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Match Report
Derek Scott

For the MCC match Ireland decided not to ask Benson or Rao to play. Harrison was not available so Curry, David Cooke and J Power were selected. David Cooke is the batsman brother of Gordon and Power is a medium pace left armer from Cork and is the first to be selected from the Cork area since J F Short in the 1970's. Then Curry, Gordon Cooke and Millar (work) all cried off. Dunlop and Paul Moore (capped -v- Scotland in 1992) came on. Eagleson (injured) and Thompson (work) were unable to replace Gordon Cooke so OFX Butler, an 18 year old fast bowler, who had just left Belvedere College was drafted in. CJ Hoey continued to rest his shoulder.

MCC had Giles Toogood, ex Oxford University, as captain. Paul Parker, a Test player in 1981, also played as did MSA McEvoy, DA Thorne and RJ Parks (w.k.) all players with County experience. J Malao, a slow left armer on the MCC. ground staff, was a coloured player from Soweto, a South African township. From an Irish point of view the match was a disaster. It finished at 4.00 p.m. on the third day in defeat by 107 runs.

Ireland sent MCC in, perhaps not the best of decisions with such an inexperienced attack. However, Moore had Parker (5) caught at the wicket flashing at one when the score was 17. Then McEvoy and Thorne added exactly 100 in 85 minutes. Butler bowled eight overs for 32 including two boundary wides. Power's first two overs were a nightmare, conceding 20 runs. Graham eventually stemmed the tide by causing Thorne (64) to play on at 111 and having Wood caught at deep fine leg off a long hop at 121. Thorne's 64 came in only 85 minutes. McEvoy (41) and Toogood (1) were together at lunch at 132 for 3. Power came back to bowl the last over and saw wicket-keeper Moore miss a stumping and then a catch off McEvoy.

'The first 17 overs after lunch were a contrast to what went before. Power's first spell was five overs for 39. He now bowled a 12 over stint for 24. Graham bowled four more overs when a groin strain prevented any further bowling by him (he had two for 20 in 11 overs). Five maidens preceeded a run out at 162. Dunlop's throw beat McEvoy (60 in 192 minutes). Toogood and Briance were now in tandem and put on 99 at a run a minute before tea. Dunlop bowled 10 overs for 26 and Cooke six overs for 19 but Power was again expensive. At 247 Toogood (57) gave a chance to Power off Dunlop. The tea score was 261 for 4, Toogood 62, Briance 39. Toogood added only a single after tea when he was LBW to Moore at 263. Briance went to his 50 and added 38 with Parks to bring up 300 in the 33rd over. In the same over Butler caught him high up at extra cover off Moore. 301-6-59.

In five overs Parks and Trembath added 30. Cooke dropped Trembath off Power but next ball Parks skied to Butler at wide mid-on to give the bowler his first International wicket. Cooke followed suit in the next over when Malao was caught at slip and MCC declared at 331 for 8 in the 100th over. In the 14 overs to the close of a long day (11.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.) Warke (15) and Rea (16) put on 36 during which Warke played a no ball from Aldis on to his wicket.

On the second day Ireland were 100 for none, 152 for 6 at lunch and all out for 250. With a lead of 81 MCC boosted the lead to 261 by the day's end with only four wickets down. All went well for the first hour for Warke and Rea. Boundaries were plentiful and 100 was up in the 34th over. The came disaster. Seamer Trembath took the first two wickets and opening bowler Aldis the next two. First Rea (44) guided a wide ball to gully at 100. Smyth got his first run with a chance to Aldis off Malao. Warke went to 50 in the same over but in the next over slashed at a high bouncing ball to be caught by Parks. 114-2-51. Smyth and Lewis added 35 in 10 overs. Then four wickets fell in seven overs before lunch. Smyth slashed at Aldis and was caught at 3rd slip and in Aldis's next over Lewis was LBW. Cooke was caught at extra cover driving at Malao. When Dunlop was caught at 1st slip off Aldis lunch was taken at 152-6, Graham 4. Graham and Moore repaired the damage with a stand of' 39, E Moore having a lucky escape when he was caught off a no-ball. Indeed Graham had a similar experience later on. It was Graham who salvaged the second half of the innings scoring 55, his maiden half century, in 158 minutes. E Moore (21) was caught off Harris at 191. Butler departed without scoring 10 runs later. He played forward to Trembath and was caught at the wicket. Then came Paul Moore. He and Graham added 41 during which Graham (20) gave a chance to Wood at mid-on. Toogood brought himself on again and saw Parks take his third wicket-keeping catch when Graham was 55. Power hit a four from the first ball he faced but Aldis had Paul Moore lbw in the next over. It was a disappointing Irish collapse after a good start. Five MCC bowlers shared the wickets, Aldis taking four for 69 in 21.3 overs.

Tea was taken between innings leaving 154 minutes play. Ireland bowled 43 overs and MCC scored 181 for 4, a rate of over four per over. The first wicket did not fall until the 31st over by which time no less than 124 had been posted. Parker hit Butler for three successive fours and 50 came up in the 10th over. The Castle Avenue pitch had a bit more bounce than usual but there was no real pace. Cooke and Dunlop reduced the rate. In Cooke's first over Graham dropped a hard chance offered by McEvoy. McEvoy raced to his second 50 of the match at a much quicker tempo than his first. 100 was up in the 22nd over and McEvoy reached 50 in the 25th over to be followed by Parker in the 31st. Butler returned for a second spell-and had McEvoy (10 fours) caught at the wicket in his first over. It was a good catch, low two handed to the right. 124-1-61.

In 29 minutes Parker and Thorne added 49. Fielders had now dispersed to distant places and the bowling fell away. At 173 Parker (80 in 135 minutes) pulled Butler to deep square leg. Wood, amid the plenty, failed for a second time, pulling Moore up to mid-on at 174. At 178 Toogood attempted a second run to Butler at 3rd man and was beaten by a fine throw. Thorne (24) and Briance (1) saw out the day at 181 for 4.

MCC batted on the 3rd day for seven overs, scoring 34 more runs for the loss of Thorne's wicket. The latter was caught at deep mid-on in the second over of the day. Briance and Parks smacked a few more and Cooke badly missed Parks at cover. A stumping chance was also missed. 50 overs had yielded 215 runs at the declaration. The target for Ireland was 297 in 266 minutes plus 20 overs. There was plenty of time but 297 was a high score to win, higher than Ireland had ever achieved.

While admitting that Ireland's bowling was inexperienced and lightweight the batting was at reasonable strength with only Cooke being a newcomer. It was he who was asked to open with Rea, Warke not being 100 per cent fit. The experiment did not work. He was out for 4 driving at Harris, head up. Harris got Smyth at 24 when he "nibbled". At 35 Dunlop drove at Aldis without getting across and was well held shoulder high at 2nd slip. Lewis was dropped by Trembath at mid-on when two and again by Thorne at the same score. Lunch came at 64 for 3, Rea, playing really well was 43 of these and Lewis 5. 233 were still needed but the second ball after lunch, bowled by Aldis, probably signalled the end. Lewis was caught at the wicket driving off the front foot. The next stand was the best of the innings. Rea and Graham doubled the score from 64 to 128 in 22 overs. Rea went to 50 out of 71 in 97 minutes. 10 fours were hit and hope was beginning to rise when both were out within three balls at 128. Rea (79) drove at Malao and was caught by Parker at silly point on a rebound from the pads. This was a fine catch by a 40 year old who had played a round of golf starting at 5.30 a.m.

Next over Graham (25) chipped Toogood to mid-wicket. Warke and Eddie Moore now combined to add 34. Then, not long before tea, Moore was lbw for 23. Tea, 175 for 7, Warke 20, Butler 4. In 7.5 overs after tea the end came. Butler was caught and bowled by a jumping Aldis, Warke caught by Parks (his 6th catch) for 25. Aldis took his 8th wicket of the match by bowling Power.

MCC outplayed a weakened Irish team in all facets of the game but a few late nights did not help some of the Irish players. It was MCC's first win over Ireland since Roehampton in 1983 and the first in Ireland since 1974 in Rathmines.

Castle Avenue, Clontarf