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Match Report
Derek Scott

On to Norton, a tobacco growing district, 30 miles south-west of Harare. The journey was made in rain and the match was mostly played under grey skies with interruptions. Ultimately rain spoiled the match but not until Ireland had failed to accept the Mashonaland challenge to make a match. The party stayed privately for three nights in various houses in the District. John Hick was chairman of the Association. This was an out of season match for the home team - a selection of the Association's players but leaving out their International players. Dennison, Harrison, McDevitt and Vincent (who was not well) were left out of the Irish team and Jackson played in his first cap match of the tour.

There was a 10:30 AM start with Ireland sent in to bat. The ground was large and oval shaped surrounded by trees and a golf course. Masood and Warke opened to the bowling of MacKeown and Wakefield (left arm). In MacKeown's third over Warke was caught at short leg hooking too soon on a pitch where the bounce varied a lot. 5-1-3. Masood was in poor form and led a charmed life until he was caught behind pushing forward at Wakefield. 33-2-21.

Cohen had come in and his long vigil began wherein he grafted his way to 51 in 195 minutes. Spinners came on fairly quickly, Staunton (off) and Dolphin (slow left arm). The latter had Lewis LBW on the front foot in his first over after Lewis had played quite well. 67-3-18. Prior came in with the slow bowlers on and adopted a defensive role. At 88 he was caught at the wicket off Dolphin trying to cut. 88-4-7.

With 15 minutes to go to lunch (at 1 PM) Dolphin changed ends and Wakefield came back. Wakefield got one to jump at Patterson who cut at it and was caught at the wicket. So far on this tour Patterson had batted very wildly. 108-5-40. Just before lunch Wakefield yorked Haire. 119-6,Cohen 39 not out having been in for 135 minutes. The lunch break was 60 minutes.

McBrine had a very lively innings of 45 in 53 minutes. He hit a six and seven fours and launched a severe attack on Dolphin which knocked him off. He and Cohen added 57 in 42 minutes. Cohen reached 50 in 188 minutes. Having done so he was out to MacKeown He was caught at short leg trying a pull when the ball jumped at him. He had held the innings together with great watchfulness. 176-7-51.

At 184 Ervine bowled McBrine, the ball hitting his pad and then the off stump. Jackson hit a quick 16. When he was LBW with the total at 201 after 73 overs, a declaration was made. Seven bowlers were tried and Wakefield, a seamer, had 3-59 in 17 overs.

Travers and the left-handed Seager began at 3:39 PM. Play was up to 5:45 PM with a 15 minutes tea break at 4:05 PM. Each of the four leading Irish bowlers took a wicket and in 34 overs to the close Mashonaland scored 83-4. Neither Milling nor Patterson bowled particularly well but each of them bowled one of the opening batsmen. Patterson bowled Travers in the eighth over. 12-1-5. Milling bowled Seager in the 13th over. 33-2-19. Staunton, another left-hander, and Smithdorf put on 31. By now Halliday and McBrine were on. At 64 Smithdorf was caught at point off a mis hit. 64-3-21. At 83 McBrine took his wicket when Viljeon mis hit to short extra cover. Staunton (28) and Ervine (0) played out time with the score on 83-4.

Play restarted at 9:30 AM on day two. In 100 minutes Staunton and Ervine put on a further 82 runs off 28.4 overs. Halliday bowled most of the time and McBrine was surely under bowled, with 1-11 in nine overs out of 62.4 overs. Staunton was 72 not out and Ervine 36. The declaration came, 36 runs behind, when it started to rain at a time when a tea break was scheduled.

In fact, there was no delay and Masood and Warke opened for Ireland at 11:31 AM. All went well for half an hour when 35 were scored off the fast bowlers. Warke was lucky. He could not find form, was dropped at slip by Viljeon. Then Masood was caught by Viljeon off MacKeown. 35-1-19. There followed some very mysterious cricket! Five hours were available from the start of the innings but Ireland offered no challenge after the Mashonaland declaration 36 behind.

After Masood's dismissal 19 more overs were bowled in the hour up to lunch off which Warke and Cohen scored 36 more runs. 10 overs later 100 came up. In 70 minutes after lunch only 50 were scored despite spells from Seager and Viljeon who had bowled very little in the first innings. Warke laboured to 50 in 142 minutes and then spent 18 minutes without scoring. With the total on 121 he was out for 50 scored in 160 minutes. Cohen was now 44. In came Prior to score 37 in 24 minutes off 23 deliveries. Irvine and Dolphin were bowling and Prior hit a six and four fours. He added 48 with Cohen who made six of these. When he reached 50, his second of the match, in 134 minutes the declaration came.

Ireland had used up almost 3 hours of five available and now led by 205. Rain now put an end to all argument as play could not resume for an hour. With only 70 minutes left the match petered out. Travers and R Seager put on 50. Then Seager was out for 14 giving Masood his first wicket for Ireland in his second over. Prior got Staunton caught at 61. With Warke keeping wicket Jackson bowled the last over. Travers was dropped off his third ball but Smithdorf was caught off the last ball. 64-3, Travers 39 not out was the score at the end of the innings.