The third year of Ireland's inclusion in this competition brought more improvements and some "might have beens". Before the end of the 19th over the score was 54-0. This base should have brought a 200+ total. To do so needed only success from one batsman. But the very ordinary slow left arm bowling of Steele accounted for McDermott and Wills and only a 26 run fourth wicket stand arrested the decline thereafter. However, 155 was a respectable score. Then Corlett bowled superbly and was backed by Halliday and Monteith. Finding five good bowlers at this level of the game will always be difficult. Willey played very well and got the last 18 runs off five balls.
Ireland left out Bradley (Jackson was still injured) as wicket-keeper and played Harte who does not keep wicket for his club. Harte, in fact, did quite well. Torrens returned in place of Hughes. Five Northants players had batted for England. They were Cook, Larkins, Lamb, Willey and Steele. Of these Cook and Lamb were in the current test team while Larkins and Willey had excluded themselves by virtue of a Winter South African tour. Steele had been the batting hero of the 1976 and 1977 Test Series. The county bowling was not really top-rank with Sarfraz gone to play for Pakistan and Kapil Dev not arrived from the Indian tour. The wicket was hard and flat but not fast in pace. Aer Lingus, as usual, provided free tickets for the party.
The match began at 10:30 AM with Ireland winning the toss and batting. The restrictive fielding ring was used which meant that six players in all have to remain within a 30 yard radius from the bat. Short hit Griffiths' third ball for a beautiful four to mid wicket and also scored a 2. In the fifth over he hooked another four. After five overs the score was 15 which rose to 37 after 10 overs. T Lamb replaced Mallender for the 12th over and Willey (off spin) replaced Griffiths for the 13th over. Short took two fours off Lamb's second over, and seven off Willey's third. With a four and a two off Lamb in the 19th over Short took the score to 54 of which he had 37.
The last ball had him LBW well forward after a very good innings. Steele soon replaced Lamb. He is a pretty ordinary slow left arm bowler but he got both McDermott and Wills out. McDermott batted for 76 minutes for nine. He is not a great player of slow bowling and was unsuccessfully trying to sweep a great deal. Eventually he lost patience with Steele, advanced, and was caught at short mid-wicket by Cook - a good catch which had first to be knocked up. Willey now bowled to Wills and Anderson with two mid offs and seven on the leg side. At 76 Wills advanced, lifted his head and was bowled by a straight ball. Masood's first scoring shot was a six off Steele over long off. He and Anderson, who was also playing well, brought up the 100 in the 37th over. Willey bowled out his 12 overs for 24. Griffiths replaced him and he had Anderson LBW for 14 in his second and last over. He was replaced by Williams (off spin). In his second over Williams got Harper to play a terrible pull shot which lobbed the ball to square leg. Lunch was now taken after 42.3 overs with the score on 112-5. In this period Northants missed two chances. Short (110) was dropped by wicket-keeper Sharp standing back off Mallender with the score on 18 and Wills (0) should have been run out at the bowler's end following a mix up with Anderson at 68. The throw from short fine leg went yards over the bowler's head.
After lunch Harte swept a four off Williams. Two balls later he was LBW trying to repeat the shot. 126-6-7. Next over Masood (29) fell to Mallender. With no slips he flashed and was unlucky to find the wicket keeper. 128-7. Corlett, Monteith and Torrens all contributed a few but the final tally, in view of the fine start, was a disappointing 155 in 56.3 overs. Lamb took 3-25 in 8.3 overs.
At 2.35 PM Cook and Larkins began to Corlett and Torrens. With his ninth ball Corlett had Cook LBW. 6-1-2. Larkins raced away with a series of fours. He and Willey both hit Torrens for six, the Willey hook crashing off the scoreboard. In four overs Torrens was hit for 29 without bowling badly. Monteith replaced him and slowed the scoring but it was still 49 after 10 overs. Corlett bowled eight overs extremely well and was unlucky. In his seventh over he had Larkins caught at the wicket. 55-2-30. After another 11 minutes, with the score on 64-2, rain stopped play for 46 minutes during which tea was taken. In this first period Ireland had dropped two catches, neither of which was expensive. McDermott, at second slip, (he should not have been there) dropped Cook off Corlett and at 54 Anderson, at mid-on, dropped Larkins off Monteith.
On resumption Halliday began his stint with Monteith at the other end. Lamb hit Halliday for a six in his first over but was bowled in the same bowlers second over. 71-3-11. This was the end of Ireland's success. In 20 more overs Willey and Williams added another 85 to win the match. Halliday and Monteith both bowled tightly and Corlett completed his 12 overs and took 2-34. Anderson gave away 15 in his two overs, including a six struck by Williams. Willey reached 50 in 92 minutes With 18 wanted Torrens came on for the 40th over. It was getting dark and rain was possible. The umpires suggested going off. The batsmen refused and Willey hit Torrens' first five balls for 4-2-4-4-4 to win the match at 5:30 PM. Brian Close gave him the Man-of-the-Match award.