Ian Callender (Sunday Life)
WHEN William Porterfield is asked what his memories of playing in Grenada are, he replies: “I don’t remember much about the ground because we weren’t there long enough!”
Ireland’s only previous appearance at the National Stadium was the final match of the 2007 World Cup, when Sri Lanka blew them away, Trent Johnston’s side bowled out for 77 inside 28 overs.
The class of 2020, now led by Porterfield’s successor Andrew Balbirnie, will be hoping there no such repeat when they meet West Indies today (1.00pm GMT) in the third and final match of the one-day international series which was settled in such dramatic fashion under the Barbados lights on Thursday evening.
Everyone in the Irish camp — and indeed on the home side — know the teams should have been playing the decider today but West Indies’ last three wickets put on 90 and survived two horrible fielding lapses by Ireland in the final over to sneak home by one wicket from the fifth ball.
For Porterfield, it was a bittersweet day as he joined Kevin O’Brien in becoming only the second Ireland international to play 300 games.
“Those are the games you want to be involved in, that why we play cricket, but it was frustrating we couldn’t level the series,” said Porterfield.
“You are talking about fine margins. On another day, Scra (Andy McBrine) throws to Lorcan (Tucker) or Baz (Barry McCarthy) throws straight to the keeper’s end and we run him out anyway, so many ifs and buts.
“But the lads have to pick themselves up. We didn’t do ourselves justice on Tuesday (when they lost the first game by five wickets) but we turned it round, as we have done a lot of times and did enough to win the game. On another day that goes our way and it would have been nice to take it 1-1 to Grenada."
As for his personal landmark, Porterfield described it as a “nice occasion but would love to have topped it off with a victory and singing Ireland’s Call.”
Ireland’s longest serving captain received a special cap before Thursday’s game from his good friend Gary Wilson but while the Northern Knights skipper has had to give up the gloves to Tucker on this trip — and his future in the international scene is in doubt — Porterfield is hoping to keep going as long “as the body keeps up”.
He is still Ireland’s best fielder and as he says: “As long as I can run and dive around I’m happy enough and as long as I can get back up again the next morning I’ll keep going. “I’m still enjoying it and if I’m scoring a few runs then I’m happy to be out there.”