Ireland wrapped up their innings victory over The Netherlands just after 14:30 on Saturday in dramatic circumstances, but the Dutch middle and lower order showed plenty of character in fighting their way to 206.

With Mudassar Bukhari and Jeroen Smits defending solidly against the spinners, Kyle McCallan took the new ball as soon as it was available, and Peter Connell promptly provided a conclusion that even the most avid Irish supporter could not have anticipated. With the fourth ball of his over, and the third with the new ball, he smashed through Smits's defences. The next ball did the same to Pieter Seelaar, and then last man Edgar Schiferli could not get his bat to another devastatingly quick ball and was trapped leg-before. It was the third hat-trick in the competition, and the third for Ireland in all forms of international cricket. But it was their first in first-class cricket, and it gave Connell match figures of ten for 69, the best by an Irish bowler in the Intercontinental Cup.

It brought a rapid conclusion to a Dutch rearguard action which had got away to a terrible start in the morning session, first Eric Szwarczynski and then Daan van Bunge fell to poor shots with only five added to the overnight total. Van Bunge's in particular was inexplicable in the circumstances, an attempted pull which flew off the top edge to Connell at mid-on.

If an abject surrender seemed on the cards at that moment, Peter Borren and Mark Jonkman showed that determined resistance was possible. They batted with great composure, first against the hostility of Connell, Fourie, Cusack and Botha, and then against the spin of McCallan. Together they added 51 in 19 overs for the sixth wicket before Jonkman turned McCallan straight to Paul Stirling at short square leg, where he had lurked throughout the two Dutch innings. Mudassar Bukhari now joined Borren, and they too put on a half-century stand, taking on Gary Kidd and playing the other bowlers with great restraint. Borren reached a hard-fought fifty with a slash over slips off Connell, but the bowler had his revenge next delivery, when the ball lifted alarmingly off a good length and Borren could only fend it to O'Brien at second slip. His innings had lasted 103 balls, and included five fours and a six.

That brought Smits to the wicket, and he and Bukhari saw their side through to lunch. Bukhari kept his attacking instincts firmly under control, picking the ball to hit with great care, and after the interval the Dutch pair continued in the same vein, Bukhari bringing up his fifty off 70 balls with eight boundaries.

The total had reached 206 by the end of the 80th over, when McCallan called Connell back into the attack. And then, in the space of six balls, it was all over. After the first hour of the first day, when Bukhari and Schiferli had the Irish batsmen in trouble, Ireland had relentlessly taken control of the match, and they were clearly superior in all departments of the game. Botha, O'Brien and Poynter mastered a Dutch attack which was not consistent or hostile enough to maintain the pressure, and then the seam bowlers created havoc with a fine display of hostile fast bowling, exploiting to the full a pitch which had produced inconsistent bounce from the outset.

Ireland's win puts them in a great position to reach their third consecutive Intercontinental Cup final, although they must play their chief rivals, Namibia and Kenya, away from home. The Netherlands' final game is against Kenya in Amstelveen in August. Coach Peter Drinnen and his players will have much to reflect on after this defeat, as will the KNCB board. There was such a clear gap between the performances of the two sides that there should be a good deal of soul-searching about the future direction of the game in The Netherlands.

Final scorecard:

The Netherlands Vs Ireland
2-Innings Match Played At Hazelaarweg Rotterdam, 09-Jul-2008, First Class InterconCup
Ireland Win Outright by an Inns and 67 runs
Round 668
Toss won by The Netherlands
Umpires PK Baldwin (Germany) & SJ Davis (Australia)
Comment 668/20
Match Referee DT Jukes
Close
Day 1 Ireland 226-4 (58 overs, RSP, AC Botha 103*, AD Poynter 19*)
Day 2 Delayed start: Ireland 296-4 (77 overs, AC Botha 152*, AD Poynter 36*)
Day 3 The Netherlands 127 & 49-3 (24 overs, DLS van Bunge 21*, ES Szwarczyski 9*)
P Connell took only the third hat trick for Ireland in The Netherlands second innings.
Points Awarded Ireland 20, The Netherlands 0
 
Ireland 1st Innings 400/6 Declared (Overs 99)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Min Bls 4s 6s
R Strydom c PW Borren b Mudassar Bukhari 1 0 3 0 0
PR Stirling c J Smits b Mudassar Bukhari 11 0 30 2 0
AR Cusack lbw b Mudassar Bukhari 8 0 25 0 0
AC Botha c J Smits b Mudassar Bukhari 172 0 212 2 0
KJ O'Brien c MMA Jonkman b P Seelaar 79 0 114 12 2
AD Poynter not out   76 0 157 8 0
GC Wilson+ c GM Mol b MMA Jonkman 27 0 39 4 0
WK McCallan* not out   12 0 14 0 0
MJ Fourie dnb   -        
GE Kidd dnb   -        
P Connell dnb   -        
extras   (b6 lb6 w2 nb0) 14        
TOTAL   6 wickets for 400        
 
FOW
1-7(R Strydom) 2-20(PR Stirling) 3-25(AR Cusack) 4-184(KJ O'Brien) 5-323(AC Botha)
6-367(GC Wilson)
 
Bowler O M R W wd nb
E Schiferli 25 4 93 0 - -
Mudassar Bukhari 22 6 85 4 - -
GM Mol 11 3 32 0 - -
MMA Jonkman 9 0 41 1 1 -
P Seelaar 12 3 61 1 - -
PW Borren 20 1 76 0 1 -
 
The Netherlands 1st Innings 127/10 All Out (Overs 53.4)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Min Bls 4s 6s
TN de Grooth   b MJ Fourie 7 0 17 0 0
GM Mol lbw b P Connell 0 0 11 0 0
NA Statham c GE Kidd b P Connell 4 0 15 0 0
DLS van Bunge c GC Wilson b P Connell 12 0 36 0 0
ES Szawrczyski c GC Wilson b P Connell 9 0 27 1 0
PW Borren c AD Poynter b AR Cusack 13 0 17 2 0
MMA Jonkman lbw b WK McCallan 13 0 56 1 0
Mudassar Bukhari lbw b WK McCallan 23 0 42 3 0
J Smits*+ not out   10 0 60 0 0
E Schiferli   c&b GE Kidd 3 0 7 0 0
P Seelaar c GC Wilson b AC Botha 27 0 34 3 0
extras   (b4 lb2 w0 nb0) 6        
TOTAL   10 wickets for 127        
 
FOW
1-3(GM Mol) 2-11(TN de Grooth) 3-13(NA Statham) 4-32(DLS van Bunge)
5-37(ES Szawrczyski) 6-49(PW Borren) 7-71(MMA Jonkman) 8-84(Mudassar Bukhari)
9-89(E Schiferli) 10-127(P Seelaar)
 
Bowler O M R W wd nb
P Connell 17 4 41 4 - -
MJ Fourie 11 3 25 1 - -
AR Cusack 7 2 16 1 - -
GE Kidd 7 2 20 1 - -
WK McCallan 7 3 11 2 - -
AC Botha 4.4 2 8 1 - -
 
The Netherlands 2nd Innings (Follow-on Enforced) 206/10 All Out (Overs 81)
Batsman Fieldsman Bowler Runs Min Bls 4s 6s
TN de Grooth   b P Connell 8 0 21 0 0
GM Mol c WK McCallan b AC Botha 0 0 28 0 0
NA Statham c MJ Fourie b AC Botha 6 0 24 1 0
DLS van Bunge c P Connell b MJ Fourie 25 0 49 6 0
ES Szawrczyski   c&b P Connell 10 0 37 0 0
PW Borren c KJ O'Brien b P Connell 53 0 103 5 1
MMA Jonkman c PR Stirling b WK McCallan 17 0 66 0 0
Mudassar Bukhari not out   59 0 95 8 0
J Smits*+   b P Connell 12 0 61 1 0
P Seelaar   b P Connell 0 0 1 0 0
E Schiferli lbw b P Connell 0 0 1 0 0
extras   (b4 lb7 w5 nb0) 16        
TOTAL   10 wickets for 206        
 
FOW
1-13(TN de Grooth) 2-13(GM Mol) 3-23(NA Statham) 4-54(ES Szawrczyski)
5-54(DLS van Bunge) 6-105(MMA Jonkman) 7-158(PW Borren) 8-206(J Smits)
9-206(P Seelaar) 10-206(E Schiferli)
 
Bowler O M R W wd nb
P Connell 18 10 28 6 1 -
MJ Fourie 15 3 46 1 - -
AC Botha 11 2 33 2 - -
AR Cusack 7 0 15 0 - -
WK McCallan 19 4 28 1 - -
R Strydom 1 1 0 0 - -
GE Kidd 9 2 43 0 - -
A Poynter 1 0 2 0 - -