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Match Report
Derek Scott

Two more sunny days and a match very similar to that just finished against Gloucester, except that Ireland did not lose. In a match of declarations on a pitch near the Grandstand, Ireland were set 251 to win in 138 minutes +20 overs. At 42-4, hope of winning was gone. At 94-7, with 12 minutes and 20 overs left, defeat loomed. Harrison, aided by an injured Cohen, saved the game and the former was unlucky not to score a Lords century - as was Cohen in the first innings.

Patterson and Jeffrey were left out of Ireland's 13. Martin Crowe, the current New Zealand star, played for MCC as did 46-year-old Mushtaq Mohammed of Pakistan. Lefebvre is a Dutch international. Goldsmith and Robinson opened for MCC to Nelson and Thompson. Nelson kept the runs down but Thomson got the first wicket when Goldsmith mistimed a pull and skied to gully. 47-1-33. After 18 overs for 52, Lewis came on for Nelson and his first ball to Crowe (1) was a straightforward caught and bowled chance which he put down.

The next wicket fell with the total on 138! Lewis went for 42 in five overs as Crowe opened up with some superb strokes. 100 came up in the 27th over. Harrison and Halliday came on in tandem and the latter saw Thompson dropped Crowe (then on 39) at deep mid-wicket, the ball coming over his shoulder. Crowe went to 50 in 58 minutes. Harrison's first three overs cost 22 but off the first ball of his fourth over Crowe was LBW for 65 in only 67 minutes, 53 balls, and with 1 six and 11 fours - 50 in boundaries. Three overs later Harrison bowled the patient Robinson with the score on 155, Robinson scoring 46 in 147 minutes. Lunch came after 41 overs and 153 minutes with the score on 159-4, Lanchbury 11, Mushtaq 0.

After lunch Harrison and Halliday continued, bowling 17 overs each. With the score on 167 Vincent brilliantly caught Mushtaq at mid-on to give Harrison a third wicket. Knight, former captain of Surrey and Captain of MCC joined Lanchbury to put on 66 at a run a minute. Lanchbury went to 50 in 98 minutes, his third for MCC against Ireland. Nelson and Thompson came back with the score on 215 and they got a wicket each. At 233 Thompson bowled Knight and at 238 another brilliant catch by Vincent, at square leg, accounted for Lanchbury. MCC now declared after 68.2 overs with just under three hours playing time left on the first day.

In 17 overs up to tea Cohen (26) and Vincent (15) saw 42 on the board. After tea the brisk pace of Lefebvre got three wickets while the score went from 88 to 104. Vincent went LBW for 39 after an 88 run opening stand. Nulty was bowled playing down the wrong line with the score on 94. After 100 came up in 42.1 overs and Cohen went to 50 in 126 minutes, Garth was another LBW victim with the score on 104, having played too many balls with his pads. Mushtaq and Allbrook (offspin) were now bowling. Cohen, who had been too slow, now accelerated. His stand of 42 in 26 minutes with Harrison saw him making 36 of these runs. He went from 50 to 88 in 34 balls and was then plumb LBW to Allbrook with 100 in the offing. He was in for 165 minutes, faced 172 deliveries and hit 14 fours. Harrison was the fourth LBW of five in the next over. Lewis (0) and Spence (2) saw out the last over with the score on 148-5 after 55 overs.

Lefebvre and Allbrook bowled a further 11 overs in 33 minutes on the second morning. Lewis (19) and Spence (18) added 40 with 4 fours between them. Then Ireland declared 50 behind. With 107 minutes to go to before lunch MCC set about increasing the lead. By lunch 28 overs had been bowled and MCC were 123-1. Five bowlers were tried but Robinson and Goldsmith had 50 up in the 13th over and 100 in the 24th. Goldsmith got to 50 in 77 minutes as the Irish fielding became ragged.

Spence proved to be the best bowler and the least expensive. At 109 he bowled Goldsmith. By lunch Robinson was 52 (50 coming up in 106 minutes) and Crowe 2. Another 15.5 overs were bowled. MCC increased their rate and scored 77 of these. Harrison did "the double" on Crowe - a great success for the offspinner. Crowe was out for five with the total on 126 Vincent taking yet another fine catch at mid-wicket. Halliday, at mid-off, caught Robinson for 60 off Spence with the total on 144. Spence bowled one more over and took 2-34 in his 10 overs. Lanchbury was 9 when Mushtaq came in with the score on 144. 56 more were scored of which Lanchbury made 39. Halliday bowled three overs for 28, the middle one costing 20 - all to Lanchbury. At 192 Spence, at mid-on, caught Lanchbury off Harrison for 48 made in 50 minutes off 53 deliveries and containing a six and 8 fours. Lefebvre came in and hit Harrison for a six and MCC declared at 200 for four.

Set 251 to win in 138 minutes +20 overs Ireland had 78 minutes batting before tea. Hannam and Towse did not seem to trouble Vincent or Nulty. The latter opened instead of Cohen who, in the morning, went to hospital with torn stomach muscles. In the eighth over Vincent chased a wide ball from Towse and was caught at gully - an awful shot. Lefebvre was on with the score at 39 and Allbrook at 40. In the first four overs they bowled three wickets fell at 40, 41 and 42. Nulty (20) tried to turn Lefebvre to leg with no foot movement and was caught at mid-wicket. Lefebvre then had Lewis (3) LBW to his quicker ball. Then Garth (1) casually played over a flighty one from Allbrook.

Spence joined Harrison in a short stand of 30. Then, after playing well up to tea (taken at 61-4) he rushed at Allbrook and was stumped. Harrison had been missed at 10 and 31 but he was doing his best to salvage the innings. At 92 Allbrook had Thomson caught at short mid-wicket and Jackson was LBW to him for 0. Enter Cohen! He felt very unwell and Lewis ran for him. Not that the runner had much to do on Cohen's behalf - he blocked his first 48 deliveries! Harrison was 33 when Cohen appeared. He began to play more freely as the field moved in. His 50 came up in 109 minutes.

With the score at 106-7 the last 20 overs began. Allbrook switched ends and Lefebvre and Towse shared the other end. On the pair went. Then Cohen hit a square cut four and the tension seemed to ease. With three overs to go Harrison was 83 and now seemed to set his eyes on a century at Lords. He hit a four off Lefebvre - now he was 87. Cohen gave him the strike off Allbrook's first ball. Harrison hit the next into the Grandstand and drove the next for 2. He was now 95 with nine balls to go. Then he made the mistake of, at once, trying for the Grandstand again. He got too far under the ball and the skier was caught at deep square leg. His 95 came in 156 minutes, with 140 balls. He struck 2 sixes and 16 fours. He had saved the match and made his highest score for Ireland. Cohen and Halliday saw out the last nine deliveries. No praise is too high for the injured Cohen's 10 not out in 80 minutes and 62 balls. Allbrook had 5-41 in 22 overs of off-spin.