Porterfield blow for tour
It does seem that this tour is destined to test almost every resource that Irish cricket has to offer. The tour party was further reduced to 14 playing members after our captain was forced to return home. Only 13 of which are actually fit as my shoulder injury has still not recovered.
Losing our leader for the last four games of the trip is a huge blow. He leads both on and off the field through attitude and through his weight of runs. The sooner we have him back the better.
We travelled from Mount Mangaunui down to Hamilton after three good days training and our depleted side took on a fairly string Northern Districts unit on the Thursday afternoon. The pitch the lads played on was newly re-laid for the World Cup so there was little to go on in terms of previous scores. They won the toss and asked us to have a bat.
I actually missed the first ten overs as I was at the local A&E getting an x-ray on my shoulder to see if there was an underlying break in the AC joint. The scan came up saying there wasnít and it was in fact as first thought, it would just take time and rehab to heal.
Back at the ground, the boys were quickly under the pump and we were only able to post 153 on a wicket that was offering some steep bounce.
At one point, we were 55-5 and it looked like 150 was a long way away. We had a good partnership with Kev and Alex Cusack which enabled us to get up to a respectable-ish total. When those two were going well it actually looked like we may push on toward the 200 mark. Not for the first time this trip though, we lost a couple of quick wickets on the bounce and we were right back in trouble.
Defending 150 was always going to be difficult and if we were to have any chance we needed early wickets. In a way we actually had a decent enough start, they were 40-2 after 10. Peter Chase was introduced in and around the 10th over and proceeded to bowl seven uninterrupted overs from one end. It was probably the best spell of bowling Iíve seen so far on the trip. He bowled with good pace and hostility and consistently hit a challenging length. It was a spell worthy of international class and great to watch from a young guy who is trying to book his place in the final 15 for the World Cup.
On another day he could have had two or three wickets and he certainly deserved them. It was George Dockrell who made the next breakthrough and he too bowled beautifully and unlike big Chaser he did get the rewards he deserved. He picked up four wickets in the end and even though 2 of them were with one run required for victory it was still great to see George bowling the way we all know he can.
The best thing about the game at Seddon Park is that the conditions were so much different to other grounds that we have played on so far on the trip. The fact that we are playing a World Cup game there next year means that having already sampled them, they wonít be as alien next time around.
It was a real shame the New Zealand game was called off two days later because it would have been another opportunity to learn against high quality opposition. We now move on to Christchurch where by at the time of printing we will have played Cantebury at Lincoln university.