Surrey's first visit to Ireland produced an extraordinary match. Ireland outplayed the County on the first day and made them follow-on on the second morning. Surrey then attacked in the second innings and declared. At that point there were 40 minutes +20 overs remaining. JWG Elder, Ireland's number 11, had to play out the last five balls! The weather was windy and cold and the wicket at Rathmines was inclined to "stop" and sometimes lift. Surrey came because they were knocked out of the Benson and Hedges cup and agreed to take up a date which Pakistan refused at a few months notice. Notts would have come but they qualified for the Benson and Hedges cup. The good offices of Raman Subba Row, chairman of Surrey, ultimately filled the fixture gap. Surrey left out Jackman, Pocock and Edrich but still had five Test Match players. Chief among them was Fred Titmus (45) late of Middlesex and now the Surrey coach. From 1955 to 1975 he played 53 Test Matches scoring 1449 runs and taking 153 wickets. Roope was a current English batsman. Intikhab had played for Pakistan against Ireland in 1962 and was the only Surrey player to visit Ireland before. In 47 tests, and Captain on 17 occasions, he did the 1000 runs/100 wicket double. Younis Ahmed played twice for Pakistan and GP Howarth was fresh from a century in each innings at Auckland for New Zealand against England.
With O'Riordan and Harrison retired Ireland played 4 bowlers and left out Halliday and brought back T Harpur. The match was sponsored by Rothmans (£2000); there was live television (£600) with commentary by Louis Hogan and Derek Scott; the Dublin senior clubs guaranteed £300 of presold tickets but the crowd was very poor, only £140 being taken at the gate. Roy Torrens cried off the Irish team and LP Hughes came in. Dermot Monteith was the new Captain.
Short and Reith began when Ireland were put in. Thomas and Baker (who injured his knee in Ireland's one day match at the Oval in 1977) started the bowling. At 13 Short (10) swept at Baker and was caught at slip off a top edge. Reith and O'Brien moved along nicely and had 38 up in an hour. Various bowlers were tried but 50 was up in the 17th over. There were a few miscues but some good shots also. Reith (24) was dropped by wicket-keeper Richards at 70 off Titmus. Then O'Brien hit Titmus to mid-wicket for six to achieve his 1000 runs for Ireland in his 31st match and 53rd innings. He was the 17th player to reach this mark. At 88 Reith helped the Titmus floater to Knight at backward short leg. 88-2-33. There had been a 75 run stand in 79 minutes. 100 came up and, in 39 overs before lunch, the score was 101 for two, O'Brien 37, Anderson 10.
Anderson got moving after lunch and in 14 more overs the score went up to 152. At this point Ireland were really trying to accelerate and both batsmen were out in similar fashion to successive balls from the occasional bowler of off-spinners Howarth. O'Brien (52) and Anderson (43) both failed to get to the pitch of the ball and skied on the off side. Harpur survived the hat trick. He and Harte added 30 and were out within seven runs of each other. Harte had made only four out of a stand of 30 when he skied Titmus to wide long-on. Harpur (29) was caught at 189 after playing very well. Corlett and Monteith got another 22 in three overs. At 211-6 Ireland declared after 69 overs, scored at a rate of over three are over. Surrey used six bowlers and Titmus took 3-76 in 25 overs.
Surrey had 50 minutes batting before tea. In that time they lost three wickets for 34, all to Corlett. At 12 Howarth (eight) was bowled by one that kept low but the batsman was not in line. At 16 Knight, the new Surrey captain, was LBW to one that cut back at the left-hander. Monteith replaced Elder for the 12th over. At 29 Younis pushed rather than hit and was caught at mid-on. Roope (12) and Smith (0) were now together. After tea with the total on 39 two more wickets fell. Roope (17) lobbed one to Reith at slip off his gloves from Monteith. Next over Corlett hit Smith on the head and then had him caught one-handed wide to Colhoun's left. Payne and Baker were now together. They put on 29 and Payne hit Monteith for a six and a four in one over. Monteith changed ends to relieve Corlett who had bowled 15 overs and taken 4-31. Hughes bowled four overs for four runs and Anderson replaced him at 68 Colhoun appealed for a stumping against Payne (17) off Monteith and was given a catch! Intikhab hit Anderson for 10 in one over. Corlett came back and Monteith changed ends again and Intikhab hit him for six. Then O'Brien at extra cover dived forward to catch Intikhab off Monteith. 87-7-16. Next over Corlett seamed one away from Baker and Colhoun made his third catch. It was 91-8, Richards three, Thomas one at close of play in 48 overs. Corlett had 5-34 in 19 overs. Ireland had had a great day.
21 more runs were needed to save the follow-on at 11 AM on the second day. At 95 Corlett moved one away and Colhoun caught Thomas. Enter Titmus who was intent on coming down the wicket. Elder bowled two overs and then gave way to Monteith with the total at 106. Richards hit five off this over and Surrey were exactly 100 behind. With the third ball of his next over Corlett got Richards LBW on one that kept low. Corlett's 7-44 in 22.3 overs was his best bowling for Ireland. Monteith's 3-38 in 19 overs was also steady bowling.
Surrey were in again 33 minutes after the start of play with 107 minutes remaining to lunch. In that time Ireland bowled 33 overs, Surrey were 147-3 and Ireland dropped three vital catches. At 15 Reith dropped Howarth (0) at first slip off Corlett. Howarth eventually made 84 although Younis made all the first 21 runs scored. At 30 Younis went down the wicket once too often to Elder and skied it to the bowler in the middle of the wicket. At 48 Knight skied Elder to Hughes at mid-off. Monteith replaced Corlett and Howarth hit him for 11 in one over to bring up 50 in 50 minutes. Howarth reached his own 50 with a six in 63 minutes (with nine fours) and was now striking beautifully. When he was 43, and the total 77, Harte dropped him on a difficult chance coming over his shoulder at extra cover off Monteith. Hughes had come on and saw Harte drop Roope (two) off a shoulder height chance to short midwicket. Roope scored 40 more runs. 100 came up in only 74 minutes. Howarth hit Elder for 10 in one over and then hit Monteith for 12. The pair added 99 in only 59 minutes On the last ball before lunch Elder got one to lift at Howarth and it lobbed to Colhoun. Howarth scored 84 in 106 minutes He faced 89 balls and hit 14 fours and one 6. Roope was 31 at lunch, taken at 1:20 PM, and Surrey led by 87.
In 68 minutes after lunch Surrey got another 107 runs off which Smith made 53. Elder plugged away at one end and Monteith and Corlett shared the other. At 160 Roope (42) got a "lifter" from Elder and Corlett dived in at short leg to catch it. Then at 167 Smith gave Harpur a simple catch at cover off Elder which was dropped. Smith was three and made 50 more. Smith and Payne added 46. Then Payne (19) swung at Elder and was bowled. 206-5, and Elder had taken all five. Smith and Baker added another 48 in only 25 minutes with plenty of boundaries. Smith got to his 50 in an hour. When Harpur caught Baker (19) off Corlett at extra-cover Surrey declared, Smith 53 not out. The lead was 154 and was beyond Ireland's ability. However, there might be time for Surrey to win on this dry wicket with the top now gone - and so is almost proved. Elder, in 22 overs out of 54 bowled, took 5-81. A tired Corlett conceded 78 runs in 13.4 overs, Monteith 68 in 14.
Baker took wickets in his first and second overs. At four Reith (0) was bowled leg stump and at seven O'Brien (0) was LBW. Short and Anderson survived for 20 minutes and added 24 runs. Knight replaced Thomas for the ninth over and bowled to the end. In his first over he had Anderson caught at mid-on by Maurice Whelan, the Irish Substitute. AR Butcher (Surrey's 12th man) was on for Intikhab (strained side) and Roope was giving a TV interview! In the first over of the final 20, with the score still at 31, Short was caught at mid-on off Baker. With the last ball of the fourth over Knight bowled Harte and at 38 Baker yorked Corlett. Now it was 38-6 and seven overs of the final 20 were gone. Colhoun was now sent in to try and hold out with Harpur. This they did into the 16th over. Titmus came on at 45-6 for the 11th over. At 53 both batsmen were out. Harpur snicked Knight to the wicket-keeper and, in the next over, the 17th, Titmus had Colhoun LBW with his first ball. Monteith and Hughes added 11 runs and then Knight came to bowl the final over. Hughes tried to push his first ball to leg. This was a poor shot in the circumstances and he was LBW. Elder played the last five balls with no alarms.
There had been a total change of fortune since the morning but Ireland would not have deserved to lose. There are those who argued that the follow-on should not be enforced but it was an attacking policy and could have worked if the catches had been held. The Rothmans Man-of-the-Match awards (Waterford cut glass decanters) went to Corlett for Ireland and Howarth for Surrey.