By winning three and drawing the other three of six matches Ireland had their most successful season ever in 1971. There were no new opponents but Holland had never played in Ireland nor had Ireland previously gone to Denmark. The fixture against Wales was revived after a gap of forty-five years. Victory Over M. C. C. at Lord's gave the greatest satisfaction as this had not been achieved since 1947.
The Scottish match in Belfast was ruined by rain which entirely eliminated the Second day. Scotland gained a six-run lead on the first innings, their new fast bowler F. Robertson taking six for 58. R. H. E. Chisholm of Scotland said good-bye to representative cricket with a second-innings score of 51 not out. He had played continuously in this fixture since 1948.
Three fine days greeted the arrival of Wales in Cork. This usually bland wicket took spin from an early stage. Wales had no bowler to use it, but Ireland's J. D. Monteith (slow left arm) began an extraordinary and record-breaking run of success. He took eleven for 66 and Ireland won at lunch on the third day by 260 runs. G. A. Duffy scored his third successive International fifty, P. J. Dineen made 59 and 32 not out and M. S. Reith scored a second-innings 55.
The wicket at Castle Avenue, Dublin, for the match with Holland also assisted Monteith. He took thirteen for 126 and victory came by 138 runs. The corner-stone was D. R. Pigot's 66 in the first innings. Holland's two off-spinners, Vriens and Smits, bowled well, but the telling factor in the match was the Dutch lack of experience.
In the two-day match against Combined Services at Portsmouth Monteith his merry way. The ground was damp and slow, but the left-armer took thirteen for 78. In three successive matches he had taken 37 wickets for 270 runs. In the six Innings he had never taken less than five wickets. An hour was lost at the start of this Match which was played at a snail's pace throughout. It ended in a stalemate draw and the highest individual score was P. J. Lishman's 40 for Combined Services.
In the next two-day game M. C. C. were beaten at Lord's by 96 runs with ten Minutes left. Seventy-five minutes were lost at the start because of the wet ground. Then Ireland made 200 for six declared. I. Anderson, who had had a disappointing Season, scored a brilliant 93. Overnight M. C. C. were 61 for five and were eventually out for 130, Monteith four for 39. Somewhat slugglishly Ireland scored 111 for six declared and left M. C. C. to get 182 to win in two and a quarter hours.
M. C. C. hit out, but wickets fell rapidly and a halt was not called until seven were down for 59. Then A. R. Duff dropped anchor but the other three were winkled out by means of clever bowling changes. Monteith emerged with eight for 71 and a season's tally of 47 for 393 in five matches. He broke J. C. Boucher's record of 44 wickets in a season (in seven matches in 1937) and took his own wicket total from 43 to 90 at 14.35 runs each in 22 matches for Ireland.
The three-day match with Denmark at Aalborg was spoiled by rain which took away half the allotted time. Monteith and Anderson were unable to travel and the team went into the match with only three bowlers -- O'Riordan, Goodwin and Duffy. On the mat they were shot out for 66 in the face of hostile fast bowling by H. Mortensen (seven for 35). Denmark scored 113 for seven declared (O'Riordan five for 31). Ireland then began a long recovery haul and succeeded. Pigot made 58, his best innings for Ireland, J. Harrison 45 and A. Linehan 61 not out in his second match. He scored 34 of these in the last three overs, hitting three 6's Denmark were left 21 overs to bat. It rained after four of them.
Ireland used fifteen players in the six matches and gave new caps to Linehan and R. D. Daly. The opening bats, D. R. Pigot (245) and M. S. Reith (259), scored one-third of the runs. Reith took eleven catches, mostly at slip, and O. D. Colhoun claimed twenty-three wicket-keeping victims.
Colhoun played his fiftieth match for Ireland against Scotland and O'Riordan reached this mark two matches later against Holland. Colhoun has now played 44 successive matches stretching back to 1961 and dismissed his 100th victim in the match versus Wales.
Three batsmen reached their 1000 runs during the season. Anderson did so against Scotland (in 42 innings), Duffy against Wales (in 67 innings) and Pigot against Combined Services (in 48 innings).
The Guinness cup was won by Ulster Town (the Belfast City clubs) for the first time. Their batting star was G. Crothers; two slow bowlers. A. K. Kirkpatrick and R. G. McComb, took most of their wickets.
In local cricket Malahide won the league/cup double in Leinster and were unbeaten. In the North, Waringstown exactly repeated their success of 1970. They won the Cup and shared the league with N.I.C.C.