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Match Report
Derek Scott

Ireland won easily - IZ never recovering from their shocking 1st innings performance. This was Ireland's 6th win in the series and they went ahead in wins (6-5) for the first time. This was the last match between the two teams until 1888. This was the last game for some of the IZ "old guard". WG Middleton was playing the last of his 6 games; WH Hadow the last of 5; and both C Marriott and G StJ Colthurst the last of 4. Six of the IZ team had played in the 1877 game - Middleton, Hadow, C Marriott, Colthurst, Ridley and Francis. The five newcomers were TS Pearson of Harlequins, a fast run getter and a good wicket-keeper; G Portal, a left handed bowler with a high delivery; GS Marriott, a younger brother of C who played for Oxford v Cambridge once (this year) as a fast bowler; W Evetts, a batsman who played for Oxford v Cambridge in 1868-69; and RS Hargreaves. Of the three Irish newcomers, Nunn came in as a substitute for TH Hanna of "hat-trick" fame. Between 1878 and 1891 Nunn played 15 times for Ireland scoring 347 runs at an average of 19.35 and taking 24 wickets at an average of 21.83. Exham was only able to play 6 times (1878-79) but in those matches he took 33 wickets for 11.87 runs each. This was W Hone Snr.'s last game. Between 1861 and 1878 he played 18 times for Ireland - making one big score, 91, in 1868. It should be noted that he had the use of only one eye since an accident in 1869, since when he had played 6 of his matches for Ireland. On the 3 previous days to this match IZ beat Vice Regal XVII by 43 runs. Hadow made 51 and Pearson was in great all round form, while Ridley took 8 for 11 (including a hat-trick) in the Vice Regal 2nd innings. In this game FG Kempster was struck by the ball and paralysed in the lower limbs. He was in a dangerous condition for some time and his career was, apparently, ended.

But for rain two days before the game the pitch would have been very fast indeed. On the 1st day Ireland took a firm grip on the match by dismissing IZ for 35 and scoring 177 for 7 in reply. IZ were all out in less than an hour for their 35 - only GS Marriott at no. 7 reaching double figures (13). Hamilton (16-9-15-7) and Exham (15-8-16-3) bowled unchanged. Hamilton bowled 6 of his victims and the other was caught at the wicket by L.Hone. The great Hadow was bowled for 0 and Ridley only got 2.

Hone Jnr. and Alexander opened for Ireland to Ridley and Francis but actually 7 bowlers were tried before the first wicket fell at 56. Then Hone was erroneously given out caught at the wicket off Francis for 30. Trotter came in and made his first half century for Ireland - batting excellently for 63. Alexander made 37 and the score was 177 for 7 before rain, thunder and lightening caused play to be abandoned for the day. The "not outs" were N Hone (5) and GD Casey (7). The IZ fielding was very good with C Marriott outstanding.

On the second day Ireland were all out for 222 - a lead of 187. This was due to a lively stand by N Hone (25) and GD Casey (21). Portal, the 6th bowler tried, took 4 for 38 in 29.2 overs. Ridley only conceded 39 runs in 30 overs, but Middleton, a frequent wicket taker in the past, only bowled 8 overs for 3 runs.

IZ sent in G Marriott (top scorer in 1st innings) with Colthurst. Exham bowled Colthurst for 0 and Hamilton bowled G Marriott for 2 and 2 wickets were down for 7. However, there was no repeat of the 1st innings collapse and Ridley and Pearson made a splendid stand for the 3rd wicket. Nunn, G Casey and Alexander were all given an over but the score had reached 114 before Alexander caught and bowled Pearson for 65. Ridley ran himself out for 96 - the highest score to date for IZ in these games apart from Buller's 111 not out in 1868. Hadow got 21 out of 80 scored while he was at the wicket - he was suffering from a bruised hand. Evetts at no. 11 got 20 in a few mintues including a fine 6 to square leg. The last pair defied the Irish bowlers and were not out at close of play, Evetts (20) and Middleton (8). The IZ lead was 64 with one wicket in hand.

Next morning five were added before Middleton was caught off Hamilton for 9. Hamilton (4-78) and Exham (4-87) had borne the brunt of the attack and had bowled 54.2 and 52 overs respectively.

Ireland went in in very poor weather conditions needing 69 to win. Francis bowled throughout the innings and quickly dismissed Alexander for 4. Portal, surprisingly, was not tried until the match was nearly won. When he did come on he dismissed Trotter for 11 and L.Hone for 0. Hussey and W Hone Jnr. saw Ireland home by 7 wickets. W Hone Jnr. made 50 not out scored out of 71 and it was a first rate innings and his 2nd half century for Ireland. W Hone Snr. got 0 in the only innings in which he batted - rather a sad farewell.

Phoenix Park, Dublin