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Match Report
Derek Scott

This was a great match! Ireland, although beaten, scored 551 runs in their two innings and when set to get 429 to win looked like getting them. At one stage they were 303-3 but once O'Brien left the tail petered out and Oxford eventually won by 62 runs after a magnificent fight. The batting on both sides was very good and both captains scored superb centuries. Oxford fielded the same 11 as had been "murdered" by the Australians the previous week. All but two of these, Voss and Whately, eventually played in the Varsity Match. Ireland brought in TA Harvey, a leg break bowler, to replace Lucius Gwynn who was unable to play. The wicket was good and that was a large attendance and brilliant sunshine when the game began.

Oxford opened with Marsham and E.W.Dillon (who was to be the Oxford batting star in the Varsity match). Ross and Harrington opened the bowling and the former bowled Marsham off his pads in his second over before Marsham had scored. Wyld came in and the score rose slowly, 20 coming in 30 minutes. Both bowlers were keeping an excellent length. At 40, Harvey relieved Harrington and Wyld gave him a caught and bowled chance off his first ball which was dropped. Off his third ball Dillon was caught by Ross at slip. 41-2-23. Evans came in and the scoring rate improved. 60 came up in an hour. At 63 Wyld was bowled by Ross for 28. Voss was next and although he only scored nine, the fourth wicket added 52. This was due to Evans who batted brilliantly although badly missed at mid-on off Ross when he was 31. Evans reached his 50 in only 40 minutes. At 115 Ross, who had bowled throughout the period, clean bowled Voss and at this stage lunch was taken. With his third ball after lunch Ross bowled Evans for 55. This included seven fours and was a very fine innings. Williams now partnered Bonham-Carter. Harvey was bowling but he was very expensive and Harrington came on again at 137. Both he and Ross suffered heavily at this period and at last, at 178-5, Ross came off for Lambert. Fours were now very frequent and 200 was seen up in 160 minutes. At 212 Harvey came on again to replace Harrington. Bonham-Carter hit him for four to complete 50 in 55 minutes. After making 60 in correct and vigorous style he was yorked by Harvey. The partnership had added 108 for the sixth wicket in only an hour. Bonham-Carter's 60 contained eight fours.

Williams reached 65, with 11 fours, in 17 minutes, an innings distinguished for free hitting and was free from blemish. Ross then came back on and had him LBW. 243-7. Findlay was caught off RH Lambert for eight at 247 and Ross bowled Whately for 0 at 252. Kelly and Von Ernsthausen added 52 for the last wicket. Kelly hit at everything. He made 43 in half an hour and hit two sixes and six fours. In one over from Ross he scored 16 runs. 300 appeared in 220 minutes, the last hundred taking an hour. The Oxford batting had been very satisfactory in view of the fact that the Irish bowling and fielding had not been lax. Ross with 6-91 in 32 overs returned the best figures of the five bowlers tried. Stumps were drawn at 5.30 p.m. This gave Ireland 30 minutes batting. Browning and Adair opened to Von Ernsthausen and Whately. Adair was dropped at the wicket before scoring and at 13 Browning was caught at extra-cover for six off Whately. 21-1 was the closing score with Adari at 13 and Andrews 2.

A small attendance saw the beginning of the second day's play. Later the crowd became larger. In sunshine Adair and Andrews resumed to the bowling of Von Ernsthausen and Whately. Von Ernsthausen bowled six maiden overs out of seven and soon removed Andrew's leg stump. 32-2-10. Comyn quickly got to work and hit both bowlers for four. Adair hit four off Whately and was then out in the same manner as Browning, caught at extra cover by Williams off Whately. 48-3-24. At 49 Comyn was bowled by Whately for eight. The Lambert brothers were now associated and the cricket brightened. 50 appeared in 70 minutes. Dillon relieved Von Ernsthausen at 73 and RH Lambert took 14 off his first over. At 98 Williams came on for Whately and RH hit first two balls for four, and was caught at the wicket off the third ball. He had made 30 and the stand had added 57 in 25 minutes. O'Brien made 11 quickly and was stumped off Dillon. 125-6-11. Ross got nine off an over from Williams but was not comfortable facing Dillon who bowled him at 135. 20 runs were still required to save the follow-on. JM Meldon joined SD Lambert and 19 of these were obtained, Lambert being missed badly by Whately at mid-off. Von Ernsthausen bowled the last over before lunch and had Meldon caught by Dillon at slip. 154-8-11. After lunch SD Lambert reached his 50 in 90 minutes and the last two wickets put on a further 31 runs. Harvey was caught at cover off Whately at 173 while Harrington, attempting an impossible run, was run out. Meanwhile Lambert had hit a six off Von Ernsthausen and finished with 60 not out in 105 minutes with a six and six fours. The innings of 185 had lasted 170 minutes.

Leading by 119, Marsham and Dillon began to Ross and RH Lambert. The first 15 minutes brought no less than 45 runs! Then Dillon was caught by Ross at mid-on off a hard drive off Lambert. 45-1-17. With Wyld in, Marsham piled on the runs at a great pace - he had seven fours in his first 30. Harvey came on and was hit for 11 in two overs. Harrington came on and Marsham hit him for three fours to bring 100 up in 55 minutes. 18 runs later Wyld was caught at short slip by Meldon, at the second attempt, off Harrington. He had batted 50 minutes for his 40 in a stand of 73. Evans came in and this was a perfect set up for this free scoring batsman. Marsham reached 50 in 75 minutes and, next over, Evans hit Andrews for three fours. Ross and Lambert came back but Marsham hit the latter for four fours. Adair was tried and in his first over, with the score at 183, he bowled Evans for 34. The third wicket had put on 65. With Voss in the 200 came up after 115 minutes and soon Marsham reached his century in only 140 minutes (so far he hit 20 fours!). Directly after this he was missed at third man off Harrington, the only error he made until his dismissal. At last he was out finely caught by Adair off Lambert for 120. He and Voss added 81, the fourth wicket falling at 264. Marsham's innings was undoubtedly the feature of the day's cricket. He displayed great vigour hitting 23 fours in all in an innings lasting 145 minutes. Voss, 43, and Bonham Carter, 37, hit merrily until the end of play, the latter actually scoring his 37 out of 45 added for this wicket. Oxford were now 428 runs on with six wickets in hand.

The third day brought magnificent cricket and if O'Brien had been better supported by the later batsmen Ireland would have won. There was a small attendance when O'Brien and Comyn opened, Marsham having declared at the overnight score. O'Brien's decision to open with himself meant that was to be an all out effort to get the 429 runs to win - only twice before had such a big total been achieved. Von Ernsthausen and Whately opened the bowling. The first two overs brought a single to each batsman, and the next two produced 29 runs. Then Comyn touched a rising ball and was caught behind off Von Ernsthausen for 14. S.D.Lambert was promoted to number three and O'Brien greeted him with a six off Whately from a no-ball. At 49 Lambert was bowled by a breaking ball from Von Ernsthausen which he did not attempt to play. R.H.Lambert was next. 50 went up in 40 minutes. When 35, O'Brien was missed at slip by Marsham off Von Ernsthausen - this was an expensive miss. Williams came on and bowled several full tosses. He was hit for three fours in his first over. 75 was up in an hour. Dillon and Bonham-Carter eventually quietened the batsmen and reduced the rate of scoring. O'Brien, with a four, sent the 100 and his own 50 up after 90 minutes play. Dillon, after bowling very well, give way to Von Ernsthausen at 119. Lambert hit two fours off him and at lunch the score was 135-2, with O'Brien 70 and Lambert 44. The was a great spate of scoring just after lunch. Lambert hit Whately for three fours in one over while O'Brien hit Von Ernsthausen for five successive fours! O'Brien's 100 soon arrived and shortly afterwards the 200, scored in 140 minutes, the second hundred coming in only 50 minutes.

At last, with the score at 219, a separation was effected when Lambert hit a full toss from Dillon and was brilliantly caught at deep square leg by Williams, one-handed. Lambert's 81, with 16 fours, was made in 115 minutes of faultless cricket. The third wicket had added 170 runs. So simple was the bowling being made to look it was now debated whether Ireland would achieve a great victory. Browning came in next and at 4 p.m. rain held up play for 10 minutes. The score was then 289-3. This break brought changed conditions and may have cost Ireland the game. Evans came on to bowl for the first time in the game. O'Brien hit two fours and sent up the 300. At 303, O'Brien was out, caught at the wicket off Whately for 167. He had batted 3 3/4 hours and hit a six and 23 fours. The only chance he gave was the one at slip when he was 35. He and Browning had added 80 for the fourth wicket. 126 were now required with six wickets in hand. However, after being 303-3, the score quickly deteriorated to 343-8, and the chance was gone. Adair, number six, was missed when one, a return catch to Evans. Next over Evans bowled him. 312-5-2. With Harvey in Browning reached his 50 in 100 minutes. When 56, and the total 318, he was beaten and bowled by Evans. His innings was deserving of the highest praise and he had exhibited sturdy defence. He had hit five fours. Evans bowled Andrews and Ross while Von Ernsthausen bowled Meldon. Harvey hit about him and finished with 31. Oxford won with 30 minutes to spare and had had to exert themselves to the utmost. Evans, with 4-51 in 15 medium paced overs, had been the chief destroying agent at the critical time after O'Brien's dismissal.