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Match Report
Derek Scott

This was a young MCC team who batted better than they bowled. After a blank first day (due to rain and a wet ground) there followed two glorious days. Put in MCC eventually set Ireland a target at five runs per over and really Ireland never tried what was a very big task. Only McEvoy, Needham, Goldsmith and Hodgkins played against Ireland before. Cox is currently playing for Durham, Cartwright was formerly of Derbyshire, Pearson formerly of Warwickshire and a Blue. Ireland selected an unchanged team from that which played against Durham. However McBrine cried off and Harrison returned.

At 11.30 on what was originally to be the second day McEvoy and Cartwright opened to the bowling of Nelson and P McCrum. The bowlers were unlucky with playing and missing. P McCrum bowled eight overs for 15 and Nelson six overs for 8. C McCrum replaced Nelson with the score on 22. Cartwright pulled his fifth ball to deep square leg. Lewis made ground and, from the boundary's edge, found Jackson's gloves perfectly. McEvoy was out attempting a third run. 25-1-10. Lewis was tried but C McCrum took the next wicket in the last over he bowled in the innings. Dunlop caught Slater, an Australian, at second slip for 15 with the total on 43. Goldsmith joined Cartwright and Ireland brought on Harrison and Hoey. 6 bowlers had now been tried in 27 overs. Hoey bowled Goldsmith (14) in his third over with a very good ball which turned the batsmen square. Eight overs later (39 overs) the lunch interval came after 135 minutes with the score at 95-3, Sedgbeer 11 and Cartwright a very slow 37.

Another 16.5 overs were bowled, mostly by Hoey and Dunlop, before MCC declared having put on 83 in those overs. Sedgbeer and Cartwright put on 56 in all in 41 minutes. Then Dunlop got Sedgbeer (30) to a dubious legside catch at the wicket. Cartwright then speeded up. He got to 50 in 163 minutes but added another 30 in only 23 minutes. Needham kept him company while 53 were put on in 32 minutes. Then Nelson came back and had Cartwright LBW for 80 with the total at 178-5, at which point the declaration came.

There were 67 minutes to tea. Warke and Rea raced away against the quick bowling of Walshe and Hodgkins. 50 came up in only 13.1 overs. Cox, slow left arm, stemmed the tide. Rea (then 29) was dropped at deep square leg with the score at 59 in Coxes fourth over. In his fifth over Warke (29) was caught at mid-off. Rea was 37, Graham 0 at tea which came after 21 overs with the score at 74-1. Pearson, offspin, bowled throughout the rest of Ireland's innings - first in tandem with Cox and then with Needham. Graham, vulnerable to spin, was missed off a stumping chance by Sedgbeer but was caught at short leg off Pearson for 9 with the total at 86. Rea went to 50 in 97 minutes. He and Lewis had 100 up in 29.2 overs and 150 in 38.5 overs. They added 72 in 17 overs. Then Rea, striving for ever quicker runs, was caught at mid-wicket off Needham for 74 with the score at 158. He had batted 139 minutes with 11 fours. Lewis went to his 50 in 59 minutes. He lost Dunlop (0) at 171 caught at short leg. C McCrum scored 14 of the last 17 runs. After 48 overs Ireland declared 10 ahead. Lewis was not out for 53 scored in 74 minutes off 69 deliveries. He hit 6 fours and 2 massive straight sixes.

There were 62 minutes left when MCC went in again but they lost 2 wickets for 26 in 14 overs. Nelson bowled McEvoy in his fourth over and had Slater LBW in his fifth. At the end Cartwright was 18 and Cox was yet to score. Slater had given Nelson a caught and bowled chance 2 balls before he was out.

The prelunch spell on the third day was from noon to 2:30 PM. Ireland fitted in 44 overs and MCC advanced by 208 losing five more wickets. The captains had agreed on some targets and Ireland kept in attacking fields. 3 sixes were hit and 26 fours. The catching was not good, three went down, but the ground fielding was excellent. Warke, because of sore feet, was off from most of this session. MCC batted on for 4 balls after lunch which was a pity. Nine bowlers were used, all except Lewis and Jackson. Graham, Warke and Rea all took wickets in their first overs, Graham and Rea not having bowled for Ireland previously. Cartwright and Cox put on 101 in 91 minutes, 50 coming in 20.3 overs, 100 came in 33 overs.

Cartwright (31) was badly dropped by C McCrum at mid-on off Dunlop with the score at 64. It was Graham, the fifth bowler used, who eventually got Cox for 46 with the total at 124 with the last ball of his first over. Cox had hit the previous ball for 6. Cartwright went to his second 50 of the match in 111 minutes. He and Goldsmith put on 30. Then C McCrum took a wicket with the second ball he bowled in the innings, in the 43rd over. His brother, Paul, picked up Cartwright at extra-cover for 81 (1 six and 11 fours) scored in 153 minutes. In his third and last over C McCrum would have had Goldsmith (then 17) out at 165 if Lewis could have clung on to a fast low chance at slip. 14 runs later Sedgbeer was dropped by Graham at mid-wicket off Harrison. The Goldsmith/Sedgbeer stand in 35 minutes added 61 and saw 200 up in 52 overs. At 215 Harrison had Sedgbeer LBW for 33. Warke bowled the last over before lunch to give MCC runs. Goldsmith hit 6 to complete his 50 in 72 minutes but was stumped off the last ball.

Rea was given his first bowl for Ireland after lunch. Needham hit 2 fours and then holed out. Now all 11 Irish players in this match had taken an international wicket. Six bowlers shared 7 wickets. Nelson had 2-8 in 8 overs but only bowled two overs today as MCC were fed runs if they could beat the infield.

There was no tea interval so at 3:22 PM Warke and Rea set out after a target of 233 runs in 98 minutes plus a minimum of 20 overs in the last hour. It meant a rate of 5 runs per over. The opening pair did not try to hard to get 9 overs of the quicker bowlers away. They conceded only 21 in these 9 overs. Cox and Pearson came on then. At 35 Rea (then on 8) was badly dropped off Cox by McEvoy at mid-wicket. Pearson got Rea LBW in the 18th over with the score on 44. At 55 Graham was caught at slip and Lewis caught and bowled at 58. Warke and Dunlop added 33 in 24 minutes, Dunlop and C McCrum 30 in 20 minutes. Jackson was promoted but was run out without scoring. All this came too late as the effort had to be made from the start and it was not. Warke was fourth out at 91 for 54 scored in 102 minutes. When wickets were falling near the end Harrison hit 9 fours in 40 not out in 41 minutes, all the field being in. Pearson took 4-77 in 21 overs.

HC McCall (President ICU) gave cut glass Man-of-the-Match Awards from sponsors AIB to Rea (Ireland) and Cartwright (MCC). The best entertainment on the last day was a touch rugby match between the two teams before play started!

Photographs
The Meadow, Downpatrick