Ireland gave a splendid display in the field after sending the home team in on a moist slow pitch which always helped the bowlers and on which batsmen had to graft. It was the next best Irish display in the competition after the very first at Lords against Middlesex in 1980. For the first time in the competition Ireland bowled a team out by dint of good accurate bowling, no bowler was collared, and wonderful fielding which brought two run outs - one a very good one.
A fair sized crowd gave Ireland an ovation as they left the field after bowling 59.1 overs in three hours and eight minutes - a very high rate. The Man-of-the-Match adjudicator, Cyril Washbrook, commented on all this in his speech. He gave the award to A Walker, the Northants seam bowler who destroyed any Irish winning hopes.
Simon Corlett's father died two days before the match and so he missed such a match for the first time. Alan Jeffrey, who played four matches in 1984, replaced him and broke down with a thigh strain after three overs and took no further part in the match. In retrospect this was not a great disadvantage. Masood took over Jeffrey's bowling stint and did well enough to bowl 12 overs for 42 runs and get the wicket of Lamb. It also brought Ireland's 12th man, MP Rea, on to the field and he fielded very well. Northants had four former England players - G Cook, W Larkins, AJ Lamb and N Cook plus Davis, the West Indies fast bowler. Capel made his debut for England a week later against Pakistan at Headingley and scored 53 in an innings of 136. Although the match day was fine there had been a great deal of rain at Northampton - hence the moist green pitch. Ireland had intended batting first, if possible, but this changed on sight of the pitch.
At 10:30 AM G Cook and Larkins opened to the bowling of Milling and Jeffrey. Jeffrey broke down in his third over which he finished with Larkins pulling him for a six. It was Larkins last scoring stroke. In Milling's next over, the seventh of the match, Larkins hit a long hop fast and straight to McBrine at square leg. 23-1-16. In Milling's next over Bailey dabbed one to Masood at gully. 29-2-4. Lamb, recently discarded by England, came in. Garth took over from Jeffrey. Masood bowled the 15th over after Milling had bowled seven overs for 22 runs and 2 wickets.
The 50 had come up in only 14.1 overs. Lamb had hit Masood for two fours but the bowler had his revenge in his third over. He drifted one away from Lamb with a little bounce and Lamb was caught by Jackson. He left with considerable reluctance. 66-3-19. Capel joined Cook and a decisive stand of 68 in 66 minutes followed. Cook grafted carefully while Capel kept the scoreboard moving. McBrine came on for the 20th over and bowled out his stint of 12 for only 33 runs, starting with two maidens and being hit for only one four. Masood bowled in tandem with him and Halliday came on for the 33rd over with the score at 95-3. 100 came up in 35.2 overs. In the 43rd over, bowled by Halliday, G Cook was run out. He hit to Garth at mid-wicket and went to his 50 on the first run (scored in 132 minutes). Attempting a second he failed to beat the throw of Garth to Jackson. The throw was accurate, but high, and Jackson did well to jump, catch it two-handed, and get it down to hit the stumps. 134-4-50. Cook had hit only 14. At lunch (taken after 45 overs in only 137 minutes) the score was 135-4, Capel 41, Williams 0.
In 14.1 overs after lunch, six wickets fell for 63 runs. Masood bowled out his spell of 12 after lunch in tandem with Halliday. In the 47th over, from Halliday, Capel skied to Milling at deep mid-off. 148-5-48. Capel was in for 76 minutes and hit two fours. Garth replaced Masood. Garth conceded eight in his first over but got Wild with the last ball of his third, the 54th. It was a good low two-handed caught and bowled. 174-6-6. Halliday came off after bowling 11 overs for 36 and Milling returned With the last ball of his first over, the 55th, Milling seamed and bounced one away from Ripley who played a poor shot and was caught at the wicket. 179-7-1.
Williams had been playing well. He hit four fours in his 30 when Garth got him LBW in the 56th over. 179-8-30. Davis joined Cook and 11 were added. In the 58th over Garth took another wicket, his third in successive overs. He got one to bounce and "stop" on Cook who spooned it to Masood at cover. 190-9-4. Walker hit the first ball of the last over to Dennison at mid-on. He ran, was sent back and easily run out. At 2:18 PM a great Irish out cricket performance had ended. The only blot was in the 59th over when Davis skied Milling to long-on where Cohen, running from long-off, failed to hold a very difficult chance. The five bowlers performed nobly backed by exceptionally brilliant fielding particularly within the inner circle which is a regulation of this competition. Garth and Milling had three wickets each - Garth for only 28 runs.
Ireland's joy ended in the field. The fast seam bowling of Walker was too good. In nine overs he took 4-7. At 22-4, in 16 overs, the match was effectively over. Warke and Cohen survived until 10 overs had been bowled by Davis and Walker, the latter's second, third and fourth overs all being maidens. His fifth over was a double wicket maiden. Off the fourth ball Warke was caught at the wicket from one that moved away. 8-1-4. Masood waved the bat at his first ball and missed. He played a crooked but defensive push at the second, got an inside edge, and played on. 8-2-0. Dennison, at 14, and Cohen at 22 were both LBW playing back to balls which seamed into them. Capel and Wild came on, pressure eased and Harrison and Garth got the score up to 50 in 26.3 overs. Davis had returned for another stint and he yorked Garth in the next over. 50-5-17. McBrine joined Harrison. Williams (off-spin) and N Cook (slow left-arm) were tried. Tea came after 35 overs at 4:33 PM with the score at 66-5, Harrison 10, McBride 11.
The score had reached 83 before McBrine was LBW to the first ball of the 40th over, bowled by Cook. McBrine went back, the ball kept low and the umpire took his time before giving McBrine out. It was the first of Cooks four successive wickets. At 93 he bowled Harrison who played a loose drive and hit over the ball. 93-7-23. Harrison top scored with 23, batted 76 minutes with two fours. At 95, Capel, at mid-off, dropped Halliday off the bowling of Cook. Jackson repeated the stroke next ball and was not so lucky! 96-8-1. Milling and Halliday saw 100 up in 47 overs. Milling then hit Cook for six over long-off. An attempted repeat two balls later was caught by Williams. With 10.2 overs to go Jeffrey was not asked to bat. Cooke had 4-24 but Walkers 4-7 was the real destroying agent.