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Match Report
Derek Scott

Originally this game was to have been played against a strong amateur side labelled "Gentlemen of England" but a number of things prevented this. The Cambridge University players who were to come went instead on a tour to America, while the date of the game coincided with Gentlemen against Players at Lords. As a result Leveson-Gower's team was not very strong and it included two professionals, Newstead of Yorkshire and Water Mead of Essex. Mead had played against Australia in 1899 and Neville Knox and Leveson-Gower himself were subsequently to play in tests against South Africa. JE Raphael had scored 99 for Oxford in the Varsity match the previous week. The visitors on the whole were not very strong but they won the game on the second afternoon by 53 runs. The Irish team showed three changes from that originally selected. O Andrews, JWF Crawfurd and J Gwynn cried off and were replaced by GWF Kelly, J Magee and GP Christian (whose debut this was). The pitch was always difficult and the Irish batsmen found Mead and Knox far too good to them. Ross bowled extremely well for Ireland and took 12 wickets in the match, as did Mead.

A large crowd saw the first day's play which was interesting, if not brilliant. There was rain in the morning but the sun was shining when play began. The wicket got more and more difficult as the day went on. The bowling of Ross and Mead were the features of the play. The Englishmen batted first and were all out for 127 in 110 minutes. With the exception of an attractively put together 23 by Raphael and a very serviceable, if not too finished, 35 by Newstead, the innings was quite featureless. It was brought to an end chiefly by Ross whose analysis (18-2-46-6) shows how well he bowled. It looked like an easy task for such a batting team as Ireland to top the score, but they failed to do so by 25 runs. Browning alone made any stand against Mead. The Essex professional bowled unchanged. He kept a very good length, got a lot of work on the ball and bowled a slow ball now and again. He got Browning on one of these. In the remaining 45 minutes Leveson-Gower's team lost four wickets for 30 runs. Ross got three of these and seemed very difficult to play, with the light and the wicket assisting him.

Raphael and Chinnery began the match to the bowling of Harrington and Ross. Chinnery was let off by Kelly at mid-off when only four. He went on to get 19 of a first wicket stand of 33. He was caught at the wicket off Ross. At 43 Raphael was well held in the outfield by Christian off Harrington. Palmer was caught and bowled by Ross without scoring. Bannon and Franklin-Smith put up the 50 in 40 minutes. The next wicket fell at 72 when Bannon was caught at cover by Meldon off Ross. Next ball Tomkinson was caught and bowled by Ross and five were out for 72. Franklin-Smith and Newstead then put on 23 for the sixth wicket. Kelly relieved Ross who had bowled for 75 minutes. Kelly's first ball bowled Franklin-Smith who had been in 50 minutes for 10. The captain was in next and at lunch the score was 100-6, after 90 minutes play. Ross and Harrington resumed after the interval and at 105 Leveson-Gower was easily caught by O'Brien at square leg off Ross and nine runs later Knox was held by Magee in the outfield off Harrington. Ross eventually bowled Newstead, who had scored 35 in an hour, at 125 and at 127 Williams was stumped in coming out to Harrington. The innings lasted 110 minutes. Harrington, with 3-54, ably supported Ross at the bowling crease.

Sir TC O'Brien and JM Magee opened for Ireland. Mead and Knox bowled very fast and the latter was getting the ball up a lot. Both batsmen played well and 29 runs were scored before Mead bowled Magee for 8. With the total unchanged O'Brien was beautifully caught at slip by Bannon off Knox. 29-2-18. SD Lambert was bowled by Mead at 44. Newstead came on for Knox but Mead was devastating. He bowled RH Lambert at 48 with a ball which kept low, Corley was bowled at 64 and Ross at 80. Newstead joined the wicket takers when he bowled Harrington at 87. All this time Browning was playing very well and now he was joined by Kelly who proceeded to hit Mead out of the ground. He attempted this shot again at 98 and Raphael held an outfield catch. With Christian in the 100 went up in 105 minutes. Two runs later Browning was deceived by Mead's slow ball and hit a catch to Raphael at cover. He had been in 90 minutes for his 32. He had batted very well and had given no chance. In the same over PA Meldon returned an easy catch to Mead to end the innings which had lasted 145 minutes.

At 5:30 p.m. Raphael and Chinnery began again for Leveson-Gower's team. Rapheal was beaten in Ross's first over by a ball which broke back a lot and Chinnery was caught by Corley at cover in Ross's next over. 8-2-6. Newstead came in and scored 11 quickly. He hit Harrington out of the ground but was bowled next ball. Franklin-Smith was bowled by Ross without scoring. 22-4-0. Knox joined Bannon and the score was 30-4 at the drawing of stumps with Bannon on nine and Knox on three.

There was virtually no play on the second day until 3 p.m., yet the match was over at 6 p.m. It was raining at noon but play began at 1 p.m. It lasted for only 15 minutes and then the rain came on again. Play resumed at 3 p.m. and the rest of the afternoon was fine. The attendance was satisfactory in view of the weather. Ireland were required to make 136 to win but with Mead and Knox bowling unchanged were all out for 82. The wicket had a lot to do with this collapse but it was evident that the bowling of each side was far superior to its batting. In the 15 minutes play at 1 p.m. Bannon and Knox added nine runs. The sun was shining at 3 p.m. and the wicket was very queer. At 43 Ross had Bannon caught at mid-off for 17. Palmer came in and soon he hit two fours but in the same over he was bowled by Ross. 61-6-9. One run later Christian ran out Knox who had made 18. The next pair, Tomkinson and Leveson-Gower had a bright stand of 20. Lambert came on for Harrington and in his second over had Leveson-Gower caught by Ross at slip. At 93 Williams was stumped off Ross for seven. Mead hit two fours to raise the 100 in 80 minutes. Mead was missed by Meldon at square leg but at 110 was lbw to Harrington who had resumed bowling. Again Ross had taken six wickets. This time he had done so for 63 runs in 17 overs. Harrington again supported him well with 2-27 in 10 overs.

The Irish second innings was a sad affair. The best stand was 23 for the third wicket. O'Brien and Magee began. Both played with caution but O'Brien was bowled by Mead at 12 by a ball which broke a lot. In the same over Corley, promoted to number three, was also bowled. 12-2-0. Mead now had figures of 5-4-1-2. Magee, who had been missed by Bannon at mid-on, was now joined by Browning. They took the score to 35 at which point Knox hit Magee's middle stump. He had batted an hour for 11. RH Lambert came in and 50 went up in 70 minutes. Without any further addition Lambert was caught at slip off Knox for five. Knox then bowled Ross, Browning and Christian in rapid succession and the score was 57-7 and with Mead bowling Harrington one run later, 50-3 had become 58-8. Browning had played well for his 25 runs and again he was the top scorer of the innings. Kelly hit Knox for six but the fast bowler bowled him when he had added but another single. Meldon joined SD Lambert and 15 were put on for the last wicket. When the score reached 82 Meldon was stumped by Franklin-Smith off Mead. Knox had 6-39 in 18 overs and had bowled five of his victims while Mead took 4-34 in 18.5 overs.

When he had made 16 in Ireland's first innings Browning became the first player ever to score 1000 runs for Ireland. This was his 29th match since his debut in 1888 and it was his 44th innings.

Rathmines, Dublin