Robin WalshIt was the news day I want to forget, but will always remember: July 2, 1969. It was the day Ireland played the West Indies at Sion Mills.

As head of news at Ulster Television I decided not to send one of my three precious camera crews to cover the one-day game. The crew would only be able to spend a couple of hours there before heading the 85 miles back to Belfast in time to have the old style black and white film processed and edited. And, anyway, were not the West Indies a six-hit away across the Ormeau Road at North the next day to start a two-day fixture? Time enough then to do the calypso visitors justice.

It didn't concern me that our rivals at BBC Northern Ireland were covering the game live - in fact it would have emphasised the out of date nature of our limited coverage on the teatime news bulletins

And so it was that I switched on the old 12.55 p.m. radio bulletin to find out what news the BBC was covering during the morning. The words of the newsreader are seared in my mind: "Cricket - and in the one-day international at Sion Mills Ireland have bowled out the West Indies for 25 runs".

I didn't eat heartily at lunch in the canteen, waiting for the inevitable phone call from the ITN newsdesk in London. It wasn't long in coming.

"Didn't know you people played cricket over there - brilliant story. When can we expect the pictures?" enthused the duty editor.

I shall spare sensitive folk his reply to my pathetic mumblings as to why he wouldn't be receiving any.

Meanwhile the BBC was having a little drama of its own. With three West Indies wickets down, the legendary sports director Joy Williams rang the Ormeau Avenue Newsroom from the ground to ensure they were recording the game for highlights on that evening's "Scene Around Six".

They were not. Which is why only seven of the West Indies' wickets were captured on tape for posterity. But they were enough to make a "you'll never believe it!" feature of the national BBC Nine O'clock News" - much to the dismay of ITN's News at Ten".

Fleet Street was, of course, equally excited. Belfast correspondents of the broadsheets and tabloids alike got out their maps and headed with all haste to Sion Mills for a crash course in the art of cricket.

Irish cricket, which then, like now, had to fight its way onto the back page, was suddenly on the front page.

The local media corps turned out in full strength the next day for the start of the two-day fixture at North - the Ulster Television camera unit included.

But it was a different story. The West Indies batted first and I can still remember Basil Butcher sending the ball on to the Ormeau Road with thrilling regularity. They declared at 288 for 5 … Ireland were dismissed for 126 in the first innings and held on in the second to earn the narrowest of draws with 165 for 9.

There was no phone call from the ITN newsdesk.