Ireland had a good day out against the MCC at Lord's closing the first of two days at 179-2 in reply to 177-8 declared.
The MCC's Giles Toogood won the toss and just when it looked as though Ireland would have the pleasure of bowling the opposition out he declared and put Jason Molins and Barry Archer in to bat for a nervous seven overs before tea. They survived and later prospered to reach 104 before Molins departed in the 27th over, having collected 74 runs from 90 deliveries, including 13 fours and one six. Archer faced 17 balls before getting off the mark but then picked up the pace and notched five fours in his 36 from 102 deliveries before falling to leg-spinner Kevin Sedgbeer. When Peter Davy got to the middle he set off much in the manner he had tackled the South Africans in that marvellous knock at Eglinton and there is every indication that if he reaches another half-century this morning the skipper Angus Dunlop will declare to set up an entertaining final day.
All five Irish bowlers had contributed earlier, and while Greg Molins was the only one not to take a wicket the opposition were wary of his slow left-arm bowling, taking only 14 from his nine overs. Richard McDaid, who only came on to the Irish scene when Ryan Eagleson went to Derbyshire earlier this summer, tried too hard early on but then settled down to top the bill with 3-43.
Even in distant Lord's there was much talk about the Brigade clubs lifting of its ban on Stephen Smyth pending the ICU enquiry on Sunday into an incident at the Irish team headquarters during the South African visit. Three members of his club's committee have resigned over the matter and it will be interesting to see how it affects their performance tomorrow when they are hosts to Merrion in the Royal Liver Cup semi-final at Beechgrove.
Jason Molins took advantage of a traditionally gentle opening to Ireland's two-day match against the MCC at Lord's yesterday by stroking an elegant 74 that helped the visitors to a two run lead over night. Molins started uncertainly before launching a series of imperious offside drives. He then greeted the introduction of his former Oxford University colleague, David Mather with a six into the grandstand. The Railway Union right-hander had struck 14 boundaries from 90 balls and was galloping towards a century when he mishit a pull shot and was caught at square leg. Barry Archer wasted his watchful start by charging Kevin Sedgbeer's legspin but with Peter Davy chipping in with 43 not out Ireland were well placed on 179-2 at the close.
The MCC had not found batting easy earlier on against the pace of Richard McDaid, a seamer from Limavady who doesn't have a classical run-up, and anything but a copybook action, but hit the wicket-keeper's gloves with a healthy wack. McDaid got his first wicket in the third over when Greg Molins held a low catch in the gully. The 23-year-old then bowled Toby Radford, a former MCC young cricketer of the year, and wicket-keeper Chris Taylor in a lively few overs after lunch.
Prolific opener Steve Dean was beaten and bowled by the late in swing of Gordon Cooke, and a direct hit from Ed Joyce ran out MCC captain Giles Toogood before he had settled on a pitch where he once scored centuries in each innings of a Varsity match.
As is now traditional in these games, Toogood did the gentlemanly thing and declared after 55 overs, although with his side on 177-8 they wouldn't have lasted long more.
The crowd of around 200 - which consisted mostly of Ireland committee members - were then treated to surely one of the most wayward opening overs ever seen at Lord's as Australian John "Barn" Dawes strained for pace at the expense of accuracy. To follow tradition, Ireland would now declare and ask their hosts to set a target although coach Mike Hendrick was talking of batting on and trying to bowl out the MCC with spin on a pitch that was used for a two-day game against Wales earlier in the week.
Day 2 Report from Irish Times.
Ireland captain Angus Dunlop gambled on his spinners at Lord's yesterday but he misread a good pitch and the annual two-day match with the MCC petered out to a tame draw. The prospect of a home win disappeared when Dunlop declined to declare Ireland's first innings overnight - as is customary in these games - and Peter Davy took advantage of some grumpy MCC bowling to score a powerful 132.
With 343-5 on the board and the lunchtime lead of 166, Dunlop would have risked his personal membership of the MCC if he had batted on further, but it soon became apparent that there would be no victorious conclusion to his 100th match for Ireland. Left-arm spinner Greg Molins was carted for 37 from three overs as MCC opener Steve Dean raced to 76 off 59 balls.
Day 2 Report by Philip Boylan of the Irish Independent
Pembroke Captain Peter Davy walked out of Lord's yesterday evening with a first century for Ireland as a glorious memory from a match which had draw written all over it from an early stage. It was quite obvious from the previous day that the pitch was becoming docile and it can only have been a fanciful notion of bowling the MCC out cheaply which had Angus Dunlop waiting until his side were 343-5 before declaring at lunch.
That gave Ireland 3½ hours, plus a minimum 20 overs in the last hour, in which to bowl the home side out for less than 166 runs for an innings victory. Steve Dean's 76 from 59 balls soon put an end to that plan.
Davy played some glorious shots in his 132 from 150 balls but a few of his eight sixes (plus nine fours) were gifted off modest bowling by legspinner Kevin Sedgbeer, which he despatched over the short boundary into the new grandstand. Davy's mark is, in fact, second highest of Ireland players against the MCC at Lord's to Alf Masood's 1985 score of 138, and is, in fact, joint 13 best of all to Ivan Anderson's 198 against Canada in 1973 in 521 capped internationals.