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Match Report
Derek Scott

This was the first match of the tour on which there were four matches, with cricket on nine days out of 10. 12 players left Dublin at lunchtime on Saturday, July 23 - by plane to Cardiff and by bus to Mumbles. Reith and J Harrison were not available for the trip. Harper (last played in 1974) and Harte (last played 1973) came in. Monteith could only join the party for the second match so Halliday played in Wales. LP Hughes, recalled after five years, was 12th man. Three selectors travelled, KF O'Riordan, FG Brady (team manager) and AK Kirkpatrick. Also present with the party were the President, TA Dunlop, the Honorary Treasurer, CA Irwin, and the Honorary Secretary, Derek Scott. GP O'Brien had been dropped from the team. When Reith cried off, O'Brien was unable to take his place. Thus a new cap, AV Smith, the left handed Pembroke opener came into the team. He had made 2 50s in the 1977 Guinness Cup. For Wales, J Hopkins, R Williams, J Ambrose and A Wright had not played before. D Jones and N Owen were playing in their fifth matches against Ireland.

The match was dull and very slow moving. Runs never came more than two per over. The overs were bowled slowly, especially by Wales. After a sunny first day the next two were overcast. The wicket was covered during the match but heavy rain before the match started made players suspicious of the wicket.

The match began at 2 PM on Sunday with Wales batting. Wickets fell at regular intervals in two sessions of 150 minutes each. Just before the end Wales were all out for 165. The last pair put on 28 and this was the best stand of the day. Ireland bowled 90.2 overs at a rate of 18 per hour. The first session yielded 73 runs for three wickets off 43 overs. Elder had bowled 17 overs for eight runs and the only spin was Halliday in two overs before tea. He took a wicket in his first over. He could surely have been tried sooner to test the wicket.

Hopkins left at 14, caught at short leg by Harte from one that jumped from Corlett. Ambrose, 25, got one from Corlett that left him and Smith took the catch chest high at first slip. Williams made 15 in an hour. Then Elder, back for a second spell, had him caught by Harte low and to the right at square short leg. Halliday came on with the score at 72 for the 40th over. His third ball saw Slade playing a crabbed defensive shot and being caught at the wicket.

Elder and Halliday resumed the bowling after a 30 minutes interval. With the score at 85 Wood walked into one from Elder and was LBW. With the score at 88 Ellis was dropped by Elder off Halliday at mid-on. This miss was not expensive. One run later O'Brien caught him low at first slip. This was in Corlett's first over on his return in place of Elder. Ellis hit seven fours in his 41 in two hours - he had waited for the loose ball. Jones and Pressdee saw 100 up in 60 overs. At 112 Jones was LBW to Corlett half forward. O'Riordan came on for Corlett at 121 while Halliday bowled unchanged. At 131 Edwards flashed at a ball from O'Riordan. It was near his stumps and lifted a little. Colhoun took the catch. Six runs later Pressdee was out to a marvelous catch by Harper. He ran backwards at long off to pluck the ball down right-handed. Wright and Owen had a the last wicket stand of 28 - the best of the innings. Wright made 27 of these hitting four fours. A new ball was looked for but the umpires did not seem to have one or else did not know that one could be claimed after 85 overs! O'Riordan was hit for 19 in two overs. He gave way to Elder who had Owen LBW second ball with 5 minutes to go. Elder emerged with 3-17 in 22.2 overs, Corlett 4-42 in 23 and Halliday 2-32 in 26! Very slow moving innings.

There were seven hours cricket on an overcast second day. The wicket had been covered and was now dry and firm but with some cracks. Ireland reached 93-2 but were all out for 181. In 70 minutes both the openers were out and only 27 had been scored. In eight overs Owen had only a single scored off him. Smith was bowled playing back to a ball well up to him which away a little Short was LBW half forward. O'Brien, following his pair against Scotland, took two overs to get off the mark. Anderson hit Wood for 8 in one over. After two hours only 29 overs were bowled and Ireland were 66-2. The off spinner Slade came for the 30th over. The 50 stand came up of which Anderson had scored 36. 34 overs were bowled in 135 minutes to lunch and the score was 81-2, Anderson 38 and O'Brien 15 (in 83 minutes).

Lunch, in fact, ran 6 minutes over time. The spinners, Slade and Edwards, now bowled unchanged and wickets began to fall. Anderson (39) sliced Slade too short third man with a score of 93. At 117 O'Riordan (19) was caught at the wicket off Slade while attempting to cut. As 118 Harte was bowled by Edwards for 0, deceived by the flight. O'Brien and Harper added 35. Harper, when 2, was badly missed off a stumping chance when the score was 120 when Edwards bowled a high floater. O'Brien then hit Slade for six to long on to go to 52 with the total on 146 in 191 minutes in the 69th over. 3 of his 50s for Ireland out of 4 had been against Wales. As 153 Harper, who had scored five singles, was bowled by Slade by a ball well up to him. At the same score Corlett hit a chest high return catch to Edwards. O'Brien (72) and Halliday (8) were together at tea. The score then was 180-7 in 81 overs.

In 11 balls after tea the innings subsided for only one more run. O'Brien was caught and bowled by Slade first ball after tea. His 72 was his highest score for Ireland. It came in 217 minutes off 210 balls. In the same over Halliday was caught low at first slip and Edwards bowled Elder in the next over. Slade had taken 5-57 in 27 overs. The 16 run lead was a disappointing. The ball was not turning and the batting had been careless.

In the 125 minutes left Wales scored 72-1 off 41 overs. With the score at 10 Ambrose retired hurt for one when Corlett hit him on the hand. Jones had opened and was now joined by Williams. The score rose to 42 when Halliday came on the 20th over. Williams tried to pull his second ball which went from his arm on to the wicket. At 63 Jones (23) was dropped by Halliday from a face high caught and bowled chance. At the close Jones was 25 and Ellis 15.

The third day was again overcast and there had been rain during the night. Ireland knew that to win they had to bowl Wales out. They began well. With the score on 89 Anderson took a good catch to his right at cover to dismiss Ellis (22) off Corlett. At 97 three wickets fell. O'Riordan had replaced Elder. His first four overs were maidens and in the fourth he had Jones LBW for 40. In Corlett's next over he drifted one away from Hopkins and O'Brien took the slip catch. The next ball removed Woods off stump. In his next over Corlett bowled Slade at 104. In 67 minutes five more wickets had fallen for 32, four of them to Corlett for 15 in 10 overs. Pressdee and Edwards now made a stand and Pressdee was not put off by being winded by O'Riordan. As 120 Corlett went off (4-20 in 13 overs today) and Halliday was tried. Anderson replaced O'Riordan with the score on 134. As 139 Pressdee (24) chopped Halliday into his stumps. At lunch (135 minutes today off 38 overs) Wales were 143-7 off 79 overs in all.

Edwards, when eight, slashed Anderson to O'Brien at slip but he had no chance of catching it. Edwards and Wright took the score to 167 and every passing minute was vital to Ireland. O'Riordan and Corlett came back and took the new ball (Elder had a slight leg strain). Edwards hit O'Riordan for 10 in an over. 36 minutes after lunch Wright (nine) lobbed O'Riordan to mid-on where Hughes (sub for Elder) pulled the ball down right-handed. Ambrose now came in again and defended well despite his injured arm. Another 13 overs went by and seven more runs were scored. Then Corlett caught Edwards at second slip diving low to his right and taking it two handed. Next ball O'Riordan bowled Owen round his legs. O'Riordan emerged with 4-37, the first time in many years that he had taken four wickets in an innings. Corlett had taken 4-46.

Ireland had 100 minutes plus 20 overs to chase 159. No attempt was really made and, indeed, the Welsh over rate did not help. In 45 minutes to tea only 11 overs were bowled. Ireland then were 19-1. Smith was dropped by Slade at second slip before he had scored with total on two off the bowling of Wright. It was a reasonably easy catch to his right. Short flicked Owen on the leg side and Hopkins caught him diving to the right. 9-1-5.

13 more overs were bowled in 55 minutes after tea. These were mostly by Wright and Owen who trudged back very slowly. In this period Ireland lost O'Brien at 36, nibbling at one that left him to the wicket keeper. When 20 overs were signalled Ireland were 56-2 with 103 needed. 24 overs had been bowled in 100 minutes Wales brought on Edwards and Slade who proceeded to bowl 20 overs in an hour! Smith (19) was run out in the fourth over. He was out at the wicket keeper's end after Anderson had cut a single to Jones on the off-site. O'Riordan was LBW square on in the ninth over and Corlett was bowled in the 14th over. Harte was on "a pair" for 12 balls but he (nine) and Anderson (41) played out time with the total ending at 108-5. Ireland might have tried harder to get these runs but the attempt would probably have failed. It was important not be beaten in the first match of the tour against the least good team to be played.