Sunday 7th June dawned bright but not as early as it ought to! Hangover was not the problem but in my case, a guest of the Skipper at his Mount Merrion residence, use of alarm clock was. For a noon start in The Mardyke the meeting time at Front Gate must have been circa 7.30 at the latest - no motorway, no great speed in the (fairly) trusty A 40 and no mobiles. So no way to alert the rest of the squad that we only awoke at 7 30 and were scurrying in to Front Gate in case anyone had waited there or to pick up any stragglers.

Mercifully the others had long since departed and, being early on a Sunday morning there was little traffic. The Skipper was the only one of the "DUCC Four" making the trip; Holland and Cordess very much the heroes of Anglesea Road were back to their exams as were Hart Cox and Simon Hewson. Nixon, Kirk, Kirby, EJ Deering and the opening bats (Barney and Silvo) travelled as did Duncan Parkes, Stephen Downey and Hector Deane. We were decidedly light in the bowling department but the batting was more than long enough to compensate for the late arrival of captain and vice-captain!

The Mardyke was in tip-top condition and the wicket made for batting. Cork County opened their bowling with Dave Short (a younger brother of Jack) and Wally Booten a medium pacer about to make his Irish debut. They were backed up by the experience of Noel Giltenan and Trevor Enderson but despite 3 maidens in the first four overs it was toil for the bowlers. Barney, free of his exams, and Johnny Silverstone put on exactly 100 in 2 hours 20 of delightful strokeplay. Barney's 58 included 11 boundaries and was something of a flash-back to his ton v Leinster. Silverstone (2 fours in his 32) was first to go - they both departed at 100 -- and John Kirby fell 3 runs later. When Nixon became Booten's only wicket and CCJ was run out DUCC had slumped to 129 for 5.

Fortunately Stephen Downey who had come in at number 3 steadied the ship eventually reaching an excellent half century with 9 boundaries. He added 29 with Parkes (16) and then in partnership with his Captain (18*) the innings was extended just past the 200 mark from 65 overs. Enderson had bowled 23 of these in a mammoth effort. The declaration seems, in retrospect, to have come a bit late but the skipper had clearly allowed for the lack of viable bowling options. In fact only three were used in the 47 overs DUCC sent down and each was to take 2 wickets.

Halliday opened with Eoin Deering who bowled 13 on the trot on a very warm late afternoon. Alan Kirk replaced Mike to bowl to the end of the match while Halliday switched to Deering's end when his stint was finished. John Sutton was caught (Silverstone) in Deering's third over to be replaced by Paddy Tynan who notched 4 boundaries and 3 threes in his 38. He too fell to Deering (caught Downey) after Tynan and Ike Devine had put on 54 for the 2nd wicket. Devine's almost 2 hour innings was terminated by a run out, his partner PJ Dineen going on to top score with 46 (7 fours and a six).

Mike Halliday then dismissed Billy Bradley as he had Dineen while Kirk removed Laverty and Giltenan. Despite a generous bonus of 28 byes, Enderson and Booten saw out the draw with 27 still required and 7 wickets down. Both teams then enjoyed the "other side" of a good cricketing trip to Cork and the DUCC could further reflect on their League achievement. They could also consider a night's sleep, a cooked breakfast, and then the drive to Dublin or even longer stretch to Belfast.

  • DUCC 203 for 6 wkts dec. B. McKenna 58, S. Downey 54*, J. Silverstone 32; Enderson 23-9-49-2
  • Cork County 177 for 7 wkts P. J. Dineen 46, P. Tynan 38, I. Devine 32; A. Kirk 15-7-40-2; EJ Deering 13-1-47-2, M. Halliday 19-3-61-2.

Departing Cork on Monday 8th June most of the squad were returning to Dublin. However the same XI were to turn out in Belfast on Wednesday 10th in the guise of the DUCC Ramblers save that Ronnie McCarey replaced Duncan Parkes. Then the same team were to play Queen's on 11th and 12thJune. Not travelling via Dublin were myself and Hector Deane. Having endured the Main Road as far as Cashel we struck out "across country" in more glorious weather. With the sun out and windows down this was our "road trip" with the main dangers coming from roadside brambles and nettles on the narrower sections.

The full route escapes my memory but I do recall that from Navan we ventured through Nobber and Kingscourt. Eventually we approached Armagh-Hector's home "city" - by way of Keady which I was instructed that Armachians pronounced Kaydee not Keydee as one thought. There was more than enough time to be impressed by Hector's house, his father being a dispensary doctor and even had his own petrol pump! After a full day's journey the A40 made it to Kelvin Parade and some home comforts for me.

The Ramblers game at the beautiful Castle Grounds was a most enjoyable affair. The school batted first and constructed a very useful total mainly thanks to Clifford McIlwaine's 35 in three quarters of an hour. Not so successful, but of interest nonetheless, were Brian Stirling (father of Ross, Richard and Paul and to become an international rugby referee) and J de Winter Shaw who was to become DUCC Captain in 1974. De Winter won't thank me for mentioning that he fell caught Harte bowled Silverstone, nor that he didn't bowl in the game. His conversion to left-arm quickie was still to come!

Alan Kirk's previous visit to the Castle had seen him take 7 for 29 six of which were LBW through (we, i.e. BRA maintained) the "good offices" of one Monty Ainsley the Portora Coach, Minibus driver, and Umpire. This time he bowled 8 overs for 8 runs and the break through wicket of Joe Morgan. However accorded the chance to open the batting he was to be caught by McIlwaine off James Jamison's bowling with Barney McKenna (18) having dominated their stand of 1 ! By the time The Ramblers had slumped to 51 for 5 a defeat looked likely but Philip Nixon (22) and Halliday (29) combined with Silverstone batting at number 7 (after his "extensive" bowl - 9 overs) to win with 3 wickets and an over to spare.

  • Belfast RA 135 for 8 wkts dec. C. McIlwaine 35, N. Lowther 30, J. Morgan 24, T. Thompson 18; R. McCarey 3 for 43, J. Silverstone 2 for 19.
  • DUCC Ramblers 136 for 7 wkts. J. Silverstone 32*, M. Halliday 29, P. Nixon 22, B. McKenna 18; N. Lowther 2 for 17, J.K. Jamison 15.5-3-57-2.

This was a very worthwhile run out and a fine afternoon's cricket. Alas the 2-day contest at Queen's was to prove, if we didn't know it already, that this type of cricket requires both sides to understand the dynamic, and to approach it in a constructive, positive way. When this doesn't happen it becomes pointless, as we shall see.