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Match Report
Derek Scott

After the Canada match, the party flew on the next day, to Francisco via Chicago and Sacramento. Their flights were delayed and the delayed arrival in San Francisco restricted a champagne party thrown by the Irish University Club and the Northern California Cricket Association. The team stayed at Palo Alto and the matches were played on matting on grass at Stanford University. On the next day, which was very hot, came the first match against N.C.C.A., captained by Alfie Cooper who had played twice for Ireland in the 1950s.

Seventh match Tuesday, September 18 at Stanford University, California. Ireland 183-8 declared (I Anderson 50, AJ O'Riordan 48; WI Lewis 24, CCJ Harte 21, Sarathe Vidanage 4-40, AW Cooper 3-40) N.C.C.A. 85-8 (J McCandless 30, DE Goodwin 4-10, M Halliday 3-41) - match drawn.

This was the first match in which Pat Dineen was able to play. Next day came the second match against N.C.C.A. From this team AJ O'Riordan stood down for the only time on the tour, Goodwin acting as captain.

Eighth match Wednesday 19th of September at Stanford University, California. Ireland 146-7 (J Harrison 59, K Serpancy 3-29) N.C.C.A. 124 (R.Nagdev 44, Sudan Vidanage 28 R.Torrens 6-35, DE Goodwin 3-25) - Ireland won 22 Runs.

Next day was free for sightseeing in lovely Francisco. At 8 PM came the hour flight to Los Angeles. Here John Marden, President USA C. welcomed the visitors to the party. The motel was a few minutes from Hollywood Boulevard on foot.

Ninth match Friday, September 21 at Griffith Park Burbank California. S.C.C.A. 154-8 declared (O Durity 53, B Excell 31, GA Duffy 3-40) Ireland 66-5 (BA O'Brien 18, C Hoo 3-10)- Match Drawn.

The first ever match against USA brought Ireland's run of 13 successive matches without defeat to an end. The sequence stretched back to the defeat by MCC late in the 1970s season. This was a good match which was lost with 11 balls to bowl. It should certainly have been drawn and could have been won with better batting and, above all, better catching. The match was played on grass in a tree-lined ground which owed its origins to C. Aubrey Smith. He was a film star, and former captain of Sussex and England. The grass was a strange type. It grew along the ground and then turned upwards so that there was a cushion of grass on the wicket to start. It wore unevenly but was surprisingly fast. The boundaries were short but the outfield grass was long and lush. To score quickly the ball had to be hit in the air. In view of this it was surprising to find Linehan left out for Ireland. Elder and Dineen were unfit. Linehan and Lewis were left out so that Halliday got his first cap since 1970. The USA team with one exception, Ramnanan, from Chicago, were all drawn from the Southern California area. They came from India, Pakistan, West Indies and England. In Oscar Durity they had the finest batsmen encountered on the tour. Three weeks earlier he had scored a century and 90 for USA against Canada at Vancouver. Earlier in the year he had gone home to Trinidad in an effort to make the West Indies team to captain England in 1973. Despite a century and an 80 for Trinidad against the Australians, he was not selected. D.Weekes was another fine aggressive West Indian who had played little cricket in 1973 but had made a century for USA against Canada at Louisville in 1972.

The first day was dull and overcast. There was a drizzle before play began. The ground was wet and sawdust had to be used for the first time in living memory! Between 11:15 AM and 5 PM Ireland did very well. USA were all out for 95 and Ireland were 29 without loss. Then the lead was dissipated by poor batting in the evening. Durity and Lashkari began for USA. O'Riordan used Goodwin and Torrens to open the bowling. Torrens was given five overs at full pace and he bowled Lashkari at six. O'Riordan came on and Torrens changed ends. After an hour the score was 24-1. At 26 Anderson dropped Reid at cover, a simple catch off O'Riordan. Then three wickets fell for two runs. At 33 Reid was bowled by Torrens for 18. In his next over Torrens bowled Weekes for nought, he drove over a yorker. In O'Riordan's next over he induced the patient Durity (89 minutes for 15) to hit wildly across a short ball and he was LBW. At 40 Mogg was bowled by Torrens on a no ball to which he did not appear to change his stroke. At lunch (after 105 minutes) the score was 43-4, Mogg 2 Lakhani 1.

50 minutes after lunch the score was 74-8, O'Riordan and Goodwin taking two wickets each. At 47 Mogg was caught for five and 61 Lakhani (six in 47 minutes) was bowled. Brown, the captain, hit Goodwin over long-on for six and was dropped on a caught and bowled by O'Riordan at 66 when 14. At 74 two wickets fell. Brown was caught at deep mid-off for 21, the highest score of the innings. Ramlall was caught at short extra cover by Linehan, fielding as substitute for Harrison who injured his wrist in the first over. McNeill, an Olympic sprinter for Jamaica, and Stewart now added 19 for the ninth wicket. At 84 Duffy dropped McNeill low to the left of gully off O'Riordan. Duffy came on for the first time at 91 of the 54th over of the match. Off his first ball McNeill's judgement did not prove as good as his sprinting ability. A long throw from the substitute fielder, Linehan, from deep extra cover to Colhoun ran out Stewart on a third run. Duffy took the last wicket and USA were all out for 95 in 215 minutes. The three fast bowlers bowled well, particularly Torrens who was very hostile. Tea was taken and at 4 PM Pigot and O'Brien set off against McNeill and Ramlall. All went well and 29 were put on in 46 minutes. Then Pigot was caught at first slip for 11, cutting at Ramlall. Durity dropped O'Brien at the wicket at the same score, he was hooking. At this point the impetus left the innings. Ramlall, a leg cutter, bowled 10 overs for one run. Harrison batted an hour for five singles. At 39 O'Brien was LBW to Ramnanan for a good 21. Only three runs came in the next 23 minutes. Then Anderson tried to pull Ramlall and skied to short leg. Duffy went in, but at 43, he saw Harrison bowled by Ramlall. Stewart, slow left arm, was given four overs. He bowled Duffy in the second last over. Colhoun one and Harte nought were together at the end. The score was 51-5 after 42 overs. In the last hour only 12 runs were scored.

On a hot sunny second day Ireland subsided to 66-8, then recovered to lead by 27 only to see USA score 198-4 by close of play. At 53 Harte was caught at leg slip of a loose shot. At 63 Colhoun was LBW to Ramnanan who had O'Riordan caught at the wicket at 66. Then 56 runs were added for the last two wickets. First Torrens and Halliday put on 31. Halliday hit Brown for six over mid-wicket. McNeill came back and at once bowled Halliday who swung at him wildly. 97-9-18. Goodwin came in with a runner (due to an injured back). He hit Brown for six. This pair added 25. Torrens hit McNeill for six and was caught at the wicket next ball. Ramlall, the acme of accuracy, had 4-27 in 26 overs.

In two overs before lunch Lashkari and Lakhani failed to score. The openers put on 38 in 66 minutes. Halliday came on at 14 and bowled 15 overs for 50 runs and three wickets. At 17, Linehan, now fielding sub for Goodwin who could not bowl, dropped Lakhani off O'Riordan at third slip. Halliday took the first three wickets. Lakhani was LBW for 12 at 38; Reid, whose only scoring chart was a six, was caught at short extra for six; and the patient Lashkari (33 in 91 minutes) was caught at 59. Durity and Weekes were now together and Ireland's successes stopped. Weekes suddenly let loose at Halliday who conceded 22 runs in his last two overs including two successive sixes to Weekes. Then, at 98, tragedy for Ireland. Linehan, at second slip, dropped Weekes (22) off O'Riordan - an easy slip catch. At tea the score was 103 for three (132 minutes), Durity 22 Weekes 25. After tea Torrens was hit for a straight six by Weekes. Then, as 116, Colhoun dropped Weekes wide to his right off O'Riordan. At 134 Torrens hit Durity in the face but he was able to carry on. Halliday came back and Weekes reached 50 in 98 minutes and then hit Halliday for another six. Goodwin, seeing the plight of the team, offered to bowl despite his injured back. At once the rate slowed and Goodwin bowled nine overs for 10 runs up to the close. Weekes hit Halliday for yet another six and was out next ball - a skier to Torrens. The stand had added 106 in 120 minutes. Weekes scored 65 in the same time with five sixes and only two fours - an indication that the ball must be hit in the air. It was a thrilling innings. In the last 45 minutes when one imagined the USA would swing the bat only 33 runs were scored - a tribute to Goodwin's courage and accuracy. Mogg gave a possible stumping chance at 174 but the ball came low. At 184 Durity reached a slow, valuable, chancelesss 50 in 178 minutes. At the close USA were 198-4, and led by 171 with 5 1/2 hours left. Durity was 56, Mogg 19.

The next morning, again sunny with a little breeze, Durity came out looking for runs. O'Riordan and Goodwin shared the bowling - Goodwin at the end opposite which he bowled so well the previous evening. The start was seven minutes late. In 23 minutes 20 were added, 18 of them to Durity. The timing of the declaration became a talking point. Then, in 33 minutes, the last six wickets fell for seven runs. In his fourth over of the day Goodwin took three wickets. Off the first ball Mogg was stumped. He batted 70 minutes for 21 and put on 53 with Durity. Brown scored two off the second ball and was caught at fine leg off the sixth. The umpire gave a seventh ball and McNeill was LBW. This was Goodwin's 100 wicket for Ireland, the eighth bowler to do so. Seven minutes later O'Brien caught Stuart off O'Riordan - a nasty swirling skier at short extra cover. Goodwin bowled Ramnanan at 225 and next over Durity swept O'Riordan to short fine leg were O'Brien took the catch. Durity had battled four hours for a chanceless 79. Goodwin emerged with 4-26 in 16 overs - great courage for a man with a very sore back. If the Durity-Weekes stand of 106 was taken from the USA innings, there was not much left so those dropped catches by Linehan were vital.

At 1:20 PM Ireland set out after 199 to win. There was 190 minutes + 20 overs left, a run rate of about 2 1/2 runs per over. This equalled the USA second innings rate. Pigot was dropped at slip in the first over from McNeill and caught at the wicket for three in Ramlall's first over. Harrison came and drove two fours in his first nine runs. O'Brien was 26 minutes at bat before he scored. Ramnanon came on and conceded eight runs in his second over. 42 came up in an hour. Brown began a very long spell. At lunch, after 73 minutes, the score was 50, O'Brien 15, Harrison 30.

At 56 Stuart came on and bowled to the end of the match. His first success came in his sixth over when O'Brien failed to get over a drive and was caught at extra cover. 74-2-28. In two hours the score was 80 off 40 overs, somewhat behind the required rate. Harrison went to his 50 at 87 in 120 minutes - an excellent innings. Now Brown and Stuart slowed the rate. Harrison only scored six in the next half-hour and Anderson was not in prime form. At 95 Ramnanan left to catch his plane to Chicago. At 98 was a confident appeal for a catch at the wicket by Anderson off Brown. 100 came up in 146 minutes, the 2 50s taking the same length of time. There was a water break at 107. One run later Harrison was caught at slip by Brown of Stuart. 108-3-56. O'Riordan came in intent on plunder! His first scoring shot was a six off Brown who at once took himself off after 21 overs. Ramlall replaced him and conceded 10 in one over including another 6 to O'Riordan over long leg. Back came Brown and Reid dropped Anderson at first slip off him at 132. At the same score O'Riordan swung to leg at Stuart and was caught at slip off a skier. His effort to win quickly had failed. 132-4-16. A lot now depended on Anderson and Torrens. In successive overs Brown dropped two caught and bowled chances, one straight and one wide to his right. Going into the last hour the score was 141-4, 58 needed. Six came in Brown's first over of the last hour. This was Ireland's highpoint. In the second over at 148, Torrens was run out. There was an overthrow, Torrens came for a second run and was sent back. He slipped and was run out by the bowler. 148-5-9. At 149 Anderson had his fourth "life" when he mis-pulled Brown to square leg were Stuart dropped the catch. At 150 his luck ran out. He was bowled round his legs, swinging at Stuart. 150-6-32.

49 was still needed and this was the sixth over of the last 20. Two overs later, at 151, Goodwin was caught at wide long on by Hollis Durity (substitute for Ramnanan). The chase was now off in the eighth over of the last hour. Harte and Halliday set out on survival. In the 13th over Harte was caught at slip off Brown. Duffy came in at number 10 and one felt a draw should be possible. Despite his wicket Brown took himself off and brought back McNeill for the 15th over. His first ball got up at Duffy who fended away to D.Jones, another substitute, at short leg. Colhoun came in for the last wicket. One still had hopes! McNeill came off after two overs and Lakhani came on with off spin to the 19th over. He had bowled two overs in the first innings and not at all in the second. Halliday and Colhoun played at 20 overs and Halliday left the wicket thinking all was over. However, there was time for possibly two more overs. Lakhani bowled the 21st. The first ball jumped at Colhoun who was caught at the wicket. The USA had won a famous victory by 42 runs. It was Ireland's first defeat since September 1970. 13 matches were played without losing since then. It was also the only defeat on the current tour of 10 matches. Stuart, slow left arm, had taken 5-35 in 32 overs. He was the USA hero. He bowled beautifully with plenty of flight and spin on a wearing wicket. The USA captain was inspired at the end with his bowling changes of McNeill and Lakhani.

On the second day of the match there was an informal meal for players and officials at the "Smoke House" in Burbank. It was a pleasant evening with witty speeches and ties presented to the Irish by the ladies present. A kiss went with each tie. The morning after the game the party was up at 5:30 AM. A Jumbo flight to New York, a wait of 5 hours, and Atlantic crossing in a Boeing and a landing at Shannon at 9 AM. The party split up and the tour was over.