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Match Report
Derek Scott

A much changed and poor MCC team played badly and lost by nine wickets. The defeat at Roehampton in 1983 was by the same margin - thus ample revenge! In the week before the match an International Fishing Event at Enniskillen had an IRA bomb go off. It killed two members of the security forces who were taking part in the event. There followed seven MCC changes with only Wilson, Cass, Robinson and Hatteea remaining. KG Brooks, a young Australian registered with Derbyshire, played well in both innings. The pitch got wet on Sunday morning (rain flowing down the Ormeau slope under the covers). As it dried the wicket took spin. But it was always slow and had no venom. MCC's batsmen in the second innings gave the impression that the wicket was a devil with horns. They scored 117 in 67.3 overs!

Ireland were without Corlett (who had been injured playing for MCC against Oxford University) and Masood. The latter was suspended for two matches following his conduct in 1983. He then decided not to make himself available, for business reasons, in 1984. Torrens was recalled to replace Corlett. Torrens had not been considered since putting club before country during the Worcestershire matches in 1983. A 20-year-old fast left arm bowler from Brigade CC, AS Jeffrey, was given a first cap. He had hardly earned it but the situation in the bowling department is critical. Both Jeffrey and Torrens are from Brigade CC, the first instance since 1954 of bowlers from the same club opening Ireland's bowling.

The 35th match at Ormeau since the first in 1924 got started in blustery sunshine with Briance and Sargent opening after MCC won the toss. Torrens bowled the first over and then Jeffrey, with his sixth ball, bowled Sargent. At 10 Halliday held a low drive at mid-off to dismiss Briance off Torrens. Hoggas and Brooks then produced the best MCC stand of the match, 107 in 134 minutes. The lunch score was 95 in 42 overs, Hoggas 38, Brooks 44. Brooks went to 50 in 127 minutes but, with the score on 117, Jeffrey bowled him for 60. This was the first of six wickets which fell for 70 runs - four of them to Monteith. The latter had remarkable figures. He took his first wicket (Cass) in his 14th over. The previous 13 overs had been bowled for the concession of five runs.

At 130 Cass was caught at short fine leg. Three overs later Monteith bowled Hoggas for 52 made in 188 minutes. 139-5. Robinson was LBW to Torrens with the score on 139. Mehar and Latchman added 47 in 72 minutes but, just before tea, Monteith took his third wicket, Mehar caught by Wills at slip, to go past the record of JC Bouchier of taking 307 wickets in 60 matches. Monteith was in his 72nd match. He was in his 29th over and his three wickets had cost 20 runs! The score at tea (after 84 overs) was 187-7, Latchman 16, Topley 0. Immediately after tea Monteith had Latchman caught at the wicket. Topley and Hatteea then added 46 for the ninth wicket. Torrens had to be recalled as Halliday (0-85 in 20 overs) was bowling badly. Torrens bowled Topley with the score on 233 and Jeffrey, replacing Monteith, bowled Wilson with the score on 236. In 33 overs Monteith had taken 4-35 with 15 runs coming from his last three overs. In all he bowled 21 maidens. Both fast bowlers had taken three wickets each.

With 86 minutes remaining of the first day's play Short and Warke opened to the bowling of Hatteea and Topley. Short was caught at slip with the score on 26 but this was Ireland's only loss by the time close of play came with the score at 83-1 in 29 overs, Warke 42, Wills 27. Heavy rain fell from 6 AM to 12:30 PM on Sunday. The water got under the covers and the wicket was wet from good length to good length at each end. 140 minutes had been lost when play started eventually started. MCC used five bowlers to bowl 37 overs in the two hours to tea. Ireland went along at a good rattle and scored 108 runs in this period. Warke reached 50 in 100 minutes, and Wills reached 50 in 107 minutes, and they both played very well. 100 came up in the 34th over and 150 in the 51st. Two balls later, with the score on 153, Robinson bowled Wills for 65 made in 127 minutes, and including eight boundary fours.

Anderson was not in prime form but was still there at tea, when the score was 191-2, Warke 88, Anderson 12. 200 came up in 69 overs. At 205, Anderson (15) drove Latchman straight to cover after adding 52 with Warke. Warke was now nearing what would have been his first century for Ireland. He would have followed his father in making a century against MCC. However, he began to play carefully and to shuffle across his crease. At 217 Wilson got him LBW for 99, the third player to reach such a score for Ireland. He batted 228 minutes with 10 boundary fours. At 232 Latchman bowled Harrison and at 251 Wilson had Monteith caught at slip. At 276 Jackson was caught at the wicket. Meanwhile Prior was doing his best to speed things along on the slow wicket which did not suit him. He drove a good deal at Latchman's leg breaks and missed quite a few. However, his powerful blows took him to 50 in 67 minutes. At 6:32 PM Ireland declared with Prior 63 not out (including eight fours) in 86 minutes. He added 36 with Torrens who hit one huge six into the Pavilion. 55 of MCC's 97 overs were bowled by the spinners, Wilson and Latchman, who took 5-176 between them.

In 18 minutes to the close of play Monteith and Halliday bowled nine frantic overs to Briance and Sargent. No wickets fell for four runs. The third day saw the wicket dry but receptive to spin. However, there was no real venom in the wicket even if the height of the bounce was inconsistent. Jeffrey bowled five overs at the start and Torrens seven. At 11, Warke took a fine diving catch at cover to dismiss Sargent off Torrens. Monteith and Halliday took over and MCC concentrated on defence. In 67.3 overs they were all out for 117 at 2:40 PM. Only two stands, those for the sixth and seventh wickets, exceeded 20 and the higher was 24.

Monteith continued his fine bowling and in 29.3 overs took 6-29. His match figures were 10-64, the seventh time he had taken 10 or more wickets in a match, but the first such by him since 1973. Seven times to take 10 wickets in a match equalled the record of JC Boucher. As captain Monteith had performed this feat for the first time and this was last achieved by an Irish captain by Boucher in 1937 against Minor Counties at Rathmines. This was Monteith's 10th win as captain. At Ormeau it was the seventh win in 35 matches for Ireland and equals the wins at 19 each in the series against MCC. 10 wickets in a match by an Irish bowler at Ormeau was only previously achieved by HR Morgan against Scotland in 1933 (10-81).

At 29 Briance was caught at the wicket by Jackson off Monteith. Hoggas was out in the same way with the score at 38. Halliday, bowling better than in the first innings, then took a hand bowling Cass at 47 and Robinson at 51. Brooks, playing well for his 21, got one which "stopped" from Monteith and he was caught at gully with the score on 71. Lunch came with the total on 76-6 (after 54 overs) with Mehar and Latchman at the wicket. Halliday bowled Mehar at 95. Monteith took the last three wickets. Topley was stumped with the score at 96, Hatteea bowled with the score on 106 and Latchman caught by Jackson with the score on 117. Latchman made 29 in 54 minutes. Jackson's four victims in the innings and five in the match were both personal records. In 12.3 overs from Wilson and Latchman Ireland hit off the 42 needed to win for the loss of Short, LBW to Wilson for 11

The match was part of the Dale Farm Ulster Games and the Life and Prosper Insurance Group gave the ICU 2000 sterling by way of sponsorship. The Irish score of 312-7 was the first over 300 by Ireland in Ormeau, beating the 299 against Wales in 1926. The hoodoo of no Irish batsmen ever making a century at Ormeau was maintained with the unfortunate Warke's 99.

This turned out to be the last match for R Torrens (1966-84) who had come on as a substitute. In his 30 matches, since his debut aged 18 in 1966, he had taken 77 wickets at an average of 25.6.

Ormeau, Belfast