Ireland lost because they could not chase a fourth innings total and because the best team from the 13 players available was not put in the field. Lewis and G Molins were left out in order to give two young batsmen, J Molins and P Davy another chance after the previous day's match at Arundel.
This was the first Irish loss at Lord's since 1975 although the 1983 match was lost but that was at Roehampton.
Controversy surrounded Alan Lewis's omission. The Selectors (M/s. Hendrick, Corlett and Mitchell) selected the team at Arundel on the night before the match. It is said that they did not know that Lewis would retire after the Lord's match until just before the team took the field the next day. He was left out for cricketing reasons just as Benson had been left out at Arundel. It was an unfortunate end to a wonderful career of 121 matches back to 1984. He had at least gone out on a high note with his extraordinary half century at Arundel and was badly missed in the failed second innings chase at Lord's.
Benson and McCrum came into the team and the former took over the captaincy. Only he remained of the 1995 Irish team at Lord's. P McCrum had played in the 1991 and 1993 matches. MCC had quite a few players with County experience and also Neil Foster, the ex England and Essex fast bowler. He destroyed Ireland's run chase with a hat-trick early in Ireland's second innings. The days were fine and warm. The pitch, as usual, was on the edge of the square and on the new Grandstand side.
MCC won the toss and batted. McCrum took two early wickets, a third fell at 75 and McCallan took two in one over at 116, and another at 142. There ended Ireland's success. MCC's Captain J Foster and Ricketts put on 88 runs in an unbroken seventh wicket stand in 16 overs before a declaration after 52 overs at 230 for six.
McCrum's first ball (second over) accounted for Romaines the former Gloucestershire player. Rutherford dived to his right for the catch. The other opening bat, Hodgson, also ex Gloucester, followed in McCrum 's second over. The ball kept low and cut back for an lbw decision. This was McCrum's 99th wicket for Ireland. Palmer and Taylor added 54 for the next wicket, 44 of which came in fours. J Davy replaced Neely but it was Heasley with the last ball of his first over who got the next wicket. 50 had come in 15 overs and the wicket fell in the 20th. Taylor hit two fours in the over. The last ball came back a little and was snicked to Rutherford. 75-3-23. J Foster came in and saw Palmer reach his 50 with two fours in over 23.
100 arrived in over 24 and this contained 20 fours. McCallan came on for the 27th over. His fourth and sixth balls took wickets. He nearly bowled Palmer with the third ball and did so with the fourth at which Palmer did not play a shot. Carroll's second ball gave Benson a bat-pad catch at silly mid-off. Lunch came after 34 overs on this seven hours playing time day, MCC 132 for five. Whittall, cousin of the Zimbabwe Test player, had hit Neely for a six and was eight, J. Foster 20.
McCallan took his third wicket soon after lunch when Whittall was caught. 142-6-13. Ricketts arrived and no more wickets fell. 88 runs were put on in 16 overs and one hour. 150 was up in over 38 and 200 in over 49. McCallan bowled 12 overs and took three for 37, the best analysis. Near the end J Foster hit a four and a six off successive balls from Davy to go to 50 off 98 balls. Joyce bowled the last over. Ricketts helped himself to 14 and was 53 not out from 48 balls at the declaration at 3.00 p.m. 230 for six in 52 overs.
What followed may well have been a Captain's agreement. Ireland also batted for 52 overs and declared. However the deficit was no less than 45. As Ireland only had six wickets down at the declaration and as there was still 30 minutes left on the first day Ireland should have scored more within the possible Captains' agreement. There was too much time left in the match and a large fourth innings chase for Ireland was now a probability.
All was well at the start. J Molins and Patterson had no problems with Kenlock or N Foster. 10 runs came off over 13 and 54 was up. 10 fours had been hit in a 59 run stand. Then Kenlock yorked Molins (59-1-28) and nine runs later Whittall bowled Patterson, this just after tea. 68-2-27. P Davy joined Joyce in a 79 run stand which came in just over 20 overs. These 20 overs were bowled in an hour by spinners Ricketts and Whittall. 100 was up in over 28. Then 30 came in three overs. Davy hit Ricketts for a six and Joyce stroked three fours. Romaines had replaced Whittall and went for 11 in his first over, in his second Davy hooked a long hop upwards to deep square leg. 147-3-34, in the 38th over. Benson came in and 19 were added in 23 balls, of which Joyce only faced eight. He hit two successive fours which brought him to 53 off 81 balls on his debut at Lord's. Then at 166 in over 42 he was out most unluckily. Benson hit a shoulder high catch back to bowler Romaines. He missed it but deflected the ball on to the non-striker's wicket with Joyce out of his ground.
Joyce's 53 came in 85 balls with seven fours. His dismissal was unfortunate for Ireland's run rate. McCallan joined Benson and only six runs came in the next five overs. Then both got out, lbw, McCallan at 172 and Benson at 174. Still there seemed to be no haste as if a declaration was not expected by J Davy and Heasley who were now at the wicket. 11 runs were scored off 28 balls. In the 10 overs before the declaration only 19 runs were scored - the tactics seemed very strange! After a sunny day it now grew dark. There were 20 minutes left. Only 2.4 overs were bowled when the Umpires called a halt at two for no wicket, Romaines 2, Hodgson 0,
The second day was warm but somewhat overcast. At no time did the play ever look like anything but MCC piling on runs and setting a declaration to their liking. It came 45 minutes after lunch at an MCC score of 237 for four. Hodgson (98) would have been allowed to get to 100 but after 51.4 overs he was run out at which point the declaration came. Ireland were thus set 283 to win in 170 minutes plus 20 overs. This would be about 65 overs so the rate was in the region of 4½ runs per over - a rate maintained by MCC in both their innings.
In the morning McCrum tried very hard for his 100th international wicket. He bowled 16 overs without a break and had 47 runs off him, but wicketless - a very good effort. Neely bowled seven overs, took Romaines wicket, injured his wrist fielding and retired. G Molins fielded for him as did Lewis for McCrum later on. At 27 in over 10 McCallan caught a good low two handed catch at cover diving to his right to dismiss Romaines and give youthful Neely a "Lord's" wicket. Whittall came next to join Hodgson. 50 came in over 16, Hodgson reached 50 in over 24 and 100 was up in over 26 and Whittall reached his 50 in over 31. Eventually a wicket did fall to a long hop in over 36 from Heasley. Whittall hit it to Joyce on the mid-wicket boundary. 120 had been put on in 26 overs. Whittall's 60 came off 84 balls with 11 fours. Taylor started with two fours and was 10 not out at lunch (38 overs) at 164 for two, Hodgson 72.
Taylor dominated the third wicket stand after lunch. He scored 50 in 48 balls (a six off Davy and seven fours) in a stand of 81 off only 14 overs. McCallan bowled unchanged at the pavilion end to the declaration and gave away only 29 runs in 10 overs. Heasley and Davy were expensive at the other end and eventually Joyce was given a turn. His third ball got a wicket to add to his 53 runs. It was another long hop which sub-fielder G.Molins caught on the mid-wicket boundary. 228-3-50. MCC would probably have declared at this point but Hodgson was now 96. Carroll went in to see him to a century. Instead he ran him out in Joyce's next over and the declaration came. Hodgson hit 10 fours in his 98 and faced 139 balls. McCrum and McCallan, both wicketless, had bowled very well, the rest were expensive.
Ireland never looked likely to recover from 23 for four after seven overs. The Molins-McCallan stand then added 95 in 20 overs and hope revived. However none of those who scored 50's (Molins, McCallan, Benson) stayed long enough. When the last hour started eight wickets were down and only six of the last 20 overs were required.
Patterson hit Kenlock for a four in the second over and was caught at the wicket driving at the next ball. Foster's hat trick came in the seventh over, Foster's fourth. It may have been given an incentive when Joyce hooked the second ball into the Grandstand. The fourth ball crashed through Joyce's defence, the fifth had P Davy lbw when he moved in to play to leg. The third victim, Heasley, was unlucky. He was dropped by second slip but the ball rebounded to third slip. All this did not deter McCallan who began with three fours. Then Molins hit three fours in one Kenlock over so that 50 actually came up in the 11th over despite the hat trick in the seventh.
Foster bowled seven overs and took three for 24 and was not recalled. MCC had reverted to spin (Ricketts and Whittall) by teatime. This came after 21 overs at 79, Molins 35, McCallan 29. Harris was given three overs after tea - possibly to keep Ireland interested in going for the runs, 204 had been needed at tea in about 45 overs. Molins took 10 off Harris's first over and McCallan 15 off the next. 100 was up in over 24 and the three Harris overs cost 32. McCallan reached 50 first, off 63 balls in over 26. Ricketts replaced the expensive Harris and got McCallan with the second ball. McCallan tried to chop it but it was too far up and too near him. He was bowled. 118-5-54.
Benson hit his third ball for six, but Molins was next out at 134 having just reached his 50. He was caught at silly mid-off from bat and pad. Whitall had now bowled nine overs for 15 runs. J Davy came in with 149 required in about 34 overs. With Benson scoring freely, sixes off both the spinners, 43 were added in just less than 10 overs. After 40 overs 177 was up so now the requirement was 107 in about 25 overs. If wickets did not fall this target was possible, They did fall! Davy, very unnecessarily, played an awful shot which resulted in a skier back to the bowler. Then Benson went to 50 in 47 balls with a boundary off Kenlock who had returned to bowl. He flashed at the next ball and was caught by the sole slip. At 188 for eight. the last chance was gone.
Kenlock soon bowled both McCrum and Neely leaving Rutherford 17 not out. Foster's hat trick was the second of the season against Ireland. Gough had one for Yorkshire in the Nat.West match in June.