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Match Report
Derek Scott

A fine sunny warm day at Lord's, after much rain in the previous week. Ireland, allowed into the Gillette Cup on a two-year trial, gave a very good account of themselves before a crowd of about 2000 people. Ireland were selected to be unchanged but Elder became ill in London the night before the match. AJ Hughes was sent for. Because of aircraft delay he did not reach the hotel until 3 AM. Next day he had to play. Middlesex had a current England batsman in Gatting. As well Brearley (who had just relinquished the England captaincy), Radley and Barlow had all batted for England. Selvey (fast) and Emburey (off spin) had bowled for England. Daniel was a West Indian Test fast bowler. Van der Bijl would have bowled for South Africa had they been playing test cricket. As a young man he played for Wilfrid Isaacs XI against Ireland at Rathmines in 1969. Brearley had made a century for MCC against Ireland at Lords in 1962.

The wicket used was that used in the Oxford v Cambridge match in which there was only about four hours play. It was dry but a little rough and pock marked. It took spin and the Middlesex players had a low opinion of it. The Umpires, Tom and Terry Spencer, ordered a 50 minutes delay while the edges of the square dried. The match began at 11:20 AM. Monteith won the toss and batted. This was a decision of courage and probably the only way Ireland could hope to win. Most would have sent Middlesex in and hoped to put up a "good show".

Disaster struck at once. Daniel shattered Reith's wicket with the first ball of his second over. In Van der Bijl's next over O'Brien tried to run one down to third man. It was too near him and Brearley took the catch at first slip. There followed a splendid stand of 68 between Short and Anderson. Short played very well and Anderson rode his luck. At 22 Gould dropped Anderson (9) at the wicket off Van der Bijl. Emburey replaced Daniel (five overs) at 22. Anderson swept his last ball into the crowd for six. At 32 Selvey replaced Van der Bijl (six overs). Short moved down the wicket to Emburey and hit a lovely four to extra cover. All close fielders were then removed. This was after the 15th over with the score at 40-2! Lunch (12:45 PM) came after 22 overs with the score on 53-2, both the batsmen on 24. Just before the lunch interval Gould missed a legside stumping chance off Emburey to Anderson's relief. Slack and Gatting bowled one over each after lunch when a sudden shower stopped play for 20 minutes Play resumed with 9 being hit from Slack's second over. After 27 overs the score was 72-2.

Then, at 75, Anderson's luck ran out. He had been missed twice and played and missed a good deal. Now a ball from Gatting kept low and bowled him. 75-3-37. Three runs later, in the 30th over, Short did not seem to spot a slower ball from Gatting which he spooned to extra cover. 78-4-33. Short had played very well and would that he could have survived a lot longer. From the 31st to the 47th over Harrison and Johnston batted against Gatting, Daniel and Emburey but could only get 21 runs in singles and twos. Van der Bijl returned for the 44th over in place of Gatting (10 overs). The signal, perhaps premature, went out to speed up. Emburey bowled out his 12 overs (0-21). Selvey came on for the 47th over. Johnston, slashing at his fifth ball, was caught behind. 99-5-13. This was the start of a terrible collapse when the last six wickets fell for only three runs. In Selvey's next over, the 48th, Monteith slashed and was caught by Gould. 99-6-0. In the 49th over Harrison swung wildly at Van der Bijl and was bowled. 100-7-11. Daniel replaced Selvey and bowled Murphy. Van der Bijl's next over, the 51st, was the last. He got Halliday LBW (and in the process injured his foot) and bowled Hughes two balls later. He had taken 4-0 in 11 balls, and 5-12 in all in 10.4 overs.

At 3:41 PM Brearley and Slack began to the bowling of Corlett and Hughes. Halliday got some treatment for his foot and missed the first over, during which T Harpur fielded as 12th man. In Corlett's fourth over he had Slack LBW. 17-1-12. Hughes bowled three overs for five runs and Halliday came on at the Pavilion end for the eighth over. He departed after the 30th over, having taken 4-22 and the score was 72-5. His first ball had accounted for Radley who snicked him to O'Brien at leg slip. Barlow then came in. Corlett bowled five overs for 13 and Monteith took over for the 11th over. Barlow hit two fours in his second over. In his third over Corlett missed a hard chance to his right at gully off Brearley (then 7) when the score was 42. Both the batsmen played cautiously until, in the 24th over, Brearley (11 in 72 minutes) was LBW to Halliday when sweeping. 57-3-11. Anderson replaced Monteith (seven overs for 22) for the last over before tea. The score was 63-3, Barlow 34, Gatting 1.

In the first over after tea Gatting tried to chop Halliday and was bowled. 65-4-2. In the next Halliday over, his 11th, Butcher spooned a ball to Reith at short midwicket. 67-5-0. 36 were still needed when Van der Bijl joined Barlow for the 20th over. Halliday's last over was the 30th. Monteith came on and Anderson changed ends to replace Halliday. From this point Middlesex moved on to win in the 39th over without too much worry. The winning run by Van der Bijl was a very fast difficult chance to Reith at extra cover which Reith could not hold on to. Of the final 36 Van der Bijl scored 25. Barlow, since tea, scored 5 off 34 balls. Jim Baker gave Van der Bijl the Man-of-the-Match award and complemented the Irish and, in particular, Halliday. A great and historic day was over. Aer Lingus had flown the Irish party to London free of charge.