THE big story of the week was the stunning partnership of 388 by Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie, a championship record for the second wicket and the third highest for any wicket.
Balbirnie had made 192 on an earlier visit to Radlett CC this summer, which Countywatch Extra pointed out was the highest innings by an Irishman in 2nd XI cricket.
That record obviously went by-the-by as both batsmen passed 200 for the first time in their careers at any level.
Stirling opened with Nick Gubbins and added 63, before he was run out which saw Balbirnie arrive at the wicket.
The pair batted for 69 overs and 3 balls before Stirling was dismissed for 254 (241 balls. 5hrs 8min, 36 fours, 2 sixes) with the score on 451. Balbirnie got to 205 (259 balls, 5hrs 30mins, 27 fours, 1 six) before he was out at 546-3.
Middlesex went on to make 697-8 before declaring. Each man tweeted from the dressing room, Stirling saying “Not often your team scores 600 runs in a day! Nice to spend most of it batting with @balbo90 Thanks for all the messages”, while Balbirnie tweeted a photo of the pair swigging Buds with the caption “One of the good days in the Irish corner with @stirlo90”.
Six-hundred runs in a day is an extraordinary feat, but a close look at the scorecard shows that Glamorgan were fielding a particularly inexperienced side.
Only the opening bowlers had any real first-class experience, with captain Will Owen taking 51 wickets in 24 games and Scotland’s Ruaidhri Smith 25 in 13 games. The other four bowlers used have played just one first-class game between them, netting two wickets.
Despite a couple of first-innings overs from Stirling, and 8-2-21-0 by Balbirnie in the second, the game petered out to a draw.
Middlesex spared Glamorgan by leaving out Stirling from the pair of T20s at the same venue on Thursday. But Balbirnie was still in the groove and knocked off an unbeaten 44 off 33 balls as his county lost five wickets in pursuit of 84 but in the afternoon he made a duck.
There was another huge score at Taunton Deane on Tuesday but this time the Irish bowlers were on the receiving end.
Bobby Gamble was playing for Somerset 2nds and his return of 10-1-50-1 included the wicket of Liam Dawson for 154 – the only wicket taken by a bowler until Hampshire reached 428.
The visitors declared on 537-3 with the top three making big centuries. George Dockrell suffered too, his 13 wicket-less overs going for 92. Dockrell made 7 as Somerset replied with 399-8 in the two-day game which inevitably ended in a draw.
Dockrell was also in club action, taking 3-47 off 10 overs for Taunton St Andrews against Clevedon, then scoring 30 in a vain chase.
Gamble turned out for Somerset 2s in a pair of T20s against Gloucestershire, taking 1-39 and 0-40 in his two four-over spells. The Ireland U19 also turned out for his club Plumtree in the Nottinghamshire Premier League, bowling 7-0-19-1 and scoring 21no in 11 balls as his club got the best of a winning draw v Radcliffe on Trent.
He was also in action for Loughborough in the MCCU T20 Group 1 semi-final, when they beat Southampton Solent University by nine wickets.
Gamble’s figures were 4-0-27-0 and Robert McKinley’s 4-0-32-2. Loughborough beat Bath University in the final by eight wickets, with gamble taking 0-22 and McKinley 1-15 off their four over spells.
McKinley has also been turning out for Loughborough Town who play in the Leicestershire & Rutland Premier Division. In eight matches this season he has made 160 runs with a high score of 83 against Kegworth, and has taken 14-96 with a best of 5-9 in 3.3 overs against Barrow Town. Last week against Thorpe Arnold he bowled 10-1-28-3.
Barry McCarthy has been home to play a couple of games for Pembroke but Stuart Poynter made 5 for Durham 2nds in a game against North Yorkshire South Durham League XI this week.
Mark Adair took 2-48 off 8 overs for Warwickshire against Derbyshire in the Second Eleven Trophy, and made 3 with the bat. Irish Universities play in Fenner’s next week where they will come up against two other Irishmen.
Ben Wylie made 22 and 4 and Patrick Tice 3 and 4 as Cambridge MCCU lost to Cardiff MCCU in the semi-final of the British championship. Tice held two catches behind the wicket.
Rory McCann is another excellent keeper who was unfortunate to come along in the O’Brien/Wilson and now Poynter era.
He picked up 16 caps and emigrated to Scotland after spending the entire World T20 qualifier in 2012 on the sidelines. He now plays in the CSL Eastern Premier with Carlton, battling for a top-order place with internationals Hamish Gardiner, Fraser Watts, Preston Mommsen, Gordon Drummond and Alasdair Evans.
When he does get the chance he takes it, and his two appearances this season saw him make 63 v Aberdeenshire and 86no in 29.3 overs v Stoneywood-Dyce.
Yet another ex-Ireland keeper is still turning out in the Cheshire Premier League for Chester Boughton Hall. Stephen Ogilby opened the batting against Bootle but made a duck, later taking a catch and a stumping.
Andy Gorvin had two games for the Hampshire Academy, scoring 1 and taking 5-0-18-0 against his own club Havant, and making 51 in 44 balls against Bournemouth, while Trinity student Will von Behr made 40 for MCC v Bristol University.