Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
An unbeaten century under the Ageas Bowl lights by Kevin O’Brien was the highlight of Ireland’s practice game which featured four other 50s in a high-scoring thriller.
Chasing 308 for victory, O’Brien’s side needed 30 from the last five overs with three wickets left, with Ireland’s most capped player having brought up his 100 with 12 fours from 110 balls.
Although as competitive as Andrew Balbirnie wanted ahead of the three ODIs with England, the game was not as rigid as the skipper expected with Gary Wilson enjoying two innings (17 and 30) and both Andy McBrine and uncapped Curtis Campher retiring only to return and remain unbeaten at the end.
Mark Adair and Paul Stirling were the only players in the 22-man training squad not involved, with three Hampshire local players making up the numbers and Waringstown’s James McCollum playing for both teams.
McCollum opened the batting in both innings, but his first knock (nine off 30 balls) was followed by a three-ball duck.
William Porterfield and Harry Tector both hit half centuries at a run-a-ball and McBrine finished 51 not out from 42 balls with four fours and three sixes and, with the help of Tyrone Kane and Wilson, Team Rausa (named after physio Mark) added 107 in the last 10 overs.
O’Brien and Simi Singh added 127 for Team Caulfield (psychologist Michael) against an attack of Craig Young, Kane, Boyd Rankin, Peter Chase, McBrine, Campher and JJ Garth before Singh was dismissed by Campher for 71 from 68 balls.
But O’Brien, in partnership with Lorcan Tucker, who returned at No.9 having been dismissed second ball batting at No.4, finished 126 not out with 14 fours and a six and won the game with 10 balls to spare.
Scores: Team Rausa 307-6 (W Porterfield 57, H Tector 54, A McBrine 51 not out, T Kane 40, C Campher 34 not out, G Wilson 30; B McCarthy 2-30, G Dockrell 2-36)
Team Caulfield 310-7 (48.2 overs, K O’Brien 126 not out, S Singh 71, G Delany 48, S Thompson 29; C Young 3-69, C Campher 2-29).
Team Caulfield won by three wickets.