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Match Report
Derek Scott

The party traveled to the lovely Worcester ground by coach on Tuesday where they practiced for an hour in the late afternoon. When last these teams played, at Sydney Parade in 1967, Hemsley and Gifford had played for Worcester, O'Brien and Monteith for Ireland. Worcester had done very well in the Championship in 1979 and were to finish second under Gifford. Capped players for Worcester were Hemsley (who captained the team), Gifford, Patel and Humphries. The others were young players plus Robson, an Australian. D'Oliveira and Ormrod were playing for MCC v Scotland. The weather was sunny and showery. On the second day there was no play after lunch due to heavy showers. On a perfect wicket scoring was quick and high and Ireland emerged quite well in the end although set an impossible second innings task. As 28 Alan Hughes gained his first cap for the injured Elder.

Ireland did well at the start as three of the first four batsmen were young players. There was an 8 minute break for a shower soon after the start. Despite a wet ball Corlett bowled Weston at 12 and Halliday caught the left-handed Jones at extra cover at the same total, giving Hughes his first wicket. Henderson hit four fours in his 18. He and the languid Patel put on 37 in 23 minutes. Patel gave Corlett a hard gully chance when 13 and the total 43 and, next ball, Short hurt his hand trying for a low left-handed catch at second slip. With the total on 49 Corlett brought off a most brilliant low diving right handed caught and bowled to dismiss Henderson. Nine runs later Patel hit Hughes to Anderson who misfielded. Patel went to stroll a single but Anderson recovered to throw down the bowlers wicket. Now Humphries, Worcester's normal wicket-keeper, and the Australian Robson were together. Humphries struck a flurry of fours and gave very sharp chances to Short and Corlett. Johnston was tried for Corlett with the score on 72 but his four overs cost 23. 100 came up in the 28th over. When the total reached 102 Halliday came on for Hughes and Humphries pulled him for two sixes in his first over. Humphries reached his 50 in the 31st over with the total at 111. Monteith replaced Johnston with the total on 117 (why not sooner one wondered) and got Humphries in his second over at 129. Halliday did very well to hold on to a skier at short mid wicket. In the 71 run partnership with Robson, which took only 48 minutes, Humphries had made 57. In all he scored 62 with two sixes and 10 fours! At lunch, after 44 overs, the score was 143-5, Robson 17, Hemsley 7.

At 172 the patient Robson (27) was caught at first slip off Corlett. This brought in Boyns and there followed a big stand of 142 for the seventh wicket. Rain had delayed the lunch interval by 40 minutes so the ball was wet again. Both players played all the shots and the bowlers were all under pressure. Corlett and Monteith bore the brunt of it. At 228 Boyns (34) gave Harrison a fairly easy overhead catch at mid-off from the bowling of Monteith - a most expensive miss. Hemsley went to his 50 in 73 minutes The score at the tea interval was 251-6, Hemsley 61, Boyns 41. On they went putting on 100 in only 53 minutes off 19 overs. Boyns reached 51 with the total on 276 and Corlett dropped a caught and bowled chance when he was 57. Hughes and Corlett were now bowling again. 300 came up. Eventually, at 316, Hemsley hit Hughes tamely to mid-on. His 95 came in 110 minutes. The stand of 142 had only taken 81 minutes Hughes bowled Brown in his next over at 324 and Corlett bowled Boyns at 335. Boyns (83) had batted for 94 minutes with one 6 and 12 fours. At 342. Hughes bowled Gifford to emerge with 4-95 in 22.2 overs. Corlett's 4-109 came in 31 overs. The two spinners, useless on this fine wicket, yielded 99 runs in 26 overs. The fielding stood up well but too many sharp chances went down and one easy one. Just under an hour remained in which Short (18) and Reith (16) made 50-0 from the bowling of Pridgeon, Boyns and Patel (off spin).

Only 105 minutes play was possible on an overcast second day. Play began 15 minutes late and ended at 1:00 PM. A thunder shower at lunchtime made the whole wicket square so wet that play was called off at 5 PM. In fairness no groundstaff effort was made to dry the square. Ireland's first objective was 193 to save the follow-on. When the end of play for the day came the score was 151-4 and all four batsmen brought about their own downfall. Pridgeon and Boyns resumed the bowling. At 69, Short (31) was dropped at slip by Humphries off Pridgeon. Then, at 74, Reith was caught at wide mid-off when he failed to middle a delivery from Pridgeon. 74-1-21. Next over O'Brien missed a swinging full toss from Boyns and was LBW. Patel replaced Boyns when the score reached 94. Short reached 52 out of a total of 103 in the 33rd over after 110 minutes Short, in great form, hit three more boundaries and reached 65 with the total on 119. He then played a firm footed slash at Pridgeon and was caught behind. He hit eight boundaries in his 65 which came in 123 minutes. Boyns came back for Pridgeon and Anderson tried to drive without using his feet. Gifford took the catch at gully very well. 126-4-12. Johnston, 8, and Harrison, 14, saw the day out before the rain came with the total on 151-4.

The short third day (11:00 AM-4:30 PM) was sunny. If Ireland saved the follow-on it was difficult to see a result. So it transpired. Johnston (11) left with the total on 162 when he put his left foot to midwicket, heaved at Patel and was caught low and right handed at slip by Hemsley. Gifford came on at 167 for the first time. His third ball accounted for Harrison (17) to another good catch. It was low and right handed by Humphries at leg slip. 25 were still needed to avoid the follow-on. At 187 Gifford dropped Corlett (8) low and to his right off his own bowling. Monteith and Corlett went past the 193 mark and indeed past 200. When the score had reached 215 Monteith (20) really middled a shot off Patel but saw Robson dive far to his right at extra cover to bring off a really sensational catch. When Corlett (39) was caught at long-off Ireland declared 116 behind.

At this stage there were 68 minutes left to lunch. In that time Ireland bowled 18 overs and Worcester scored 133-3! Corlett bowled 55 deliveries and runs were scored off 32 of them. 40 in all were hit off him but only one four. The unfortunate and inexperienced Hughes bowled 54 balls for 91 runs. Runs came off 36 of his deliveries including three sixes (all to Humphries) and 10 fours. The spinners could not be tried as more overs and more runs would have resulted. At 14 Corlett bowled Jones (13), swinging. At 30, in the sixth over, Weston (11) slashed at Hughes and was caught behind. 50 came up in 30 minutes in the ninth over. At 66 Corlett bowled Patel for 24, scored in 27 minutes. In the next 27 minutes Henderson (38) and Humphries (45) slammed 67 runs in 44 balls! 100 came up in 55 minutes in the 15th over. Then Anderson dropped Humphries at deep square leg off Corlett and, at 113, Monteith dropped him again, left-handed at mid-off off Hughes.

The lunch declaration left Ireland to score 250 in 80 minutes plus 20 overs - an impossible task. Maybe Worcester were right. Short and Reith hit 143 in 36 overs at a rate of four an over. Short was in marvelous form. Jones, on at 34, and Hemsley, on at 50, are only occasional bowlers but Short, with Reith not far behind, was very severe on them. At 36 Reith (11) was dropped at the wicket off Boyns. The last hour was called after 27 overs, the score being 85. In the 10 overs before the match was called off 59 runs were scored. Short went to his 50, at 89, in 80 minutes He then quickened, hit a six off Jones and another off Patel before being bowled by Hemsley having a really wild swing. 143-1-83. Just before this Reith had reached his first 50 of the season. He was out in the over after Short for 53. The match ended after 10 overs of the 20 had been bowled.

Short's 490 runs in 14 innings, at an average of 40.83, is a new Irish aggregate record for a season. Four other batsmen averaged over 30 and two more in the 20s. Halliday was the most economical wicket taker with 17 as 21.41. Corlett took 30 wickets at 22.63