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Match Report
Derek Scott

A most entertaining match sadly destroyed by rain for an hour on the second day just as Ireland were about to seek 244 to win in three hours. Pride of place must go to John Prior. He scored 119 runs with four sixes and 21 fours in what was probably the most remarkable innings ever by an Irish batsmen. He came in at 4:42 PM with the score at 42-3. He faced the fifth ball of the 17th over. At 5:10 PM there was a two-minute rain break. Prior was out at 5:51 PM off the fourth ball of the 35th over. He reached 53 in 26 minutes off 31 balls from the fourth ball of the 24th over. He reached 101 in 51 minutes off 51 balls off the third ball of the 31st over. In all he batted 66 minutes and faced 66 balls. Off Ferreira he scored nine runs from seven balls received; off Lethbridge he scored 44 runs off 23 balls received; off PA Smith he scored 40 runs off 16 balls; off Sutcliffe he scored one run off eight balls and hit Small for 25 runs off 12 balls.

The onslaught began in earnest when Prior hit PA Smith for 18 in a nine ball over, the 23rd. Lethbridge conceded 12 in the 24th over and 18 in the 26th. The 29th over, bowled by PA Smith, was hit for 18 and this included the bowling of Prior off a no-ball. Small was recalled for the 31st over (at which stage Prior was 93) and Prior hit him for five fours in the over. The strokes were marvellous off both front foot and back foot. He was missed when four by Kallicharran at square leg off Lethbridge off a stroke which knocked Kallicharran off his feet. When Prior had reached 114 Asif Din dropped an easy catch at midwicket off Sutcliffe. Eventually Small bowled him when he tried for another six over square leg. These few lines cannot adequately describe the majesty of this extraordinary innings by the 22-year-old. It was a day to remember - a day of 614 runs in six and half hours.

Ireland started well. O'Reilly had Lloyd caught low at gulley in his first over and Torrens bowled Ferreira in his second. 8-2. KD Smith and Humpage settled down and began to rattle the score along. 50 came up in the 12th over. DA Lewis fielded as a substitute for SJS Warke who was en route from Belfast, JF Short having cried off 15 minutes before the match started with an injured rib cage. The unfortunate Lewis dropped Humpage (29) off Torrens at mid-on at 74 - a hard chance. Prior was tried and he took his first wicket for Ireland when Humpage skied to mid-on. 83-3-48. With Kallicharran 's arrival the pace increased and nobody could stop it. 100 came up in the 19th over, 150 in the 27th, 200 in the 35th.

Lunch was taken with the score at 239-4 in 36.2 overs when Kallicharran, seeking 100, was caught by Cohen on the midwicket boundary for 96. This was made in 68 minutes with three sixes and 16 fours. He went from 52 to 96 in 15 minutes. Monteith bowled eight overs for 71 runs and Halliday four overs for 29. Smith was now 78 and the stand of 156 had come in 68 minutes. Monteith's last over cost 27 runs including four sixes. After lunch Smith went from 78 to 161 in 36 min!! 10.4 overs were bowled and 106 runs were scored. Smith took 100 minutes to reach 50, went to 100 in 144 minutes, to 150 in 162 minutes and in all batted 172 minutes for his unbeaten 161. He faced 133 balls and hit 10 sixes and 11 fours. Oliver made 20 not out and added 106 with Smith in 36 minutes. Torrens and Anderson bore the brunt of this onslaught, Anderson taking 1-67 in six overs! In all 345 came in only 47 overs.

Ireland went into bat at 3:12 PM. Masood played on in Small's first over and tea came at 33-1.Cohen was caught behind at 35 and Anderson followed suit, both off Ferreira, at 42. Then came Prior! Little more can be said about his wonderful innings. He went from 25 to 113 in only sixes (four) and fours (16). Wills played a splendid secondary role and was out for 37 just before Prior. Warke, now arrived from Belfast, and Monteith now set out on a fruitful stand of 84 in 57 minutes. It ended when Asif Din made a great stop at cover off a Warke shot and ran out Monteith for 52, scored in 57 minutes with nine fours off 48 balls. Warke was 28 not out and Ireland's 269-6 had come in 52.3 overs. This ended play for the day.

Next day Ireland declared conceding a lead of 76. Warwickshire changed their batting order and they very nearly ran into deep trouble. At 1 PM they were 110-8 only 186 on, but Kallicharran, at number nine, foiled Ireland's hopes and then an hour's rain ruined the finish. Ireland bowled much better today and the catching was very good. Torrens conceded 35 runs in eight overs but O'Reilly bowled 15 overs in a row to take 4-50. Monteith had 1-38 in 15 overs. The under bowled Halliday took the seventh and eight wickets and finished with 2-32 in eight overs.

Oliver and Asif Din opened the batting. Both were caught by Jackson off O'Reilly. 32-2. PA Smith skied to Prior at cover, also off O'Reilly. 36-3. At 45 Jackson came around the wicket, shook off a glove and hit the bowler's wicket to run out Ferreira. Humpage and Lethbridge added 33 and were then out within four runs of each other, Humpage caught at cover by Warke off Monteith and Lethbridge bowled by O'Reilly. 82-6.

The opening pair, Lloyd and KD Smith, from the first innings were now together. Halliday came on at 95 and bowled Smith with his first ball. As 110 Lloyd was caught in Halliday's third over. Small could not be dislodged and Kallicharran began to accelerate, hitting Halliday for three successive boundaries before rain drove the players off for lunch 1 minute early with the total on 132-8, Kallicharran 24, Small 4. Warwickshire batted on after lunch for five overs bowled by Halliday and Monteith. 35 runs were added, 27 of them to Kallicharran who hit Monteith for 17 in the last over. His 51 came in 43 minutes off 50 balls with two sixes and seven fours.

Rain delayed Ireland's chase by one hour and the innings became academic. 27 overs were bowled by seven bowlers. Ireland got 127-2 and the match ended after 10 overs of the last 20. Masood hit two sixes and was LBW to Ferreira for 17. Two balls later Wills met a similar fate. Then Cohen and Anderson added 97 in 57 minutes, Cohen getting his first half-century for Ireland with a six and 10 fours in his 59 not out. A most enjoyable match played on a good wicket which had been difficult to prepare due to rain in the weeks before the match. 116 fours and 25 sixes in all were hit. Messes Rothmans sponsored the match for 2000 and Aer Lingus flew in Warwickshire at no charge.

Rathmines, Dublin