In 1995 the Benson and Hedges Cup changed to small leagues in the initial stages. Ireland was placed in a group of five with four of the nine Southern Counties. By ballot, these were Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Somerset. The Test and County Cricket Board kindly agreed to allow Ireland to play Surrey and Sussex away in back-to-back fixtures. These two opponents were near each other and this allowed for easy travel. Furthermore, neither Kent nor Somerset had never before played Ireland, so these were to be the two home fixtures.
In 1984 Ireland had played Surrey at The Oval in a NatWest Trophy match. Ireland had done reasonably well with Stephen Warke winning the Man-of-the-Match Award. He, Harrison and Lewis were Ireland survivors from that match. Surrey had only one such, Alec Stewart, now a current England Test batsman and Surrey's Captain.
Ireland sent a party of 13 to these two matches under the management of Mike Hendrick, a former England Test bowler, and now Ireland's first ever National Coach. Nelson continued in retirement, Jackson was still not fit and Cohen was still in India. Moore, who was ill, and Smyth, who was injured, cried off the original 13. Their places went to Mark Patterson, a young fast bowler and would be Cliftonville's first International since Wilson Scott in 1958, and JD Curry replaced Smyth. For the Surrey match Patterson and Rea (controversially) were left out. Surrey were without three internationals, Waqar Younis, Graham Thorpe and Joey Benjamin but had Stewart, Martin Bicknell and Tony Pigott, who had all played for England. They introduced Mark Kenlock, a young left arm fast bowler. He took 5-15 in eight overs swinging the ball into the right-handers. Ireland were skittled out for 80 in 32 overs!
Lewis won the toss on a sunless day and decided to bat, a courageous if misguided decision. The pitch looked good but was slower than usual. The Irish players, because of weather and the Easter week-end, had not been out on grass nor had they played a match. They were not ready for Surrey at The Oval, the county having been to Perth, Australia for pre-season matches! At 10, in Bicknell's third over, Warke played too soon at one that seamed away and he was caught at the wicket. A similar fate befell Lewis at 11, the bowler being Kenlock. Benson and Narasimha Rao, who opened, added 18 but Benson was lbw to Hollioake's first ball which came back at him. 29-3-10. Six runs later Rao was lbw, half forward, to Pigott in the latter's first over. Then followed the best stand of the innings. Harrison and Graham put on 31 in just 12 overs. Harrison's 17 was the top score of the innings. He fell in Hollioake's eighth over, caught at the wicket on the leg side, a doubtful decision. Curry arrived at number seven and was ultimately left stranded as his partners fell. Graham, 14, was very unlucky when the score was 70. Curry hit one back at the bowler, Nowell, who got a touch on to the non-striker's wicket.
Kenlock re-appeared for over 30 and took the last four wickets in 11 balls for one run. He had Cooke and Miller lbw in his first over. Hoey was caught at the wicket and Butler lbw in his second. The 10 wickets fell to five lbw's, four caught at the wicket and one run out. Curry was left 11 not out including six off Nowell. Seven fours were struck.
Surrey began after lunch and knocked off the runs in 17.1 overs for the loss of David Bicknell and Ratcliffe, who was formerly of Warwickshire. The youthful Butler was impressive, bowling seven overs for 27 runs and getting the odd one to lift. Cooke, in his second over, took a fine low caught and bowled to get Bicknell. 15-1-10. The second wicket fell at 51. Hoey replaced Cooke and his first ball hastened through and bowled Ratcliffe. 51-2-14. Stewart was 26 and Brown 6 at the end, which came just before 3 p.m. The Irish cause was not helped by 12 wides, seven of them bowled by Butler and five by Cooke. Kenlock won the Man-of-the-Match Award which was adjudicated by the Press.