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Match Report
Derek Scott

MCC, with an entirely different team, avenged their earlier defeat at Lords. This game was to have been v I Zingari but the Gypsies were unable to get a team to Ireland due to lack of numbers and floods in Wales which delayed their arrival. Accordingly MCC took over their Irish matches. MCC had with them 6 well known players. Hon. Alfred Lyttelton was the greatest amateur wicket-keeper in England since Herbert Jenner who had captained Cambridge in the first ever game v Oxford in 1827. Lyttelton had developed under RAH Mitchell's care at Eton and had played for Cambridge v Oxford from 1876 to 1879. He was captain in this year of 1879. He was the youngest of the 8 cricketing Lytteltons and was also a fine forcing batsman. In England he played in the Test Matches of 1880 and 1884. In the 1880 match he and Blackham (Australia) gave what is considered the finest wicket-keeping display in the history of cricket. In his last Test in 1884 at the Oval, all 11 English players bowled in the Australia total of 551. Lyttelton, bowling with his pads on, took 4 for 19. He was to have captained the team taken to Australia by the Hon. Ivo Bligh to attempt to regain the Ashes in 1882-83 but was unable to do so. He retired from first class cricket in 1887 at the age of 30 but was President of MCC in 1898.

The Hon. NG Lyttelton was an elder brother of Alfred's and was in the Eton XI 1862-64. He played occasionally for Worcestershire. Both WF Forbes and W Evetts had played for I Zingari against Ireland, the former in 1876, the latter in 1878. Forbes indeed was the most outstanding and controversial figure of the match. A powerful man he had played for Eton v Harrow (1873-76) and in his last year, when captain, he scored 113 in 105 minutes. In this match it was as a bowler he starred, taking 12 wickets for 54 runs - 10 clean bowled. However, it was stated by many people that he should have been no balled for throwing 3 balls out of 4. Lawrence's annual says that the whole performance was "preposterous". Clayton R, formerly of Yorkshire and Farrands FH, formerly of Notts were fast bowlers on the MCC Ground Staff. This was another bone of contention because it was felt MCC should have fielded an all Amateur XI but too much should not be made of that because of the short notice at which MCC agreed to send a team. Shelton, the Phoenix Professional, might have played for Ireland to even matters up. That he could do so was proved on the 3rd day when a scrap match was played due to the original match ending early. In this game Shelton took 7 for 9 and MCC were bowled out for 46, losing by 25 runs.

Ireland introduced JAC Penny, a bowler and W Blacker of Harrow and Cambridge University. The latter played 4 times v Oxford from 1873 to 76. AJ Fleming, H Hamilton, TH Hanna and JH Nunn were not available. Indeed the Irish team was weak in bowling and it was GD Casey who took most wickets although he had seldom previously bowled for Ireland. The weather throughout the game was foul.

Play on the first day could not start until 3 00 as MCC had not a team present due to floods in Wales causing a traffic hold up. The weather remained dry until 5 00 then there was a 20 minute stoppage. A downpour as 6 00 caused the abandonment of play for the day. The Lord Lieutenant, the Duke of Marlborough, was present with Lord and Lady Randolph Churchill.

W Hone Jnr. and N Hone opened for Ireland, the former happily recovered from his broken arm. Raikes (slow) and Clayton (fast) bowled. The score was taken to 27 when W Hone Jnr. drove Clayton high and straight and was caught by Hardinge who took a fine overhead catch at the sightscreen. Brougham was next and at 33 he hit a ball hard to leg where Evetts fielded well and ran out N Hone. 33-2-17. Trotter came next and scoring became slow. At 45 Forbes came on for Raikes and 7 runs later Brougham, in attempting a drive, let his bat slip and was bowled by Forbes. 52-4-14. Alexander came in and saw Forbes bowl Trotter at 55, L Hone at 73, Blacker at 77, JB Hone at 83 and Hussey at 84, a great spell if it was not for his very doubtful mode of delivery. Alexander who, as always, was playing well saw the 100 up with GD Casey. Raikes came on for Clayton and at 112 Alexander played on, which was a habit of his. 112-9-27. Penny came next and indeed no. 11 seemed late for a man who had scored 550 runs in 20 innings. However he was lbw to Raikes at 118 and Exham was caught off the same bowler at 120, leaving Casey 7 not out. Forbes had 6 for 28 in 31 overs and Clayton, in 28 overs, only conceded 20 runs. In fact in not long over 2 hours MCC had bowled 91 4-ball overs. The Lyttelton brothers opened for MCC and were 36 for 0; Alfred 17 and NG 19, when rain ended play. An easy chance was given off Penny who had opened the bowling with Exham.

There was frequent rain and many interruptions on the 2nd day. This was very hard on the Irish "crack" bowler Exham who disliked a wet wicket. Twice rain drove the players in but at 65 Penny bowled A Lyttelton for 33 - with a fast long hop! Forbes came next and was 4 not out at lunch with NG Lyttelton 42. Just after lunch NG Lyttelton might have been run out but Trotter fumbled and then threw to the wrong wicket. At 100 Alexander relieved Penny, who seemed to have been over-bowled. Forbes skied his 3rd ball to cover but Trotter fell and the catch was missed. Brougham relieved Exham who had bowled 29 overs for 44 runs and no wicket. Brougham's 3rd ball broke from off and bowled NG Lyttelton for a not very impressive 62. His stand with Forbes had added 53. 118-2-62. W Evetts came in and Casey came on for Brougham who was unaccountably taken off after only 3 overs. Trotter splendidly caught Forbes off a no-ball from Alexander, then threw in carelessly and a run was taken. Penny then came on again for Alexander and he and Casey bowled to the close of the innings. At 139 for 2 it looked as if MCC would make a high total but in fact their lead was less than 100 in the end. At 139 Forbes was stumped by JB Hone off Penny but as the ball had grazed the bat this was treated as a run out. 139-3-37. HW Ridley was no. 5. Evetts gave Casey an easy catch but he started too late. This stand added 35 then 4 wickets fell for 6 runs - two to each bowler. Evetts was caught and bowled by Casey (174-4-33); Ridley was smartly caught at slip by Brougham off Penny (174-5-7); Hardinge was stumped off Casey for 0 (176-6); and Kellie was bowled by Penny (180-7-0). The 8th and 9th wickets each added 12 but Casey and Penny finished off the innings at 5 30 for 209. The first four batsmen had scored 175 between them, the last 8 only 41. The MCC total should not have exceeded 150 because 6 catches were dropped.

Little need be said of the 2nd Irish Innings of 76. In the 45 minutes to close of play on the 2nd day 4 wickets were lost for 28 and a little more than an hour sufficed to finish the game on the 3rd day. A hot sun on a wet wicket made batting very difficult yet Shelton and Lacey, the Phoenix professionals, were praised for the quality of the wicket which was said to be the best of the year! N.Hone alone offered defence and his 26 was the only double figure innings. He got hit several times about the arms, hands and legs and he was last out. The "shying" of Forbes was too much for the Irishmen!

Later in the week MCC defeated Vice Regal XV by 3 runs, the game again being played in abominable weather.

Phoenix Park, Dublin