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Match Report
Derek Scott

Another win for Ireland at Lords on a warm but not very sunny day. The pitch was very good for batting and, in truth, neither team bowled well. MCC did put Ireland in and lived to regret it. The last match played at Lords was in 2003 and that was also won by Ireland. The three outstanding innings were by Carroll and Porterfield for Ireland and Gatting, the former England captain, now closing in on 50, for MCC. Carroll's 90 had a high point and a low point. He had scored two runs to date in two innings for Ireland and now, in his first game at Lords, he was run out for 90 having faced only 109 balls and not scoring at all until the sixth over by which time he had faced 19 balls. So, he actually got his 90 in 90 balls once he began scoring which he did with three fours in four balls in over six. He and Porterfield, also playing his first Irish match at Lords, put on 173 for the second wicket and Porterfield crowned his first appearance at cricket's Mecca with 110 not out from 125 balls. In eight previous innings for Ireland his best score was 48. Gatting showed he could still play with 90 from 81 balls, of which 58 came in boundaries. He was the one who could have organised an MCC win but he was fourth out at 199 in over 33 with 143 still needed. The next highest score was 34. Other Irish players playing their first match at Lord's for Ireland were Kevin O'Brien, and Gary Wilson. Other notables for MCC were Bicknell from Notts, who had captained MCC in Ireland last year, Stevenson, in charge of cricket at Lords, Friend, a Zimbabwean Test player and two Irish internationals, GE Kidd and AD Patterson, the latter of whose Irish career may well now be over.

Botha was present but did not play due to a side-strain. However, as a substitute fielder he did take a catch. White, who was originally not due to play, came in for him. So, the changes from the last match against Holland were Johnston, Botha and N O'Brien being replaced by P Mooney, Wilson and Carroll. There was a good smattering of people in the Grandstand when Bray, who unusually for him faced the first ball, and Carroll began for Ireland at 11 a.m. and faced Marquet, a Tasmanian, and Hutchinson of Middlesex. Both medium fast and Hutchinson left-arm who was bowling left-arm over the wicket. Marquet's second ball gave Bray a five, there being four overthrows. A boundary wide came in Marquet's second over. In Hutchinson's second over there was a no ball boundary and Bray hit a four to mid-wicket. 28 was up in four overs and Carroll had not scored from his first 15 balls. And then, in over five, Bray pushed out at Marquet and was bowled "through the gate". 29-1-12. Bray's run of low scores had continued. After 59 in the first match against Hampshire, he had only scored 120 runs in 13 innings.

In came Porterfield and a rousing stand of 173 ensued in 30 overs. The medium paced Friend replaced Hutchinson for over six and Carroll hit three fours in four balls to get off the mark, a square cut, a full toss hit through extra cover and another square cut off a lifting ball. An all run five, one overthrow, to Carroll in over seven brought up 50. Scoring slowed a little but in the next few overs both batsman hit fours. Stephenson replaced Marquet for over 13 and Carroll had another all-run four. Hutchinson returned for Friend but his two overs cost 16 runs, in the second of which, over 17, the score moved from 98 to 112. The off-spin of Hatwell, a New Zealander, was tried in over 18 and Friend was tried at the Nursery end. A two in Friend's second over back, 21st over, brought Carroll to his maiden 50 in his third innings. It came in 69 balls with seven fours and the score was 131.

Gary Kidd, a slow left-arm bowler capped by Ireland in 2004, came on for Friend in over 25 after which, the half-way mark, the score was 149. Scoring had become mostly a matter of singles as Porterfield reached his maiden Irish 50 with such a stroke in the 29th over. He had faced 68 balls with three fours and the score was 159. By the end of the 30th over the score had advanced to 174-1. Therefore, on the usual estimate of doubling your score after 30 overs, a score of 340/350 seemed possible.

Scoring off nearly every ball he faced from the two spinners, Carroll had advanced to 90 after 34 overs. Then, in over 35, came tragedy very similar to that which befell Morgan 10 days earlier against Scotland. Porterfield hit Kidd's first ball for four and Carroll was run out off the second. Porterfield pushed the ball a short distance in the mid-wicket direction. There was no run but Carroll had backed up to far. Hutchinson swooped on the ball and threw down the bowler's wicket before Carroll could get back. This was a desperate dismissal for Carroll when a century at Lords was becoming likely. In all he faced 109 balls with 11 fours and had played a wide range of strokes. The score was now 202 in the 35th over, Porterfield's four from the ball prior to Carroll's dismissal bringing up 200. The stand was 173 in 180 balls and 110 minutes. Carroll received very sympathetic applause on his return.

K O'Brien was next and another fine and quick stand followed. In just over nine overs 88 runs were put on of which O'Brien got exactly half. He started well hitting Hatwell for two fours in the bowler's 10th and last over. Hatwell finished with figures of 10-0-51-0. Bicknell, not a usual bowler, bowled the 39th over and O'Brien hit a six. Kidd's ninth over was over 41. O'Brien hit the first ball for four to wide long off to bring up 250. Three balls later he hit a full toss into the grandstand. Porterfield reached 90 in over 43, bowled by Friend returning for Kidd. Hutchinson came back for over 44. O'Brien hit successive fours and next ball was caught at deep square-leg who did not have to move to take the catch. 290-3-44. O'Brien got his 44 from 35 balls, with 32 of his runs coming in boundaries. Langford-Smith came in and 23 runs came in three overs, 300 coming up in the 46th over. Marquet returned for over 47 and with the fifth ball of that over he had Langford-Smith lbw hitting across the line. 313-4-8. Gillespie joined Porterfield who was now 98. In over 48, with two singles, Porterfield went to 100 in 117 balls and 166 minutes. He had hit eight fours and the score was now 317. Porterfield emulated Masood in scoring a century on his first visit to Lords for Ireland. Gillespie hit Marquet for a six to mid-wicket in over 49. The last over went for nine to bring up the 30 over projected score of 340.

No praise is too high for the 21-year-old Porterfield. His 110 not out came in only 125 balls, eight fours, and he, like Carroll, produced a wide range of strokes and he kept his concentration wonderfully well. MCC gave away a staggering 64 runs in extras, 36 of them in wides. 21 wides were actually bowled and three of those went to the boundary, Marquet, Hutchinson and Friend being responsible. MCC bowled very poorly. Marquet took two of the three wickets that fell to bowlers and, with Hatwell, was the least expensive at five runs per over. Seven bowlers were used. Stephenson went for nine per over, Hutchinson for eight, Kidd for seven, Friend for six and Bicknell's sole over cost 11. Despite this carnage MCC fielded well on a very fast outfield.

When MCC began with Bicknell and Akram at 3 p.m., the rate required was 6.82 runs per over, a very big ask. MCC never really approached it. The first wicket put on 54 from 58 balls but the innings revolved around Gatting at number three. While he was in 145 runs were scored. He was fourth out at 199. At that point 105 deliveries were left to score 143, a required rate of 8.17. In fact, MCC never really challenged the rate throughout their innings. At 10 overs MCC had scored at 5.9 runs per over; at 20 overs the rate was 5.65 and it was 5.93 after 30. After the dismissal of Gatting in the 33rd over the last six wickets fell for 45 runs in 12 overs. P Mooney and Langford-Smith started the bowling and Botha fielded as substitute for White. Langford-Smith's first over must have given MCC some hope. 15 runs came from it and these included three fours to Bicknell. Then Akram hit Mooney for a four, in over three, by which time the score was 25. Five quieter overs followed so that after eight overs the score was 43. Then Akram hit Mooney for 4-2-4 off successive balls to bring up 50. The second ball of the ninth over, bowled by Langford-Smith, brought the first wicket. Akram was caught at first slip by the substitute fielder, Botha. 54-1-21.

In came Gatting who hit his first ball for four. O'Brien came on for Mooney and Gatting hit successive fours off him. Next over he hit Langford-Smith for four and was now 17 in 11 balls with four fours! For over 14 J Mooney replaced Langford-Smith and once again Gatting took fours from successive balls. At the end of this 14th over the score was 88 at a rate of 6.28 runs per over. This transpired to be the high point of the MCC innings. O'Brien took a wicket in over 15. Bicknell had very little strike since over seven. O'Brien now had him caught at the wicket. 89-2-32. The stand with Gatting put on 35, 26 of them to Gatting. H Williams from Barbados was next. 100 came up in over 19. Williams hit a long-hop from O'Brien for six off the first ball of the next over and Gatting hit a four in this over. McCallan came on for O'Brien and P Mooney replaced his brother. A four to mid-wicket by Gatting off P Mooney in the 24th over brought Gatting to 51 out of 124 in only 49 balls with 10 fours. In the 25th over, bowled by McCallan, the stand of 43 in 10 overs ended with a run out. Williams hit a ball to Porterfield at mid-wicket, called the run and was run out by Porterfield's throw to McCallan. 132-3-12. The 25 over score was 133. Gatting and Friend did make a sustained effort putting on 67 runs in eight overs. In the first four overs of this stand each batsman hit two fours but in over 26 Friend was nearly run out at the bowler's end by a throw from Porterfield to the bowler. 150 was up in over 28. P Mooney's last over cost 16. He finished with figures of 10-0-68-0. Gatting hit a four to square leg and a six to mid-wicket. The 30 over score was 178. At this point, and taking into account the rule of thumb that you double your score after 30 overs, MCC were still not out of contention. O'Brien replaced P Mooney for over 32. It was O'Brien's sixth and last over of the innings. It cost 13 with Friend hitting three fours in five balls.

Over 33, bowled by McCallan, really gave Ireland game, set and match. Gatting came down the pitch and gave Carroll a catch running in from long-on. 199-4-90. Gatting faced only 81 balls in 95 minutes with a six and 13 fours. It was a very fine attacking innings. Friend brought up 200 in over 33. Langford-Smith returned and Friend, in over 36, was out to a very brilliant low catch by Bray on the deep square leg boundary off a full toss. 212-5-34. Stephenson joined Hatwell for three overs. The MCC big collapse began in over 40. With its first ball Langford-Smith got one to lift at Hatwell and it lobbed back to the wicketkeeper. 223-6-8. This gave Langford-Smith his third wicket for the sixth match in a row.

The last seven overs were bowled by White and J Mooney. Between them they took the last four wickets for 10 runs. In his first over back, the 42nd, J. Mooney took two wickets. Stephenson, 9 runs in 15 balls, stepped back to cut and gave a catch at gully to the bowler's brother. 236-7-9. Three balls later Irish International, Kidd, was bowled pushing forward. 232-8-0. White got a simple caught and bowled on the first ball of his second over, the victim another Irish International AD Patterson. 237-9-10. It was all over in White's third over. Marquet was caught at wide mid-wicket.

Ireland used six bowlers, five of them taking at least one wicket. Langford-Smith bowled 10 overs and had 3-49. J Mooney and White took two wickets each, White 2-12 in 15 balls. MCC gave an after match reception to both teams with their president, Robin Marler in attendance. Next day Ireland set off from London to Aberdeen for the four-day Intercontinental Match against Scotland.