A tremendous win against a professional side who were bowled out twice and beaten squarely. That had been a long coach haul of some 200 miles from Swansea the previous night. Pagham is a seaside resort in West Sussex. This ground had been condemned in 1976 following a match against Oxford University. Now the wicket was good, even if the ground was a little small. It was surrounded by deck chairs and a fair crowd came on the first day. Sussex played a mixture of first and second team players and the controversial Pakistan Test player Imran Khan was making his debut. He had transferred from Worcestershire amid some mystery. AW Greig was playing in a test match against Australia and Graves captained Sussex.
Monteith had now joined the Irish party. He and Hughes played instead of Harper and Elder (who was not considered due to his leg strain). The wicket was hard and dry when Sussex won the toss. It was not ultra quick. The day was breezy with the sun coming in bursts. But for Imran Khan Sussex would scarcely have made 200. A marvelous century in 90 minutes by him brought them to 260.
Barclay and Graves began to the bowling of Corlett and Hughes, with the latter bowling three wides in his first over. With the first ball of his third over, with the score on 16, Corlett had Graves caught by Colhoun as he flicked on the leg side. It was a good two handed catch diving to the right. Mendis, from Sri Lanka, came in. When eight he gave Monteith a chance at second slip off Hughes. It was low and to the left. Monteith touched it but it went for four. This was with the score on 32. At 47, Barclay, when 13, gave Monteith another chance. This was waist high to the left. O'Riordan replaced Hughes for the 18th over when the score was 47 and Monteith came on for Corlett at 56. Monteith got Barclay (20) in his fourth over when the total was 62 when he dabbed and was caught by Colhoun. Imran came in 5 minutes before lunch and was not out 1 at the interval. Mendis had begun with four fours and was 41 not out at lunch when the total was 78-2 in 90 minutes
At once after lunch Mendis mishooked O'Riordan but Monteith at square leg could not get back quick enough. At 89 Mendis hooked O'Riordan to Smith on the deep fine leg boundary. 89-3-42. O'Riordan came off at once (8-2-18-1) and did not bowl again, Corlett returning. Imran began to hit in a fast and smooth way. He had struck four fours and then hit Monteith for 2-6-4 off successive balls. Next over Corlett had Parker LBW pulling. 113-4-2. Imran hit Monteith for another six. Then he hit Corlett for four off the back foot. A cover drive took him to 52 in 50 minutes He had lost Greig, brother of Tony, who was caught by Colhoun off Corlett low and to the right. 148-5-9. At 149, Imran, when 58, was dropped on a running catch at long off from Corlett. Halliday replaced Corlett with the total on 159. In his third over Imran hit him for six to mid-wicket and, two balls later, another six over long-on removing a slate from a local pub. An off drive for four gave him 16 in one over. Next over he hit Monteith over mid-wicket into the next field. Two fours off Halliday in the next over brought him to 101 out of 197 in 19 minutes (five sixes and 11 fours). He actually scored 100 after lunch in 82 minutes! Two balls later he was out, caught by Hughes at long-off. This was a wonderful innings of clean hitting.
Phillipson and Head saw 200 up in the 60th over, (in 182 minutes). Three more wickets then fell quickly. At 217 Phillipson (19) chipped Monteith to Harte running to his right at long-on. At 224 Head (five) was caught by the only slip (O'Brien) off Halliday. Two runs later O'Brien repeated his catch to dismiss Waller off Monteith. Once again a last wicket stand frustrated Ireland. Still and Cheatle added 34. Of these Still made 29. He hit Halliday for four and six (over long-on) and Monteith for a six over long-on. At 244 Colhoun dropped him when 17 off Halliday. Eventually he was bowled, swinging at Halliday. 260 had been scored in 79.3 overs and three of the bowlers had taken three wickets each.
After tea Short and Smith began to the bowling of Imran and Still. Imran bowled five fast overs for one run and gave way to Waller, slow left arm. Barclay, off spin, came on for Still with the total on 19. Short was in good form and had made 30 out of 40 in 77 minutes when he scooped Waller to Imran at mid-off. Smith had been dropped when one by Imran at slip off Still. He was now dropped again when six. Imran had returned to bowl and this was an easy catch to Head, the wicket keeper. Khan's second spell was very fast but Smith (seven) and O'Brien (one) survived to the close of play. In 19 minutes 43 had been scored, Smith making a very slow seven.
The second day was sunny and play began at 11 AM. Imran, bowling off-cutters and Waller resumed the attack. O'Brien lofted Waller for four and was very nearly caught at third slip off Khan. Still replaced Imran at 54. Smith hit Waller for a six but was out at 68 for 19. He was caught well by Waller at short square leg off Still from bat and pad. Barclay was tried instead of Waller. O'Brien lofted him twice to long off where Cyril Irwin, the Irish Honorary Treasurer, fielded both outside the line! Cheatle, another slow left armer, came on with the score at 80. He had just taken 5-8 against Warwickshire. As 87 he bowled Anderson who played a careless head up drive to which he got an inside edge. O'Riordan was next. 100 came up in the 56th over in 172 minutes At 115, O'Brien was dropped low and wide at first slip by Imran off Phillipson. He was 32 and did not add to his score. He was caught at deep cover when failing to get to the pitch off Cheatle. 119-4-32. O'Riordan and Harte then added 40 in a partnership which spanned lunch. When 33 O'Riordan reached 2000 runs for Ireland and was the first ever to reach 2000 runs and take 200 wickets for Ireland. At lunch the score was 156-4, O'Riordan 40, Harte 19. 113 runs had come off 48 overs in a 135 minutes session.
O'Riordan did not add to his total after lunch being caught at the wicket at 159, slashing at Waller. Corlett hit Waller for six to long-on and added 31 with Harte. Greig had come on at 159. After 31 runs were added in eight overs since lunch the new ball was taken by Imran and Greig with the total on 187. As 190 Harte was missed by Graves in the gully from a diving head high chance. At the same score both batsmen were out. Corlett was LBW to a half volley from Greig which drifted in from the leg. Harte was caught at third slip when swaying back to cut Imran. His 37 was a very useful busy innings. As 197 Still replaced Greig and bowled Monteith with his first ball. As 197-8 Ireland were still 63 behind. Hughes and Halliday now produced much incident and 56 runs! Halliday was dropped by Phillipson at second slip before he had scored and Hughes, at 201, when eight was also dropped by Phillipson, this time at third slip off Imran. This angered Imran who bowled very fast and short at Hughes. He was unofficially warned by umpire Pepper. He did not stop and now got an official warning. Hughes then gave Imran "the charge" and four fours came off him in two overs. He came off at 226 for Phillipson. Halliday hit Still for two fours. Waller came on at 244 and got the two wickets to finish the innings. At 253 Hughes was stumped for 35 - equaling his highest score for Ireland. This was a dubious decision as Head seemed to break the wicket with his hands and then the ball can back off his pads. At 258 Halliday was caught at long-off for 21 - his highest score. Of the seven bowlers used Waller emerged with 4-70 in 29.1 overs. This very satisfactory innings lasted 115.1 overs.
Tea was now taken and at 4:22 PM Barclay and Graves went in. Shortly afterwards the light got poor but the batsmen elected to stay out. The score mounted to 63 at the rate of four an over. Then rain and thunder stopped play for 9 minutes When they resumed seven balls were bowled before more rain stopped play at 5:33 PM. The score was 69-0, Barclay 43 Graves 20. The loss of this hour with Sussex going so well definitely helped the subsequent Irish win.
The third day was sunny and blustery with the wicket a little damp from the rain of the previous day. Hughes did not field due to a bruised hand when struck by Imran when batting. Harper replaced him. O'Riordan and Corlett shared the bowling. Early on Barclay was dropped by Anderson low to his left at square leg off Corlett. It was not an expensive miss as, at 78, Barclay (48) played on to Corlett. The ball kept low. After an hour the score had got to 99 when Monteith came on. It seems that he might have been tried earlier. Wickets now fell with regularity up to lunch. At 103 Mendis tried a "head up" drive in Monteith's second over. The ball spun a lot and he was stumped. Corlett now came back for O'Riordan who had bowled 15 overs for 30. Corlett got Graves to mis hit a short ball in his first over. He was caught and bowled. In his second over Imran hit a massive six over the Pavilion to mid wicket. He advanced to meet the next ball which he skied very high to Monteith behind the bowler. 123-4-8. At 134 Parker pushed out at Monteith and was caught by O'Brien at slip. Smith then went off with a sore arm and Elder replaced him. At 142 Greig was run out when Monteith hit the bowler's wicket from mid off with not more than one stump to aim at. At 145 Phillipson got one from Monteith that turned and lifted and O'Brien caught him at slip. The lunch score was 147-7, Waller 0, Head 2. In 135 minutes seven wickets had fallen for 78 runs.
A run out was missed when the total was 157 with Waller far from home. Anderson, behind the wicket, did not realize this and threw badly. Halliday came on for the first time with the total on 167, replacing Corlett. Head was stumped in his first over. 168-8-12. Still left at 173 caught by Elder at the sight screen. The last pair, Waller and Cheatle added 24. Both struck out and a declaration was probably imminent. As 184 Cheatle was dropped by Harper at extra cover off Halliday - the ball coming over his shoulder. In the same over Elder, diving among the deck chairs at midwicket, almost caught a six by Cheatle. As 197 Cheatle was caught simply by Harper at midwicket giving Monteith 5-38 in 20.4 overs of fine bowling.
Ireland, at 2:52 PM, set out to get 200 to win in 108 minutes +20 overs. The start was disastrous. Smith was out first ball, caught at the wicket flashing at Still. O'Brien got an inside edge for four of the third ball. Off the fourth ball he went for a hook, was never in position and was caught at the wicket off his gloves. Short was in fine form. He began to middle everything. He struck Imran for two fours in the sixth over. In the seventh over, from Still, Anderson flashed at a ball that was too near him and he, too, was caught at the wicket. 18-3-0. O'Riordan played second fiddle to the brilliant Short and helped to retrieve the situation. Waller and Greig came on with the total in the 40s. Short had hit Still for three fours and was 40 out of 52 in 56 minutes He reached 50 out of 68 in 53 minutes and had hit eight fours. Greig conceded 17 in two overs. Then, at 71, O'Riordan burst the inside seam of his trousers. A long delay ensued what he changed them and he might have soldiered on to tea. On his return, however, Cheatle came on and O'Riordan swept to Imran at deep square leg - a dangerous shot that proved fatal. 71-4-11. The pair had added 53. With Harte in tea came at 87-4 off 27 overs. Short 58, Harte 7. In 25 minutes after tea - up to the 20 over mark - Sussex, to their credit, bowled 10 overs. These were bowled by the left armers, Waller and Cheatle. 48 runs were scored and each batsmen made 24. So, going into the final 20 overs minimum, Ireland needed only 65 with six wickets in hand. Imran returned and shared the first six overs with Waller. From these 20 runs were scored, Waller conceding eight in his last over. Still replaced Waller for the eighth over and conceded seven including a four and a two to Short which took him to 98. Imran then bowled a maiden to Harte. Short took a single off Still's first ball to go to 99. Harte hit a four over mid-on and took a single off the last ball. With 10 overs to go 30 were now needed.
Harte took a single off Imran's first ball and the stand was exactly 100. These runs had come in 31 overs and in 82 minutes Two balls later Imran bowled Short for 99. His concentration lapsed, the ball kept low and he got a nick. He was the first player ever to score 99 for Ireland and it was one of the finest innings ever played for Ireland. He hit 12 crisp fours and batted for 48 overs and 163 minutes. In Still's next over Corlett hooked a thrilling six over fine leg and into the road. Harte was out for 49 in Imran's next over. He shaped to glance the last ball, failed to make contact, but was given out caught at the wicket on the leg side. Unfortunately he left with much reluctance and gesticulation but a subsequent apology to the umpire was willingly accepted. His 49 in 113 minutes was also a very fine performance and he kept pace with Short. The score was now 180 and 20 were required from seven overs. Phillipson replaced Still for the 14th over. Three runs came from it, including 2 no-balls. Five came from Imran's next over including one no-ball. Now 12 were needed from five overs. With the first ball of the 16th over Phillipson bowled Monteith. 188-7-1. Corlett and Hughes got one run each and four runs came from Imran's next over including yet another no-ball. Corlett got a single from Phillipson's first ball. Then Hughes hit a no-ball for four over mid-wicket, was then dropped in the covers and finally glanced a four to finish the match. Sussex bowled 54.4 overs, always kept the match open and were very magnanimous in defeat.
Saturday was a free day and the party traveled to London by coach. This was done via Charterhouse School where Ireland under-19 were playing a five-day International tournament. On Sunday at the Oval a 50 overs each side match was played against Surrey, no bowler to bowl more than 12 overs. No caps were awarded for this match. Surrey put out a very good team captained by Pat Pocock whose benefit year this was. There was quite a good crowd to see Ireland bowl and field very well while Surrey made 204-6 (G.Howarth 51, GRJ Roope 63, Intikab Alam 30). AJ O'Riordan tore a groin muscle in his first over. The four main bowlers, Elder, Corlett, Hughes and Monteith conceded between 40 and 53 in their 12 overs. The fielding was very good and Harper took one marvelous catch. Ireland did not, however, bat well and were all out for 146 in 45.1 overs. Harper had made 23 when he had to retire with badly pulled tendons after hitting the ball for four. To complete the accident list the Surrey opening bowler, R Baker, twisted his knee and was out for the season. Surrey and the Allied Irish Bank (who sponsored the tour with £1000) were very generous with hospitality rooms at the Oval.
The Sussex match was O'Riordan's 72nd and last and a fitting end as captain in a remarkable way. He was the first player to achieve a double of 2000 runs and 200 wickets, the 2000 run element coming in his last match