The Ireland squad were forced indoors yesterday as they completed preparations for their last two one-day internationals of the summer, against the West Indies and Scotland.
Torrential rain in Dublin has put at risk today's glamour game against the Windies, the one that will probably decide the Quadrangular Series but, depending on that result, Ireland will then face the auld enemy tomorrow in Belfast (10.15am start) with the chance of claiming the honours
If the match does goes ahead today, expect to see the tourists finest talent on view. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the player of the series against England - he reached 50 in every international innings except the last - and the big-hitting Marlon Samuels were both rested from Thursday's game against the Scots and, after an opening partnership of 95, they duly lost six wickets before winning with a ball to spare.
With a four-match unbeaten record to defend, the West Indies are unlikely to be as generous again, especially as there are ODI ranking points up for grabs and, following Ireland's exploits in the Caribbean last spring, Trent Johnston's side should provide the toughest opposition. Their first task will be to dismiss Chris Gayle. He has scored 135 undefeated runs in his two innings at Clontarf this week and unless they get the West Indian captain early it is likely to be another hard slog for the bowlers who were second best for 43 overs against the Netherlands on Wednesday.
The pitch at Castle Avenue, however, seems certain to turn - the Scottish spinners sparked the West Indies collapse in the last game there - and it will be interesting to see if Gary Kidd keeps his place, possibly alongside Andrew White, who was left out of the Stormont clash this week. The batting will be boosted by the return of William Porterfield at the top of the order and with Eoin Morgan certain to be his opening partner, Kenny Carroll, in spite of his heroics in the field against the Dutch, may be the one to lose out.
Alex Cusack was surprisingly under-used as a bowler after his three quick strikes against South Africa in the previous game at Stormont and if coach Phil Simmons chooses to play all three front-line slow bowlers then the Clontarf all rounder could also miss out on his home ground. Win, lose or no result, today, the Scotland game tomorrow is at least as important if only for bragging rights in the battle at the top of the Associates. Scotland are actually ahead of Ireland in that table on their basis of their World League victories in January, including a last-ball win against the Irish, and, anyway, there is never a friendly between these two old rivals.
Former Scotland captain Craig Wright, a nemesis of Ireland in this fixture, injured his ankle in a club game last Sunday but is in the squad specifically with the intention of playing tomorrow and Paul Hoffman, who has been just as effective against the Irish as a pinch-hitter as an opening bowler, will also be in the line-up.
Following yesterday's wash-out at Stormont - rain allowed only 22.2 overs of Scotland's game against Netherlands - the West Indies have a five point lead over Ireland, the only two countries who can still win the series.
The rain in Belfast yesterday capped an unhappy week for the Civil Service Club, who have not enjoyed their finest 48 hours. The main scoreboard packed in five overs before end of the first innings on Wednesday, never to return, and there was not a seat to be had in the vast spaces of Northern Ireland's international venue when the spectators started trickling through the gates.
Eventually they were provided - a case of pick up your seat and choose your place on the boundary - but it reflected badly on the ground that hosted Ireland v England 13 months ago and India v South Africa just 13 days ago.At least lunch was up to the usual high standards, a rare feast on another depressing day in this wettest of summers.