Donald Shearer
Irishmen share the ambition of all cricketers to play at Lord's.

There lie the roots of the game; there is the cradle and the ancient home. For all its modernity, Lord's still wears its antiquity and its magic tradition with a quiet dignity that, belonging to an earlier age, sets an example in this.

To have played there more than a score of times and to have had the better of the argument is a source of both encouragement and inspiration to Irish cricket.

But it is not statistics that we remember - not the bare bones of those triumphs and disasters that together form the pattern of any cricketer's life - but rather the characters, the moments, the humour and the lessons of the game that colour the memory.

To have played there enables a cricketer, no matter where or how old, to live again in its atmosphere, to see again its whiteness and its pigeons, to hear its cries and to feel once more the gaiety and the peace that is Lord's.

Do you at Lord's remember the Irish opening bat who, having scored about twenty rather well, held up the game for a glass of water at five minutes to noon? Archie Fowler was asked whether this had ever happened before. His reply was to the point and unprintable.

Do you remember an Irish extra cover who was seen to be drinking from a bottle at the fall of a wicket! His captain with a sense of decorum, but little humour, told him that he could feel deep at both ends and that he wouldn't get a bowl. It was not his fault that shortly afterwards one bowler hurt his knee and another was struck by lumbago.

The culprit was handed the ball and told he could have either end and any field he liked and that he could bowl all day. "And the bottle?" was the reply! He did bowl for three hours and so well that next day the Club was flighted and spun back to its dressing room and Ireland had won.

Do you at Lord's remember a veteran Irishman fielding in the sun and so deep at the Nursery End that he was only getting up the pavilion steps for his tea as his team was coming down them for the resumption! Perhaps you remember other and better things about us.

Perhaps you saw, now and then, some signs that the lessons had been learnt, some glimpses of batting, bowling and fielding that looked in keeping and of which you approved.

For our part we remember many things. Rockley Wilson, nearly old, luring us to disaster with his so gentle variations of flight and length - and his soft words as we passed him on the way back: Brookes and Geoffrey Lowndes hitting the Club out of trouble: Alex Wilkinson making sure we knew all the rules - and the grace of Lomas.

We remember Jack O'Shea and Wignall and Watkins: we remember too your dinners and how Plum Warner spoke to us and the charm of Ronny Aird.

We remember Lord's - and we always will.