This match, the first of a 10 day tour, followed a usual pattern for two day cricket on a good pitch. MCC were put in. Three declarations saw Ireland chasing 216 to win in 125 minutes plus a minimum of 20 overs in the last hour- a generous declaration from Griffith. At 56-4 a win was not possible. Rain and bad light brought the match to an end with 15 overs remaining. Once again leg spin was Ireland's downfall. Latchman took 8 of 12 wickets which fell. The days were warm and sunny until the final hour and the pitch was very near the Tavern Boundary.
Ireland had 13 players in the party. The 11 who defeated Scotland and played in this match were augmented by AJ Hughes, an uncapped fast bowler, and AV Smith, a batsman who had seven caps. The latter came in when T Harpur cried off injured. Hughes, a cousin of LP Hughes, was selected despite having taken no wickets at all in four 1979 Guinness Cup matches for North Leinster. Such is the bowling paucity in Ireland. For MCC only Griffith and Latchman played in the series before. GR Cass had played for Worcester in 1967 and for Millett's XI earlier in the season. CA Fry (a grandson of CB) and CB Hamblin were former Oxford Blues; JA Jameson, was the former Warwick and England batsman; KS McEwan and DL Acfield were both from Essex, the County Champions of 1979.
Corlett and Elder bowled very well at the start. After 24 overs together the score was 35-3. All 3 wickets fell to Corlett but Elder was most unlucky. At 17 Jameson skied one to an enormous height and Bushe did well to catch it. The brilliant South African McEwan was out to the first ball he faced - Corlett cutting one back at him. At 28 Lanchbury was caught behind. Elder went off after 12 overs for 15 runs and Corlett went off after 15 overs for 35 runs. Fry, after a terrible start, now began scoring quickly but at 71 Monteith had him caught for 46. Success ended here. Griffith and Brooks took the score to 94 after lunch in 46 overs. Elder had come back and saw Reith drop Griffith at slip when he was 15 - an expensive miss. The scoring rate leapt after lunch with Griffith scoring freely. He reached 50 in two hours when the total was 148. Brooks was caught at mid-off from Corlett with the total on 152 when he was 33. Griffith and Cass scored another 51 in 10.3 overs before the declaration. Of those Griffith got 41 including two successive sixes off Halliday. Cass gave Johnston his first wicket for Ireland with the total on 203 and Griffith declared with his own score on 92, 14 fours and two sixes in 159 minutes Corlett bowled one third of the overs and took 4-71.
In 15 minutes before tea Short and Reith scored 70 in only 14 overs. Hamblin conceded 29 runs in five overs. Short was in great form. He hit seven fours and came in to tea 48 not out to Reith's 19. Then three wickets fell for the addition of one run. First Short went to his 50 out of 73 in the 16th over. To the last ball of this Latchman over (with the score on 74) Reith stepped out and missed a googly. 74-1-21. Stewart bowled Short with the second ball of the next over and repeated the process on O'Brien with his fifth ball. Anderson and Johnston retrieved the situation and, indeed, scored quite quickly. Acfield relieved Stewart but Latchman kept going. At 130, with 55 added, Johnston (21) pulled at a long hop from Latchman and was bowled through his legs! Harrison advanced to his first ball and pushed it back to Latchman. 130-6-0. Anderson hit Acfield for 10 in one over and went to his 50 with the total on 146 in 82 minutes with seven fours. He was dropped when 56, a sharp chance to Brooks at first slip off Latchman. In the last over of the day, the 46th, Monteith was caught at the wicket off Latchman. The score at close of play was 158-6, Anderson 56, Corlett 0.
Ireland batted on for 10 more overs on a fine second morning. They added 42 against the bowling of Stewart and Latchman for the loss of Anderson. He was LBW to Latchman for 65 with the total on 173. Corlett was 18 not out when the declaration came, three runs behind, at 11:35 PM. Latchman had taken 5-73 in 23 overs and Ireland had received 17 overs less than MCC.
Jameson hit Corlett's first three balls for four and this was the pattern of MCC's second innings. They made 212-4 in 149 minutes off 46.1 overs, an average of 4.5 per over! Corlett's five overs cost 32 runs. Monteith replaced him and bowled to the end of the innings. Jameson reached 50 out of 69 in the 15th over. When he was 52, and the score 81, Reith put down a hard chance coming over his shoulder at midwicket off Monteith. In Monteith's next over Corlett caught Jameson at long on. 89-1-55. Jameson hit 10 fours in a 52 minute innings. Fry was lucky as he appeared and have been caught by Bushe in Elder's first over. At 93 Monteith got him in the same way. 93-2-35. The lunch score was 106-2 in 27 overs, McEwan 9, Lanchbury 5. Smith came out to field for Elder (who had suffered an arm injury) and Corlett bowled. McEwan cut loose with six fours in two overs but then lost strike for a while. Corlett bowled Lanchbury at 136. Suddenly McEwan took off again and in 8 overs went from 40 to 87! His 50 arrived in 64 minutes He hit Monteith for 4-6-4-6 in four balls. The second four might have been caught on the offside boundary by Anderson but another fielder distracted him. The next shot for six was caught at long off but over the boundary rope by Smith. When McEwan was stumped for 87, MCC declared. He had batted 83 minutes, received 68 deliveries and hit three sixes and 10 fours. His dismissal gave Monteith his 250th wicket for Ireland in this his 51st match.
Ireland now had 125 minutes plus a minimum of 20 overs to get 216. 25 runs came off six overs. Then Short cut Stewart for a six. Three balls later a slower ball bowled him. Next ball O'Brien was LBW on the front foot. He had "bagged a pair" in three balls for the second time. He had previously done this at Castle Avenue against Scotland in 1977. Worse followed when Latchman bowled Reith in his first over with the total on 38. Anderson started quite briskly but Johnston was bowled around his legs by Latchman for the second time in the match at 56. The score at tea was 61-4 and there was now very little hope.
After tea Anderson and Harrison played carefully but the former was caught at slip for 32 when the total was 97. In his last four matches at Lords Anderson has made a century and scores of 93-51-81-65. In all 441 runs at an average of 88.20! Harrison and Monteith defended into the 20 overs. The light got very bad and the players came off after five of the 20 overs when Stewart went around the wicket and outside the screen's span. At once it started to rain so that the result would have been a draw in any case. On the first evening MCC entertained the Irish party to a buffet and drinks in the company of CH Palmer, their president. AIB gave £3,000 towards this trip. On the second day AIB occupied two boxes for their staff and clients. Aer Lingus flew out the Dublin party free of charge.