours off 112.2 overs. Another splendid rate of scoring and also over rate. Ireland's 115 had come in 135 minutes.

The third day was overcast and cold. The light after lunch was never good and most of this period was played in drizzle. The wicket remained excellent. Ireland now had a difficult task. There could easily be beaten in a straightforward way by losing their remaining seven wickets. If they did well it never seemed there would be enough time to declare and bowl a strong MCC batting side out on a good wicket. The first session was vital. Duffy and Colhoun did Ireland proud and almost batted right through the first session. MCC switched bowlers a good deal at the start and the first run did not come for 15 minutes, and only seven came in half an hour. Colhoun did not score for 34 minutes. When the score was 138 after 50 minutes Barker at mid-off dropped a difficult chance offered by Colhoun, then 10, off Gale. After an hour 35 had been scored and the 50 partnership came up in 72 minutes. Duffy went to his second 50 of the match in 91 minutes and reached that mark by hitting Duff for ten in one over. Still bowlers were switched with great rapidity. At 1 PM the score was 200-3, 50 coming in the last half-hour. At 1:09 PM the 100 stand was up and Duffy was 80, Colhoun 22 (exceeding his previous highest score for Ireland of 15 not out). At 1:16 PM Colhoun was caught at the wicket off Dawson, the eighth bowler tried. The score was 211 and the stand had added 105. This was a splendid effort by Colhoun. At lunch the score was 229, with Duffy 90 and Anderson 9. 47 overs had been bowled in the two hour session. Ireland were now 125 ahead with four hours left.

Despite the drizzle, the MCC took the new ball at once after lunch with Hooker and Wing bowling. Duffy only added two in 14 minutes and was then bowled by Hooker. It was a very good ball which cut from leg to off. Duffy had batted 153 minutes for his 92 and faced 179 balls. He used his feet very well to the slow bowlers when they tossed the ball up. He cut and drove well and had the ability to hit between the fielders. His 79 and 92 was a great double. It took him to within 12 runs of 1000 in this his 43rd match for Ireland. Two players scoring more than 50 in each innings (Reith and Duffy) had only been done once before by AC Douglas and TG McVeagh against Scotland at Edinburgh in 1928. There had been 1080 runs scored in this match, 13 more than the current one.

In 20 minutes Anderson and O'Riordan added 18. Then O'Riordan was caught at the wicket cutting as Wing. 12 runs later Anderson was out for 32, bowled by Hooker. The score was now 266-7, a lead of 161. Lewis now found himself at number nine was still a lot to do. At 3:25 PM rain stopped play, MCC wishing to come off. Tea was taken and play resumed at 4:15 PM, there being now 125 minutes left of actual playing time. At 287 Dineen was LBW to Greetham, the ninth bowler used. Goodwin came in and swung the bat. 17 were added in 10 minutes and, at 4:32 PM, Ireland declared at 304-8. The last time Ireland twice scored 300 in a season was in 1928. The 304 here occupied 347 minutes off 115 overs.

MCC went in at 4:43 PM to score 205. It was wet and dark. It was said that the MCC team had to persuade their captain, Gale, that the task was "on". 13 overs were bowled by O'Riordan and Goodwin up to 5:30 PM. At that point the score was 96-1! This was a remarkable performance although it was difficult to bowl with a wet ball. O'Riordan bowled the first over and then bowled each uneven one. Goodwin bowled the even overs. The scores after each over were 1-8; 2-15; 3-22; 4-32; 5-32 (a maiden!); 6-35; 7-44; 8-54; 9-66; 10-77; 11-85; 12-90; 13-96. In the fourth over, bowled by Goodwin, Dineen dropped Cosh, who was 19, at slip, the score being 26. In the eighth over, again bowled by Goodwin, Pigot dropped Gale, then 18, off a hard drive to his left at mid-off, the score here being 49. The miss of Cosh by Dineen was not expensive as Goodwin bowled him in the same over. 26-1.

This brought in Hays who had a stroke for every ball and played wonderfully well. He might have been run out in the 10th over if Halliday at cover had been quicker. At 5:30 PM the last 20 overs began. MCC now needed 105, Hays was 47 and Gale 27. Hays was out in the first over of the 20. He was caught by Lewis at mid-off off a hard drive. He scored 47 in 35 minutes off 27 balls and set MCC on the victory path. Clark was next. One over saw 98, two saw 102, three, 110. In the fourth over O'Riordan bowled Clark. 113-3-13. Greetham, the next key figure, was now in. After five overs the score was 121. The sixth over, bowled by O'Riordan, took the score to 124 and Gale was run out for 38. Greetham hit to Pigot at cover. Gale came for a run, was sent back and was run out by the bowler. 124-4-38. 81 were now needed in 14 overs. After seven overs the score was 131, after eight it was 136 and after nine 142. The 10th over, a good over by O'Riordan, saw the score go to 145. In the 11 over Greetham hit Goodwin for 12 including a huge six over long on. This, one felt, was the vital over.

Nine overs were now left and 48 was wanted. The 12th over yielded 14 and Reith dropped Hooker at long on, the catch going straight to him. After 13 overs the score was 176, and after 14 188. The 15th over, bowled by Goodwin, took the score to 196 and Hooker was LBW. 188-5-18, but all was now over and the win came in the 18th over. Greetham was 48 not out, scored in 14 overs. In 30.3 overs MCC scored 207-5. Should the bowling had been changed? We will never know. Duffy was the only other bowler who could have been used and he might have found a wet ball even more difficult than O'Riordan and Goodwin. A third seam bowler of quality was badly missed. The Irish ground fielding stood up to the battering very well and Duffy distinguished himself in an unaccustomed position on the boundary.

Despite the rain break 396 runs were scored in the day off 101.3 overs. In all 1067 runs were scored. This was Ireland's seventh match in which over 1000 runs were scored. The most recent, 1062, was at Greenock in 1932. Only two others have been in Ireland. 1020 were scored at Ormeau in 1926 against Wales and 1099 at College Park in 1925 against Scotland. Of the five matches played in 1970 two were won, one lost and two draws. Ireland have not had a credit balance of wins over losses since 1948 when three matches were played, one was won and two drawn.

Castle Avenue, Clontarf