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Match Report
Derek Scott

The Stragglers are somewhat like the Leprechauns in Ireland but they have their own well appointed ground. Colin Browne was their hospitable chairman. There were captained by DL Houghton, the current Zimbabwe captain and included 19-year-old Graeme Hick who had toured England with Zimbabwe in 1985 and then played for Worcestershire. He averaged over 50 and is a marvellous player for his age. He is the son of the tour organiser, John Hick. Before the start the Irish felt the pitch was too long. It was by about a foot and had probably been so for some years! Left out of the Irish side were Cohen, McBrine, McDevitt and Jackson.

At 11 AM on a sunny day Ireland were put in to bat. As happened all too often on the tour the opening batsmen were out quickly, Burke taking both wickets in the fifth over. Warke (2) was caught low at gully, a diving catch by Murphy. Three balls later Masood drove with no foot movement and was caught at the wicket. 12-2-7. Vincent dug in with Dennison. He made 32 out of a 76 runs stand in 75 minutes. 50 was up in the 18th over.

Elliot was the fifth bowler used for the 26th over. His fourth ball got Vincent. He played a poor shot but was out to a fine diving catch, right-handed, at extra cover by Tinker. Lewis helped to add another 37 in 21 minutes. Then, as so often before, he tried too much too quickly - a poor sweep shot off Elliot ending in deep square leg's hands. 125-4-16. This was in the 34th over. Dennison had gone to his 50 in 94 minutes, the first 50 by an Irish wicket-keeper since 1929. The last 16 overs increased the score by 97. In 11 overs Dennison and Prior put on 71 in 37 minutes off Elliot and Jackman. 100 had come in the 28th over, 150 in the 39th. Jackman, with his last possible ball, had Prior caught low at cover by Tinker. 196-5-29. Harrison hit a six and a four in his 13 and put on 23 with Dennison. 200 was up in 46 overs.

Dennison slowed near his century but got there in the 48th over with the total on 211. It took 151 minutes. Next over, third ball, he was caught and bowled by Burke. Burke had bowled nine overs at the start and the 49th over was his 10th. Dennison was in for 155 minutes, faced 133 deliveries and hit one six and eight fours. It was a very good display in the first ever century by an Irish wicket-keeper. In the same over and off the last ball Burke had Harrison caught at mid-on from a mis hit. Lake, the other opening bowler, bowled the last over. Haire, facing, was run out (0) of the third ball - gully running in with the ball when Haire attempted an impossible run. Five more runs were scored to make a 50 over tally 226-8, a very respectable score. Burke took 4-36 in his 10 overs, Hick's 10 yielded 60.

What followed is probably best described by statistics. At 2:45 PM Murphy and Tinker opened for the Stragglers. Milling bowled the first over and off the last ball, with no runs on the board, Murphy was caught at mid-on. Enter Hick. Harrison bowled the second over which yielded seven runs and he was replaced by Patterson. Milling bowled four overs for 27, Patterson 5 for 29. 50 was up after eight overs and 100 in 15.3 overs! Halliday and Haire could not stem the flow. Halliday's 10 overs cost 66 although he did have Tinker caught at the wicket in his ninth over - the 25th of the innings. By this time the score was 149 and Tinker had made 34. Haire's nine overs cost 46. Harrison came back for Halliday and three overs from him cost a further 37. The score went from 150 to 200 in 4.3 overs and the end came with Dennison bowling the 34th over with Warke keeping wicket. The whole innings lasted two hours and Hick finished on 155 without giving a chance. He reached 50 in 40 minutes (42 deliveries) with eight fours, 100 in 83 minutes (88 deliveries) with four sixes and 10 fours, 150 in 114 minutes (112 deliveries). He now had nine sixes and 12 fours. In all he batted 116 minutes, faced 114 deliveries with nine sixes and 13 fours. One Harrison over had three sixes and 21 runs. The last five balls of Halliday's last over went for 4-2-4-6-6. The whole innings was a masterful display of footwork and clean hitting either straight or far over mid-wicket. Houghton joined him at 149 and the last 80 runs came in 31 minutes in 7.5 overs, Houghton finishing with 31.

On the evening of this match the Mashonaland Irish Association give a well attended reception to the Irish team in the Jameson Hotel. Michael Bannigan was presented with a magnificent copper plaque. Robin Haire's career for Ireland ended with this match. It had started earlier in this tour.