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Match Report
Derek Scott

The team for this match was selected originally by representatives of County Kildare, Phoenix and Leinster. However, at that time Phoenix Dublin University and Co.Kildare were not members of the Leinster Branch of the Irish Cricket Union. This body took exception when Phoenix organised this match without consulting them. Leinster and Pembroke, both members of the Leinster Branch, forbade their members to play. Accordingly, of the originally selected team RH Lambert, SD Lambert and RE Adair withdrew and were replaced by Captain Denham, TA Harvey and GWF Kelly.

This dispute was settled in April 1902 when it was agreed that in future the selection committee should consist of two delegates from both the Northern Cricket Union and the Leinster Cricket Union and one delegate from each of the following clubs, Phoenix, Dublin University, Co Kildare, and Cork County. For Denham and RM Gwynn this was the only match they were to play for Ireland and for TA Harvey it was his debut.

This was the second South African side to tour Britain, the first having come in 1894. They did reasonably well winning 13 and losing nine out of 25 regular fixtures. However, they were not near enough to the Australian standard to arouse public interest in England. The counties did not put out their full strength against them. They came to Ireland after an overwhelming defeat by Somerset and, rather surprisingly, beat the Irishman by five wickets in this two-day match. The Irish side was weakened by the withdrawal of the Lambert brothers and Adair. Throughout the season Hathorn; Shalders, M Bisset (captain) and LJ Tancred were South Africa's best batsmen. Sinclair and Rowe, took over 100 wickets each while Kotze and Graham supported them. EA Halliwell was probably the best wicketkeeper in England and he stood close up even to Kotze who was very fast. M Bissett kept wicket in this match.

After lunch on the first day there were 4000 people watching this game. Ireland went in first and were all out for a disappointing 177. It was disappointing because the visitors bowling was not good. The South Africans, by vigorous methods of batting, totalled 209. Furthermore, it is they who had the worst of the wicket which began to wear soon after lunch. The morning was sunny but after lunch it became cold and the light was not too good. Comyn's 58 was the outstanding feature of the day's play.

Comyn and LH Gwynn began the innings to the bowling of Kotze and Rowe. At first the scoring rate was slow and tedious. Then the scoring quickened and the partnership was worth 60 runs when Gwynn played on to Graham for 34. Captain Denham was bowled by the second ball he received from Graham. 60-2-0. Browning also failed to score although the third wicket added 15 runs. Sinclair then took three wickets quickly, one at 75 (Browning caught at the wicket) and two at 77 (B Hamilton and TC Ross both clean bowled). Comyn was playing very well and RM Gwynn now gave him some support. 100 was put up but at 107 Gwynn was taken one-handed at mid-on by A Bisset off Sinclair. 107-4-7. Kelly came in and hit hard and often but at 132 Comyn was caught at the wicket off Sinclair for 58. It was a fine innings with 10 fours. Kotze came back on and bowled Harvey with his second ball. 143-8, with Kelly 30 not out, mostly off Sinclair. Lunch was now taken. Kelly was caught at slip by Graham off Sinclair from the first ball sent down after lunch. Then Mitchell and Harrington added 34 for the last wicket, although both were dropped. Eventually Mitchell was caught at the wicket off Rowe 24. Sinclair took 6-72 in 18 overs.

At 3.50 p.m. Tancred and Shalders opened for the South Africans to Harvey and Harrington. It was a mistake to use the slow bowling of Harvey for in four overs he conceded 26 runs and the score was 40 in 15 minutes. Mitchell had missed Tancred at point in Harrington's first over. Ross came on for Harvey and at 59, 1 less than Ireland's opening stand, Shalders was caught by LH Gwynn in the outfield off Ross. A Bisset came in and twice he was lucky to escape. At 81 Tancred was stumped off Harrington after a lively 37. At 89 R.M.Gwynn held A.Bisset at slip off Ross for 12. M Bisset and Sinclair indulged in some wild and flukey cricket. 101 came up in only 57 minutes and then Sinclair was bowled by Ross. At 105 Hathorn, the South African "star" was LBW to Ross for 2. Halliwell, who was playing in this match but not keeping wicket, was next. At 120 Ross went off for Hamilton, rather an odd move but justified in that at 133, Halliwell was caught and bowled by the new bowler. Logan joined M Bisset and was missed by Browning, a stumping chance which was expensive in that this pair now added 47 for the seventh wicket. Both hit freely and Hamilton's five overs cost 32 runs. Ross came on again. At 5.45 p.m. the Irish total was passed, 180 runs in just under two hours. Next ball Bisset was caught off Ross by LH Gwynn in the outfield. He had made 47 in 100 minutes. At 197, LH Gywnn made his third catch of the innings when he caught Graham at extra-cover off Harrington. 200 came up in 132 minutes. Kelly came on for Harrington who had bowled 29 overs unchanged. In one over he finished the innings. Logan was caught by RM Gwynn at slip for 41 and at once Kotze suffered a similar fate. Kelly returned 2-8 and should surely have been bowled earlier. Ross took 5-47 in 20 overs. There were 10 minutes left to play. Harvey and Harrington were sent in as "night-watchmen". Sinclair and Kotze bowled and Harvey played on to Sinclair's last ball. 4-1 with Harrington two not out.

The South Africans proved themselves the better team by winning close to time by five wickets. Rain prevented any play before lunch. A hot sun and a drying wind did not appear to affect the wicket very much, in fact, it seemed to restore it. At 2.45 Harrington and Comyn began. Rowe bowled Harrington before a run was scored. 4-2-2. LH Gwynn arrived and played the best innings of the match. He and Comyn added 47 quickly, then Comyn was bowled by Rowe for 19, having previously been beaten by three successive balls from Graham. Hamilton was next and he hit hard. A further 46 were ended for the fourth wicket. Then Hamilton was LBW to Rowe for 17. Denham "bagged a pair" being bowled by Rowe. Browning was bowled Rowe, second ball, for two and Kelly was caught at point by Tancred off Kotze for three. Gwynn was next out. 117-8. Gwynn had batted beautifully for his 68 before giving a hard catch to Hathorn at mid-off off Kotze. The innings ended at 137, Rowe taking 7-53 of which five were clean bowled and the other two LBW.

The South Africans required 106 runs in 90 minutes. Shalders and Tancred opened to Ross and Harrington. At 14 Shalders gave a soft return catch to Ross and was out for 0. A Bisset helped to add a further 20 before he, too, was caught and bowled by Ross. 34-2-5. At 41 M Bisset was run out by a return by Hamilton to Browning. Hamilton replaced Harrington and at once Sinclair hit wildly and was caught. 42-4 and Ireland had a chance. Hathorn and Tancred slowly raised the score. Harrington came on for Ross at 60 while at 70 Kelly replaced Hamilton who had bowled nine overs for 20 runs. Ross was soon on for Kelly. Still the score mounted and in desperation Mitchell's slows were tried instead of Harrington. 90 appeared at 6.15. 16 were now required in 15 minutes. Eight were hit off Mitchell, but with his fifth ball he bowled Tancred for 58, a fine innings which lasted 75 minutes. 97-5-58. Halliwell came in and soon hit two fours off Mitchell to end the game. Hathorn was 28 not out. Although Mitchell got a wicket it was hardly wise to try him when runs were more precious than wickets. This was the first game TC Ross and LH Gwynn had played in since 1895.

Phoenix Park, Dublin